What is your dog afraid of?

Me, scared? Nah. When I first came home to live with my mom and could practically fit in her hand, she said I was the most fearless little dog that she had known. I would explore nooks and crannies on my own. I was curious about every sight, sound and smell. I would run eagerly up to strangers and try to make friends, including pesky cats and squirrels. Even the rumbling of thunder and setting off of fireworks ddn’t faze me, because Mom always held and stroked me, all the while saying, “It’s okay, Lola, it’s okay.”

Now, however, aas I approach my first birthday, some things do spook me and I’m more cautious when experiencing new and strange encounters. I no longer run up excitedly to people I don’t know, nor do I like them coming  and petting me. Even Mom says, “Tsk, why can’t they ask for permission first?”

Uncle W (Mom’s dog trainer brother) says it’s all quite natural as I grow up.  Apparently as dogs mature, they do become more discerning and cautious. So I’m right to suss someone out first to make sure they’re friendly and mean me no harm. It takes me a while to warm up to people now, before I allow them to pet  or stroke me.

I think Uncle W’s labrador, Tar, is really brave. He came all the way from the Netherlands when he was a puppy. That airplane ride must have been terrifying for him but he made it in one piece. He’s being trained as a search and rescue dog, going into the jungles with Uncle W every weekend for training. He’s already taken part in a search rescue effort to look for a missing girl. He’s a hero in my eyes.

He and Uncle W have completed the first part of their certification and are now moving on to training in rubble areas. That’s so cool. So I was quite amazed to hear Uncel W say that Tar has a phobia about lightning and thunder. He has to spend time with the lab to quieten him down with a favorite toy (his preferred treat instead of food) every time there’s a thunderstorm. So there’s no telling what even a big, brave dog can be afraid of.

Maybe Uncle W needs to get an anxiety vest or thunder jacket for Tar, to calm him down. But then, he might not look so cool. (link to Lazada)

My mom says that I know no fear because I’ve had an uneventful, cosseted life from the beginning. I haven’t been abused (humph, what about the rolled up newspaper, Mom?) or been chased out onto the streets, having to fend for myself. I’ve never gone hungry or hounded by other dogs. Basically I haven’t wanted for anything.  Now my friend, Jamie, who’s a mixed breed pup who’s been adopted by Uncle R, is a rescue who’s been with him for a few months but is still frightened of a lot of things.

Every time I visit Uncle R, Jamie and I play together out in the garden, but while I love to be around my humans, Jamie is scared of them. She won’t talk much about her past but I gather that she’s a classic case of an abused dog. After a few months of gentle coaxing, Uncle R is only able now to stroke Jamie but through a protective barrier. Otherwise Jamie just runs away from him. He hasn’t been able to give her bath yet, although she’ll take treats from his hand. Progress has been made but it’s reaaally slow.

Because she won’t allow human contact, Jamie sleeps out in the garden by herself at night. She wreaks havoc there, tearing up anything she can lay her paws on, from shoes to clothes and toys. She has also dug up innumerable holes in the garden. Uncle R used to fill them up but has since given up because Jamie just won’t stop digging. I guess she has internal demons to deal with and compensates by being destructive. Otherwise she has the sweetest, gentlest demeanor.

Uncle W says it’s a good thing that I’m generally a confident dog, because scared and nervous dogs are harder to train. I suppose that’s true, especially in the case of Jamie. Uncle R says he’s been tempted to give up but nevertheless, he persists with Jamie. She is grateful that she now has a home in which she doesn’t have to worry about food or shelter, or being abused by other dogs and humans. She told me that once when the gate was left open, she ran out. But once she was on the street and realized what a big, bad world was out there, she quickly trotted back home herself. Whew!

I’m quite chuffed when Mom says I’m her brave girl, but can I tell you a secret? There are a couple of things I am afraid of. While thunder doesn’t scare me, I don’t like sudden sounds near me, like the backfiring of a car or a loud motorbike whizzing past. I also don’t like the piling sounds of consttruction sites if we happen to pass any. It’s good that Mom is always with me when those things happen and she reaasures me that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Oh, and there’s another thing. I don’t like moving reflections, especially at night. If I catch a glimpse of myself on the TV monitor or glass screen door, it kind of spooks me. The first time it happened, Mom was watching Game of Thrones, so she thought its was the dragons or the ominous music, but actually it was my own reflection that scared me.

Same thing with shadows. At certain times of the day when the sun casts long shadows, I think that my own shadow is some big, bad dog and that freaks me out. It’s even scarier at night when we come home and Mom wants me to go potty out in the courtyard. The streetlamps also cast long shadows, and they are very intimidating. Mom knows, of course, and laughs, telling me I’m just being a silly girl. So I do my business as fast as I can and and drag her off her feet.  “I’m all done, Mom. Let’s go home, okay? Come on, Mom!”

Why is exercise so important for dogs?

Loads of people think that dogs make great companions. Even Mom thought that and had visions of a dog who would lie quietly by her feet, looking up at her with adoration as she worked, or read or watched TV. Little did she realize that we dogs can be very active creatures, especially when we’re still puppies, and have loads of energy to burn off every day. We love to run,  jump and even do zoomies when the mood hits us.

My mom will be the first to admit that I’m a bundle of energy. She has struggled to keep up with me from the moment she brought me home. She has told people that she’s lost about 3 kilos  since she got me. And when she had her medical exam recently, her cholesterol has also come down by quite a bit. You’re welcome, Mom!

Having read up on all the dog advice, Mom learned straight away that exercise is the answer to lots of problems humans face with their dogs. When we’re tired out from exercising, we’re calmer and gentler creatures. Less cranky and manic. And we take to training much more easily too. And needless to say, our appetite and sleep also improve.

I remember one of the first times we went out to a park and bumped into a guy who told Mom that he had never taken his poodle out for a walk.  For years! And they live in an apartment! I felt so sorry for his poor dog. Whew! Thank goodness my mom takes me for walks every day. In fact, walks are probably one of the easiest ways to exercise us.

In fact, my mom is so diligent about walking me that we do it twice a day, without fail, come rain or shine. From the moment we wake up, or rather, when I wake her up gently by making tiny noises, we’re out the door. I can hear Mom muttering under her breath sometimes that the sun isn’t even up yet. From tiny, puppy steps, we’re progressing to walking around the condo and its surroundings twice. Multiply that by two times every day and Mom puts in about 5000 human steps. Imagine how many that is in much smaller poodle steps!

Mom is very good about letting me veer off our usual path to stick my nose in bushes, pillars and other corners, but she keeps me moving when I tend to lag a bit. When I was smaller, I was the one dashing here and there, rushing her off her feet. Now I’m a little more circumspect and take off at a mere trot instead. I do like to climb the steps in the courtyard and have a lie down in the sun. It’s nice out when I can watch the birds (and cats) but Mom hurries me along usually.

Even when it’s drizzling, we’ll still head off, darting from one covered area to another. Despite Mom’s best efforts, we still get wet. I love those times because it means I get to splash in the puddles without Mom yelling at me. She’s even looked into getting me a raincoat after we met a lady at the park who was taking her Alsatian for a walk and he had a raincoat on. He looked pretty cool. But Mom knows me too well and figures that if she put any protective gear on me, I would just struggle to get it off. So what’s a little rain? After our walk, Mom just wipes me down with a warm towel and if necessary, dries my hair with the hairdryer.

On our rounds, we do bump into other residents out walking their dogs, although no one is as diligent about walks as we are. Ask Mom and she can tell you the names of the other dogs but she has no idea who the owners are. She’s not very good at remembering human names. There are a few other poodles, like Bibo  who’s an annoying boy, and Layla, as well as Nala the beagle. With the three of us, Mom says it’s like living in Lala Land! There are a few other pomeranians and shih tzus, but they aren’t so friendly, and one is downright rude, if you ask me, always snarling and coming after me.

There are also cats. Boy, are there many cats. They seem to be out on their own all the time and don’t have to be on leashes. No fair. They can look ever so sweet and demure, but give them half a chance and they’ll pounce out at me and Mom. One ginger has scratched Mom before, so we give him a wide berth to the extent of taking another route home if he happens to lie right across our usual pathway. But in general I’m quite chilled about cats. My attitude is that if you do your thing and don’t invade my space, we can quite easily co-exist.

On our walks at the couple of parks we’ve been to, Mom has discovered that I love to climb. Just show me a slope and I’ll show you how fast I can dash up it. In the beginning Mom would trail after me, but she’s no match for me, especially when I’m let off the leash. I’ll do a mad scramble up and run along the slope itself. I must have been some sort of mountain dog in a past life, maybe a Bernese mountain dog? I quite like the idea of being Swiss! I love the sheer exhilaration of going up and down slopes, no matter how steep they are. Very unpoodle-like, I know, but hey, I never claimed to be a girly-girl in the first place.

Just last week, Mom discovered a grassy corner of the condo tucked away out of sight,  that’s surrounded by slopes on two sides. We checked it out, and because it’s secured and there’s no one around, she can let me off the leash. Oh, what fun I’ve had there. After just one visit, I know exactly where it is and will drag Mom to the stairs leading down to the garden. One section of the slope is very high, 20 feet at least. It’s also steep but that poses no problem for me. I’ll zip right up, and just to give Mom a little scare, perch right at the top before deigning to come back down.

As Mom always claims, exercise is the answer to most of misbehaving among dogs, and so she’ll always make sure I get enough of it. It’s really a win-win situation for the both of us, actually. So if you want a dog that’s happy, healthy, calm and well-adjusted, a dog that eats and sleeps well and has a good constitution, just make sure you exercise him!

Of course, being a poodle, looking goood is a must when we’re out walking. Mom has gotten a couple of great looking collars with matching leashes. Remember, I’m not the frou-frou type so no cutesy looks or rhinestone bling for me. No angel wings or frilly tutus either. Just a trendy activewear look. I especially like the collar and leash combo in red polka dots, because bright red goes very well with my coloring The collars are also personalized, so that I can be identified in case, God forbid, I go missing. Mom has also had me try out some harnesses which are supposedly more secure and don’t choke me if I pull, but generally I’m quite well-behaved in public and prefer a collar. Harnesses take forever to put on and I don’t like to waste time when we go out.

Kibble vs fresh? Raw vs. dehydrated? What should you feed your dog?

Like all dogs, I love to eat. When my mom first brought me home, I happily tucked into the kibble she bought me, something called Fish for Dogs. It smelled pretty good to me (meaning stinky) and I happily ate it for a while. They say that poodles can be very finicky when it comes to food, and I’m no exception. I must admit that while I was younger, I didn’t mind the kibble I was fed, but over time, I found that it was more of the “same old, same old”. Mom tried to entice with some new kibble, but even that  wasn’t so appetizing.

Mom did tell her friends that she only intended feeding me kibble. She said she didn’t understand all the fuss dog owners made over their dog’s food, cooking this, that and the other. In fact, that was what Uncle W, her dog trainer brother, advised her. “Kibble has all the nutrients a dog needs. Just make sure it’s a good quality product. Always read the ingredient list,” he said. He has had many dogs over the years and he only feeds them kibble. “In fact,” he added, “when I gave Tar a bone, he didn’t know what to do with it.” Poor Tar.

“What if she goes off her food and doesn’t eat?” Mom asked. “Just leave her food in her bowl. If she eats it, fine. If she doesn’t eat it, leave it there for no more than 15 minutes, then take it away. Try feeding her again at the next meal time. You can do this even over a few mealtimes if she’s stubborn. Soon enough, when she’s hungry, she’ll eat it. Don’t spoil her,” he repeated.

So she tried to take Uncle W’s advice when feeding me the kibble. Little did she know that I can be very stubborn, especially when it comes to food. When I didn’t touch the kibble for one, and then two or three meals, she relented and started adding some other food to make it more appetizing. Like I said, Mom can’t resist my puppy dog eyes.

First, it was a little bit of yogurt smeared on the kibble. Yogurt is great for dogs, especially their digestion, but make sure it’s plain and if possible, Greek yogurt without any added sugar. I love yogurt, but after a while, even that didn’t turn me onto the kibble.

When she asked the pet shop for advice, they recommended freeze dried raw meat. So she got some freeze dried beef, which is raw beef but freeze dried, which you can then rehydrate with some warm water. I loved it, and happily chomped everything down, but even that began to pall. I still like it though, when sprinkled over my regular food. Like I said, the stinkier, the better.(Sunday Pets Raw – Pet Lovers’ Centre)

So Mom had to eat her words (Eat, hehe, get it?) and buy some fresh meat and vegetables to cook them for me. First she mixed it with some kibble and I entertained that notion for a while, but then I would just eat the freshly cooked food and leave the kibble in the bowl. I just wore Mom down with my stubbornness and she waved the white flag.

She cooks different meats for me, alternating between beef, lamb and pork, because, as she’s discovered, I like variety. She fries the meat in a little coconut oil, because she knows that adds to the flavor, and coconut oil is good for me.  To these, she adds a variety of vegetables, incuding carrots, broccoli and beans, as well as sweet potato and pumpkin. She now remembers that I like a bit of variety, and the stinkier the food, the better. So she’s experimented with different additions, like liver and eggs. I love them all. Lately, I’ve been into fresh salmon.

Mealtimes are still a battle to get me to eat. On some days, I’ll happily go to my bowl and slurp up everything, to Mom’s delight. Other days, I pick at the food while Mom tries everything in her repertoire to entice me to eat. Don’t tell anyone, but she has followed me around the house with the food bowl, cajoling me to take a bite. She has also fed me by hand, morsel by morsel, all the while muttering, “Don’t tell Uncle W, okay?”. What can I say, poodles are picky eaters and I’m no exception.

I also like company at mealtimes. Usually at home, it’s just Mom and me and it can get boring (no offense Mom). But when I’m visiting with friends like Kiera, I like to see what she’s having for a meal and on occasion have snuck a bite or two out of her food bowl. What she’s having looks so much tastier than my own food. Mom relented once or twice and just gave me what Kiera was having (boiled chicken with veggies and kibble) and I wolfed everything down. Like I said, food tastes better with company.

When I was little Mom fed me a few meals a day, because my tummy was still small and could only hold so much food before I got hungry again. Now we’ve worked out a routine where I get fed twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. She used to give me the same food both times, but after some training, she now varies the two meals, just to make sure I eat up. There’s a kibble I like that Kiera has, so she keeps a supply of that as well to give me as and when. She’s still a little worried that the cooked food she gives me may not have all the nutrients I need, so she intends to consult with the food nutritionist about that (hehe sucker).

As Mom has discovered, there’s a bewildering array of kibble in the pet shops, ranging from the more affordable that’s probably mostly fillers like wheat and corn and very little in the way of nutritious meat. It doesn’t mean that the more expensive a food that it’s necessarily better. Mom has educated herself to read labels and check online what’s good for dogs. She’s also learned through trial and error what I like and don’t, and has had to give away big tubs of kibble that I turn my nose up at.

In addition to what you should feed your dogs, there’s also a list of foods that you absolutely should avoid for your pooches, but that’s a topic for another day, because I need to take a nap now.

How do you dog-proof your home for a new puppy?

The other day when Mom was out walking me (in fact I’m the one taking her for a walk. I just let her think it’s her idea. She’s kind of a control freak that way), a lady who owns a cat, Coco, asked Mom if she let me into the living room. (Apparently Coco is confined to the balcony area of their apartment when she’s indoors.) Mom laughed and said that I have free rein of the house. The lady looked quite taken aback. “But doesn’t the dog (hello I have a name!) get hair all over everything?”

Mom replied that that’s the reason she got a poodle, because we don’t shed. And besides, I’m very clean. She also didn’t let on that I can jump on her bed any time I want. I gave Coco a superior “So there!” look, although she didn’t seem to give a toss. Cats! Sheesh!

It’s true, I am allowed to roam everywhere in the house, although Mom closely monitors me in certain rooms where I have a tendency to explore more eagerly. Well, when you have bags of yarn lying all over the place (Mom crochets) who can resist having a rummage through?

Mom was quite worried at first about electrical wires lying around and placed most of them out of my reach. To be honest, I haven’t chewed any of them. They’re really not to my taste. She very considerately put some old shoes and slippers out for me to chew, and I did attack some of them (the smellier, the better) but nothing was quite as enticing as the house slippers on her feet. I went through a couple pairs of them, but really, the attraction has quite worn off. Some of her other shoes hold much more fascination for me, but dang, she has put them all in the shoe closet, out of my reach.

In fact, she has placed most things that might attract me out of harm’s way, like the wires. Oh ye of little faith, did you think I’d chew my way through them? Nah. I’m not interested in the toilet paper either, although that’s within reach. I’ve tried eating paper and no, it doesn’t taste even remotely good. Towels, now towels even though they don’t have any taste per se, are interesting texturally speaking. I love grabbing hold of a towel, be it from the bathroom, a floor mat or kitchen towel, and running with it as far away from Mom as I can. It drives her nuts!

When I was little (believe me, I could fit into the palm of her hand) she was afraid that I would take a flying leap through the railing on the balcony and land splat, three floors below. She got strong wire netting placed all round. I’ve never even gone near it and well, now that I’m fully grown, I wouldn’t make it through those railings anyway. (Hee hee, Mom didn’t know I was going to be plus-sized!)

Have I mentioned my, um, “accidents?” Whenever she’s asked how she house-trained me, Mom will proudly say, “Lola trained herself actually. Within a day of coming home, she knew how to use the pee tray herself. “ And that’s true, most of the time. Occasionally (very occasionally) however, I’ve had peeing accidents. On the carpet. On the sofa. And yes, on the bed as well. She thinks I do it on purpose, and can’t figure out why I do it when the pee tray is right there. She tells me that she’s read up on the problem and can’t find a cause. No, I don’t have a urinary infection, nor was I excited or frightened in any way. She claims it’s revenge pee on my part, sometimes, when she leaves me home alone, or ignores me for an extended period of time.

If you ask me, I don’t have a clue myself. It just seemed like good thing to do at the time.  She praises me like crazy when I do go in the pee tray, and even when my aim is a bit off and my pee ends up on the floor beside the tray. But I don’t really know what the fuss is. It’s just pee. When it happens on the sofa or bed, however, she goes ballistic and furiously blots up the liquid and sprays anti-stain and anti-odor spray all over it. She tries very hard not to scold me and it’s quite funny seeing her struggling to rein in her irritation. I just turn my puppy eyes on her and her yell just turns into an exasperated sigh. “Why, Lola? You know you’re not supposed to do that? Why can’t you just go in your tray?”

“Gee, Mom, what’s the big deal? All wiped up right? Now do I get a treat for having a cute face?”

Mom knew when she got me that it was going to be the end of her polished wooden floor and fabric-covered sofa. She’s also thrown out the carpet in the living room and rolled up her precious Turkish carpet in the bedroom. She tries to get me to eat my food in one area but I kind of like to wander around a bit when I’m eating, so there are bits of food lying around usually.

Mom was one of those dog owners who claimed at the start that she would only feed me dry dog food or kibble. Well, that idea went out the window soon enough when I refused to touch the stuff. I’ve trained her to cook fresh food for me, and also to vary the menu. So at any one time, I can have beef stew or shepherd’s pie or fishcakes. So you can imagine the trail of food all over the house. Mom has kind of given up wiping up every crumb. She just runs the vacuum cleaner over the floor every few days, and wipes whatever mess she encounters.

Mom’s a vociferous user of pet wipes. She wipes me down every time we come home after a walk, and wipes my mouth and paws after every meal. I don’t know what the big deal is about keeping my clean, but she says I have to stay clean if I want to come on her bed. Oh well, I suppose that’s a small sacrifice.

She also gives me a bath once a week. I’ll tell you all about my baths another time, but can you imagine my horror when we met up with some other dogs at the park and they told me that they have baths only every few months. Quelle horreur! Pardon my French but their BO was quite offensive.

So because I’m what is known as an indoor dog, and also Mom’s lap dog and sleeping partner, I’m pretty clean. Wait, have I told you about the time we spent at the beach and I kept diving into the sand. Not only was my face covered in the stuff, but I must have also ingested a few million grains of sand. Imagine Mom’s horror when she saw all the sand in my poop the next day. Clean dog huh?

What do you need to prepare when bringing a dog home for the first time?

Mom tells me that when she first laid eyes on me, she knew that we were meant for each other. Apparently she had a choice between me, a normal apricot-colored poodle pup, and a pure white, show-breed poodle. That one was a bit of a show off if you ask me, clambering over me to lick Mom’s fingers. I was a bit shy at first. Believe me, when you’re first taken away from the warmth of your birth mother and siblings at just 5 weeks old, you’d be more than a little frightened yourself. Despite the white poodle’s theatrics, Mom gravitated towards me. She said there was something about my eyes that made her melt. I can still do the googoo gaga eyes quite well to get my way with Mom. Works every time hehe.

Together with my mom that day was her brother, Uncle W, who’s a dog trainer. And he checked me out while she made cooing noises at me. Mom tried to engage me and I must say her fingers smelled interesting. And so I warmed up to her in no time. Apparently I met with Uncle W’s approval as well, something he said about my being structurally sound. Hurray!

I’m sure that some dog owners who pick up a dog without any preparation can make do with a cardboard box, some towels, and a bit of kibble. But Mom had about two weeks to prepare before she took me home with her. (Uncle W says that pups need to be at least seven weeks old before they can leave their mother.)

Walking into a pet shop was a first for her, as she hasn’t had a dog in many, many years. She says she couldn’t believe the range of products on display. And the prices! She had done her research and knew she needed some essentials. Feeding and drinking bowls, a crate for me to sleep in, as well as stuff like shampoo and conditioner. A pee tray and pee pads because she lives in an apartment and has no ready access to a garden. The vast array of dog food was totally bewildering so she took the advice of the pet shop and picked up a a bag of good quality kibble and some treats. She also got a harness and leash because she figured she’d have to bring me down to the condo courtyard to pee and poop. (Pet Lovers’ Centre)

Picking up some toys was the most fun for her because, well, who doesn’t like toys? The shop also recommended stuff that she hadn’t even considered, like a brush for detangling my hair (when she told them I was a poodle), and a carrier bag for taking me out and about because I couldn’t be exposed before I had all my vaccinations. They showed her some odor-eliminating spray for when I have “accidents” (I’ve had a lot of them. Jut ask Mom.) They also told her to get ready lots and lots of  pet wipes, paper towels, as well as old towels.

Mom will be the first to admit that she went a bit overboard with all the stuff (she’ll also admit to being a bit OCD). But honestly, when she finally did bring me home, I didn’t want for anything. Except well, toys. I would never say no to more toys.

Mom did pick up more stuff after I moved in. A modular pen that she confines me to when she needs to keep me out of harm’s way. That’s what she says, by the way, like when she’s cooking and doesn’t want me underfoot. I think she’s a big old meanie to stick me in the pen sometimes for when I misbehave (her words, not mine) and need a time out. But actually I don’t mind it too much. It’s got my water bowl and pee tray. When Mom goes out and leaves me home alone, she makes sure I have some toys and treats as well, so I’m pretty well set. (More on that later)

So that’s just the stuff you should buy when you bring a puppy home. Mom will also say that it’s a good idea to puppy-proof your house, like put away your shoes, wires, basically anything that we dogs might like to sink our teeth into. You humans might say that we’re being destructive but it’s just our way of exploring the world. I mean, who can resist a stinky old shoe, right? If presented with one, or two, who wouldn’t want to chew away at it?

Mom also had to make sure that all available holes and spaces that I could crawl into or over or through (and go plunging three floors! Remember, I’m not a cat.) were secured with wire netting. In the months since we got home, she’s had to make some adjustments, like tying up all the curtains out of my reach. Again, meanie! I’ve heard her telling others that basically I’ve been pretty good about chewing all through my teething phase. She did provide lots of chew toys as well as some old shoes for me to gnaw at. I haven’t chewed any of the furniture or wires. I know that other dogs can attack the strangest objects, like door frames, table legs and even car rims. When people ask her if I bite, she just smiles and says I only bite her. She does have the most delicious ankles!

As I said, it’s been a learning curve for both my mom and me ever since she brought me home. We’re both still adjusting to each other, but as far as preparing the home for me, I give her 5 stars. Good job, Mom!

Wouldn’t you like to find out about dogs – from a dog?

Are you a dog owner, or hoping to be one soon, and have all these questions about dogs, like “What’s the best way to house train a puppy?” or “How many times does a dog normally pee and poop?” Well, rather than read up on what the dog experts have to say, or watch all the dog training youtube videos, wouldn’t it be nice to hear it firsthand from a dog herself? Well, now you can, because I, Lola the poodle, am here to answer all your doggie questions.

As you can tell from my name, I’m a female poodle. I live with my mom and it’s been just the two of us since she brought me home when I was just seven weeks old. Home is what the humans call an apartment. We have to head downstairs for some grass every time I go potty which is a pain for Mom, but I love it. Beats going in the stupid pee tray she has set out for me in the house.

Now I know, you’re asking, “Lola, what kind of poodle are you? Standard, mini, toy, teacup?” Well, on my birth certificate it states that I’m a toy, but I stand at about 12 inches at the shoulder, so I guess I’m not going to be a poster child for toy poodles who are all teeny tiny and oh so dainty. To my face, my mom says I’m big-boned, but she whispers to others behind my back that I must be a plus-sized toy. Hey Mom, I can hear you. Oh, whatever. I’m not fussed about my size. Like Mom’s friend, Aunty V says, There’s just more of me to love!” So there.

I’m what the folks in the business call apricot-colored. You’ll see from my photo that I’m kind of a dark honey-blonde. Poodles come in all kinds of colors, from pure white to grey and black, but I like my color and so does Mom. People keep saying that I look like a teddy bear and that’s fine by me. I haven’t met a real bear so I wouldn’t know.

I know dog owners are sometimes stumped when it comes to the doggy world. When she first got me, Mom read up furiously on all the dos and don’ts and asked for advice from friends with dogs. She made many fumbles in the beginning, but she’s gotten wiser over time, trusting her instincts more. I’ve also gotten better at co-existing with her, letting her know my preferences. In fact, when B, her human son, came home for a visit, he said to me, “Good job, Lola, you’ve got her well-trained!”

Of course if you have a serious problem with your dog, seek immediate help from your vet. What I’m sharing here are just my thoughts, but hey, what do I know, right? I ‘m just a dog. But if you’re interested about finding out what our likes and dislikes are, from a dog’s perspective, and what you can do to make our lives (and yours, by default) better, come by and find out more at happybarker.