Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gel pen disaster

Sensi was a little more than a year old and for the first time in his life, he was alone during the day.
Brent was living in Rochester Hills, sharing a house with a friend. The house was old and the two guys set about making some upgrades.
One of the first things they did was to get new carpet. A light beige color went in the living room, dining room, den, stairs and hallway. A bluish-gray Berber went in their bedrooms.
About two weeks after the carpet was in, I got a phone call.
“My roommate called, he stopped by the house and there’s a problem,” Brent told me. “Sensi apparently chewed a gel pen and got ink all over the place.”
Brent, who was at work, begged me to pick up some supplies and clean the carpet. His roommate was livid about the new carpet.
I spent $30 on bottles of carpet cleaning solution and headed to their house. What I found I will never forget.
That darn dog chewed the pen in the living room, right near the entry. There was a pool of black liquid about the width of a soccer ball.
But it didn’t stop there. The ink had gotten all over his paws, and those paws walked over every inch of the house.
There were circles in the living room, paw prints randomly spattered across the dining room, in paths through the den. I followed them up the stairway, into both bedrooms and onto to Brent’s bed.
The paw prints were in every place the new carpet was.
I learned a few things from this experience.
One, gel pens make a much larger mess than regular pens do.
Two, no cleaning solution — not even a steam cleaner — can clean a mess of that magnitude.
Three, don’t leave pens on coffee tables.
Four, don’t buy new carpet with a young dog.
And five, Meijer’s has a decent selection of cheaply priced rugs.


  1. I had a similar experience with my boxer when he was younger. I came home to let him out on my lunch hour only to find that he got into our home office and found a pen for a chew toy! Blue ink and light beige carpet - not good! A desperate attempt at ink-stain removal involved hair spray and rubbing alcohol. It worked, but would not recommend it . . our carpet was about 20 years old, so we weren't too concerned about post-stain damage.

  2. What a mess!
    My Schnoodle is six and still gets into things he's not supposed to. He'll pick up pencils, cardboard toilet paper rolls and other small items and walk around the house with a mischievous look on his face. It happens when he wants attention, or a bone. Whenever he chewed on something bad as a puppy, we always took that item away and replaced it with a bone or a toy, something we learned to do in obedience class. The problem is my dog now purposefully picks up things he knows he shouldn't have to just get a bone or a treat. After he's gotten our attention, he'll walk over to where we keep the bones and will refuse to spit out the bad item until we offer him what he wants. Without the bone, his jaws stay locked. I worry that we have been inadvertently rewarding (and reinforcing) bad behavior. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  3. I would pry his mouth open and physically remove the 'bad' items. A handy note, if you stick a finger far back where the top and lower jaw meets, it prompts the dog to open his mouth. I would sternly tell him, "bad," Also, I wouldn't reward this behavior with treats anymore. Try using toys only, and use toys that are always accessible to him. If they are new or novel to him, it is a reward. The combination of removing the item, punishing him, and giving him only acceptable toys drives home the idea that picking up bad things is no longer rewarded and is actually a punishable offense, and it lets him know the only acceptable things he can mouth are the toys that are always accessible to him.