My Smart Puppy

with Dog Expert, Sarah Wilson

Understanding Your Toy Dog

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When society developed enough to have an upper class, they had developed enough to give some lucky folks free time. They wanted companions; not rough-and tumble-companions, but sweet, adorable, charming companions. That is how many toys came into being, as entertainment for royalty. Other toys are scaled down versions of larger breeds. They all have one thing in common; they were created for companionship. Small they are, playthings they are not. These are some of the most intelligent, strong-minded and creative dogs around. Never underestimate them.

Easily Spoiled
Because of their size and their purpose (amusing us) they lend themselves to fabulous amounts of spoiling. They are often doted on, allowed to run wild, and permitted to do pretty much as they please. This indulgence can lead to aggression, leg lifting, fearfulness, shyness and general neurosis. Do your toy a favor and treat him like a dog.

Housebreaking Challenges
A dog likes to keep his “home” area clean. The problem for toys is that your kitchen feels more like a football stadium than a cozy den (as it might for a larger dog). That proportional largeness makes it easy for them to think that one area is OK to use as a toilet because there is still plenty of room left to live in.

This proportional perspective applies to us but in different ways. While it is immediately clear that a Saint Bernard pile in the house is a problem, a tiny little Maltese dropping may not seem like much of a bother. Housebreaking is not difficult to achieve. All you need for success is information and commitment.

Smart
There is no stupid toy. Interactive, demanding, endearing, infuriating, these dogs are never boring. If you are not ready for a dog to become an integral part of your life, do not get a toy. They will settle for nothing less than being your best friend, most trusted confidant, fearless protector, favorite lap warmer and, oh yes, bathroom pal too, because youĂ­re never going there alone again.

Bad Attitude
This comes from the spoiling, not from the dog. But endless cooing, stroking and babying would bring out the worst in any of us. If you want to avoid aggression, leg lifting and general brattiness, hold your bright little toy to a high standard of behavior, not to your breast.

Common Problems: housebreaking, aggression, leg lifting, barking, hyperactivity, finicky eating, shyness and other owner supported problems

Good Home: Adults and older, careful children with time for daily play, training and grooming. Homebodies are fine. If you stick the pup in your shoulder bag when you do errands he’ll get socialized in no time. Owner must be firm and consistent in the face of extreme cuteness. No babying allowed!

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