In part 2 of my three part series How to Find the Right Dog for You, I recount how Bijou settled into my home - a die-hard cat person and transformed me into a dog lover.
Becoming a Dog Lover
I had just adopted my first dog - “Anthony” from the rescue organization K-9 Rescue for my mother as a surprise to keep her company. While the dog was technically for her, I knew I would be taking care of him.
My mother was thrilled when I brought him home. We quickly renamed him Bijou in a nod to our Haitian heritage.
Bijou fit in with our family very fast and he apparently knew just how to “train me." He was very vocal about his likes and dislikes.
For example, on his first night with us, I left him downstairs in his crate. He barked and whined so much that I moved the crate into my room. He still protested so I allowed him to sleep on my bed and that’s where he’s slept ever since.
Whenever he wanted to be petted, he butted his head under my hand. When he wanted attention or to play, he would come up to me and growl or bark. If he wanted to ride in the car, he would stand in front of the door. Once opened, he would run to the car door and jump up to “open" the car door himself.
In other areas, he had to be trained. Initially he was an escape artist, the kind of dog who gets out of his harness easily. Several times I had to chase after him or stop traffic to keep cars from running him over!
But Bijou has proven to be a quick study. I learned that dogs respond to commands, tone and sound of voice. So saying a firm “Back” keeps him at a safe distance from the door. When I say “Let’s Go!” - a trick I learned from watching the show It’s Me or the Dog - he knows it’s time to leave or go for a walk. My mother has even taught him to relieve himself in our backyard off leash and return home on command.
Overall Bijou’s temperament was perfect because he is calm, sweet, affectionate and fairly sedentary. He was exactly what my mom and I could handle and need.
As I quickly learned, dogs are wonderful companions too. In addition to getting along with my household’s human residents, he gets along with my cat Nairobi too.
Of course it was trial and error to get Bijou to listen to me. But I also took time to train myself on how to interact and train dogs too. Here are some of the resources I used to help me:
What resources did you use to help you train your new dog? Share your stories here of course. And come back next Thursday for the last part of the series where I share in pictures some of the ways that I've become a dog person.