Triple Trouble

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Raising multiple dogs is no easy task, but when the dogs are a high energy, reactive breed it increases the challenges astronomically.  With three Miniature Pinschers under my roof, I have first hand experience with complete and total anarchy.

My dogs’ reactive behavior has been a thorn in my side since first rearing its ugly head when the girls were puppies.  Living with reactive dogs has created a crazy and chaotic home where stress sprinkles down in a drizzle or a waterfall depending on the day.  Every detail of daily life must be micro-managed in order to prevent the girls from gaining the upper hand, or in this case, paw.

Min Pins are a breed of dog that require constant supervision and management is key to keeping the girls out of trouble.  Baby gates are utilized to prevent access to the front entryway and the second floor of our home. The gates are also used when my husband and I need to contain the girls in one room. I could not even imagine the mischief that would ensue if the girls had run of the entire house!

A primary source of frustration in our home is the living room windows.  The windows sit low and the girls can easily part the vertical blinds in order to see outside.  A favorite spot of my furry trio, their “window on the world” is where they can go from zero to sixty in less than three seconds. Of course, these episodes usually occur when I am upstairs or on the opposite side of the house!

Various items have been used to block the girls’ view, but Aspen usually outsmarts me and figures out a way to beat the system.

Most dogs go through agility tunnels, but Aspen likes to show off with a balancing act!

Most dogs only go through agility tunnels, but Aspen likes to show off with a balancing act!

Aspen in window

Really, Mom? Just a sheet?  This was way too easy.

















The girls currently have “supervised visitation” while they take in the outside scenery and this latest strategy has worked the best thus far.

All three of my Min Pins exhibit reactive behavior, but to varying degrees. A puzzle yet to be solved, Quest is the most reactive of the three and the one with which I have consistently struggled to make progress.

I usually avoid taking Quest on walks with the other two because of her reactivity.  At full throttle, Quest will bark, lunge, and spin if she goes over threshold. That is all it takes to bring Malibu along for the ride.  Although Malibu has made huge strides to overcome her reactive tendencies, if Quest is singing a song, Malibu wants to make it a duet.

Aspen’s reactivity is different from her sisters.  She is our best behaved dog in public situations, but the noisiest of the three at home.  Stimulated by outdoor sights and sounds, Aspen will frequently erupt into a barking frenzy.  She also barks at her sisters – a lot!

I am proud of how far Aspen and Malibu have come since puppyhood.  They are still reactive, but it is more manageable now.

Since taking on this pack of puppies, my world has been turned upside down. I had no idea how incredibly difficult it would be to raise three Miniature Pinschers.  Not one to give up, I will continue to utilize the strategies that have worked while seeking additional ones to place in my ever-expanding toolbox.









Dirty, Little Secret

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I have a confession to make. It is a rather dirty, little secret.  I have been keeping something from many people for the past six years. My dogs EAT poop! They eat their own poop and each other’s poop. The first time I observed this most disgusting indecency was shortly after bringing the Miniature Pinscher pups home. Horrified, I could not believe my eyes when I saw Aspen walk over to a piddle pad and eat a fresh stool as if it were a delicious delicacy.  It was the grossest thing I have ever seen in my entire life!  To say that I never again saw such behavior from Aspen or her littermates would be a lie. Before long, Bob and I were witnessing all three girls participate in poop eating parties on a regular basis.

I know now that this heinous habit is not as rare as I first believed.  Many dogs eat poop, perhaps even your own dog! This poop eating picnic even has a name: coprophagia. If you research the topic of canine fecal ingestion, you will learn various reasons as to why dogs participate in this “activity.” For my girls, it has become a game to see which one of them can get to the poop before the humans.  Appearing to truly enjoy snacking on morsels of the turd variety, the girls will grab a tidbit, run with glee around the backyard, and celebrate their victory.  The Min Pins score one for the team, again! Hanging our heads in disgust, we resolve to beat them next time.  We can always dream, can’t we?

Many products can be found in pet stores and online that claim to put an end to poop eating. We tried one and it seemed to work, but it upset our Min Pins’ stomachs. The irony of that still astounds me! Therefore, for us, the only solution that is 100% effective is to remove the poop before any of the dogs can get to it. In our backyard, Bob and I have learned to be lightning quick and scoop the poop before it becomes a tasty snack. If two dogs are going at the same time and I am flying solo, a split decision must be made as to which direction I should head.  A word to the wise, always go towards Malibu first!

Over the years, there has been a significant decline in poop eating. Mostly, because we have learned to watch the girls like hawks. One eye taken off of them for an instant is all it takes. We have been taught that lesson on more than one occasion.   Teaching basic commands, such as “drop it” and “leave it” have helped too. Although I must admit, sometimes the girls pretend that those phrases have never been taught. Quest is the most obedient when it comes to obeying those commands.  Once, I believed that she had a rock in her mouth and asked her to drop it into my hand.  Well, she did what I asked, but the object did not turn out to be what I thought it was!  Quest was praised for obeying and I went into the house to vigorously scrub my hands.

So, I have just shared my deepest, darkest secret with you. Can we keep it between us?

Reality Barks

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Here in our home, where Miniature Pinschers out number the humans, reality may not bite, but it barks –  a lot!  Raising three reactive Min Pins has brought much more noise into our lives than I could ever have imagined.

Barking is definitely one of the hardest challenges we have faced while raising this litter.  When you have multiple dogs, one barking dog can create a domino effect. A “woof” is all it takes to get the party started. Every dog is eager to chime in and let her bark be heard. And it is heard, indeed.

With an uncanny ability to hear a sound from far off in the distance, I believe my Min Pins can hear a leaf falling from a tree ten miles away.

Equal opportunity barkers, my girls will alert me to any suspicious activity happening in our neighborhood.  A plastic bag blowing down the street is cause for concern, as is a squirrel climbing a tree in our backyard. Of course, the loudest sirens are saved for people walking their dogs and the neighbor’s cat who teases the girls with her tantalizingly slow stroll past our front windows.

My Min Pins are always on high alert while standing at their “window on the world”.

With sunset, usually comes peace.  The few hours before bedtime is the calmest and quietest time of day in our house. The girls usually burrow under blankets, even in the summer, and snooze until we announce that it is “bedtime” and herd the crew upstairs to their crates.

Once the girls are tucked away for the night, I am eager to crawl into bed and enjoy the sounds of silence.  If only Bob didn’t snore…

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