Today I was browsing through the pet section on Amazon, scoping out potential Christmas presents for the dogs-anything to get away from studying for my exam on Thursday. As I scrolled through the toys it became apparent to me just how different Hermione and Otis are. Sure, they're both puppies, but of different breeds and with very different personalities and play styles. My two puppies couldn't be more dissimilar if we had done it on purpose. The two look nothing alike, with Hermione having long, feathery fur and Otis's coat being very short and smooth. Hermione's ears flop and bounce when she runs and Otis's signature French Bulldog ears stick straight up off of his head. Hermione has long springy legs, Otis has short stumpy ones. Hermione is finely built and Otis is built like a brick sh** house. You get the point.
Their personalities are so different too.
Hermione is excited by everything in life. Leaves blowing in the wind, bugs fluttering just out of reach, smells along the path and crunchy fallen leaves she can frolic in. She even gets excited by things inside. She does take naps, but it's like she sleeps with one eye open, waiting for the next thing to happen. Otis on the other paw, is a lazy, snuggle in kind of guy who sleeps like the dead. Hermione plays hard, engaging in zoomies, launching herself from one couch to another and death shaking her toys; complete with her "wolverine" growl. Otis plays too, but more slowly and uses his paws a lot more. He likes to box and often waits for Hermione to go hurtling past to launch his attack. Despite their differences, both personality wise and physically, the two get along so well.
They love playing with each other and although I think Hermione would love it if Otis could run faster sometimes, the two are really sweet together. When Hermione finally decides to have a nap, you can guarantee she and Otis will more than likely be cuddled up together.
It's these personality differences that have challenged me with regards to training Otis. Hermione was always, and still is, ready to go. She never really had a problem learning to move in a forward movement when she was learning to walk on a leash. She was just so interested in everything around her that she wanted to go forward to see what was around the next corner. Sometimes she'd sit down or not really walk, but this was usually because she was tired and also when she was really small and something had made her unsure. Otis isn't interested in being outside. He'd rather be tucked in on the couch with a fuzzy blanket.
His refusal to move makes it difficult to get him out to socialise and to potty train. If you take him out and he doesn't feel like going anywhere, he just sits down and stares at you. I don't want to be one of those people that drag their dogs along behind them, and I don't, but I have no idea how to motivate him to simply move. I thought that if he saw Hermione and Roscoe running ahead he'd be more inclined to walk, but this just isn't so. It's something I've been working on with him and he is sort of getting better at it, but he seems to resent the leash and being forced to put his precious paws on the cold ground. I know part of it is because he's so young and small and because it's cold outside. I bought him a little skull and cross bone hoodie from Build a Bear to help with the chill, but I'm not sure this helped at all. Perhaps he should ask for a coat for Christmas.
With these differences in mind I picked out a puppy antler chew for Otis. He loves to chomp on his toys and enjoys more stationary play. Hermione's option was a purple Wabbah from Kong. It's a toy that squeaks, can be tugged and is great for death shaking. Ranger Roscoe selected a squeaky plush squirrel and all three requests were forwarded on to Grandma and Grandpa, who will be joining us this year for Christmas. I have a few other ideas for the dogs' gifts that will have to come from Santa Paws and Mr. K and I. Maybe I'll find something that speaks to Otis so much that he'll actually want to go for short walks.