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Why It is a Bad Idea to Turn Your Dog Into an Accessory

Thumbing through a copy of your latest celebrity magazine, you come across a photo of hotel heiress Paris Hilton strolling through Beverly Hills that catches your eye. Clad in Gucci sunglasses, an Hermès scarf, which prevents her hair from being too tussled by the gentle Santa Ana winds and Ferragamo strappy sandals that make her feet look oh so much smaller than they really are. For all her chicness, there is really one thing that you can’t stop staring at. In fact, it transfixes you. You bring the magazine to your boyfriend to show him. His reaction annoys you. You slump down in the chair and ask yourself, “How can he not fawn over the contents of her $1500 Dolce & Gabbana “hold everything” bag? Paris, you think to yourself, is hot, but, Tinkerbell, her teacup Chihuahua in all her adorableness is the most incredible being you have ever seen. “I want one!” You declare to your boyfriend. Listening to you with only half an ear, he utters, “Okay.”

What Kind of Dog Goes Best With Your Style?
Although you want to emulate the celebutante, you decide it is best to get another breed. You start scouring the Internet for photos of dogs. You come across a Maltipoo. You have no idea what this dog is, but he looks cute. You show him to your boyfriend, he agrees that this little guy is cute, although he is perhaps a little too cute for a man who owns a pick up truck and does construction for a living. Surely his buddies will make fun of him. But this doesn’t concern you.

When Luciano comes home with you, you can hardly stop and catch your breath. You rush to your local mall and buy him a baby stroller, his very own bed, which is a replica of Paris’s “Chewy Vuitton” and although you can’t afford a $1500 D&G purse, the one from Target is just as large and elegant as the one Tinkerbell is often seen toted around in.

Showing Your New Accessory Off to Friends and Family
Unable to contain your excitement, you decide that you must throw a party for Luciano’s arrival. You call it his coming out party and you invite all your friends and family.

The doorbell rings, Luciano runs from the sofa in his bedroom to see who is here to see him. As you open the door and your mother steps in to greet her new grandson, Luciano greets her by jumping on her. “Oh he’s so adorable!” your mother exclaims. Before you can close the door, your sister arrives. She, too is anxious to meet her new nephew. She bends down to greet him. Luciano has hardly finished jumping all over your mom and shows his irritation with your sister by biting her hand. She snaps her hand back and looks sternly at Luciano and says in a baby voice, “Now, Luciano, no biting, that’s not polite.”

Luciano saunters back to his sofa unamused by your guests, but on the way he lifts his leg and pees on your favorite sofa.

“I bet you Paris doesn’t have to deal with this!” You whine, “Luciano, why are you treating me this way?”

What Went Wrong and And How Can You Fix it, NOW?
The first mistake you made is in assuming Luciano is a small human. Dogs are pack animals and have no understanding of being fawned over. It is their job to fawn all over you, protect you and do some kind of job for you. Each breed performs different work, but going out for strolls in a baby stroller, being carried around in a purse, for all its cuteness is confusing for your dog. In fact, confusion can bring about agression.

New dog owners are rarely prepared for the amount of training that goes into raising a dog and oftentimes those with toy dogs are the least aware of the necessity. The sooner you start understanding that you have a dog and not an accessory, the sooner you can train Luciano and be thrilled to live with him again.

While you can hire a trainer to assist you in remove the aggressive little Napolean out of Luciano, a cheaper way is to avail yourself of the myriad free information on the Internet. But training Luciano is a must.

Some Examples of Good Training
First and foremost, in this new pack, you are the alpha. Luciano is a member but he is not the leader. But if you let him run roughshod all over you, he will never let up. Some dogs respond to clicker training, others to hand signs in combination with verbal cues. Some do very well with positive reinforcements in the form of treats. When your dog does well, praise him and reset. Dogs learn by repetition, and it may take upwards of 30 times for him or her to figure out that your command, for example, ’sit’, means for him to do so. If, when you tell him to sit, and he does so, praise him, maybe give him a treat. Whichever method you decide to use, you must remain consistent in order to see both short term and long term results.

Furniture
Dogs, especially those who have shown signs of agression, do not need their own sofas. In fact, most trained dog owners don’t even allow their dogs on furniture. If the sofa you have gotten Lucian is small enough, give it to your sister who can put in her daughter’s room. In its place buy a crate and begin crate training. Luciano will do much better in his program if crate training is added to the regimine.

As for de-accessorizing your pet, there’s nothing wrong with dressing him or her for the weather. Small dogs have a heck of a time moderating their body temperature in the winter, so it is good to keep them toasty. But do you need to treat them like your personal quadrupedal Barbie? Certainly not.