What kind of dog do you want to own? Would you like a dog that walks quietly on leash, politely greets guests, and only jumps on furniture when invited? Or do you prefer the dog that thinks “walkies” mean “Iditarod”, guests must be greeted with flying leaps to the face, and furniture is merely an obstacle course destined for conquering? I think the answer is “duh, I want the first dog!”
My goal with Wally is to create a truly wonderful companion who can travel anywhere with me and be welcome. I want him to be the kind of dog that people are impressed by, not just a cute dog that people mutter about once they’re out of earshot. Small dogs especially get the short end of the training stick because of their size, but not Wally!
There are some very basic behaviors that Wally must learn in order to be a good companion. First, he’s not allowed to bark or whine unnecessarily so as not to be obnoxious to us or neighbors. This means we don’t let him out of the bathroom (his daytime hangout), x-pen, or crate until he’s quiet and has four-on-the-floor. Initially it felt like ages before he did this right, but over the week we’ve had him he’s now sitting quietly within a minute or two. This has been easy to train, yay! Unfortunately when coming home early one day I heard him barking just for the hell of it. Ruh roh.
Second, he’s definitely not allowed to put teeth on people. As far as he’s concerned humans are insanely fragile and delicate beings. This has been far more of a challenge, especially when he gets riled up during play or zoomies. The normal advice is to yip like a hurt puppy, turn away from him, leave the room, or scruff him by the neck. None of these have worked well for Wally, so now we’re just making a concerted effort to prevent him from getting too worked up (and thus more nippy). If he does get out of hand he goes into time out.
Something we haven’t been working on but should be is jumping up. It’s just so damn cute when he bounces around like Tigger! If he were going to be a bigger dog this would be an absolute no-no, but since he’s small we’ve been lazy. I think the key here will be teaching him to jump on cue, which we haven’t started yet. Even I don’t like dogs who jump up, so what kind of hypocrite would I be if Wally was a jumper?
- The terrible twos (as in months, not years) (littlebrowndogblog.wordpress.com)