Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Dog Is a Good Listener

Here is more solicited/unsolicited advice about owning a small dog.

When Lillabelle was less than a year old, we enrolled her in a 7-week basic training course at PetSmart; I would definitely recommend this to all first-time dog owners because I think the training was just as much for us as it was for our dog. It taught us the correct way to give commands and got us in the habit of practicing them with Lillabelle while she was still young. People who have visited us tend to be surprised at how well Lillabelle listens, especially since small fluffy dogs have acquired a reputation for being annoying and difficult to train. Malteses are very easily motivated by treats, so they are actually very easy to train basic commands if you go about it the correct way.

Lillabelle also is very good about observing and understanding patterns. She responds excitedly when we ask her if she wants to go for a walk and knows to remind us to feed her if both Nick and I have sat down to dinner but she has not received hers. We will occasionally let her spend the night with us on weekends, so every night as we are getting ready for bed, she waits for instructions from Nick; she does not whine if he tells her to sleep in her own bed. I am pretty sure that with good training practices, other dogs can be trained to be this good, too.

One thing I can't get her to understand though is when Nick is out of town on business overnight. The other night, Lillabelle spent a very long time in her usual waiting spot, waiting for Nick to get home and perking up whenever the bus stopped outside. I couldn't explain to her that he wouldn't be coming home. Poor thing.

| Photo Credit: Me. |

1 comment:

Catherina said...

I've always wanted a Maltese actually (love the whole looks-like-a-puppy-forever-thing) but have been wary since many of the small dogs I've known are shrill, yappy and annoying (despite them being trained). We have a 70lb retriever/shepherd mix and so that experience is really different I'm sure than yours.

Reading about the trainability and qualities of a Maltese gives me hope about having a small, sweet, non-yappy dog =)

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