Candy + Bagel

Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung


Other Obsessions: Candy & Bagel

Other ObsessionsJean ChungComment

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should, and then enter the Giveaway Contest!), you know that I frequently take photos of my dogs, Candy and Bagel.

Right now, I am obsessed with getting them ready for the baby coming in March. They're mostly easygoing, they spend most of their days napping and don't really bother us that much. But each of them has one or two things that I'd like to work on before the baby is here.

For Candy, she loves to cuddle with us. Usually, that's really cute, and she's not an incessant cuddler or anything, and has never really been a problem. She sometimes falls asleep in her own bed at night, but I would find her next to me in the middle of the night. This hasn't really been a problem, but when the baby is here and I have to get up often to feed or change him, Candy's being there right next to me doesn't seem like a good idea. 

So for the past 2~3 days, I have been very adamant about her sleeping in her own bed throughout the night. She's a sneaky one, though. The first night was really tough--she kept jumping up to our bed no matter how many times I made her go back down (at least she listens 90% of the time; the other 10% of the time, it's not too hard to move a 6-lb chihuahua out of your bed). I must've made her go back to her bed 10 times the first night.

Last night was a little bit better. I found her on my bed just once. She came up and slept next to me, and when I got up to move her, she ran to the edge of the bed and tried to tell me with her puppy eyes: "I'll be good, I promise, I won't bother you!" I almost gave in, but remembered that this was for the good of EVERYONE: the baby, my husband, ME, and the dogs. She didn't come back up for the rest of the night. 

I hope to work on her barking at the doorbell next. We're going to put up a sign at the door that there's a newborn so please don't ring, but just in case, I would LOVE to train her not to bark at the doorbell so that she doesn't wake up the baby when I want the baby to be asleep!

Bagel's problem is more tricky and requires more long-term training. Bagel is like your sweetest, dream-come-true kind of dog. He doesn't bark, he listens, he respects you, he walks behind you, gets excited when you come home but doesn't jump on you. 

But he is an insecure dog when it comes to socializing. When we first got him, he did okay with other dogs, and even smaller dogs. But for some reason (probably me getting nervous about being around the dog park for the first time), when we took him to the dog park, he started snapping at other dogs. We tried a couple of trainers who saw him and asked, " what's wrong with him?" because they just couldn't figure out how this calm, submissive dog can bite other dogs. They just said he might be insecure and was guarding his resource (food, his human family, etc). Bagel has snapped and bitten Candy about 5 times now, and I don't want something like that to happen again with the baby around. 

I just watched Cesar 911 on Netflix over the weekend, and thought I should give Bagel another try at socialization. Agility class, maybe? It would be something we can do together that would release his anxiety and build up confidence every time he passes through obstacle. I am thinking about taking Bagel to the dog park again tomorrow and try slowly again -- maybe just park at the dog park, then take him out to the street by the dog park, and walk with him with lots of treats... And then when he's calm, we could move inside the gate (but still stay outside the dog park), to condition him to think that the dog park is a positive place. I also need to assure myself that I can be calm around him and other dogs.

Bagel's problem is "easy" to fix, by not letting him near other dogs, but the last thing I want to do is causing him to be miserable just because his human (me) can't figure out what to do with him and wants to take the easy way out. I also need to make sure that my training techniques will work on him just in case he doesn't react well to the baby (although he did okay with Candy in the beginning).

The more I think about dog training, the more I believe a lot of dog training skills can be applied to human babies too, such as staying calm and assertive when your furry babies misbehave, not giving up, and not giving in.