Lessons from Winston: Chewing

Winston was a rescue bullmastiff mix from the Animal Welfare League Hawkesbury Valley Branch. My inspiration to learn how to train dogs, the reason we moved to this property, my teacher, my partner and my bubba-boy. Handsome until the very end. . Our lives revolved around him for 13 years. He passed peacefully at home on Saturday 17th April 2021 at approximately midday.


wishes Winston would chew the toys we spent all that money on, not the various house fixtures…

Another Facebook memory, another lesson from Winston.

As well as pulling clothes off the line, he chewed the plastic handle on the line’s winder thing. And all the cushions and straps on the outdoor furniture. And the BBQ knobs, doors, tools, paraphernalia. And a roll of paper towel. And his blanket (which he tore into 10cm squares to sit on). And the knots out of the fence palings.

We went through some stuff and jeopardised our rental bond!

Similar to how we worked on pulling clothes off the line, we used a combination of management & training. Management prevents access, stops rehearsing the bad behaviours, and provides access to appropriate chew toys. Training teaches alternate, incompatible & intervening behaviours like “leave it”. Then we build more trust and gradually relax the management protocols.

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