Dog’s Eye View: Life is good — update on Max |

Dog’s Eye View: Life is good — update on Max

Laura Tyler

One year ago today, Feb. 27, 2014, we adopted Max. He is a 3-year-old miniature pinscher. I wrote a series of articles about our budding relationship in the first few months that we had him. We have settled into life with Max, and it has been a lot of fun.

I’ve written other articles about adopting adult dogs and some of the challenges we face during that transition. Max’s introduction into our home needed careful consideration and planning as well since he was labeled impossible to potty train.

We love this little guy. He is a permanent part of our lives, and we are cruising along with minimal difficulties. I’ll share what I mean by minimal.

I wouldn’t want you to think that just because I’m a dog trainer that life is perfect. Max and my little buddy Skippy get along really well. We still supervise meal time because Max will invade Skippy’s dinner dish and help himself. Skippy just backs up and says “have at it.”

In order to help Max maintain his handsome 8-pound self, we still need to manage meal times. We have created meal time training so that Max gets part of his meal for practicing his “sits” and “downs” while Skippy has time to eat in peace. It does require that we keep up the focus or Max will take advantage of any lapse of attention.

Our other challenge is two small dogs living on a hill feeling the need to let the neighborhood know that they are out in the yard. Each dog going out alone is fine. No more than a woof or two to signal the neighborhood.

The two dogs together can compete for who gets to run the fence first or check for squirrels. We have created a smaller, gated area just off our deck, and that area has limited visual access to the neighborhood. We confine them there when needed.

Max is a wonderful fit for our household. He’s got a huge personality and keeps us smiling. He has adopted my husband as his choice companion and follows him wherever he is throughout the day.

We’ve come up with a couple of extra “pet names” for Max too. When he decides to bark at a larger dog we call him “happy meal.”

I still don’t always understand why little dogs will challenge a much larger dog. I don’t think he thinks he’s little. But, we still protect him by keeping him on leash when walking. I’m not convinced he would leave a fresh mouse hole or give up a chase if we let him off leash.

I often pretend that he’s got cooties and call him “stink bug.” Max has a short body and long legs, and sometimes when he lifts that hind leg to do his business, the front leg gets in the way. So the pet wipes come out, and we’re off again. He can also scratch up a good size pile of dirt to tell the other dogs in the area that he is a big dog.

Have we changed our lifestyle to accommodate this little guy? You bet.

We’ve modified our schedule so that he’s always with one of us or Skippy stays home to keep him company for short errands. It works out very well. Skippy doesn’t mind if he climbs in her bed and snuggles with her for naps. She’s excited each morning when it’s time to let Max out of his little “man cave” kennel crate. Yes, we still crate him at night. He takes his day time naps where he chooses.

We love this little guy and hope to have him in our lives for many more years.

Happy first anniversary Max!

Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with 25-plus years of experience and has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She owns Total Teamwork Training LLC here in Northwest Colorado.

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