Thank Goodness Chihuahua Twinkle Isn’t a Great Dane!
They are expecting a baby in six weeks’ time, and have left it a little late to do something about little 8-month-old Chihuahua Twinkle. He flies all over the place and it is impossible to check him. He may grab hair and nip. They see him as exuberant and happy; I saw him as highly stressed and anxious, with too much stimulation of the wrong sort – exciting him and winding him up – and not enough constructive stimulation and doggy stuff. He has quickly learned to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ for the lady. He is a clever little dog and she will enjoy teaching him new things – the right way.
Twinkle never goes for a walk. He is carried everywhere, so no doggy sniffs and no socialising of any sort. He is house trained in a way, but to do all his toileting indoors on newspaper (not something that would be happening if her were a Great Dane I’m sure) and this won’t be good when Baby is crawling about. When he is taken out, it’s in a carry bag.
I noticed how he merely tolerated being cuddled. The lady says he’s ‘had to learn to let me love him’. She felt it was important to make him accept it even though he doesn’t like it (which I’m not sure is my definition on love). As she held him up like a baby under his arms to kiss him, his little head was turning away from side to side and he was licking his lips – both strong signals that he was not happy with it.
Recently he nipped a child which isn’t a good omen. Unfortunately he was smacked – a very common human response when people don’t know what they should do and guaranteed to make things worse. It is very clear that he barked and warned them ‘I’m scared, I’m scared’ and he was ignored. The child approached him with a treat and he nipped.
So, my ‘preparation for baby’ plan is first for Twinkle to be treated a bit more like a dog and not only given a few rules and less over-exciting play from the man, but also for his dog-language signals to be respected. Secondly, his world needs slowly opening up a bit. I suggested starting by standing in the garden for five minutes with him on lead to let him get used to it, and gradually increase the size of his world as he relaxes. Thirdly, Twinkle needs to get accustomed to the lady cuddling a baby and talking baby talk to it, so amongst other things I suggest a doll and screaming babies on YouTube! Finally, When Baby does come home Twinkle needs some sort of restraining and I feel a puppy pen would work best. There is no way realistically they will ever be able to teach him to stay on the floor and nor would they want to. Baby could even sometimes go in the pen instead! Twinkle needs to get used to being in it well in advance so it becomes his ‘safe den’.
All in all they have some hard work to do and it’s fortunate the lady is on maternity leave. As soon as Baby arrives I shall call again, because we can only guess at how Twinkle will actually react when it happens.