Two lovely-natured and much-loved little Wire haired Daschunds (doesn’t the picture on the left tell a story!). Both are eighteen months of age but not brothers. They are competitive teenagers.
Schnitzel is a confident little dog – not needy at all. He loves a cuddle but is also happy to be alone. He is very happy with the very busy family life, all the friends and children who are in and out of the house. When he’s had enough he simply takes himself off. His way of showing attitude is by marking in the dogs’ beds and crate, sometimes staring his owners in the face as he does so! This is MY space! There is competition between the dogs as to which is the greatest.
Little Noodle is a more highly strung. Things sometimes get a bit too much for him and the stress may build up until he’s had enough – enough of excitement, children and being pulled around. He has tried warning with gently growling but has been either scolded or ignored and he has now gone on to snapping the air and found this did the trick – the child quickly left him alone so he no doubt will do this again. He did, once, snap at their four-year-old’s face, marking it. It can be hard teaching a child that grabbing or hugging dogs, or putting their face right into the dog’s, is something most dogs would not enjoy. The nearest a dog would know of a hug would be humping, and that could be an unwelcome and dominant action by the humper.
Just because the dogs are small and seriously cute, they are still dogs. Whilst they may love fuss, they can have a lot to put up with. A child might pick one up – because she can. Then the child may well be given a warning growl and if the growl is ignored – an air snap. Dogs can’t talk. It’s perfectly reasonable. If these little dogs had been born German Shepherds or Labradors they would have been treated very differently from the start.
What is now needed is a little understanding of Noodle’s personality and that sometimes he has simply ‘had enough’. He also can be defiant – he is a teenager after all. People need to watch for the signs and give him space. If confrontation is avoided he will learn to willingly cooperate if rewards are used. A reward is only like saying ‘Thank You’ after all. Both dogs need a safe haven away from young children when things get a bit too noisy.
The rule must be, for children in particular, ‘don’t pick the dogs up’! They are wonderful friendly little dogs, good with all people and other dogs. Absolute treasures in fact. It is important that children are not allowed to take advantage of their good nature.