Beyond Basic Poodle Care
Here's what makes me and my poodle companion a unique pair.
A Dog Parent Again
I got "Candy", my miniature poodle, in 2007, as a gift from my mother-in-law who was breeding an all-poodle pack back then. She was two months old, only the length of a short brown envelope at that time, was fluffy and timid. My last pet experience was years ago, and I was clueless on how to go about having a new one.
I prepared the basics...her bed, chew bone, collar, leash, water and food bowls, and even my initial stock of dog food for puppies. From then on, I've been hooked with giving her the best care possible within my means.
Following Cesar's Advice
It's been 4 years since her arrival and I've had my share of a dog owner's joys and frustrations. My husband came across this wonderful tv show in National Geographic called, "Dog Whisperer" with Cesar Millan, a dog behavior specialist who rehabilitates dogs and train their owners on how to best handle them. We learned key principles that proved to be helpful in dealing with our own dog, starting with Exercise.
Candy is a relatively small poodle, just about 10 inches tall and around 20 inches long, but she is so full of energy. She has an attitude of a big guard dog, pacing back and forth the door when somebody passes by, or when she hears the door bell ring, matching with barking and whining.
I don't know where she gets her energy when she rarely does anything else and eats little once or twice in a day, but I've seen the difference of having her exercise over not having her do so. Her exercise would just simply be a run around the lot until she stops for water and sits, or walk 15 minutes on the treadmill. Yes, we tried even that to drain the fully loaded energy in our little dog!
Other than that, we've tried also just playing catch with her. She loves to jump to get things so we use a rubber toy and dangle it around until she grabs it.
Being able to do this allows Candy to moderate her energy and avoid common unwanted behaviors such as chewing on things around the house and being obsessed with chasing other animals or even people. Exercise improve alertness and overall mood of our dog, enhancing the quality of our interaction with her.
I've seen obese dogs who weigh more than they're supposed to be. You would feel sorry at the sight of them because aside from the fact that they don't want to do anything and just laze around, they have developed breathing problems making them snort and heave beyond the normal way. This may decrease the life expectancy of the dog so we dog owners should really pay attention to this particular concept and make sure our dog get the exercise they need.
Observing House Rules
Next on the training regimen is Discipline. There were two behaviors we worked on with her.
Since she thinks of herself as a big guard dog, her tendency is to be at the front door most of the time, and it bothers us to hear her bark and whine both at family members and strangers who pass by within the day.
What we had to do was to block her way when she is already moving towards the door to assert herself over passersby. In this way, she learns "No" by our actions, by not letting her complete the task that she intended to perform.
Eventually she learned this, and now she just looks over and assess whether she recognizes the scent or not of the person at the door, before she actually barks continuously to get your attention.
Another behavior we needed to correct was when she pees anywhere when she is hyperactive or when she gets confused.
We have trained her to relieve herself when there's a newspaper laid out on the designated "dog comfort room". So seeing her relieve herself elsewhere, anywhere, was troublesome for us, letting us know that a 'rule' has been broken.
We had to remind her that it is better to pee in the designated area rather than just anywhere in the house by redirecting her attention back to the newspaper. We would not remove the soaked sheets for a while until we see that she goes back to that area to relieve herself there.
This always worked, as she would go back to it and do her thing there before the end of the day. She just needed a little reminder and she would already practice it again for days after.
Setting your rules at home can develop a harmonious relationship between you and your dog. This allows you to live the life you want to live, and at the same time, provide a safe, happy home for your pet. Being observant of your pet's behaviors will help you customize the set of rules you would want to implement in your home, so that it will benefit both of you.
Show Some Love
When we forget to replace the soaked newspaper, Candy would always try to find a way to relieve herself. When we forget to block her at the door, she would go back to barking and whining until she is reminded that it is annoying and that she should not do that all the time.
Loving Candy is not expecting her to do these things perfectly everyday. It also means having someone who depends on us for a lot of things she cannot do on her own, and that we'd be willing to care for her despite these things.
My dog expresses herself to us too, in simple ways like when she stays by our side when we're resting at the end of the day, or accompanies us in our daily chores just by being there beside us. These are her silent yet loving ways of letting us know that she cares for us as well.
Having this mindset allows us to let dogs be dogs, but at the same time, give them an opportunity to be a part of a loving family, that could be beneficial for their survival.
I'm sure we all have our own unique pet story to share, and I hope mine will be able to make another dog owner love his or her dog even more.
Must Love Dogs by akeeris
Right Sign by digitalart