People say the smaller the dog, the noisier it is and if you were here at this moment, believe me, you’d know it’s true. Of course, from a small dog’s point of view I suppose it makes sense – if he can’t protect himself with his size, then he’ll do it with his voice. What, though, of little dogs who bark and yap at bigger dogs, for no reason other than to make their presence felt?
Of the guests currently staying at Pension Milou, three come from the same family. First there is P, real name Pendragon, who is a nearly blind and totally adorable Parson Jack Russell Terrier. He knows his way around now but will still run full tilt into my calves if I stop suddenly when he’s following me. Mo is his pretty daughter and the third member of this party is the hero of our story, a Miniature Pinscher called BooBoo. Did I say hero? Of course I mean villain. And don’t let that baby name fool you, folks – this dog is a tiger.
BooBoo is tiny – around 3 kilos – yet he thinks he’s a Great Dane. I soon learned that opening the French windows to the garden and letting all the dogs out at the same time, which is what I usually do, wouldn’t work. BooBoo rushes out amidst a torrent of yapping and barking as he snaps at the other dogs. Poor dogs, they are bewildered. I don’t think for one moment BooBoo intends hurting them but they don’t know that and of course this is dangerous for him as one bite from a large dog, and we’d have one headless and very dead Min Pin. Imagine having to phone his owners who are on holiday in Australia and say, ‘So sorry, your dog’s head got bitten off by another guest.’ Truly it could happen. It’s my responsibility that it doesn’t and it’s stressful. Pass the migraine pills.
So now I pick him up before opening the doors – he still yells his head off – and I carry him to the far end of the garden before putting him down. It’s a little easier but it’s still necessary to be ever vigilant. BooBoo thinks he’s Boss Dog around here. We’ve had several heart-to-heart discussions about this and so far he’s not remotely interested in my point of view. I’ve never looked after a Min Pin before. Did I hear you say this might be the last? Of course, like most stories, there is another side. At night, when I’m lying stretched out on the sofa, leaning against a cushion and watching the box, BooBoo settles snugly on my stomach. Butter wouldn’t melt… And he’s a happy little fellow, loves nothing better than running about with a tennis ball in his mouth – how he gets a tennis ball into his tiny mouth amazes me. He plays with other dogs. Yes, when he’s not yapping and letting the world know how incredibly important he is, he’s adorable. When…
Now, he wears a citronelle collar. This is a collar with a small plastic box attached. The box is fitted with a battery, it’s filled with citronelle scented liquid and it has a tiny sensor, which, when he barks, emits a squirt of this spray. Most dogs hate it but not much stops our tiger. It has helped a little but, when he’s excited, he barks regardless of the spray. I looked up the website of the Min Pin club and it seems they are very barky dogs by nature and they confirm this is a breed convinced it’s bigger than it really is. It’s hard to break such strong habits, based on a natural instinct, so I think the best thing is to keep taking the medication. Pass me another aspirin.