All my life, I’ve wanted a dog, but the time was never right. I had budgies growing up, as that was the only pet my parents would let us have. So when I was finally able to move into my very own condo in the spring of 2016, the time had come for me to get my first dog. Because I’m working full time, so I wouldn’t have time to get and train a puppy, I decided to start looking for an older dog. One already trained to be home alone while I was at work mainly. Other than that, I also wanted a medium to a small dog, and I wanted a female dog. That’s how I found Moya, though that wasn’t her name at the time.

Her previous owner had gotten av job out of the country, and would not be able to bring Moya with her. Rather than looking for someone to watch her dog for possibly several years, she decided to get her a new home instead. Which was lucky for me. One Saturday afternoon in May 2016, I met her and Moya (then named Skipp) at a park, spent some time with Moya, and completely fell in love. I took her home that same afternoon, as she’s been mine ever since.

Moya is a short-haired chihuahua, which honestly wasn’t really a breed I was looking for, but there was just something about this little furball that stole my heart the second I saw her (chasing birds into the bushes, of course). She’s big for the breed and has no papers, so if she’s purebred or not I have no idea. It doesn’t really matter to me. She does have some health issues, but nothing we can’t both live with.

I decided to change her name pretty quickly. Skipp was not a name I had any associations with, and her previous owner did not mind. So for her new life, I chose Moya. Science fiction fans may already have guessed it, but I named her after the spaceship in Farscape. I had several other sci-fi related names on my list, but Moya just felt right.

Training Moya

When I got her, she was crate-trained and used to being in her crate whenever she was alone. After a few months, I decided to move her to the bathroom instead, so she got more space. I have since tried giving her the entire apartment, but she seems to feel safer when she has a smaller area to hang out in. Whenever I get ready to leave for work, she’ll grab a stuffed animal and head into the bathroom, waiting for me to leave. She’s got a bed and blanket there, as well as a water bowl and at least two toys. It’s her safe haven, and you’ll find her there during the weekend as well if I’m busy with something, and she doesn’t feel like sleeping on the couch.

Moya is a bit insecure though (sometimes a lot). Some of it was probably always there, and some of it may have been enhanced by me being a first-time dog owner, trying to follow everyone’s advice on how I should train my dog, and failing to see what the real issues were. It’s taken me a few years, but I feel like I am finally able to understand her better, and we are slowly working on getting over her issues. She’s gotten a whole lot braver, and her insecurities are mostly in regard to meeting other dogs.

Too often have strange dogs been allowed (by their owners) to just run up to her, even if she is showing clear signs of just wanting to be left alone. She isn’t a social dog. She has dog friends she likes, and she loves to chase around after other dogs, but she doesn’t feel the need to say hello to every dog she sees. So, when other owners let their dogs too close and don’t pay attention to me or Moya, she gets more scared, and lashes out more often. She’s not aggressive, and mostly just wants to chase other dogs away, but it does mean she can come across as the stereotypical tiny barking dog.

So, because of this, we train. A lot. On passing other dogs without paying attention to them mostly. It’s slow going, and we get setbacks every single time a strange dog is allowed to invade her personal space. But she’s got so much better over the past two years. She’s still pretty bad close to home, mostly because this is where most of the dogs she doesn’t like actually live. And quite a few bark back, or bark first, or in some cases, growls and charges her. Away from home, on longer hikes, she’s close to perfect. Able to ignore and pass other dogs without incident. So I know she has it in her.

Why am I writing all of this? Because like I said, we train a lot, so there is a good chance that I’ll be writing about our training on this blog as well. So this is all about giving you context. I could probably write a book about all of this (I won’t, honestly), so what I have written here isn’t all that detailed. But it gives you an idea of what we are working with.

If you want to follow Moya on Instagram, please do. She already has more followers than me, which is fine. I think she’s adorable, so I totally understand if other people do as well. Have a dog-related Instagram yourself? Message her, and she’ll totally follow you back!