Pico's Story

Pico was rescued to be a nice, low-key, companion dog for us and Gilda. He luckily did turn out to be a nice dog, but low-key, he is NOT! I was not much of a small dog fan because I believed that small dogs were yippy, biting, and generally un trainable. I couldn't have been more misinformed! Much to my surprise, Pico is now my Agility Partner and runs CPE Level 1/2 with me. He is very operant, loves to work, and is a pretty fast runner despite his little bowed chihuahua legs. His DNA test revealed some Miniature Pinscher and his bold, bright personality makes me believe that this may be in the mix. It was a wonderful fluke that we got him! Here are bits of his story from recent to oldest:
{Skippy the Chihuahua
mix on Petfinder.com}

{Chillaxin' with the SissyG}

February 25, 2012: It's been 8 months today since we adopted Pico! He has officially begun his own private Agility lessons so we will continue to plot his progress on the AgilityNovice.com site right along with Gilda. Although Agility was not in my original plan for Pico, he *LOVES* everything about it so far so we'll see where it takes us! Although he is a fairly obedient dog, he is not always predictable with strangers so I'm not sure if he'll ever be Therapy Dog material. We'll keep working though because I think lots of people (kids especially) would really get a kick out of his huge ears... See you on the Blog!

December 15, 2011: It seems that Pico is going to need his own blog! All is going well. We switched Pico to Wellness Small Breed and his kidney levels came right back to normal range. No more high protein for him! His latest health issue is his Anal Glands (AG)! Our old guy Bruno had considerable AG issues and we ended up having his removed when he was around 3 years old. Pico often reeks of AG aroma, and scoots. We have also found small drops of the foulness on the floor too! I am starting with a home remedy first: adding canned pure pumpkin to his meals to increase the bulk of his stools. He and Gilda both LOVE the stuff and will eat it cold. In fact, they both eat that before their kibble! I am starting off with about 1/8c. at each feed and we'll see how it works. In researching AG issues, some folks can't say enough about Virgin, unrefined Coconut oil for dogs so we're trying that as well. It's supposed to help with doggy odor and bad breath too and lord knows Pico needs help with that! As far as training and Agility, little Pico is a machine. He is bold and fearless and seems to understand just what he is supposed to do. As far as I know, no one has done agility with him before. He continues to love clicker training and is working on a beautiful 'stand up' right now. We are also working on his stay with Linda's help. All is going well in Pico's world...

November 9, 2011: Pico is doing great... In most areas. He is now very well housebroken and hasn't had an accident for longer than I know. He is more willing to be crated too. He still can't be left alone because he is constantly looking for (and getting into) trouble. Some days it's just shredded tissues or paper towels, other days it's a shoe, a highlighter, or my 2 year planner! He had a great agility class tonight and was willing to take a jump and a tunnel! he is also willing to run down a raised teeter with no fear. He was introduced to the channel weaves tonight and was willing to run through them to me a few times. He still had running-off episodes but I was able to corral him more easily than in past weeks. He still loves to train but I am having increasing issues with impulse control. He tends to want to quickly go through his tricks rather than 'think' about what I'm asking for. I need to get working on enrolling him in a class for a little help. We are also having issues with him guarding the house with Gilda. He did the same at my Mom's when strangers came in. Not a good development and we are looking at ways to help.
{Me & sweater Boy}

October 7, 2011: Pico is making some good strides after being here for 3 months. He is finally learning what to chew and what not to chew (although tissues and napkins are still irresistable) and he's only having accidents when we leave him in the laundry room. His separation anxiety is still pretty severe and he shreds anything he can reach and refuses to chew on his favorite bully sticks or stuffed kongs until we get home. He continues to *LOVE* clicker training. He is conditioned to sit to have his leash put on or taken off which is very cute and he's made great strides in his willingness to be kenneled for car rides and at agility class. Loose leash walking is coming along but heeling is a little tougher for him. He has also made huge improvements at Doggy Daycare thanks to Cheryl's willingness to work with us. I have taken him to the facility a few times now with Gilda. Initially he is a little stressed and growly. Once the other dogs settle down, Pico is able to enter the Daycare area and happily play. His first inclination seems to be to growl when he is scared or stressed so we are still worried that he may growl at the wrong dog and get bitten. He really does well there for a little dog and both Cheryl and I feel that he'll eventually be able to do well there. Considering his first attempt there, I am really proud of him! I can tell already that cold weather is going to be an issue for him. For now, he is very content to spend time alone outside just sitting in a sun spot! He is quite a character and tons of fun to have around...

{Hanging with his favorite (and
very tolerant) sister}

September 22, 2011: So Pico is good and Pico is bad... 2 days before we were to leave for vacation, he managed to find mouse poison and eat it. Luckily, he didn't gulp it down and I found him with it. I rushed him to the vet's office and they induced vomiting with hydrogen peroxide and prescribed Vitamin K just in case any got further into his system. As usual for Pico, it was another large vet bill! He did well at the kennel while we were away. We asked that he and Gilda be put together and then we hoped and prayed that he wouldn't drive her crazy! The kennel staff reported that he was never quite ready to come in from playtime and that he peed through the fence at night. Oh, and he chewed his bed... otherwise he was good! And that pretty much sums him up: He's rotten but still so lovable. Like Gilda, his antics make me laugh daily. He is my constant companion and is a bright and happy dog. I feel badly now that I never used to like small dogs. Housebreaking is coming along. He only pees when he's crated. He is nice to everyone he meets and to most dogs. We are making progress with his Doggy Daycare participation. He now goes in and plays but we still haven't left him there for any length of time. That's the report from Pico's world!


September 3, 2011: I can't believe it's been so long since I've written an update on Pico! The little guy continues to do well with housebreaking and is otherwise quite a spitfire around the house. He is very catlike and is into just about everything he can reach so he still spends time in the laundry room when we are not here. He still has horrible separation anxiety but few other issues Pico is now 7.5 pounds and looks great. He is well muscled and very energetic. He easily walks a 3 mile loop with Gilda & me and seems to really enjoy it. He still needs much work on leash manners but a tiny harness has helped as his neck seems very sensitive. Pico has had 2 agility training sessions now both of which went very well. He is willing and able to run a board and send through tunnels. He has just started on jumps and the dog walk. He is smart, fast, and fearless all of which help him! 

{together on a rainy day}
He is also doing better with Doggy Daycare thanks to Cheryl and her willingness to work with us. The last time we went, he was able to hang out and play with all of the other dogs so we made some real improvements. He went to his first Farmer's Market yesterday and was fine with the tight crowds and all sorts of people (big and little) petting him. He was also interested in an enormous intact male English Mastiff which was quite amusing. Sadly, I was without a camera! Overall, he is a great addition for all of us.

{Visiting Pappy-Wap}
Tuesday August 9, 2011: Pico is a bright little dog and is adapting more and more to his new home. I finally broke down and ordered some 'belly bands' and some extra waterproof pads and wouldn't you know he had his first no-accident work day ever! He loves loves loves clicker training and will perform his tricks in public even if there are no treats available (his sister is not so eager to work for free). He and Gilda play a few times a day and seem to enjoy each other although sometimes it's hard to tell if they are really having fun. Pico continues to want to control both his and Gilda's treats, toys and food but Gilda is more and more often found with something Pico just had too. Pico's recall is getting much more reliable as he seems more confident that good things happen when he comes. We are working on 'stay' and leash walking now both of which are often harder to train. Pico's separation anxiety is also improving and he no longer spends 20 minutes searching the house and howling when I leave him with Mike. I think he's finally starting to realize that he has a home...
Monday August 1, 2011: We have all survived the first month with a new dog! Pico's saving grace is that he really is a nice dog. He has been very friendly with everyone he meets. On the second trip to the dog park, he did great! He ran and played with up to 7 other dogs with no signs of aggression at all. It may have been all the barking and activity that set him off at Doggy Daycare. Last night, Gilda ran off chasing some critter or another and there went Pico up over the train tracks! Apparently, Gilda is too fast for him and he turned around and came back to us. Gilda came home after whatever it was got to be boring...
We are working on 'come' and 'stay'. Pico is doing somewhat better with not peeing while I am gone...

{Pico & Zoe at the dog park}

Tuesday July 26, 2011: It seems little Pico had a UTI! We are hoping (but doubtful) that this was a cause of his incontinence. He continues to do well while someone is with him to let him out but always pees when he is left alone!!! He and Gilda went with me to the pet store (for puppy pads and Nature's Miracle!!!) and then to the dog park. He did well with 2 Boston Terriers and then with 2 Shih Tzu's. I was very happy. No signs of aggression or anything. He was also fine when held by a 9-ish year old girl. There may be  hope for him attending doggy daycare after all! He continues to be proficient at sit, down, belly, and paw. We continue to work on come and stay. He also traveled with us to visit his Pappy and he did great. No accidents, no barking, and fine with 3 boys. Good Boy Pico!
Saturday July 16, 2011: Pico goes to Cheryl's to try and get used to the smells and sounds of Doggy Daycare. Once again he fails for growling at Katie puppy! He still loves clicker training and now has verbal cues for sit, down, and paw. His 'come' is unreliable at this point. He and Gilda continue to play well and seem to feed off of each other and protect each other. Pico continues to be terrified of crates and continues to pee in them each time he is confined. Tonight he learned how to use Gilda's magic food ball in 2 seconds flat and seemed to love it.
Monday July 11, 2011: Pico goes to Linda's to have his teeth cleaned. They are already remarkably cleaner from 2 weeks of bully stick chewing. After the dental, his toofers are bright white and shiny!! I have a funny thing about dog teeth and think owners are better off keeping them clean than dealing with abscesses, infections, etc. I am still proud that Bruno died with all of his own teeth at almost 14 (it doesn't take much). Anyway, Pico apparently tried to bite Linda because he didn't want her to see his tartar but otherwise was well behaved. He was thrilled to see that  I had come back for him and is happy to be home. Linda and staff agree that age 2 is a good guess. Maybe we'll give him a July 4th birthday...
Sunday July 10, 2011: April & I took Pico to Edinboro for 2.5 days and he was stellar! I can no longer even joke about sending him back so it looks like he's here to stay. We had no room in the car for the crate so he slept on April's lap the whole way there Friday night. We were up until about 1:00am and then he slept until 6:00am which gave us time to get ready for the big yard sale. During the sale, he was quiet and spent a lot of time just sitting on my lap looking all cute. I was thrilled to find that he was great with kids. He growled and got barky once because a big chocolate lab was nearby. Apparently it's big dogs he has issues with. He was really a joy to have around. He had ZERO accidents while we were there and barked very little. Gilda can no longer go to Mom's because all of the activity is too much for her and she does nothing but bark, growl and snarl the entire time which really isn't all that much fun for anyone. When we got home this afternoon, Gilda nd Pico seemed thrilled to see each other and have been having intermittent play sessions ever since. I think the break was good for both of them. I will be amazed if Gilda doesn't break Pico's leg at some point!
Friday July 8, 2011: I spoke too soon on the housebreaking thing! Pico had an accident Wednesday afternoon and then peed in his crate twice yesterday. Ugh. I've been trying to capture his bark with the clicker but he really only alert barks for things going on outside and I usually don't have quick clicker access when he does. His sit is reliably on cue now (and very cute). He is not getting 'down' or 'paw' but we're continuing to work. He is able to chew his bully stick with Gilda nearby and will even tug with her without growling now. Also very cute. Gilda stepped on  him today causing 15 minutes of total right rear leg lameness followed by running around like a maniac. Go figure. He continues to be both a joy and a royal pain. He will travel with us to Edinboro tonight for the weekend so we'll see how that goes...
Wednesday July 6, 2011: Pico seems to have gotten the hang of going to the door to go out and pee! This is a major victory especially if he wants to continue to live here. He will speak to get back in but we are still working on the 'let me out' speak! It looks like 'sit' will be his default behavior like Gilda. So far, 'down' is not a favorite position for Pico!
Tuesday July 5, 2011: Pico loses it at his first try at Doggy Daycare. Cheryl agrees that I can leave him there in his crate to start. Cheryl calls my cell phone within 5 minutes to say that Pico is biting at the bars, spitting and screaming! When I get back there to pick  him up, he is outside in his crate with his tail wagging. Cheryl says that she has never seen a dog so terrified or a dog recover so quickly!. I take him home, put him in his crate and go to work. April finds him lying in pee in his crate when she stops by to let him out. Later, when I get home, he runs to the back door, goes out, and pees!! Yay Pico! I think he's finally getting it! He only howls for 20 minutes when I leave to take Gilda to dog school...
{Our tiny hyena}

Sunday July 3, 2011: Pico loves the clicker. We continue working on 'speak' at the door with little success and add 'down' to our clicker sessions. Pico is doing well on his new food and is seeking less grass. He does not like the neighbor's fireworks display and can't rest until they are over.
{Gilda & Pico already friends}
Saturday July 2, 2011: Pico goes all day without incident and then pees on the rug in the evening! He and Gilda are getting along well with daily play sessions. He continues to take whatever she has but he doesn't growl at her anymore. They seem content lying in the big dog bed together. Another night on the couch for Pico.
Friday July 1, 2011 Day 2 without an accident. Pico spends the night curled up on the couch with me since we have company. I have added the verbal cue 'sit' as he is doing so well. We buy a big plastic crate that he can't chew through.
Thursday June 30, 2011 No pee accidents! Trying to teach Pico to 'speak' to go outside. Pico chews through fabric travel crate while I am out shopping.
{7.2 lb. dog!}
Wednesday June 29, 2011 Pico decides that he no longer likes the Pedigree kibble and proceeds to pick out the bits and deposit them beside the bowl eating only the Wellness CORE! I take him to Doggy Daycare to see if he will be able to attend. He growls and snaps when placed on the counter but does well with single dogs outside the counter.
Tuesday June 28, 2011 Pico learns to sit using the clicker. He is still peeing in the house occasionally! Gilda uses Canine Body Language to put Pico in his place. He seems much more respectful with her.
Monday June 27, 2011: I 'Charge the Clicker' and officially change his name to 'Pico'. Pico growls when Gilda gets near his 'possessions' and tries to mount her. Pico gets a good report at the vets but needs his teeth cleaned as he has lots of dark green tarter on all of his tiny teeth.
Sunday June 26, 2011 Jane from Bright Futures Rescue brought 'Skppy' to us as part of her home visit.
June 13, 2011: I file an application with Bright Futures Rescue for a Cattle Dog Mix named Allie... Allie was already adopted and Jane recommended that I meet 'Skippy'. The rest of the story is history. Once I saw the tiny little spotted body and those tremendous ears, I was hooked. As a bonus, he was alert but calm and quiet. He met Gilda and neither had an issue...