Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is My Dog Normal?: Used Tissue & Dirty Sock Fetish

So, we kind of lied when we told you last week that Athena's favorite thing in the world is her ChuckIt! Ultra Ball.  Her REAL favorite things are used tissues, paper towels and dirty socks.
Who me?!  A used tissue and dirty sock thief?!  You've got the wrong dog!
B and I learned our lesson pretty quickly after adopting Athena that garbage cans in the bathrooms and kitchen must not be left unattended-- or without a lid.  In the first few weeks of having Athena, there were a few instances when Athena came to find us as she was holding a used tissue or dirty sock in her mouth.  She would walk right up to us with her "off limits" item in her mouth and stare at us as if she were saying, "Hey guyssssss!  Look what I found!"  Because I was pretty clueless in the beginning, I would chase Athena around trying to pry the tissue or sock out of her mouth (I seriously thought she was going to eat it and then she might get sick and then we would have to take her to the vet and then and then and then....).  As I chased Athena around the house she would usually go into "crazy horse" mode (which is what we call it when she gets a toy or off-limits object in her mouth and then gallops through the house while whipping her head all around).  Clearly Athena is an evil genius because whenever she would get a sock or used tissue, she would get to play a fun game of keep away with me.  I will admit that I have experienced uncontrollable laughter (while at the same time being very frustrated at this behavior) during a few of these episodes, especially when Athena latches onto a sock and because her head whipping action is so intense, the sock will fly out of her mouth and right into my hand.  At this point she will stop and look at me like, "Awwwwwwww mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!"
Blurry photo="crazy horse" head whipping action is taking place (notice the white streak in the middle)
I realize that I wrote the above in past tense...however this tissue and sock keep away game is something that Athena likes to play about every three days or so.  I just don't know what it is about USED paper products and dirty socks?!  We leave shoes out all over the house and all sorts of "off-limits" items that Athena could care less about touching.  There must just be something about the thrill of sticking her head into a garbage can or into the clothes hamper.

I realized the full extent of Athena's used paper product obsession the other day when my mom and I took her on a walk.  As we were crossing a busy street (at a designated crosswalk where 4 lanes of traffic had to stop for us to cross--which means people were watching us) a used tissue just happened to blow right past Athena's face.  You better believe it that Athena pulled me in the other direction to try and "catch" the tissue!  As this was a very unsafe situation, I used the "leave it" command over and over and pulled Athena back in the direction that we were walking.  Luckily she quickly forgot about the tissue.

So, I googled "my dog likes used tissues" and this is clearly a normal fetish for many dogs.  I saw from this search that many people's dogs actually eat the tissue...we have yet to have Athena ingest any paper products because we usually get them out of her mouth before she can destroy them.  We are pretty sure that she has come to associate getting a used tissue with us "trading" her for a very yummy treat (usually an unhealthy Milkbone-- her absolute favorite).

Next I googled, "my dog likes dirty socks" and this is an equally searched topic ("my dog smells like a dirty sock" was also represented in this search....gross).
I won't let my mom get one unblurry picture because I am just so excited to have this dirty sock in my mouth!
Because Athena is so attached to her humans (she rarely leaves our sight and will follow us all around the house) we can usually tell when she is on the prowl for a used tissue or dirty sock because she will be out of sight for about more than a minute (usually after she has gone for a drink of water).  This is when we usually get up to see what she is snooping around in.  Sometimes we don't catch her in time and therefore must play the tissue/sock keep away game.

As we work to remove all used tissue and dirty sock temptation from our house, we would like to know if your dogs have similar fetishes?  What have you done to get your dog to stop searching for these "off limits" items in your house?

21 comments:

  1. Rufus lurves dirty tissues too... and my underwear. I've walked into our bedroom to find Rufus pulling underwear out of the hamper. He's done it when we have guests over too. Sooooo embarrassing.

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    1. Oh, geeze!! I'm glad that Athena isn't into underwear...yet! How embarrassing that Rufus showed some of yours off to your guests!!

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  2. Nola definitely has a sock fetish, the dirtier the better. She LOVES when they're balled up too. She makes it her mission to unroll them.

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    1. Glad to hear that we aren't the only ones with this fetish =)

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  3. HAHAHA. Zoe loves dirty socks too! And pretty much any and all dirty laundry. But the worst thing is that she LOVES crotches and butts. Seriously. Anyone who enters our house wearing a skirt must be on guard because she will stick her entire face up there. She most definitely violated my very petite (and prudish) mother-in-law on several occasions. So I would say that Athena is definitely normal! :) :)

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    1. hahaha that is hilarious! Athena has attempted to go for a few crotches, but I wouldn't say she's totally obsessed with them yet!!

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  4. Nemo and Melanie are big on eating tissues. One time we left a big package of toilet paper rolls out (we forgot to put them away) and when we came home there was a giant mess of shredded tissue and half chewed on rolls. It was fun times cleaning up that mess. I guess they look like chew toys to them, haha.

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    1. Sometimes Athena will go up to the roll of toilet paper and sniff it, but she has not yet attempted to get any in her mouth. I guess she is picky in that there must be snot on the tissue for her to put it in her mouth!

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  5. At least Athena doesn't have a dirty undies fetish. That's the grossest! We're lucky that we don't have any dogs with weird fetishes around here. Hurley will occasionally take the Hubster's shoes out to the yard but that's it. I think he just gets confused as sometimes the Hubster's shoes are right beside his toy basket. He parades, toy/shoe in mouth, past us in an attempt to elicit a game of keep away. We don't oblige, especially when it's a shoe, as he would only realize that shoes = fun keep away game. So we wait for him to drop it outside to retrieve his next trying-to-entice-us-to-play-keep-away toy and then go get the shoe from the yard.

    When he was a young puppy, we called it the contraband dash. We soon realized that he didn't care about the shoe, he just wanted to play keep away and that's when we stopped chasing him around and waited for him to get bored. He never showed any sign of eating the shoes so we weren't worried about him ingesting anything. He soon lost interest in shoes because it was only his toys that would elicit keep away games from Maggie & Sadie as they truly have no interest in our shoes.

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    1. We have started to totally ignore Athena when she brings us a used tissue or dirty sock and I think she's getting the hint that it's not so fun of a game if nobody plays along with her!

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  6. Try doing training sessions where you actually have the items around and teach her to leave it and give her a really great reward in exchange. Once you get it down in the house, you can set it up outside on a walk, etc. That way, hopefully, you won't have a lifetime of worry if you left your socks on the floor.

    I taught Kaya, "what's this?" which is what I said every time she'd get a treat so now it always gets her attention. It has become especially helpful at getting her attention for photos!

    I've seen a few episodes of the dog whisperer where the dog ate paper and they were always really interesting. I kind of remember him saying it had to do with bird hunting dogs and they relate anything lightweight to the feathers. Though it could be true that Athena just likes stinky things;)

    I thought this clip was pretty funny though:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AplmEUoanvU

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    1. Thanks you so much for this advice! We will have to try actually putting some used tissues or dirty socks in front of Athena and then training her to leave it with some very delicious treats!

      I really liked that video you shared and I'm so glad that Athena doesn't eat poop...gross!!!

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    2. Norman went thru a poop-eating phase when he was a puppy. He would come in and give me sloppy kisses with his poopy-breath...it was the worst! Luckily it is a thing of the past:)

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  7. OH.MY.GOSH. First of all I laughed so hard that you googled those things. So in the last year and a half Hades hasn't gotten into anything bad... with the exception of tissues. He loves tissues! He will shred and shred and shred a tissue or piece of toilet paper like he's a puppy, yet you leave him unattended in the house for hours and he doesn't touch a single thing he isn't supposed to. It's like he's matured beyond wanting to chew or get into things...except tissues and toilet paper.

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    1. I pretty much google everything about Athena and I'm just amazed at how her problems are always so normal even if I think they are far from it!

      So funny that they love tissues so much!

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  8. Oh, Reggie is a champion used tissue eater. He'll dig into the trash can or just pick one up off the sidewalk. Interestingly he doesn't bother with the toilet paper roll at all.
    He's actually eaten a sock. It was one of those men's trouser socks, so I can imagine it took up most of his stomach. I called the vet right away and she said to monitor his eating habits or if he got sick. He never missed a meal. Not once. It took 8 days for the sock to reappear. Ewww.

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  9. Maizy (a Certified Mongrel Dog) loves dirty socks and tissues. The vet told me the sock thing is all about scent, since she doesn't take the clean ones. I think it makes her feel more secure or something. I don't know if she would destroy it or not, since I take it away as soon as I realize she's got it.

    Lately she's also been stealing used tissues, which grosses me out. I'm guessing it's the same motivation. She'll shred and eat them if I don't catch her soon enough, and when she's got one she goes running when she sees me coming. I've tried trading treats for it, but it only works sometimes. I generally have to corner her and take it away.

    I am working on getting her to not steal from the trash cans, since that's dangerous and icky anyway, and so until I got my current cold we were making progress. Ah, well, such is dog ownership.

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