January 12, 2011

Puppy Brain

Have you ever had a dog that wouldn't come when called? Our fourth Yorkie, Miles (a.k.a. Miles Davis, Miles of Smiles, Mr. Miles and Milesyoulittlebastard) is the one. He was already 6 months old when we got him from a Yorkie breeder. They had considered keeping him, then decided he wasn't show quality. In the meantime, though, he'd been living with each new litter of puppies so he came to us a little wild, not house trained, with no manners and somewhat skittish.

We got him the first week of November 2006 and found out right away that even though he would use the doggie door to roam the back yard, he really preferred going potty in the house. This was when we had wall to wall carpeting and it was soooooo frustrating. So we started corralling the dogs with a baby gate in the kitchen/family room area when we were at work. They had their food, water, doggie door and the entire family room of furniture to lounge on. We had just lost our 14-1/2 year old Reggie in October and Skyler was the same age. Here is a photo of Miles (on the left) and Skyler getting to know each other ...

On Christmas morning 2007, we were packing up the car to go visit Hubby's brother and Miles escaped through the garage and took off down the street. We live at the dead end of a cul-de-sac, so I figured we'd just go out and grab him and be on our way. Oh no ... this was his first great escape and he made the most of it. What a fun game, having everyone running up and down the street, trying to give him treats and coax him to them. He is wily and fast, though, and managed to make it all the way to the other end of the street where there is traffic and ran directly in front of two cars. Of course, I am shrieking and waving my arms like a crazy person, hoping they'll stop before they smash him flatter than a pancake right in front of us. What a Christmas memory that would be.

Over the months, he managed to slip out the front door when we were signing for a package or bringing in the newspaper, the garage door when I was bringing in groceries and the back yard gate as we were wheeling the trash can through. And each time he played the catch me game with obvious excitement and glee. I'd think it was funny if I wasn't so aggravated. So I signed him up for obedience training class at PetSmart. I actually dreaded going because, come on, nobody wants to have the big idiot loser in the class and I was pretty convinced Miles was going to be sporting the dunce cap.

Surprisingly, he was very good, proved he was smart, breezed through all of the tasks like heeling, staying and coming when called looking like a little prince. He was so adorable. I'd tell him to stay and walk to the other end of the long aisle at the store. Then I'd face him and make him wait for a torturously long moment, crouch down and call him. He would come sailing down the aisle, hair blowing in the breeze, literally flying through the air right into me. I learned to brace myself after he knocked me over the first time and was very glad he only weighed 7 pounds. And everyone would laugh and awwww over how cute he was.

Then we'd go home from class, he'd escape out the door and make us chase him all over the cul-de-sac again. What the??? Where did that good little obedient dog from class go? And this is where he got his nickname Milesyoulittlebastard.

There was a female Rottweiler puppy in the class that was probably triple his size and something about her used to just make Miles crazy. We couldn't stand anywhere near each other because he would turn into a spitting, snarling, slathering beast and act like he was going to attack her. He never bit her, but he would carry on like a raving lunatic. Even though I was mortified, the trainer acted like it was no big deal and simply had me step on his leash, then pull up on it until his neck was on the floor next to my shoe.

He never seemed to care about any of the other dogs in class, but we went through this crazy thing with the Rottweiler for 8 weeks. During one of the last classes, I was wearing an ankle length summer dress. We had to walk in lines that formed big loops and would occasionally pass the Rottweiler -- and Miles would just go off. I yanked his head to the floor so many times that night, I thought I was going to either wear out the leash or my sandal. The trainer just said keep doing it until he stops. We were, of course, the focus of the class while this drama was going on and I really wanted to kill Milesyoulittlebastard. After about the 6th time in a row of downing him with the leash, when I let him up, he kind of sighed and literally walked underneath my skirt and sat down. Exhausted? Dejected? Humiliated? Who knows. All you could see was the leash disappearing under my hem and his front feet. What a total hoot that was. He brought the house down!

Surprisingly, he graduated from obedience class with flying colors. That dog would do anything he was supposed to as long as we were at PetSmart in class. However, get him home and apparently all new rules apply.

Louie's favorite thing is to lounge on the couch under a blanket

This doesn't always work with Miles, but we've found how to make Louie come when called without fail. Louie was cuddled up on Hubby's shoulder recently and the Granddaughter wanted to see if she could make him abandon her Bampy to come snuggle on the couch with her. She called him over and over, "Louie, Louie, Louie," in every sweet and cajoling tone of voice she could come up with. He was comfortable and content and just plain ignored her. Then she switched tactics and called Miles who started heading her way, but Louie ran over Miles and nearly killed both of them getting to her first.

So how do we get our dog to come when called? Just call the other dog!


Dazee Dreamer said...

That is the sweetest story. What a funny dog.

Joann Mannix said...

I know bastard dogs. I have two of them. But that Miles is one super adorable bastard. We finally figured out how to get our girls to come. If we shake the box of treats, they come running. We just have to make sure we never run out of treats.

Loren said...

You never cease to make me laugh...tonite wasn't the best night to be reading your blog as my husband was asleep and growled like ...oh wait...he just looked at me like I needed to be more quiet (ahem) LOL

Miles is precious but I know those little Yorkie tricks! Make you FURIOUS!! My Schnorky does that too and I cuss the yorkie in him...makes us sooo mad!!!

course he is every bit as cute as your sweet milesyoulittlebastard too! gotta love em' even when they make ya mad huh!

Hugs to you and thanks for always bringing a smile to my face and a laugh to my day!

lisaschaos said...

Too funny! your Miles is something else! My parents have had Yorkies for many years and my mom and my daughter took their most recent pair to the puppy classes too. :0) They lost Hobo last year as I think I mentioned before - your Miles always reminds me of him - and just yesterday they lost precious Tessie to kidney failure.

When my babies were babies they had one named Rags who had been kept on nothing but concrete to be breed, she was about a year old when mom and dad got her. She never did get over her skittishness with anyone other than them.

Anonymous said...

This made me crack up. "Milesyoulittlebastard"

I had to get three dogs before I realized that I am not a dog person.


Baby Sister said...

Oh man this made me laugh!!!! Dogs can be a pain in the butt...especially when they're too smart for their own good!!

Kathleen said...

Miles is beyond adorable and sounds wonderfully precocious!