published 23 April 2020
This month’s breed - The Pomeranian
The Pomeranian (or Pom, for short) is an unfailingly popular dog that consistently ranks in or around the American Kennel Club top 20 breeds. These compact, cuddly, and attractive canines – colloquially nicknamed “The Little Dog Who Thinks He Can” – combine high intelligence and a fearlessness belying their diminutive size with a distinctive lush coat and almond-shaped eyes. While they are active dogs, their small stature means they are comfortable in city or suburb, where they are easily exercised with vigorous indoor play or short jaunts outside.
Pomeranians are smaller dogs with thick, lush double coats, short, sturdy legs, a curling tail, and a pointy face. Their ears (inherited from Arctic breeds) are short, designed to limit loss of body heat. They are prone to knee issues, including luxating patella – a knee or patella dislocation, sometimes identified by a clicking sound in the knee area. Poms are also prone to tracheal collapse and should never be walked or trained on a collar or anything that places pressure on their trachea. It is vital to confirm their harness fits correctly.Pomeranians are smaller dogs with thick, lush double coats, short, sturdy legs, a curling tail, and a pointy face. Their ears (inherited from Arctic breeds) are short, designed to limit loss of body heat. They are prone to knee issues, including luxating patella – a knee or patella dislocation, sometimes identified by a clicking sound in the knee area. Poms are also prone to tracheal collapse and should never be walked or trained on a collar or anything that places pressure on their trachea. It is vital to confirm their harness fits correctly.
Pomeranians come in many combinations of colors and markings, including the following:
The Pomeranian takes its name from Pomerania, a geographic area located in what is today northern Poland and western Germany. It was here that experts believe breeding and cross-breeding of large sled dogs created the smallest member of the Spitz (German for “sharp,” referring to their typically pointy noses) family – their cousins include Norwegian Elkhounds, Samoyeds, and the Malamute.
Pomeranians were very popular with 19th-century royalty, who were responsible for altering some of the breeds features and size. Queen Victoria was an especially big fan of the diminutive Pom, showing six of her own at the 1891 Crufts dog show. Over time, breeders further cemented their lush coats, small ears, and plumed tails, along with their short legs, pointed snouts, and big personalities.
The Pomeranian has a big personality that belies their size. As a result, they can engage in conflicts with other dogs, asserting their perceived leadership status. This can place them at risk of being harmed by a larger breed.
Occasionally, this can lead to behavioral issues around the home. Poms will often want to be first to answer the door; they will bark at noises they hear, and they tend to want to run the entire household. Because of their cuteness, many people allow them to get away with otherwise unacceptable behavior.
Their tendency to bark can be problematic for apartment and condominium dwellers. They are very trainable, however, and with some determined management and ongoing education, they can become loving pets. We recommend basic training for all Poms – early, consistent training pays large dividends when it comes to avoiding future behavioral issues.
While grooming a Pomeranian is easy, their luxurious double coat – a soft, dense, thick undercoat, with a straight (and much longer) outer coat – requires daily attention. A once-a-week brushing using a pin brush and slicker brush can help further alleviate any issues and keep hair from matting. Tangling can occur during the Pom’s twice-yearly undercoat shedding, and clipping is advisable every couple of months to further help manage the coat; because of their active lifestyles, their nails should be cut short as well. The American Kennel Club also advises owners find a groomer to perform a full groom every four to six weeks.
As The American Kennel Club aptly states, “the Pomeranian combines a tiny body and a commanding big-dog demeanor.” Most of the problems we see with Pomeranians as Bark Busters® trainers are due to people treating them not as big dogs, but as babies. We’ve seen Pomeranians who refuse to walk – with or without a leash – because they have been carried so much. We have seen them bark nonstop, almost like a child having a tantrum, when they don’t get their way.
It’s important to understand that Pomeranians, like all dogs, can view themselves as being big, like a German Shepherd. Most people would not carry around a German Shepherd, but they think nothing about scooping up a Pom, nestling it in the crook of their arm, and carrying it every place they go. As a result, Poms can become demanding and protective of the person catering to them. They become stressed and act out, causing their human family stress, and creating an ongoing vicious cycle.
Fortunately, Pomeranians are typically smart dogs who aim to please. With a few modifications to their owners’ behavior, things can change for the better. Take Princess, a beautiful, professionally groomed Pom: she was the pride and joy of wife Susan – and the bane of her husband Peter.
Susan had adopted Princess before meeting Peter, and initially she was a cute, funny, and endearing dog. Once Susan and Peter moved in together, however, Princess became more protective of Susan. She would sit directly beside Susan or in Susan’s lap, growling and baring her teeth if Peter approached. The same thing would happen when Susan was in bed and Peter came into the room. Finally, after months of stress, they reached their limit when Princess bit Peter. Both Susan and Peter agreed that if Princess’s behavior didn’t change, she would need to be rehomed.
Fortunately, Susan and Peter called Bark Busters®. Our trainer, Cathy, met with them to learn about Princess’ history and relationships with Susan and Peter. Once Cathy understood the causes of Princess’s behavior, she explained them to Susan and Peter, then developed a program to create positive changes.
Cathy coached them through some exercises and Princess responded beautifully. She preached consistency in practicing the exercises, as it would likely take a few weeks to make concrete changes. Susan and Peter were excited and encouraged by Princess’ responses to early training and made regular commitments to practice the exercises, vowing to keep Cathy posted about their progress.
A couple of weeks after that initial session, Cathy received a report from Susan and Peter that Princess was like a different dog. She was no longer growling or snapping at Peter and she was much more relaxed. As a result, Susan and Peter were more relaxed and happier as well!
If you are having behavioral issues with your Pomeranian, your local Bark Busters® trainer is standing by to help. Our trainers can assist in establishing a pattern of consistency, resolve any and all issues, and help you nurture a relationship with your Pomeranian built on mutual understanding, trust, respect, and love.
We are standing by to help you develop a consistent, compassionate approach to good behavior for your Pomeranian. Learn more about our services and schedule an appointment with one of our trainers today!
If you have ever lost your dog, you know that heart-pounding adrenaline of panic. The WaggTagg™ pet identification tag is unique in that it works from a QR code. Free to all Bark Busters® clients. The pet parent enters important dog information plus a picture. Whoever finds the dog can simply scan the tag using a cell phone and the owner gets a text message to say someone has found your dog. This service is available 24/7. No waiting to get to the vet office to scan a microchip and no renewal fees or any extra charges!
Microchips are important and you should always have your dog microchipped as that is a great tool to identify legal owners etc.
The WaggTagg™ is an extra piece of security for your dog and provides peace of mind, that if your dog goes missing, you can get reunited quickly.
WaggTagg ™ is a free service for all dog owners when you become a Bark Busters® client.
As previously mentioned, early education is important. Making sure your Pomeranian walks properly on a leash is an important exercise. If your dog pulls on the leash, it can be damaging its skeletal frame. You should always start this training in the home and start with short walks and make them fun and educational. No need to go for long walks while educating.
Introducing the Leash
Many folks struggle to control their dogs when out on a walk regardless of their size.
We recommend starting when your dog is still a puppy and educating your puppy where you want it to walk. That should not be straining at the leash.
Bark Busters® are often asked why dogs pull on the leash and concerned ‘pet parents’ worry that their dog will be injured with all this pulling. Not to mention the toll the pulling takes on the human, the answer is simple, it’s all down to using the right technique, coupled with the right leash and equipment.
Dogs Naturally Pull Against a Tight Leash
Pressure on your dog’s neck is not good for the trachea or his skeletal frame. It also places unnecessary pressure on your arms and joints. It benefits neither you nor your dog and cannot be fun. Yet we all see this type of walking daily and it has to be because people don’t know there is a better way.
In the wild if an animal is trapped, it will naturally try to get away. It knows it is vulnerable if it is captured or tethered. Although the canine has been domesticated for thousands of years, your dog still has this instinct in its mind. The only way to avoid this natural pulling, is to learn to get your dog to walk on a loose leash.
Dogs are natural pullers. It’s in a dog’s DNA to pull against any restraint.
This is why it is possible to get a dog to pull a sled. When a dog feels a restraint it naturally pulls against the restraint. This is normal dog behavior, but we can alter the dog’s perception if we always keep the dog on a loose leash, where it feels NO restraint.
The Waggwalker is a walking harness designed by dog trainers to communicate and educate dogs how to walk sedately on the leash.
The WAGGWALKER® makes it easier to walk your dog because it provides a way of communicating, through sound and with no pain, letting your dog know when it is out of position and exactly where you want your dog to walk, so ‘take the lead and get tails wagging’.
The Pomeranian is an energetic athlete who needs a lot of exercise and free play. Taking your dog for long walks & hikes is great for their wellbeing.
A great interactive toy is The GameChanger® by Bark Busters®. Not only is this toy safe (made of FlexaPure - durable non-toxic PBA-free polyurethane material), but it stimulates a dog’s natural desire to chew. You fill the toy with some small treats, and your Pomeranian must decide how to get the treats out through the small holes. Entertainment for hours!