Troubles with Tootsie

No doubt, many of you saw it coming. My 10-month-old, eleven pound chi-weenie pup and I have some relationship issues. She’s crossed more than one red line. Something has to give.

We’ve been together pretty much 24/7 since I brought her home last August. She believes my sole purpose is to play with her. Everything I do is a game. She makes up the rules as we go.

When she first arrived, I spent hours on the floor playing with her every day. She still gets more attention than most dogs. I play with her several times a day, but not nearly enough to suit her. She brings me toys to throw while I’m doing other things.

She’s relentless. Her attempts to engage me run the gamut from adorable through cute and mischievous to irritating and downright malicious. Ignoring her just makes her mad. When she really wants attention, nothing she can reach is safe.

Instead of outgrowing her bad habits, they seem to be getting worse. Or maybe my pain threshold is lower. I’m far less tolerant because she knows better. Make no mistake–she does know better. She flaunts forbidden objects like trophies, bringing them from the other end of the house.

I let it go when she destroyed my orchids last summer. They were fun, but my orchid era had ended. Ripping the tomato plants I’d grown from seed out of the ground last week was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I was so mad, I seriously considered returning her to the shelter and getting another dog. Then the truth hit me, right between the eyes. I’m the problem. Another dog would have the same issues–or worse–with none of Tootsie’s many great traits.

Toodles had zero bad habits. None. Living with a good dog was a revelation. Andy had trained Tico for several months before we got Toodles. He and Tico trained Toodles. I just did what I was told. I learned a lot, but not nearly enough to deal with precocious Tootsie.

We’re getting professional help. Someone from a well-respected dog training company is coming to the house tomorrow. After asking about problem behaviors (hers and mine), he or she will recommend a comprehensive training program.

I don’t know the cost. The range they gave me was outrageous, but I really don’t have any choice. Despite a few bad habits,Tootsie is a great little dog. We just need to work on our communication skills.

As always, I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

6 responses to “Troubles with Tootsie”

  1. I’m proud of you for seeking outside help and recognizing there’s a good dog inside the trouble maker. Good luck! You’ll both be fine!

    • Thank you! She has many positive and endearing qualities. Looking forward to results!

  2. Yes you made the right choice. My dog was trained. Crate trained so we can travel. I have probably undone some but he’s older. He doesn’t want to play. He’s just really my support. He seems to notice if I should eat. I want another puppy but after him.

  3. I’m so sorry you are experiencing this issue, but very happy that you understand the role that you are playing in her behavior. I’m a big fan of the “no free lunch” philosophy, so my dog had to do something if she wanted something from me. My hubby never believed I could train her using pieces of her kibble as “treats” but my dog loved playing kibble hockey or just getting the attention and she learned lots of lovely tricks.

    I’m sorry about the tomatoes, and I hope the rest of your garden is thriving. Good luck on the training, I will look forward to hearing good things.

    • Thank you! Your approach is EXACTLY what my trainer wants me to do. New post coming soon on our progress.