Indestructible, inescapable harness for an escape artist. + chew toys
April 23, 2022 12:06 PM   Subscribe

My new 11 month old puppy is super curious and chews on things that cause damage to the things, or potentially to her. I need a harness that can't be chewed through, and toys she can and will safely chew.

She is an escape artist and has chewed through 1 harness, 1 collar, and several feet of rope used as tie-out. Now there's a proper cable line outside. She has learned to loosen a collar or harness by pulling, then she has access and will chew through it. I need a collar or harness that she can't slip out of or easily destroy. Ideally with some reflective components; my neighborhood does not have sidewalks.

Any paper or plastic bag has to be chewed to discover the contents, which are mostly left alone. Any paperboard within reach will be chewed to bits, some newspaper and mail, too. Pens and a rock have been appealing. Chew toys made of plastic? Rope toy to which I added bacon fat? Puzzle toy with expensive liver treats? meh. She does like pig ears, bully sticks, chewy treats, but enough of those to satisfy her habit is not manageable. What chew toys has your dog loved?

She gets several walks a day, time outside on the line, dog park sometimes, lots of attention. Wookie in my profile; there was a poodle inside.
posted by theora55 to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My friend with a corgi directed me to this toy company when I asked what the doggo would like for Hanukkah. Goughnuts seem to make some of the few toys that I’ve seen around their house more than once, so I suspect they really do have lasting power. The one that I think has survived the longest is a green ring, though apparently the company has this policy where you can mail in a chewed toy and get a new one, so maybe it’s been replaced a bunch? Useful either way.
posted by Mizu at 1:06 PM on April 23

This is an anti-recommendation for the Puppia soft harness. My dog has (accidentally?) escaped from it multiple times while we’re outdoor dining, only to be found under the table were sitting at. If my almost-toothless dog with no desire to get away manages to escape it, I’m sure yours would be out in under a minute.

Ymmv, but my dog’s favorite treats are goldfish crackers, tortilla chips, and toast, which happen to be cheap, easily procured, and something you might be able to stick in a dog toy.
posted by A Blue Moon at 1:22 PM on April 23

You are likely going to have at least another year of this behavior.
I inherited a dog with serious separation anxiety. I had a nice thick nylon (I think) leash. Hooked him up outside a shop when I went in to get coffee. In about a minute, he was inside with me after chewing through the pretty new leash. I couldn't believe it. You could try a leather leash, but I'm not sure that will work either. Once they learn what they are capable of they will continue.
My dog liked tree limbs to chew on. He was crazy, but great!
Exercise and more exercise and more exercise as needed would be my recommendation. Got to tire her out.
posted by Grok Lobster at 1:28 PM on April 23

You can get dog bones made of wood. I don’t know a brand name, though. My friend’s mouthy dog likes his.
posted by Comet Bug at 1:47 PM on April 23

Clipping a collar to a harness may at least slow her down. You can find straps designed for this purpose on Etsy.
posted by praemunire at 4:52 PM on April 23

my dog is a weird-shaped little escape artist. my favorite harnesses have been her Howling Dog Alaska Front Range harness (easy to search for, i’m on mobile, sorry!), it’s meant for sled dogs so it’s super tough and $35 and doesn’t stretch out when pulled, and she only has backed out of it once when it wasn’t adjusted right. this harness gives her the best freedom of movement in her shoulders especially while never choking her.

and her ruffwear webmaster harness with TWO belly buckles. this one is more secure but if she pulls really hard she can hurt her neck because of her weird hound shape.

both have reflective spots and places to clip an additional light which we use sometimes.

i’d also look into boithane material for collars and leashes if you want something tough, waterproof, smell-proof (my pup doesn’t want to chew things that don’t smell interesting), and easy to clean.

lastly i’d look into some training for the separation anxiety. I could write a whole essay on what to look for in a trainer for an anxious dog. but i’ll say this: trust your gut and be your dog’s advocate.
good luck!
posted by one-half-ole at 5:26 PM on April 23

Crate training immediately will make both of your lives better. Our sweet poodle muppet is 5 and still has to be under direct supervision or in his crate. At all times. He loves antlers to chew on! He has escaped from and destroyed every harness we have tried. For walks we use a gentle leader, but it’s not something you could leave him out on a lead by himself with. Poodles are just insanely clever and flexible. He’s very happy as a crate trained pupper, and we are very happy that he’s no longer chewing and swallowing things that have to be surgically removed.
posted by Bottlecap at 12:10 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]

Seconding the ruffwear two buckle harness. It is the only harness my canine Houdini hasn’t escaped. But keep it out of reach at home to avoid chewing damage.

Kongs are pretty indestructible toys but my dog shows little interest in chewing on them even when loaded. We have had good luck with hyperpet durasqueaks which look really weird but have a little bounciness and a well enmeshed satisfying squeaker. Our dog has also enjoyed the jw pet company holee football for quite some time.

If you play intensely with your dog for 10 minutes more each day that won’t solve the chewing but should help a little. But puppy chewing needs are intense so you will still find your dog discovers chewing non dog toys is more satisfying than toys.
posted by donut_princess at 4:05 AM on April 24

Chewing (excessively) and escaping at this age are both more likely to be a boredom/boundaries thing than a puppy thing since they should have their adult teeth in by now.

I know she's already getting walks and lots of attention but poodles need a ton of mental stimulation so that might still be the issue. She might ignore puzzle toys but there are lots of other things you can do - feed her meals in a sniff mat or kongs, trick training with whatever she finds highly rewarding (may be playtime or toys rather than treats, but try different treats too), toss kibbles/treats on the floor so she can "hunt" them, or you could try beginner training for agility (no big jumps at this age) or scentwork.

For boundaries make sure she has no access to any unwanted chewing targets when you aren't able to closely supervise and immediately tell her to leave it and redirect to a better target. This is easiest with crate training or confinement to a puppyproof area. And of course lots of allowed chewing targets, especially ones with a "destruction" factor. For example my dog especially loves shredding paper and cardboard so we provide her (supervised) opportunities to do that, and then she doesn't shred other random papers we don't give her.

If the collar/harness-chewing is while unsupervised on the tieout I'd stop doing that completely and take her out with you on a long line instead. If it's while supervised, redirect, redirect, redirect immediately every time, and make sure the harness fits tight enough.
posted by randomnity at 7:59 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]

Our dog escaped from two different harnesses before we bought one from Rabbitgoo. She tried for a while and then gave up and accepted it. That was more than a year ago.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:05 PM on April 24

My superchewer likes her treat boxes from Bullymake. Everything (except the rope toys, which she unravels with great glee) are still in great shape.
posted by sarajane at 12:56 PM on April 25

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