tiny black puppy with a toy bone
breeds,  dogs,  puppies,  senior dogs,  training

When She Was a Puppy

Baby Dogs

When I brought Deuce home I was worried that Kiera would hate her. Kiera was a brilliant, and dominant dog who tolerated other dogs so long as they understood their place in the pecking order.

Kiera obviously didn’t think this little one was going to stay with me full-time, lest she definitely would have put up a fight. As it was she mostly ignored the puppy when I brought her for a meet and greet. (A few days later she realized the truth and jumped on the bed and pooped from my pillow to the foot-board to demonstrate her true feelings.)

Mistake #1 – Assuming dogs of the same breed are alike

I was enamored with Deuce from the get-go and presumed that because she looked so much like Kiera did at the same age that they would have similar personalities.

I know, rookie mistake. Still I didn’t have human children and despite having been a human child myself, I made the assumption that having a similar gene structure would mean that my dogs would act similarly.

Kiera had practically potty-trained herself in a week. She was a fastidious dog, which is a trait found in many Chow-chows. If she could have she would have vacuumed and dusted the house herself.

I quickly realized that although the rescue said Deuce’s mother was a Chow, whomever was her daddy was anything but! I’ve since determined that she’s part Chow, Lab, Border Collie or Belgian Shepherd and 100% goofball.

Mistake #2 – Assuming that the big dog will train the little dog

Where I got that idea is beyond me, but I seemed to think that Kiera would bop Deuce on the nose when she got out of line and would take her around the house, show her what not to chew and how to ask to go outside to pee.


As I’ve indicated, Kiera wanted to get rid of the interloper and is probably responsible for the horrific time we had potty-training. (Yes. I’ve seen the “Secret Life of Pets.”

That little puppy in the picture would jump into her bed and look me in the eye and pee! As soon as she could jump on the couch she’d do the same thing.

All I could do was swear to myself that I would never again get a puppy! The more I focused on her NOT PEEING – the more she peed everywhere but outside.

What I learned from Potty Training

puppy mistakes I made when training

I’m a spiritual person and I like to find the lesson in things that make me crazy. (I’ve had lots of lessons in case you’re wondering.)

The more I focused on NOT PEEING the more my dog seemed to focus on PEEING. I’ve heard it said that focusing on what you don’t want is enticing the Universe – in that it doesn’t hear the negative. So when I was focusing on NO PEE the universe in the form of my puppy was hearing PEE.

In the end I started focusing on the joy of the puppy and paying closer attention to her cues, (which were very different from Kiera’s cues) so I could take her out and then focus on letting her take care of business there.

This has been so useful throughout our lives. Now I constantly remind myself to focus on what I do want (both in life and with my dogs) and find ways to mitigate the things I don’t want.

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Writer and dog lover, helping pet-related businesses tell their stories.


  • Dori

    I love your story about bringing Deuce home and Kiera’s reaction to her. I am a big dog lover and have had many over the years. I currently have 4. Sometimes the new ones fit right in with the pack and sometimes there needed to get an adjustment period. Just like hunan families I suppose 🙂 Thank you!

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