Monday, June 22, 2009

The escape artist Yorkie

Well, with the exception of having taken a rather laissez-faire attitude towards her potty training, Puddin’ seems to be pretty much recuperated from her surgery ordeal. So much so, in fact, that I’ve had to shift gears from nurturing mama to vigilant disciplinarian.

Puddin’ is tiny. Well, by Yorkie standards (3 to 7 lbs) she is on the large side at 6 lbs, but objectively speaking, she’s tiny. We had “dog bars” built into a beautiful wrought iron gate at the top of the stairs so that the Maltese Mafia couldn’t just wander upstairs and wreak havoc. We also had the narrow dog bars built into the iron gates that separate our front courtyard from the street so the MM can’t bolt out through the front arches into the street. Puddin’ is so small, she can get through both sets of dog bars. We have a baby gate on the kitchen door so we can open the door for air but keep certain dogs out of the house and certain dogs inside…she can get through the bars in the baby gate. Right now it is mostly academic because it is winter and we keep the kitchen door shut, but there are those times…

Recently, because she has finally discovered the purpose of her puddle pads and has begun using them faithfully, we gave Puddin’ unfettered run of the house. She quickly learned to go up the stairs to the lounge and, being tiny, she could get through the dog bars. But she has toys, food and water bowls, and a puddle pad up there, and she’s not destructive (except to her stuffed toys), so it wasn’t an issue…at first. It became an issue when she…and we…discovered she couldn’t come down the stairs. Several times a day she would bound up the stairs and play with her rubber chicken or rawhide chewies, only to end up piteously whining at the top of the stairs, afraid to descend into the dark, curved, abyss on the cold, slippery tiles. And every time, one of us would come up the stairs and rescue her…which did nothing to curtail her forays up the stairs and her pitiful demands for assistance to come down. Finally, Hubby took it upon himself to help her come down the stairs on her own…after only two lessons, she was bounding up and down the stairs on her own, relieving us of rescue duty.

Yorkies are very small dogs, but they are fearless. This can work against them, as they have been know to leap out of their owner’s arms, breaking bones and even dying as a result. Puddin’ had made a couple of heart-stopping leaps off the bed so, once she had mastered the stairs to the upper floor of the house, I determined to get her something to let her get up and down off the bed safely. I found a plastic step stool and our local K-Mart clone and voila! Puddin’ was scampering up and down them in a matter of days.

So, on Saturday Hubby and I were kicking back on the bed, watching TV, when I realized I had neither seen nor heard Puddin’ in a while. Just like with little kids, extended absence and silence on the part of a puppy is generally a bad sign. A cursory search of our bedroom and bathroom didn’t turn her up but I noticed that, on his last trip to the loo, Hubby had obviously not fully shut the door. Puddin’s escape route from the master suite was revealed.

Our first thought was that Puddin’ had scampered up the stairs and was frolicking around the lounge, but on his way up he noticed that the kitchen door…the one that leads to the patio…was open. In a panic I ran to the bedroom to get some shoes so I could go outside to look for her while he checked the upstairs. The baby gate at the kitchen door was closed, but she can wriggle through it, and she had never been allowed in the back yard alone. We had dog proofed it a couple of years ago so the Maltese Mafia couldn’t escape, but she’s a lot smaller than they are and we don’t know if she can get out or not.

Additionally, Nash and Candy, the Maltese, haven’t exactly welcomed her with open arms. They haven’t attacked her or anything, but they’ve been rather hostile when she’s trying to gain their attention. Sadly, Puddin’ just loves Nash…she gets all wriggly and giddy when he’s around, but he’s in that grumpy old man stage of life and just doesn’t have any time for or interest in a puppy. That big back garden is the domain of the Maltese Mafia, their own private stomping grounds, and I wasn’t so sure how happy they would be at the sudden and unexpected arrival of a small, hyperactive intruder.

As I scrambled for shoes in a panic, Hubby used his head and looked out the upstairs French doors into the back garden. There, in the middle of the verdant, rain-freshened lawn, stood Nash, nose to the ground, investigating some fascinating smell or another. And right beside him, nose to the ground only inches away, was Puddin’.

Hubby beat me to the back garden but when he stooped to pick her up, Puddin’ had other ideas. Off she ran, scampering around like a mad thing, dancing just out of his reach, joyfully exercising her unprecedented freedom. This time it was my idea to use my head: I called Nash to me and he came running full tilt, ears flapping in the wind like silky white wings…and Puddin’ chasing him just as fast as her little legs would carry her.

As Nash came to a halt at my ankles and Puddin’ tried to jump on him, I scooped her up. Praising Nash for his obedience in coming when he was called, I held Puddin’ away from me as she was soaked…just dripping wet…from the lawn. It was past noon but we had not seen enough sun for the morning dew to have evaporated. She was only two days past her surgery and she was so wet she was shivering, so I took her straight to the bathroom and swathed her in towels.

She has now figured out that kitchen door is the key to unparalleled freedom and, instead of scurrying up the stairs at every opportunity, she now bolts for the kitchen door in hopes that someone has carelessly left it open enough for her to skinny through the bars on the baby gate and make her escape. She’s a busy little thing, and keeping up with her is quite the challenge!

1 comment:

  1. How heart-stopping! I think the biggest thing we forget to do with very small pups is to teach them immediately to come when called. I always figured I could just pick mine up, no worries. I have a yorkie-poo but he is 20 lbs. He's four now and will not come when he is called - unless you have some mighty treatful food in your hand, and even then, if he's out in the yard in a froth barking at a neighbor, I often fail to lure him in. The sight of me trying to lasso this crazed dog must amuse my neighbors! After several rounds of obedience training with him I've about given up!


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