The pint size puppa-roonie and I are settling in, getting used to that empty space in our lives, with Irish gone. Though, bits and pieces of her wuft out from under dressers, and so she is still ever present. Now Pika, I don’t know what she feels, but I will say that when the mobile vet arrived at the door, it was her wee feet that ran to the door barking, and that was new, with Irish lying unable to rise, she did her duty.
I realized that afterwards, it touched me, like a passing of the old guard between her and Irish had been set, and that is what I had hoped for.
What I do notice is that with Irish gone I now bear the brunt of her puppy energy. I had not been altogether aware of how much my beautiful Irish had babysat the new pup, and we miss her quiet and gentle touch, her patience is a lesson for me.
See, Pika was an only child, her 2 siblings died in the womb, and so she never really had that important interaction, those lessons of how much to bite, when, why, she didn’t get that kind experience of good play, bad play from her peer group.
So, I’m continuing with where Irish and her parents lessons left off, to not bite, well, er, not bite ME. So I watched this vid on YouTube, this Simpawtico, and his advice was to make sure you say OUCH, or maybe NO, and not take your hand, foot, away. Well, try not to, where and or when possible, unless the wee daemon draws blood, which she has. But, he said that it is better to teach them about their bite strength, and that we humans don’t care for that sort of rough play, and to let them correct themselves. And you know, it is working, she’s getting the drift that I don’t like to be ripped and shredded to mincemeat. Winning!
So, we are now working through other, ahem, behaviour modifications, such as not snarling and holding fast with your little puppy snarly nose rolled up in defiance of detaching your wee little jaws from whatever she’s deemed fair game. When she refuses to listen I take her wee dark chocolate brown daemon ninja weasel body in both hands and look her in the eye, say NO, and down we go to the ground; I do not snuggle with snarly beasties.
Therefore, lets say Stink, one of Irish’s old squeaky toys, has come in rather handy for lots of fun racing across the kitchen floor games to re-direct that wild puppy energy. Ugh.
Stink also provides me that opportunity to teach her new words, like SIT, DROP, and, of course, the most important word NO, with a frequent OooooowW. Stink being the reward of these little play sessions, and it is a work in progress. SIT, well that is a bit off on the horizon, but we’ve made a good start on NO and OW.
Throwing Stink if she doesn’t latch on to my pant leg and shake her wee cute head when she wants me to throw Stink, another work in progress, but she’s learning.
Yes, she llluuVVvves Stink, her little tail goes wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
We are both learning. I’m learning how best to communicate with her, how to teach her. Specifically I’m trying to teach her how to NOT to be one of those snarly little snarky nasty Chihuahua’s.
I’m like, girlfriend, pulease.
So, I can say she is getting the idea. She does seem to understand NO, though not absolutely 100%. She gets the concept behind OW, and she is modifying her bites, just like the guy in the video said, which is a win. Though still my arms look like I have some kind of rash that’s healing, still, a win.
The big win really is that she pretty much from day one understood when I say PIKA I mean her, and she 100% comes when I say her name.
Now, something I learned from that YouTube channel, Simpawtico, was that I should never use her name when I am correcting her. You know? Like PIKA NO! I should just only say NO. Associating her name with corrections is negative reinforcement and that overtime she will choose to not listen, or selective listen, which makes a lot of sense.
Other wins have been crate training, as she rarely whines now when I put her in. I use her little Kong, put treats in the centre part and stick a few into the ridges, and that keeps her busy. The guy in the vid said to make a big deal of putting her in, with praise and the Kong, but to not make a big deal when I let her out of the crate. This should reinforce a positive response to going in the crate. Also, never to use the crate as punishment, again as that will teach her the crate is a bad place, which of course I do not want her to think. I want her crate to be her bed, her little space, her little cave.
So, we are learning, both of us. She can never fill the space that Irish leaves, but she helps to heal the loss, the new memories I make with her, new lessons I learn with her, she is a wonderful little companion, and I am so thankful for her.