How did I end up with such a little dog?
A 20 pound shepherd mix?
Anyone that knows me will tell you, they would never expect me to have a
small dog of any kind. I love dogs of all types, however I have always preferred
larger ones that can keep up with me and won't get tired too quickly when we
go out running or walking.
A very good friend of mine from Tampa FL called me one day while I was
stationed in Camp Lejeune NC to ask me if I could help a little 10 week old pup
that her mom had recently adopted and was not being able to handle.
Allegedly, this dog would pee and poop all over the house and was untrainable.
My friend's mom kept Nicki in a bathroom all the time and long story short had
not done proper potty training and much less crate training.
This 4 month old pup was about to be returned to the Tampa Humane Society,
however I was told that HS of Tampa euthanizes any returns regardless of the
Morally, I could not allow an innocent pup to be killed just because of an owner
not giving appropriate training.
Nicki is a very playful pup and she turned
a year old in November 2006.
Before turning a year of age, Nicki had
been trained by me and trained certified
Bob Dover at Kentuckiana Canine
Nicki loves her toys, she is crazy about
her Nylabones and Kongs.
Here she plays with her Nylabone, while
being watched by my little Annie and by
Kris Kringle. Kris came to me for several
issues, one of them toy possession so an
exercise where Nicki helps me here is by
playing with her toy and taking it away
from Kris every time Kris would take it
from her. Nicki showed no fear to Kris
despite of his growling and so she would
grab the toy and hang on to it until Kris
would let go. Once Kris let go then I
would come in and praise him for letting
go of the toy. I keep Annie always around
as a deterrent to any dog from going
Annie has saved a dog's life twice by
stepping in and controlling the aggressor
just because I make her seen by the
others as a higher ranking dog in my
pack. Humans in my house are first,
Annie and Rajah second, and so on.
Nicki is everyone's playmate, she never
gets tired.
This 20 pound pup would go run and walk
8 miles daily with me. Usually, I would
take 2 teams of 4 Rotties each with me
for a 4 mile walk/run, well Nicki would go
for both rounds, and she never wanted to
be left home and never got tired.
Aida has become very fond of Nicki and given her a lot of discipline and love, making her a very well behaved dog.
Nicki still has to mature a little, but smaller dogs usually take a bit longer to mature. Nicki is a chewer, but that is
what we got her Kongs and Nylabones for. Nicki has a lot of energy and needs to channel that energy away so I also
trained her to run on a treadmill I got in my basement gym at home, so we can keep her tired and from getting
So that is pretty much it about Nicki, the little dog that came to stay.
I drove from North Carolina to Florida over a weekend to save this pup and train
her. The original plan was to train her and return her to my friend's mom as soon as
this dog could behave normal. Well in the end my friend suggested I found a better
home for Nicki and someone that can really give her a good life.
I worked with Nicki for about 2 months training her to do obedience work.
While I was working with Nicki, I noticed that dog aggressive dogs would not display
aggression towards Nicki.
I had a few dogs that belonged to a rescue that I was volunteering and fostering for.
I had been working with these guys for a while and having some progress but not a
quick as I needed. Well somehow Nicki never showed to be threat to any of these
guys and she actually made friends with them pretty quick.
My primary job is making dogs adoptable by getting rid of behaviors that are not
desired, such as aggression, fear, etc.
My personal dogs Annie and Rajah have learned to assist me to a certain extent,
especially Annie. Juno used to be my right hand until she died, then Annie
surprisingly somehow stepped up to the plate. I always expected Rajah would be my
next right hand, but Annie has worked out pretty well.
Annie actually helped Juno and me training Nicki to behave properly in
the house. Annie or Juno would bring Nicki back to me or block and
herd her back to me any time she would not come to me on command.
Nicki being such a social dog, I use as the first dog that I introduce to
any dog aggressive dog, or just when doing an assessment on how a dog
reacts to another dog. Nicki being so little presents no threat and is a
first step at dog to dog introduction.
After failing to find a home for little Nicki, I decided to keep her just
because of how helpful she had been at helping me with other dogs.
When Juno died, I begged Aida (my wife) to allow me keep Nicki since I
could not find her a home and she was so well trained.
To the right there is Nicki walking side by side with Baron, a very nice
Rottweiler I rescued from the Ft. Knox veterinary clinic. Here I assess
how Baron would behave next to another dog and allows me to go to the
next step which is introduction to a large dog (Annie and Rajah).
Nicki's self confidence and calm submissive attitude to me while calm
assertive when around other dogs has proven very useful.
Nicki during training on her first
week with me while in NC.
Nicki and a plush sheep toy
Above Nicki, Annie and Kris Kringle                  Below Nicki and Kris Kringle
Nicki sitting in front of Annie  with me
while in NC.