How to train your Maltese

Though they demand constant affection and tend to ignore you at times, you’ll have lots of fun training your Maltese. Least you risk your dog being afraid of you, roughness in training is unnecessary.  An easy way to get your dog compliant, is to associate training with playtime. There are two things that my Maltese, Yuki loves: food/treats and toys that squeak. We use his treats as a training device.

Teaching him to fetch was easy. First,  I got him to sit then praised him with a treat. Next I showed him the ball, squeezed it to get him to focus on the sound. I had his undivided attention the moment he perked up. While raising my hand with the ball, I direct him with my other hand and voice, showing and telling him to stay. Once he’s followed my direction, then I throw the ball yell “Fetch.”  He retrieves the ball, gives it to me and is rewarded with another treat. Then it was on to  tug of war with his rope bone.  He was a natural. This turned out to be his favorite game and  I didn’t need to reward him.

Maltese dogs are smart, lively, observant, and playful. Their energy level and frolicsome demeanor remains constant. Solitude is for them is no bother, as they tend to go off on their own and play by themselves. I’ve never believed in crating, so I don’t. They’re naturally affectionate dogs and don’t appreciate being locked away.  Instead, I’ve allowed Yuki have the run of the entire house and for the most part, it’s been a trouble free experience.  However, if you find them chewing anything you don’t want them to chew on, I advise you to simply close off the area. I close most of the bedroom and bathroom doors when I am not home because he has been known to take things from the trash bin and chew on electric cords. The only door I leave open is the one where his bed is just in case he wants to sleep there. Also, because Yuki is a fairly small dog (he’s only 9 months), I don’t allow him to jump from high places as I fear he’ll break a limb. Training your Maltese dog shouldn’t just be for obedience, it’s a chance for both of you have fun while bonding.  Enjoy!

Out of the mouth of babes

I just picked up the new issue of Animal Welfare Institute Quarterly (Winter 2008, Vol. 58, No. 1) and opened the cover to look through when an incredible story caught my eye. I began to wonder why no one ever thought of this before. The story is entitled “Animals are Beings, Too.” There is no byline to tell who wrote the article but I spoke with Lauren at AWI and got permission to reprint the story in my blog. I have a link on the right side of my page that will take you to AWI’s blog. For further information on such a wonderful organisation and their on-going fight to save the lives of all types of animals, you can either call them at 703-836-4300 or visit their website at www.awionline.org .

 

Below is the story “Animals are Being,Too” in its entirety:

“Children are naturally drawn toward animals, and non-human species frequently steal the show in books, television programs and films targeted at young audiences. From Wilbur the pig to the family dog, kids learn early on that animals have feelings and emotions just like them. Sadly, traditional classroom lessons often conflict with this natural discovery.

Recently, during a grammar lesson in his second grade class in West Hartford, Ct., budding political activist Noah S.B. Williams spoke up to correct the categorization of animals as “things.” Noah felt that the classification system of “Persons, Places and Things” should be replaced by the designations of “Beings, Places and Things.” To illustrate his point, he wrote the following essay.

Why Animals Should Not Be Called Things

Animals should not be called things because they are beings, not things. Shame on the people who call animals things. If I could I would give the person who first called animals things a talking-to. I would not call animals things. Thing about this. If you loved someone, would you call them a thing? I wish on one had ever called animals things. Why would you call your pet a thing? A rug or something is a thing, but not an animal. He or she is not a thing! This is not funny, it’s all true. I would not lie to you about this. It’s not a joke. Do not lie to me, either.”

 

I am so proud of this young man for standing up for what he believes in. I am grateful for his message and will forever refer to it whenever I am speaking to anyone regarding animals. At least I am not alone in my thinking about animals. I am a dog lover, but all animals have a place in my heart. I’ve never considered my dog to be a thing because to me he is so much more than. Just because he walks on all fours doesn’t make him any less. Who’s to say we aren’t the ones who are doing it wrong? Maybe, just maybe, humans are ‘things’ and animals are ‘people’?

A little consideration goes a long way

Why is it that some people pine for an animal but when they get said animal they don’t treat it the very best as they’d declared they would? I’m talking about dog owners, yes you! Why have a small dog, like a Chihuahua, and leave him on the gated patio all day and night? Shouldn’t he be more cared for? And why, for pete’s sake, if you know your dog barks uncontrollably when he hears other dogs barking, don’t you find a quieter place for the dog to sleep? If you’re considerate of your neighbors, then I can almost guarantee they’ll be considerate of you and your dog.

Since the week began, I’ve been awoken every night at the ungodly hour of 5am because my neighbor, bless her heart, has a small dog that she leaves on her back patio all day and night (don’t worry he is well taken care of, this is only where she falters). Well, she barks uncontrollably when she hears the other dogs in the neighborhood (and I am talking 3 or so streets away because I too hear them) barking and wakes me from my deep sleep. Now I wouldn’t complain if I could just roll over and go back to sleep, but I CAN’T!!! I’ve mentioned this to her on one other occasion but nothing has been done about it. Now I have to go to work in my tired state and deal with the rest of the day. To top it off, I’m cranky and can’t tell my co-workers I don’t want to be bothered because quite frankly, I’m being paid to bother.

So, do I storm over in my tired, frazzled state and tell her how I feel (believe me this will not be a friendly conversation), or do I pray and hope that she’ll do the right thing and it’ll end soon? If I follow my mind, I’d do the first, but hubby thinks I should do the latter. I’m a light sleeper who suffers from insomnia, so when I do fall asleep, I’d like to be left sleeping. Is that really too much to ask?!

Namaste

Dogs pick up on Human emotions

Contrary to popular belief, dogs can and do pick up on human emotions. This past weekend, I was feeling sad and my beloved Yuki stayed especially close to me. Is he in tune to me and my feelings? I say a resounding YES on that one. Yuki was kind enough to give me space even though he was near to me. Case and point – I was in the tv room on the sofa and he crawled to his favorite spot under the sofa and enjoyed one of his favorite pass time, sleeping. In this way, he gave me space but stayed close to me.

All weekend it seemed as if Yuki tried to cheer me up and he did in his own way. We shopped, played and slept and all the while he kept the mood light. I laughed and laughed and soon what I was sad about became a distant memory. Even this morning, while I was getting ready for work, Yuki came into the room to let me know he was up but I also believe it was to check on me (he normally isn’t up when I am leaving for work in the mornings).

I believe that our emotions do affect our dogs which is why I feel it is important for us to get a handle on them. Too much pressure is put on our dogs to comfort us in our time of need, and yes I know that dogs do go through their own set of emotions but they do look to us for comfort and help. If we are emotional wrecks, then how can we help our dogs when they need us most? Simply put, I believe that a happy owner will have a happy dog.

Throughout our lives, our dogs become our constant companions and though we might not understand them at times, believe me, they are there for us and will go through all our trials and tribulations with us without even so much as a question. Take care of your pets and they will surely take care of you.

How we take care of Yuki

Let me just say this upfront, first and foremost – if you want a Maltese dog, then please, please be prepared to take absolute great care of them! I say this because these dogs absolutely demand your attention at all times (unless they don’t want to be bothered).

Yuki is our Maltese dog and we love him dearly. Since we have no children at present, Iwe can afford to give him all our attention. Yuki is SPOILED and yes that is both our fault so no complaints here. As I said in my last post, Yuki was my 2006 christmas present. He was nine months old then and though he came to me being potty trained, we were still concerned with him going in the house since it was a new environment. Luckily, we did the best thing for him bytaking him out for bathroom breaks at the same time daily and worked our way up to where he is today.

My husband and I have opposing schedules which makes it quite easy for Yuki. Here is a rundown of a typical Yuki day with my husband in the am and me in the pm. The morning begins with taking Yuki out the minute hubby has done his morning ritual and come downstairs for breakfast; then Yuki gets his vitamin tablet and something to eat – this usually depends on how late he ate the night before. After that depending on his mood, it’s playtime for him. Around 11am – 12noon, hubby and Yuki go back to bed and just before hubby leaves for work between 1:30pm – 2:00pm, Yuki gets another potty break and maybe a treat to tide him over until I come home around 5:30pm – 6:30pm. As soon as I come home I take Yuki out for his potty break, groom him, feed him, then I can do my own personal evening ritual. I am home with him until the day begins all over again. On the weekends, I am home so Yuki gets to go outside as often as he wants and I do try to keep the same schedule as his weekday schedule with the only difference being his bath.

Yuki is now 1 year and 10 months and so far there have had no problems. Hubby and I take very good care in grooming Yuki since we want his hair to grow as long as possible. I am told that he is mixed with chihuahua hence his brown spots but for sure his entire features, mood and disposition is all Maltese. Yuki is vey loving and caring and always wants to be wherever I am. I do my best to dedicate a weekend a month to him to take him out shopping. I do this because he loves to be outdoors even though he has grass allergies (according to the vet). I always have a wonderful time with Yuki, he keeps me laughing and on my toes.

Another thing to be aware of is the Maltese diet. Since Yuki is a picky eater, it has taken me some time to figure out exactly what he will eat and sometimes I still find myself trying to trick him into eating what I have prepared. The only processed food that Yuki gets is the Beneful Prepared Meals, all his other food is cooked by us. I know that Yuki loves lamb so I try to give it to him often though I break up his food choices with giving him chicken or beef, mashed potatoes, sweet carrots, green peas, and even rice (white or brown). I do not give him corn since he itches a lot after eating corn and doesn’t digest it well. Occasionally once Yuki has had his bath and before I take him for his walk, I dress him in a t-shirt or tank top. I found that doing this saves his coat from getting overly smothered with dirt and dust and keeps his coat clean and smooth until his next bath. Also putting on the t-shirt seems to keep him calm and serene. I am not sure if it is because he feels warm but it works.

Please do not give a Maltese to a child as a gift because it is cute or to teach the child responsibility – that in itself is irresponsible. The Maltese dog requires a sensible, mature person to care for them at all times. I have seen and heard too many times what happens to these dogs when no one wants to be bothered to care for them. Though it seems like a lot, we look forward to taking care of our Maltese Yuki; it is easy and fun for us. We know we are responsible for a life and he depends on us especially since he is unable to speak a language we can fully understand. Yuki is smart and easy to direct though at times he has his own way of interpreting what you mean. BTW, Yuki still pees when he is overly excited!

My Passion for Dogs

As a child I have always had dogs that eventually grew old with us and died. My first dog was named Rex, and after he was hit by a car going way too fast, he later died. Then my second dog was named Fidel Castro and when one of his hind legs became injured, it seemed that he succumed to his injuries and died. Though if you ask my mother she will tell you that she firmly believes that he was poisoned. From my memory though, both dogs were the best. They were loveable, kind and always looked out for me. They were there through all my many tears since I lived in a time when it was ok to discipline your child with a beating. Though I miss them, when I think of them I only have fond memories and I know that they are happy in doggie heaven.

Years later in my adulthood, I began to lament to my husband that I simply must have a dog but this time I wanted a small one and his constant comment was always no. So, imagine my utter surprise when in 2006 he surprised me with a Maltese dog. You see, this dog was owned by his niece but she was unable to continue to care for him so he was on his way to being given away to anyone that wanted him. my husband mentioned my desire to have a dog to his niece and I became the first choice to get the dog but as a precaution, there were others lined up in case I said no. When the dog was brought to our home on Christmas Eve he seemed so at peace that I was immediately smitten with him and knew he had to stay no matter what. Little did I know that everyone was watching my reaction to the dog very closely and when I suddenly announced that I simply must go to the store, they knew I was hooked. Upon my return with a new leash, collar, and meal plates for the dog (who was named Cookie), my dear husband yelled “Merry Christmas”, kissed me on the lips and promptly laid Cookie in my arms. Unbeknownst to me, nine month old Cookie was my Christmas gift.

I then set out on a quest to find another name for him as I thought he deserved a better name, he just didn’t look like a “Cookie” to me and besides, the dog was male. My love for all things Asian, prompted me to do some research and I eventually settled on the name YUKI which means “snow, lucky”. To me he represented both meanings well since his coat partly looks like snow and I feel lucky that he chose to stay with us. Since Yuki came to live with us, I have learned quite a lot
by immersing myself in books dedicated to his particular breed but most of all by watching him and learning his moods and traits. Best of all, I am not allergic to him because unlike other dogs his coat is hair and not fur, yipee!

NOTABLE MENTION: During one of my dog searches, I happened to find a website called fetchdog.com and a blog on that site written by Glenn Close (the actress) called Lively licks. I have included a link to it on my page, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.