Top Notch Toys February 2017


T o paraphrase an old saying, “So many dogs, so little time.” Choosing the breed and dog you want to live with for the rest of its life can be confusing. They’re all so cute (especially when they are puppies!) that I seem to want them all. But since that is not possible, here are some of the reasons you might or might not want my favorite breed, the Pomeranian. SIZE At 3-7 lbs. (but some are a bit big- ger), Poms are easy to pick up and car- ry around. They can fit nicely in your lap; in fact, two or three of them can fit at the same time. And most of them enjoy lap time. But they should also be given basic obedience training to keep them from becoming obnoxious. If you always carry a Pom, he begins to think that he is four or five feet tall, and may try to attack a much bigger dog. If he learns to walk nicely on a leash, he may notice that other dogs are bigger than he is. On the negative side, being small makes Poms a bit fragile, which means they are not for small children who don’t understand that if you pick up a Pom and then drop it, the Pom may break. This small size also means that your house fence must be totally secure. Pomeranians can get through the tiniest space imaginable, and then their boundless curiosity will take them through the neighborhood and across busy streets, where bad things can hap- pen. Do microchip your dog and always keep a well-fitting buckle or clip collar on him with an ID tag that has your phone number and address, just in case. ENERGY LEVEL Poms can be very energetic little dogs. They run, play and bounce around and if you have more than one Pom and an assortment of toys, watching them play can be like living in a zoo. They love going for walks (on leash, please), but long walks or running can tire

those small legs too much. Their ener- gy is not overwhelming and once they get past the puppy stage, they are willing to just chill until the next excite- ment comes along. Be aware that the excitement could be a noise outside to bark at, since barking is a definite Pomer- anian activity. Q: What do you get when you cross a Pomeranian with a giraffe? A: You get a dog that barks at airplanes! CARE Part of what makes Poms so cute is all that hair. But all that hair must be groomed regularly. A Pom should be brushed and combed down to the skin once a week to avoid mats. If a regular grooming schedule is followed, there will be little shedding around the house. If you take a dog to the groomer infrequently, the groomer will be the one who has to remove those painful mats and you will not be there to see that it is hurting the dog. Pomeranian teeth are also in need of frequent brush- ing and a yearly dental with your vet is a must. ACTIVITIES One of the easiest activities to do with your Pomeranian is Pet Therapy, visiting people in nursing homes and hospitals. This work comes naturally to Poms, who generally love everyone and are happy to go from one person to another being told how beautiful they are (which they already know, of course!). You can even get an AKC Ther- apy Dog title to add to your dog’s regis- tered name (see the AKC’s website for more information). Other activities that Poms love and can readily be trained for include Obedience, Rally, Agil- ity, and even Earthdog, Nosework and Flyball. The fact that they love to run and play and to investigate the world around them makes them naturals for these events, most of which have AKC titles to add to your dog’s name, which is fun. You may have a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts), but your dog can come right back

with his C.D.X. (Companion Dog Excel- lent) and other titles. Training your dog for these activities will create a bond between the two of you that you will never forget. HEALTH Any breed (and any mixed breed dog as well) has a tendency toward some health issues. One of the most common problems for a Pomeranian is luxating patellas, or floating knee- caps. If you get your dog from a good breeder, one who is trying to eliminate problems in the breed, you will have less likelihood of having to deal with this issue, which can require specialist surgery. Poms need regular veterinary checkups and immunizations, as well as heartworm prevention. A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A POMERANIAN I open my eyes, stand up and stretch. Look around. Yes, the house is still here. I know this is my doing, since I have been ready through the night to hear an intruder and chase him away. Now, where’s my Mom? Still sleeping? “Hey, Mom, time to get up! I need to go out!” I go into the yard and see an intrud- er. “Squirrel! Go away!” He goes away. I’m good at that chase business. Oh, yes, potty time. “Mom! Let me back in, I’m hungry.” Ah, that was good. Get some lap time while Mom drinks her coffee. Oops, she’s getting up, guess I’ll take a nap. She’s getting out the leash! We’re going for a walk! Spin. Twirl. Bark. Good walk. Now it’s training time. Yes, I can sit—cookie! I can heel—cookie! I love training. Nap time again. Oh, now she’s getting out my special leash for visiting those people in wheel chairs. I love those people; they pet me and laugh and tell me about the dogs they used to have. I wish I lived with all of those people at once. And so it goes when you have a Pomeranian; it’s life at its best.

64 • T op N otch T oys , F ebruary 2017

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