Female, 5 years, chihuahua X, 11 lbs
Poppy (Doliah) is such a bright and eager pup. She's extremely loving and such a cuddle bug. Once she trusts you, she'll crawl right into your lap (or whatever part of you is available) and lean for some pets. If you're too high up for her to do that (e.g. in a chair), she'll balance on her hind legs, trying to get your attention. If you only have one lap, she'll find a way to make herself fit on what's available. She'd rather cuddle than do pretty much anything else--I even catch her cuddling her toy monkey when she doesn't have access to me. If you let her, she'll fall asleep in your lap and stay there for as long as she's allowed.
Her trust is not given easily, which makes it all the more valuable once you've earned it. It takes repeated introductions over time while following careful instructions in order for her to be comfortable in your presence, so potential adopters should expect at least two meetings. She will growl at strangers who get too close and bark if they overstep her boundaries. I've never seen her nip anyone, but the potential for it is there if someone doesn't heed her warnings. For this reason, a household with kids would not be ideal and an adopter with a calm and quiet home who understands anxious dogs would be best for her.
She's never properly met a dog yet, but just hearing them bark when she's on a walk will spook her and she may bark back or try to run away--you'll definitely need a firm grip on her leashes (I'm pretty sure she'd be able to slip her collar if I didn't also have her leashed in a harness). She may do alright if carefully introduced to a very calm and quiet dog, but no guarantees. She wants to chase cats, birds, and squirrels, so would do best in a home without small animals.
If you need a watchdog, Poppy's your girl! She loves to duck under the curtain to look out the window and have her tail sticking out from under the curtain. Cars and even sirens won't phase her, but any approaching pedestrians may get a warning bark. Sometimes she hears a neighbour outside the front door or neighbour dogs barking and will growl or bark at the potential intruder, but calms down pretty quickly when led away or her focus is redirected.
She's only had two accidents in the house, both times when I wasn't home and she was being dogsat. Both times were in her first week with me and I don't know if they were because her schedule was mixed up, because she was still nervous in her new environment, or because she was unsure about her dogsitter. However, she hasn't had an accident in the two weeks since, never with me or when home alone. She won't signal you when she needs to go, so make sure to take her out regularly.
She does well in her kennel, though it may take some bribing to make her go in when she doesn't feel like it. She will go in when she's tired and it's bedtime, or for the promise of pets if your hand can fit through the bars. Otherwise she's pretty food motivated and some kibble will do the trick, too, which will be great for when she starts training. She may whine here and there, or paw at the door to be let out, but these are usually half-hearted and don't last long before she's lying with her monkey and snoring. She sleeps in her kennel in my bedroom and has slept through the night for every night but one. I've even left the door open and she'll willingly stay there through the night until she hears you wake up.
She gets sad when left alone, though it's not full separation anxiety and she's getting better. She whines for the first few minutes before eventually settling down. When I get back, she may whine for pets and will often hop around in her excitement, but has been learning she doesn't get any attention until she sits down and waits patiently. She can be left home alone in the kennel or free range. I've never come home to anything more than a fallen dog gate--she hasn't gone through cupboards, garbage, had accidents, or chewed anything, and is very happy to lie on the couch until you're back. Her adopter will need to keep up separation anxiety training so her good behaviour continues.
She's unsure about balls and toys that squeak, but she still loves to play! She's got the energy of a puppy and loves to do zoomies around the house with you, and when you settle down, so will she. When I'm at my desk, she'll curl up and sleep for hours, even when my computer's sound is on or the radio's playing. She likes to shake her monkey around on occasion but is calm most of the day when left alone. I take her for afternoon walks, but as she's settled in, she has gotten a lot better at waiting patiently until the end of the work day and with her housetraining record, I can see her eventually being able to be left alone for a whole work day. Although pee pads couldn't hurt and she'd love a lunchtime walk if possible, a morning walk and a walk after work may be enough for her, in addition to some time outside before bed.
She's great on her leash when walking on sidewalks or paved pathways. With grass, gravel, or dirt paths or roads, she wanders a lot more. Like any dog, she'll sniff at things that catch her attention and may try to eat anything that resembles her kibble (including dead bugs or bunny scat). She hasn't chewed on anything she shouldn't; I've only seen her nibble at herself when itchy (we can thank Calgary's dry climate for that), and she chewed her blanket once on her first day, possibly as a self-soothing method, then never again.
A funny thing about her is that she prefers to sit on blankets, carpets, rugs, or people, if available. She will avoid sitting on floors unless she has no other option. She also doesn't like cold and wet weather, and will not go for very long walks on rainy days. She had a strong dislike for her bath, too, (though she still tolerated it) and I expect her reaction to snow would be about the same. As a chihuahua, she'd benefit from a coat or sweater to keep her warm in cold weather, and booties. (As a rule of thumb, if you need a sweater, she'll need a sweater.) I haven't put any clothes on her yet, but one of her favourite games is getting out from under any blanket or towel I put over her as fast as she can (drying after bath time was an adventure), so I can only imagine what her reaction to clothes and shoes would be.
Overall, Poppy is so sweet, a lot of fun, and has so much love to give. With a bit of patience and a lot of love, Poppy is set to be the perfect pup for someone. (Doliah on the BARCS website)
Doliah is being fostered in Calgary.