Louie is a cute little 8 pound chi-terrier that I found for my parents when he was only 6 weeks old. My Dad had decided a small house dog might be just the thing for he and my mom. Mind you…both of them are 90 years old.
Before looking for a dog, we discussed the various small breeds trying to decide which might be best for them. It’s always so hard for me to decide on a particular type because I’m a lifelong dog lover and rarely ever meet one I don’t like. Nevertheless, I was trying help them so I wanted to be objective.
I knew that an older, housebroken and calmer dog would be best for them but we didn’t have any luck finding one that was small enough to be manageable so we began looking at puppies. There are so many to choose from…full blooded breeds, designers, mixed rescues and everything in between. My Dad felt a very small, short-haired dog would be best, so as to avoid a lot of grooming and other high maintenance needs.
After a bit of searching on-line, I found a short-haired little guy that seemed to be just the dog for my parents. I knew the puppy stage would be challenging for them with trying to housebreak and work through the chewing stage but decided it was worth a try. My Dad promptly named Louie and the name fits him well. Our aim was a small, short-haired low maintenance dog and from a grooming perspective, he is just that….a 5 minute bath, with no need for brushing and he’s good to go. Unfortunately, within a couple of weeks, we realized that the low maintenance stopped there. At 3 pounds, this cute little guy was a live wire, to say the least!
It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a small dog so I guess I had forgotten just what a handful they can be no matter how small they are…especially through the puppy stage. The energy level, speed and natural tendency to bite and chew everything, including people’s fingers and toes, with those razor sharp little teeth can wear the most active person down. Needless to say, my older parents trying to manage the little guy they had already come to love was taking a toll on them. Lesson learned…never underestimate the stamina required to manage a puppy.
After a couple months of doing the best they could, my Dad decided he just couldn’t keep up with Louie and all his energy. He wanted so badly to keep him but it was obvious the job of raising a puppy was taking a toll on him so we decided to bring Louie to our house until we could find a good family for him. Great solution, right? Well, not so much as I have quickly grown attached to this, now, little 5 month, 8 pound fireball and we actually seem to be making progress with a little obedience and bell training.
Before having food, water or treats, Louie has learned to sit and wait. When needing to go outside to potty, he knows to ring the bell hanging from the door and when the excessive biting or barking overtakes him, a little duckbill muzzle is just the thing to calm him down. Does he always do what he’s supposed to do and knows to do….no, but he’s getting there and I’m very proud of him.
As I deal with Louie and this puppy stage every day, I realize he’s very much like a human baby. With our children there was the diaper stage, teething stage and the excessive crying and ‘into everything’ stage. Luckily, the puppy stages passes much faster than the human baby stage so, who knows, Louie may end up being a great little pet for my parents after all….only time will tell. For now, I’m trying to be patient and consistent and guard my fingers and toes.