I have just finished reading some answers to a question about a dog behaviour problem, on a certain forum that had best remain nameless.
The question concerned a nine year old Pit Bull Terrier who slept on the owner’s couch, and had taken to holding a cushion from the couch in his mouth. He didn’t chew it, just held it is his mouth and went to sleep. the owner appealed for ideas. Of course one “wag” wrote in to say that it would be his neck next.
Someone else said “your dog’s nine years old, and you’re just asking for advice now?” But no, it seems the behaviour has only started recently. That puzzled me. Usually dogs that comfort themselves by sucking a blanket or cushion have been doing it since they were puppies, and were taken away from their mother very early.
Another poster, who must’ve had a degree in behavioural science, suggested taking the cushion out of his mouth and whacking him over the nose with a newspaper. In that order, presumably.
The next correspondent was truly inspired. He suggested getting a bull’s penis and putting it the dog’s mouth. “First you get your bull”, I think I remember a recipe book saying. Apparently, such a thing is available from his daycare centre. Doggy daycare, that is. This is a technique known as “re-directing”.
“Lord, give me strength!” I can almost hear the dog saying. Given a choice between being whacked over the nose with a rolled up newspaper or having a bull’s penis stuck in his mouth, I’m not surprised the dog wants to put a cushion in his mouth and go to sleep.