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Malibu

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Malibu

Malibu

Malibu came into my life purely by chance. Originally, my husband and I were only taking two Min Pin pups out of a litter of three. It was only at the last moment that we changed our minds and said, “We’ll take the third puppy, too.”  Call us crazy, but it is a decision that we will never regret.

Malibu is my cautious canine. Highly suspicious of strangers and extremely wary of most dogs, Malibu prefers to keep a safe distance between herself and anything that she deems to be a threat. New situations and sometimes even familiar ones tend to stress Malibu.

Since puppyhood, Malibu has been reserved, even standoffish, towards people. She took much longer to warm up to me than the other two in her litter. Even today, Malibu is not a cuddler, preferring to sit next to me than on my lap.

At home, Malibu is the quietest of my girls. Even when my other two are barking up a storm, Malibu usually chooses to remain quiet.  A clever dog, Malibu enjoys being challenged and learning new skills. Of my three Min Pins, Malibu is the one who grasps new concepts the fastest.  She seeks stimulating activities and one of her favorite things to do is play with her doggie puzzles.

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Puzzle Time

Walking with Malibu requires dialogue, specifically,  “No”, “Drop it”, and “Leave it”,  since she likes to put everything in her mouth.  Management is also required to keep Malibu from becoming reactive at the sight of her triggers: certain vehicles, bicycles, skateboarders, strangers, and dogs. For a long time, Malibu would lunge at any passing vehicle. As with Aspen, behavior modification has helped decrease Malibu’s desire to react, but the inclination is always there, especially if I let my guard down. Yummy treats provide a great distraction for Malibu and keeps her focus on me.

Although riding in the car is a regular event for the crew, Malibu is usually anxious during car rides and lets us know how she is feeling with an annoying whine or whistle. She continuously surveys her surroundings as if waiting for a monster to jump out from under the seat.

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Is something down there?

 

Scaredy Dog

Scaredy Dog

While driving, if we pass anything that sets Aspen and Quest off, Malibu just sits quietly. Maybe Malibu is conserving her energy because she is the one who reacts if anyone comes too close while we are parked. Malibu will bark, lunge, and basically make a spectacle of herself if I fail to capture her attention before she erupts. When the crew is getting out of the car, Malibu is my Min Pin who makes sure that everyone within a five-mile radius knows our exact location. To my embarrassment, her shrieks pierce the air for the first few moments until her initial excitement subsides.

A little joker, Malibu’s silly Min Pin antics provide me with comic relief. In the morning, if I don’t get out of bed quick enough, Malibu is the one who will pull the blankets off of me. Of course, while it is happening, I see no amusement in that particular talent, but always laugh about it later. Malibu also loves a game of Catch Me if You Can when she has gotten her paws on something of mine. I adore the way Malibu play bows and wiggles her butt when she is ready to have some fun.

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Malibu shows off a trick that she can do with her ears.

 

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Malibu like to dangle things from her mouth and wait to see how long it takes before I notice.

Out of my crew, Malibu seems to be the least complicated dog. Sure, she has her quirks, but most of the time they are easier to deal with than those of my other two.  The spontaneous decision to take Malibu with the other two pups was one of the best decisions of my life. Malibu and I share a special bond and she will always be my buddy.

For Keeps

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Did you ever want something and get more than you hoped for?  Well, that is exactly what happened to me.  All I wanted was advice on dealing with mouthy puppies, but I got so much more.  In one short afternoon, my life went from trying to find a solution for a minor puppy issue to thinking that we may have to separate our litter.

What were we going to do? What was best for our puppies? After going back and forth, Bob and I still did not have answers to these questions.  It was kind of strange to think that we would even consider taking advice from people we have never even met.  But how could so many people be wrong?

Having had the litter for a couple of weeks now, the realities of life with three puppies was beginning to set in. “Your new puppy will sleep about eighteen hours a day”, stated one of the puppy training books I had recently read.  Well, the author of that book obviously had not based her information on a litter of Miniature Pinschers.  Sleep deprivation was yet another issue we were dealing with since the pups seemed to be awake more often than not.

Bob and I talked for hours on end and made a pro/con list in an attempt to reach a decision. The deck was clearly stacked against us if we based our decision on our pro/con list.  Basically, our “pros” for keeping the pups together included the fact that they were related to our first dog, Twinkie.  Also, we did not want to separate the litter. Our “cons” list was longer: three dogs are more expensive than two, traveling with multiple dogs is difficult,  taking care of three dogs during their geriatric stage could be challenging, and if the information we received was accurate, the puppies could grow up to be aggressive towards one another.  The problem with pro/con lists, in my opinion,  is that I am never able to weigh my decision according to quantity.  One “pro” alone can be far more significant than all of the “cons” together which makes the list useless.

After much discussion, Bob and I made the heartbreaking decision to rehome Malibu. Hoping that we could place her with a family we knew, we began making phone calls.  I  wrote a letter that would be posted at the school where I taught.  How perfect it would  be if a colleague adopted Malibu.  This would allow us to remain in Malibu’s life and always know how she is doing.  Bob also had a co-worker who was considering the possibility of taking Malibu and we were waiting to hear back from him.

Once we had made our “final” decision, Bob and I continued asking each other if we were making the right choice.  We did not seem to be 100% committed to the idea of giving away one of the  pups.  It was time for the puppies to visit their veterinarian again, so we figured that it was a perfect opportunity to get another opinion. In fact, Bob and I decided to let the vet make the decision for us.  We were too emotionally involved and needed the assistance of an impartial individual with experience in such matters.  Basically, we planned to ask the doctor if he believed that our puppies would grow up to become aggressive dogs with the potential to seriously injure or kill one another. His answer to this question would determine whether Malibu would be rehomed, or remain with Aspen and Quest.

Feeling hopeful on the drive to the vet’s office, but also prepared to do what was best for the puppies, Bob and I were anxious to hear the verdict. “Pure silliness”,  is what the vet said when we relayed the negative information we had received about raising litters together.  He discounted the theories regarding the likelihood of serious dog aggression and totally put our minds at ease. Bob and I felt like a weight had been lifted and were ecstatic to learn that our litter would remain together. Whatever the future held, we would deal with it together.

pups at high point

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