When I asked for a Pomeranian, I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into. To say he turned my world upside down is definitely an understatement! Today, I will be talking about, complaining about, and raving about my precious little imperfect Pomeranian, Tanuki.
Most people would first ask: What in the world is a Tanuki? Well, it’s actually a Japanese raccoon dog, which is related to our more popularly known raccoons. Tanuki’s are part of Japanese folklore and are often depicted as “mischievous and jolly, masters of disguise and shapeshifting but somewhat gullible and absentminded” (“Japanese raccoon dog” 1). I never considered that with one look, I would give him the perfect name.
My sweet puppy was only 6 months old when I received him from a local re-home. My lovely partner surprised me with him and it was love at first sight. This mischievous little fox (he’s a fox and a raccoon, just go with it) became the center of my world for the good and bad. With having such a young pup, there were a lot of things we needed to establish to make a wonderful relationship.
Baby Steps with Tanuki
Integrating this brand new pup into my household was no easy feat! We live in a large household with small children, other dogs, and quite a few cats. I needed to make sure I was giving Tanuki enough space to get settled in his new home. Also while playing bodyguard against the other pets. It’s normal for animals to be interested in new scents and he was definitely something new to smell! Keeping my distance the first few days kept him from feeling overwhelmed by all the new stimuli.
Have you ever had something new that you couldn’t quite enjoy yet? The want to play with this cute little teddy bear was too much to bear! It is very important to give them space in the beginning. Dogs need a bit of quiet to take in all the smells and new sensations.
The moment I got a few licks to the hand on day four, I knew we were making great progress! It is different with each new dog and their new household. Tanuki has always been more on the cautious side, so to get some reassuring love from him just stole my heart. Of course, we weren’t out of the woods yet and still had a lot of trust to build.
Decompressing Little Tanuki
“For fearful dogs or those stressed in the shelter environment, it could take a few weeks or months for them to start feeling comfortable (“Johnstone” 1). You may have heard of the 3-3-3 decompression rule that a lot of rescues and dog trainers mention. It could take 3 days to adjust to the new environment (their new owner and household), 3 weeks to adjust to their new schedule (consistency helps, we’ll get back to that later), and 3 months to fully open up and feel at home.
A lot of people in the dog community feel like you don’t really know a dogs true personality until the three month stage or later. It can definitely be the case when you’re dealing with a dog under one year old because they are maturing just like any other living thing.
Time To Set a Tanuki Schedule
So onto our next phase of decompression: making a consistent schedule and sticking to it with your dog. I’m not one to pretend that my life is perfectly mapped out and every inch planned. In fact, a lot of times (unless it’s to do with training), I can’t keep track of anything on a daily! I had to try and train myself while working on training Tanuki into his new life schedule. Dogs crave stability in their lives, and the best way to make this possible is following a routine.
I work a part time job as a receptionist at a grooming salon, so I needed daycare for my sweet little pup. Luckily, my mentor and our founder, Kimberlee was available to take him during the day when I worked so he could play and learn good behavior. Once we fell into a rhythm, Tanuki seemed to have an internal clock. He always knows when I am running late. Looking over at the door and seeing a cute little puff of a face, impatiently waiting, seemed to help me move along quicker.
Having a schedule shapes and moves along his training process even further. Plus the excited look on his face every morning was enough to get me out of bed.
Tanuki’s New Life
We’ve come a long way over the last few months, but there is still more work to do to ensure he has the best life I can possibly give. Tanuki is such a treasure to me and I love learning along with him. He’s not the only one going through training! We have to be open to growth as well, exploring different methods to work out what’s effective. On a daily, we still do training sessions to reinforce and teach new behaviors. He really enjoys trick training and his ‘meerkat’ is to die for.
Tanuki is a happy, healthy, (somewhat crazy), and wonderful little Pom pup. Having him has changed my life for the better and I can’t wait to see where the future will take us. I will be writing more and more about my experiences with him in the future!
Wikipedia contributors. “Japanese Raccoon Dog.” Wikipedia, 16 June 2022, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_raccoon_dog.
Johnstone, Gemma. “The Importance of Decompression When Bringing Home a New Dog.” American Kennel Club, 20 Apr. 2021, www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/the-importance-of-decompression-when-bringing-home-a-new-dog.
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