Dog psychology would be a fascinating field.
Abby at 2 years of age, standing by her wooden friend
On March 26, 2003, we added yet another member to our family when we picked up Abby, a five-week old female white toy poodle. Abby is named after the wife of our second president, Abigail Adams, in a hotly contested election among the entire family. The vote was very close between Zoe and Abby, but Abby won out.
Click on any small image to see a larger version. Click here to meet Millie,our soft-coated Wheaten terrier.
Abby doing what she does best - chewing
Abby was born on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2003, in North Plains, Oregon. She was the only female in a litter of 3 puppies. We had been on a waiting list for almost a year when she arrived. We chose a toy poodle for two reasons: (1) our youngest son likes small dogs, the smaller the better, and (2) poodles are also in the top 3 for people with allergy problems.
Abby's mother weighed 3½ pounds. Abby at four months has already reached that weight, so I'm guessing she'll be a little bigger. Breed trivia: the terms "miniature poodle", "toy poodle" and "standard poodle" are simply convenient classifications based on size. They are not separate breeds at all.
Abby's personality is very different from Millie. Millie is a mild-mannered dog who has never socialized well with other dogs, and Abby has terrorized her 35 pound sister from the very start.
Millie seeking refuge from holy terror Abby
Abby is strong-willed and opinionated. She wants things her way, and is not afraid to complain when things aren't doing so. Abby loves playing with doggie toys, something Millie does only rarely. She likes tug-of-war, and she likes playing "fetch". She still has to learn that part of playing "fetch" is letting go of the toy once she's brought it back...
Abby gnawing on a stuffed toy
Abby does have a couple of habits that drive us nuts. She, like Millie, is going to be slow to housetrain. Small dogs like this are supposed to be trained to go on a special absorbant pad; we keep one in the upstairs bathroom, and one in her "area", a kennel in the kitchen. She urinates on the pads about half the time, but she hasn't got the message with her more solid efforts.
The woman who bred Abby was a little old lady -- the canonical poodle owner. Being a little old lady, she was in the habit of arising rather early in the morning, allowing the puppies to take their morning constitutional. Even now, three months later, Abby still insists on that. Promptly at 6:10 AM every morning (and I mean every morning), Abby starts whining and scratching at the door of her crate to go potty. This was funny for the first week or so, but it has long stopped being funny. We had high hopes that the start of daylight savings time would grant us an extra hour's reprieve, but Abby adjusted her clock almost immediately.
Abby also has many habits that drive Millie nuts. Millie is still unsure and frightened around Abby; when Abby jumps up on the couch, Millie jumps off. One of Abby's funniest habits involves dinner time. We had a hard time getting Abby to eat when she first got home. We were using the food recommended by the breeder, but she would pick at the food and water without much interest. However, when Abby saw that Millie had food in her dish, that instantly because the object of Abby's desire. Abby would reach through the wire of Millie's area and s-t-r-e-t-c-h her tiny little paw to try to get just one piece of Millie's food. We had lots and lots of laughs watching Abby trying to will her legs longer in order to reach Millie's dish. Abby would even sneak into Millie's area to steal the food, and Millie would, for the first time, take mouthfuls of food out of her area and drop them on the floor for Abby to pick up!
We finally decided that, if Millie's food is what she wants, that's what we'd give her. She did eat some of it, but she was still trying to steal Millie's food. We had a little two-sided plastic dish for Abby, whereas Millie uses two large, separate, metal bowls. Finally, my wife hit on the idea of buying two smaller metal bowls, just like Millie's. As funny as it seems, that has made a difference: Abby is now eating her dinner out of these little bowls. She just wanted to be like her big sister!
Abby very interested in her burger
Fortunately, Abby is also quite cuddly, especially when she starts getting tired. When that happens, she likes nothing more than to curl up on your lap, or on your chest, or on your shoulders, and go to sleep. This is usually quite heart-warming, but she likes to crawl up on my shoulders while I am typing on the laptop, and once she is trapped between my neck and the back of the chair, I cannot move without disturbing her. I'm going to end up with a sore neck from sitting in the same position too long.