Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Training

My Chihuahua- MinPin mix is in training. Or I am, I'm not sure which.

Mitzi is about a year old now. She's nine or ten pounds, tan, kind of pretty actually. When we got her from the rescue society they informed us she was seriously traumatized. Someone found her cowering under a truck in a Home Depot parking lot one night, at barely eight weeks old.

For the first two weeks we had her we rarely saw her. She was always hiding someplace, usually under a bed. Did you ever try finding a small, remarkably fast dog who thinks you're out to get her? Really. Try it some time.

We couldn't even coax her out with food. She was the least food-oriented dog I'd ever seen. true, I'm comparing her with Labradors, but still. Even after she'd been with us a while and was willing to emerge from the bedroom she would only eat her supper if we all pretended we weren't looking. I think she thought she had to steal it then run for her life.

Well. It's been a while, and Mitzi has relaxed a little. Which is to say, her paranoia has developed into hostility. So far she has snapped at three people and bitten at least one-- that one being my husband. (Mitzi, wise up: who do you think pays for the dog food?)

After she lunged at a jogger last week-- who was pretty ticked off, let me tell you-- I called the rescue society and told them Mitzi/Minx was on the verge of becoming a liability.

A few days later I got a call from their resident expert in miniature pinschers.

"It's the breed," she said. "You think you're seeing fear, but you're not: Mitzi is displaying dominance behavior. Does she jump up on your lap uninvited? Demand to be petted? Run up the stairs before you? All dominance. You've got to show her you're the boss. Put her on a leash 24/7 and call me in a week."

Well, Mitzi has lived with a leash attached to her collar for nearly a week. She no longer tears up the stairs ahead of me but keeps pace with me. She's starting to get the gist of "down." A few days ago I took her out walking with another dog owner and she didn't try t attack the other dogs. Progress, right?

But here's the thing: Mitzi, I realize now, is one smart dog. So I have this suspicion she's trying to lull me into a false sense of security. I think she's just waiting for the right opportunity to rip the leash out of my hands and go on a rampage.

I'll know more when I talk to the trainer again. In the meantime, a public service announcement: Beware minpins. They're adorable, but they are not for the faint of heart.

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