The adventures of a veterinarian with lots of practical advice but no practical experience on raising a puppy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shoe Fetish

As I write this Darcy is curled up on my lap, sleeping soundly. I've definitely noticed that as she is getting older she has more energy and is playing more. This morning she spend quite a bit of time really running around and playing with her toys. She IS getting away with something that is considered a no-no though - chewing on shoes. She is able to stick her entire head into Owen's sketchers and can drag one of Harper's Ugg boots all around the house. I'm not sure what the attraction is but can remember over the years that many of my clients seem to have experienced the same thing with their puppies. I've also validated another truth - small dogs just get away with things that larger puppies get in trouble for. A tiny little poo-poo on the floor seems a little bit more tolerable than a large pile. One Kleenex vs. multiple paper towels. No clean up required vs. get out the steam cleaner. The holes in the shoes are barely visible when those tiny teeth are chewing! I've heard of this phenomenon day after day. I've marveled at how people tolerate tiny pets being 80% housebroken as the finished product and let them get away with downright obnoxious behavior. Now I'll admit, some of the most popular breeds that I see every day are almost impossible to housebreak and train. Yorkies, pomeranians, Min Pins and other itty-bitty dogs are often missing the "teach me" gene. The trainability of poodles played significantly into my decision to get Darcy. A Yorkie in my hands would be a recipe for disaster. Even though I know all this, I don't seem to freak out when I see her dragging around expensive boots. I've actually chuckled and congratulated her on being such a determined little puppy.

Now, I know this can't keep up. I'm slowly forcing myself to admit that she isn't just going to know how to sit, come, stay, etc automatically. Oddly enough when I envision Darcy as an adult she already knows how to do those things - the training part between now and then is a little fuzzy. I've taken several larger dogs to obedience class but can't see myself (6'0" tall) parading around in a circle with a 3# dog on a leash. However, in the words of the Dog Whisperer, I AM the pack leader. I know Darcy will love learning and be happier as a well-balanced pup. I also know that it may be a different story if she starts dragging around MY shoes! I think I'll sign up for a program on the Dog Whisperer's website - become the pack leader in 1 year with a weekly activity. This week - find an indoor exercise activity - we have that figured out - tug of war with a slipper!

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