Teaching The New Dog An Old Dogs Tricks

Such it is with puppies, they come in and nuzzle your world with their puppy dog eyes and unconditional joy. Watching her adoringly shadow the ol’Golden One, eating with the big dog, watching in awe as these two find their way, one at the beginning, and one at the end.

Irish’s now cloudy old eyes look happier than they have in months, and her patience astounds me, as the dark mocha ninja weasel romps and rolls, jumps and pounces, and I watch her wee little legs trot along wherever the golden one may go. Well, ‘cept outside, as the temperature dips to minus digits, her wee paws not incline to follow her out into that frozen hostile wasteland out the door.

Yeah, so, I have accepted my fate, that I live in urine-ville, as every morn (almost every) I wake up to a pool of it in the kitchen. We adjust to life’s little realities, but thankfully it is in the kitchen on the linoleum floor. So every morn I wash the floor. As you can imagine, it has been a challenge convincing this petite beastie that peeing on the floor is bad when the giant golden one pees on the floor.

I wake when I can thru the night, but I’m not always in sync with Irishs aged bladder.

So, wins for me in this arena are that Pika doesn’t pee on furniture, or pillows or anything but in areas I can quite easily cleanup. Not to mention that her pee is a tiny puddle in comparison to Irish’s Lake Superior. The poos, well, I do the occasional little brown log patrol, this one under the bike, this one under the dresser, that one under the chair, and so forth. I’m learning her habits, baby steps, as paper training is not going well.

To be completely honest, right now I have no idea how I’m going to convince Pika that she should at the very least pee on a paper, but little steps, little steps.

Now, all that aside, she has a stubborn and vicious streak that became rather, ahem, apparent. She gets her mind set, for instance when she discovered the ties on my sweatpants, and we had a right ol’battle when decided she ain’t letting go, and growling at me when I tried to wrestle the tie out of her snarly little puppy death grip! I tricked her out of her prey by pretending to give her a treat by picking up the bag I’d left beside me, and swindled it out of her grasp by subterfuge, wee morsel thinks she can outwit me?

Tis not my first rodeo.

To be honest, I’ve never had a small dog, nor ever thought I’d want one, to be honest. I mean, all my poochies of the past were large breeds, Dobermans as a kid, and mixed German shephard/Rottweiller when I was married, and this golden lass Irish who is of mixed heritage, so a Chihuahua is a sort I had never thought to have, yet here she is snuggled up beside me.

What convinced me was I met her parents, and particularly her mom, Tinker. When I’d visit my friend who owns them, it would be Tink who’d insist on being on my lap, and her and I have this kind of thang, so having one of her pups really appealed to me.

Pika’s Mom & Dad – Tinker behind & Dodger lying down.

So the house breaking is not yet in the success column, however, crate training is.

By Sunday night, 3 nights in, she had adapted to her crate and no longer whined and crying when I put her in. Now she may let out a little peep, but she is not scared when I leave for work, I now come back afterwards to find Irish there lying in front, giving her some company while I’m gone.

Crate training is something I have always believed is good for dogs, because the crate in time becomes a space all their own, a little cave, and in time I know she will see it that way too. It takes time though, and key is to not put her in as punishment, but rather only when I have to go out for a while, go to work, or in the evening when its time for us all to go to bed.

Now, everywhere I go, there she is, underfoot, from the kitchen, to the bedroom, into the bathroom, and out again, back to my sitting nook, her little dark mocha bow-legs with her curly-cue tail wagging in glee.

Like having kids, its when it goes quiet I worry, and so I go pop my head into the other room to check, and find them there on Irish’s blankie playing quietly together – these two starkly different dogs stare back at me… ‘what’ their eyes say back?

I see Irish’s coat changing, the luster is coming back, and her eyes dance with joy, even though her unsteady gait betrays her, still I’m seeing her mood improve, day by day. To what end? I know not, I do not, I really just take it day by day, but I know she is not nearly ready yet to call it a quits, as her smiling eyes say back to me.

As the wee mite has but two speeds, full out or curled in a ball by my side, after a bit her vivacious dancing ninja moves wears rather thin with the old dog, and so Pika has learned that the giant Golden One has limits, and she is learning to respect them.

She is beginning to learn to look out for Irish’s tolerance for fending off her Kung Fu attacks, generally seconds before Irish growls, and her tail stops wagging, so Pika backs off.

So, with that admiration, adoration, that Pika has towards Irish, I was thinking that one way to teach her about going pee outside, is to take her outside when Irish goes. Now, for strategic reasons I haven’t done this yet as I live beside a very busy parking lot and as such Irish goes out on a lead into my tiny postage stamp garden. And, by that same strategy I may put paper down where Irish goes, so Pika can put two and two together herself and maybe I can actually get the old dog to teach the new dog a trick, eh?

Such is the exciting life in urine-ville, with me riding this new learning curve as much as Pika. Kinda just going with the flow, and I guess in theory taking advantage of my experience with bridging the communication from doggie to human, each of us learning something, day by day.

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