This is Penelope, also known as PP, Miss Pees-a-lot, Lil Bit, Ding Dong, Little Buggy Butt, and Ms. P. She kisses, hugs, and occasionally tries to bite me.
But it didn’t start with hugs and kisses. Penelope, who once was called Princess Peach, was living on the streets with a young man who went into a transitional living program. A friend of mine works with the program and told me about Princess Peach. I offered to foster her for a few months while the youth went through the program but he decided that re-homing her was the best thing to do. Once I learned how much help she needed, I knew that her odds of being adopted by someone else were slim. I couldn’t surrender her to a shelter. So Princess Peach got a new name.
The first week went great. And then Penelope (formerly Princess Peach) experienced a false pregnancy and became extremely fearful and defensive. She wouldn’t let me get near her. She hid in her crate and growled if I got too close. She snapped and lunged, trying to bite if I went anywhere near her.
After a full lab workup to determine that there were no physiological issues other than the false pregnancy, and a spay surgery, I hired a trainer to teach me how to work with Penelope to help her build confidence and learn how to appropriately respond to stimuli. As in, stop biting me tiny dog; that shit hurts.
Every year, I like to pick up a new skill. Crochet, wire wrapping, painting. This year I’m learning Spanish. In 2019, I learned how to talk to dogs.
It’s been over two and a half years and Miss P still has her little quirks. She won’t allow anyone to touch her face. But I get it. I don’t like when people touch my face, either. Personal bubble, ya know. And if I touch her while she is sleeping, she startles and snaps. I get that, too. My sister punches people who wake her up by touching her. It’s a reaction that happens before she’s even aware she’s doing it. I just had to adapt dodging fists for tiny teeth. Since there is no way to train her to behave differently while she’s asleep, I just don’t touch her while she’s asleep. Simple.
She’s the cutest little buggy butt now. On weekend mornings when she wakes up before I do, I hear the tiniest little doggo sounds. Something between a whimper and a doggie protest, but with no urgency. Just a gentle reminder that it’s time for me to wake up and take her outside to pee on things.
And after I learned how to speak dog and train her, she blossomed into a very well behaved pup…mostly.
Visit Doggos to learn about my other fuzzybutts.
If you’re in or near the Sacramento area and looking for an excellent trainer, I highly recommend Becky Rooke with Sac Dog Central. You can reach her through her Facebook page or call/text her at (916) 238-4594. You can also visit her website: www.sacdogcentral.com.