Little dog tales (part 3).
It has been three weeks since Peggy moved in and we now have the official ok from the landlord that she will be allowed to stay if we wish. She is mostly a delight to have around but, like all young puppies, she can be into everything! For such a small dog she has a lot of energy which does not match the levels of a chilled out ten year old collie!
The evening is one of her favorite times to have a mad half hour here or there; she will ‘rag up’ her toys like a little lioness and scoot around the living room, tail tucked up running hell for leather underneath the settee and chairs. During these times she can be typically ‘bitey’ but to discourage this behaviour, we fold hands and arms out of the way and ignore her; then when she is calm, offer her one of her toys. She has improved somewhat with this and visitors have noticed she is less inclined to mouth hands.
She has continued to progress with going out and about but I fear she will never enjoy the great outdoors like my Labradors and collies do and it is still a bit of a challenge walking both dogs together because of her small size and potential to get stepped on. I have even contemplated getting a back-pack to put her in!
You can read our other Holidays4Dogs article on the subject of back-packs for dogs and while I was dubious at the time, I can now see how it might be useful for a very tiny dog that is open to being injured by bigger dogs, or who simply can’t do long distances while out walking.
She has been to relatives houses and much prefers this sort of ‘going out’ to walking outside! She always makes herself at home and enjoys exploring the homes of other people.
Leaving her in is another matter. I had left her in on her own a couple of times in her first week and she had seemed fine with this arrangement if she was given something to do (chews and toys). However, this week, I left her in for a hour while I took Floss on a longer walk with Buster the Springer. This was not to her satisfaction and on watching the video back it was apparent that she whined almost all of the time, interspersed with head back, full on howling like a little wolf cub! This wasn’t good and is something that must be addressed to avoid any neighbour complaints in the future.
Most days I make sure both dogs are shut away from me for periods of up to an hour – usually using my trusty piece of trellis and this is to ensure that they accept they cannot be under my feet 24/7. If a dog is unhappy being separated from you while you are still in the house, it is much more difficult to get them to accept being left alone entirely when you go out.
This afternoon, I am going to leave Peggy in by herself while I sit in the garden with Floss for 10 minutes or so – this is how I started and due to the howling, we need to go back a few paces and shorten the time she is on her own. Later on, they will be left together for half an hour while I go shopping.
Puppies are very time consuming, because this sort of training takes a lot of time and patience. Even I had forgotten just how much forethought and time is involved in caring, training and managing a small puppy! It is almost a full time job in itself and I am lucky that I am able to work from home!
Peggy has stolen all our hearts, but a decision has still not been fully made as to whether she is best suited to our particular home. She does crave and actually need more consideration than a larger dog in many ways. She adores human company as that is what she was bred for; at certain times in history Chihuahuas were utilized as living hot water bottles!
It has certainly been a learning curve for me taking on the smallest breed in the world and I would definitely encourage anyone thinking about taking on a tiny dog for the first time, to do your homework. They are most definitely not hand-bag dogs; but that said, they do need a lot of supervision and there will be times when you need to ensure that they are physically kept out of harms way, while at the same time, instilling rules and boundaries. Keep a look out for future Holidays4Dogs installments of Peggy’s progress.