What can I say about this little Pomeranian, ‘Joey Butters’. I haven’t always been the biggest fan of ‘pocket-book dogs’, but something about this little guy intrigued me from the start. When I first met Joey, he growled at me and made it clear that he wanted nothing to do with me. Even though it was just a Meet n Greet, it was the first time a prospective client had reacted that way to me. I quickly assumed that the guest would choose another sitter, but I was surprised to learn that this was actually one of the more positive reactions he had when meeting someone new! Apparently Joey was just a very spoiled little guy who was used to being doted on by his mama, and he demanded only her attention. I was also warned that he could be very difficult when trying to put his harness on, and the owner wished me luck with that – expecting it to be a huge challenge for me while she was gone.
After about an hour with me, he started to come around. A couple of treats and an encouraging tone of voice caused him to warm up a bit, but I was still a long way from getting him to listen when it counted. Joey just needed a clear indication of who was in charge. With a firm yet gentle approach, he accepted me as his leader and would submit whenever I approached him holding his collar. With the competition for dominance clearly over, he completely relaxed and formed a close bond with me. He followed me everywhere, and slept in my lap whenever I sat on the couch. If you watched the video, you can see how happy he was whenever I returned. That could have been after I was gone for 5 minutes or 2 hours!
I’ve hosted Joey at my home several times now, and hope to see him again soon. The real punchline of the whole first visit was when his owner came to pick him up. She knelt down and called out to him, yet he growled at her from behind my leg. I literally had to hold him back, as he was really getting agitated. It was as if he’d declared me his new master and this person coming to get him was now the enemy! It was a pretty funny interaction, but he quickly settled down and reluctantly went home with his mama.