Babysitting the Tiny Tremble.
Vangie messaged me for a special favor, a paid favor no less. She needs someone to babysit Clara for two days. She would normally take Clara wherever she goes, but visiting someone with skin asthma means no dogs are allowed, and Clara was not one of the special hypoallergenic breeds. She was willing to pay a decent sum to keep Clara and resume her training. Also, it was a desperate time, desperate measures kind of thing.
I agreed, because why not, and I could use the money to buy more treats for Maui's training. Chicken gizzard prices are low this month, so it's nice to have a bunch.
After some discussion with my family, we agreed to take Clara in for two days. Maui would likely be happy with the new company and think this is a great time for me to desensitize Clara's protective aggression by "forcing" her to become friends with a titanic yet cowardly dog. This was also an excellent opportunity for Maui to get over his apparent distrust of small dogs. My wife also shared the sentiment that if this turns out well, she also wants a small dog. Not mainly for company or cuteness, but a dog who can bark and alert us of any danger, like a walking security alarm. She imagined that the small dog could work in tandem with Maui. The small dog alerts and Maui repels. This is why I married her.
So, it's time to plan the groundwork. Miniature Pinschers are, well, mini, which means they don't eat as much, and since they have short hair, they are vulnerable to cold weather. They, like most specifically bred dogs, are susceptible to certain health issues, but that's going to be applicable since her stay is short-term, but if I'm considering getting one, I do need to look into it.
Mini Pinschers are susceptible to eye problems, knee problems, and joint problems called Legg-Calve Perthes Disease mostly on their hind legs. I guess the knee and joint part is because of their incredibly thin legs, but I think the eye health concern is quite common in dogs. I've seen some old dogs that have cloudy eyes due to cataracts, and I'm not going to be surprised when Maui eventually develops them. Depending on the severity, I would have Maui go into surgery if it means he can spend his old dog days seeing better.
Feeding them is the same as medium-sized dogs, good quality kibble is enough. Although Vangie feeds her with one small can of dog food per day. One can of high-quality dog food a day for her, half a can every meal and she is going to give me five cans just in case. If I were to own a small dog, they are eating dry kibble. The costs of these things per month are already half my grocery budget that month. They are also prone to weight gain, likely because it's easier to accidentally overfeed them.
As far as fur management goes, they shed their loose hairs, but their fur is so short that dead hairs might as well be dust. I'm sure my WeLoveDoodles shampoo won't do anything significant with their fur, but I think the skin under that fur needs care. I assume the dog will be more susceptible to dry skin and other issues if the natural skin oils aren't properly distributed. Still, the shampoo should keep a mini pin's coat shiny.
Another problem is bad breath. Even experienced dog owners can miss this, according to some articles I've read. Dental disease can go unseen for months and by the time owners smell it, the damage is done. It can be mitigated by routine brushing and dental chews. Brushing shouldn't be that hard, considering how small their mouths are.
They also need plenty of exercises, which won't be very hard as I have a wide enough house and yard. If Maui can run around a bit in the yard, Miniature Pinschers and other toy breeds would see it as a vast field. If I owned one, I don't know if I can walk that tiny dog with Maui as part of their daily exercise, but my daughter probably can. Now that I think about it, both the dog and my daughter can get plenty of exercise this way. My only problem is that Miniature Pinschers look so fragile. They don't "ragdoll" which is a problem for a kid who loves stuffed toys. I could imagine one wrong drop can break their legs.
Small energetic dogs like Miniature Pinschers also definitely need consistent training. I'm sure they are much easier to control since they are small, but I bet it would be cool to give them some agility training to take advantage of their stamina. In case my future tiny dog becomes overweight, I'm sure plenty of play and a good exercise routine will help with their weight loss if ever
All these must be considered if I'm to eventually own one. It's also not a bad practice to look ahead to these things.
Now, to prepare the house. Clara is likely only with her owner most of the time so this is going to be one heck of a culture shock for her. There are three humans, a large dog, three cats, and three kittens that are starting to run around. I worry about the kittens because Miniature Pinschers have pretty strong prey drives. In Germany, they were called "Zwergpinscher" which means "little biter" because they were meant to hunt down vermin. I deeply worry that Clara would see the kittens as vermin, so the first thing to do is set up the baby gate again, but this time I'll place my garden net on it to keep Clara from reaching them. I could just lock Clara up in the office the entire time, but I want that desensitization thing to happen, even if it means a little bit of trial by fire. All because I want to see how fast it would work, and also everything will be under my control. I can keep the other pets walled out, and I am sure my scrappiest cat, Mars will be curious about Clara. I think he would want to place with someone smaller than him but isn't a cat.
The strategy is to indeed keep Clara inside the office on the first day, or at least until she gets used to everything. Then, slowly introduce her to Maui. She will be coming here inside her crate, so we can minimize contact but maximize exposure.
I set up the baby gate and placed the net over it, securing it with some cable ties. I set it up and showed Friday so she can understand, but she still tried to call her kittens through the net. Since she can climb on it without breaking the net, it will withstand Clara's potential curiosity.
I went out into the garden and checked around, making sure there are no places she can accidentally get herself hurt. After a good hour of checking, everything seems ready.
All that's left is to go there first, then get some of her stuff, like the food and water bowl, and her dog bed. Bringing the dog bed is very important, as it will help Maui familiarize himself with Clara before she arrives tomorrow. So will the cats.
At this point, I think we'll end up getting a small dog. After all looking, I've done and the stories I've told my wife, she's already looking into a breed club that can net us a Mini Pinscher, mostly to check the prices. Hopefully, Clara's dynamite personality can show us if we want a Mini Pinscher to join our growing family.