Pepper is very small example of the breed and one year old. She is worshipped by a mainly female household. She is carried about, picked up, cuddled, kissed, greeted with high voiced excitement and obeyed. They all dote on her. Considering all this, Pepper is surprisingly well-adjusted! She must basically have an easy going by nature, given the chance.
Her main problem is excessive barking at people walking past, and at people coming to her house. Protecting the family group should be the job of the head of the family – or the leader. By being constantly ‘told’ that she is the most important member, this protection role falls upon Pepper. A dog already aroused with excited squeeky greetings and so on, will be much more ready to go into a frenzy of barking on hearing a noise outside.
Calm needs to be encouraged. The family needs to show Pepper that they are there to look after her – not the other way around. Leaving her to ‘get on with it’ when she barks as they often do simply isn’t leadership – neither is scolding her.
Pepper ‘belongs’ to the eight year old daughter (though she won’t know this!) and the child has quietly and calmly taught her a very neat routine of actions. It was wonderful to see Pepper wait one end of the large garden while the little girl walked away, and then run joyfully to her when she was called. It was a perfect example or how good a relationship between a child and a dog can be. Pepper is getting the best leadership from an eight year old! The rest of the family need to tone down the homage and put a few boundaries in place. Pepper has legs! Pepper can then learn to trust them to take on protection duty.