Small, but not THAT small

I know it’s been a while since I’ve lived with a small dog but I didn’t realize how much that had shifted my sense of size. When I went to town today and picked up a sweater and collar for Chi-Chi, I bought xxs – extra extra small because that’s what he looks like to me. Those of you who have a more balanced perspective may quickly say, “Oh no, he’s not THAT small.”

And he’s not.

It seems Chee is a small, not extra small dog. Although, in my defense, the packaging on the sweater did suggest that it was for a Chihuahua sized dog. Chee has a rather muscular neck and chest, however, and there is no way a very small collar or sweater is fitting him.

In fact, he reminds me of a muscle builder – very thick on the top half, with a very narrow waist. It makes him look rather top heavy, which is why I wanted to get him a thinner collar; the one he’s wearing now just adds to my impression that with a little more weight in front, like a dog tag on the collar, and he’s going to tip forward, his back feet right off the ground.

We’re adapting very quickly here. Chi-Chi now marches around the house with the big dogs and growls when anyone invades his sense of body space. I have convinced him that I mean the “no” marking in the house and after his first night (touch my wooden head) he has been doing all his business and marking outside. He has a rather large snow bank he now has to make a trip around to mark in several places but I can live with this much more easily than marking in the house.

After the first night when he slept in my bed, he has been switched over to a private bed in a large crate in my room. We both sleep much better this way as we both moved too much to be comfortable sharing a bed. In fact, Chi-Chi is comfortable enough in his bed that he tends to grumble when I get him up to go out in the morning. I’m quickly learning that a lot of his growling is just grumbling about events he doesn’t care for, like getting up, going out, being told ‘no.’

He also seems to learn very quickly though and has already quit complaining about inevitable things, like being told he’s not to mark in the house. He’s already figured out that this is just one of my peculiarities.

Gracie has decided he is old news, although she feels a bit bad that he doesn’t want to cuddle with her. Gracie has no sense of body space and has never understood dogs who do. Lil is learning that she just has to give the little guy a bit of space (she’s used to Gracie and also doesn’t understand that some dogs don’t want to be touching all the time.) Jenny is beginning to think she might like this odd little boy and is willing to be near him without touching him – for a while this morning she chose to lay by his crate to keep him company (again, not sure he cares for company but at least he didn’t growl at her.)

Chi-Chi has quickly become my shadow. He wants to sit by me and follow me where-ever I go, unless he’s in his crate when he settles down and seems to feel he’s off-duty. Otherwise, he must be right next to me. When Lil and Gracie are also trying to be right next to me this leads to Chi-Chi jumping into my lap, Lil and Gracie trying to join him.

Lil running away rather than having her picture taken with Chi-Chi

Gracie has figured out that she can balance on the back of the sofa, while basically crawling onto my shoulder. She is rather large to be a parrot-like companion so I am discouraging this practice. Gracie doesn’t understand why I don’t want her standing on my head and shoulder, so she’s a bit disappointed that I won’t let her keep trying this; she’s had to settle for either then hip-checking Lil out of the way, or the two of them practically sit on top of each other next to me. We still have some work to do on how much mass can fill the same amount of physical space at one time…physics isn’t our strong suit here.

I’m a big enough dog to jump right off this porch….

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