Dog’s Eye View: A “live” stuffed dog toy
Steamboat Pilot & Today
I was talking to a wonderful lady in our Head Start Puppy Training class. She adopted a very sweet, middle-aged, small dog and wanted to teach her some basic skills. Something about the story and her little dog struck a chord with me concerning my dog Lawrence. I’ll write about that in a future article.
We have several very small dogs in this class, and one common denominator is that they are the kind of dog you want to have sitting in your lap. You want to snuggle with them and basically just hold them. One person said that’s her goal. I can respect this feeling. How often do we just need to feel the warmth and heart beat of another living thing? We don’t want advice or human conversation. We just want to be loved and needed.
The interesting thing about these dog owners is, that in the middle of each very honest goal, is the realization they also need to have their pet house trained and have a line of communication. Hence, they wisely sought some help.
Many toy breeds of dogs can become fearful of new situations and of strangers. They are often not allowed to experience a normal dog life. They can be sheltered from dog/dog and dog/human interactions and, sometimes, are not even allowed to walk on leash or on the ground except to briefly go potty.
Some toy breed dogs can live a boring life. They are not mentally stimulated or ever challenged to learn new skills. This can lead to a barren social life and interfere with the fun of solving puzzles or express their very normal canine instincts.
The lady with the older adopted dog commented that her little dog was afraid to approach her and seemed fearful of many things. The only place she seemed to feel safe was in her lap. I observed that, having been in two puppy classes, the dog was more brave about being on the floor and was actually interacting more confidently with her owner. It appeared to me that she was experiencing a remedial socialization moment. She actually seemed a bit excited about this new phase of her life.
Her owner said to me that, up until now, her sweet little dog was more like a stuffed dog toy to be held and cuddled; only she is alive. This was a perfect description to me. Pretty wise dog owner if you ask me.
Even the most cuddle worthy dog needs an enriched life and an ongoing education.
Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training, LLC with over 30 years of experience.
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