Since he is such a tiny baby and a toy dog AND new to your home, I would not schedule his feeds until he is eating eagerly. If you remove the food, rather than being really eager the next time he may just eat one or two kibbles again, and get into trouble. I definitely do scheduled meals, and they are the right way to feed dogs, but new/tiny/baby dogs do not get scheduled until I know that they'll eat their entire meal during the ten minutes.
For what it's worth, I've never met a dog who wasn't smart. They're just smart at different things--every one of those "ratings" puts the sighthounds at the bottom, but sighthounds are brilliant. They just don't like to slavishly follow commands. But they're brilliant problem-solvers, they strategize, they make up funny games, they tell jokes. It's the breeds that enjoy repeatedly obeying the same commands that are labeled "smart," and they ARE smart, but no more so than the others. Well, OK, maybe some of the Great Danes are dumb
I want to talk one more time about the crossbreeding thing, because THIS purchase is why there are so many dogs in shelters. I am not exaggerating for effect--THIS is why.
Several times I've been accused of causing the shelter problem, because I breed. And we've talked about that, about what careful breeding is, and why predictability is important, and how to keep dogs from ending up in shelters.
But that does not let all breeders off the hook. And in this case, this really is a breeder who is contributing to the problem of pet abandonment. Here's how:
- Since the dogs involved were not registered, shown, or health tested, the puppies have a much higher chance of being unhealthy and/or not demonstrating the proper temperament for the breed(s). While I haven't asked specifically, there's a very good chance (given the usual MO of these types of breeders), the prospective owners were not rigorously interviewed, screened, and rejected if they were not perfect. Not only is this just plain not fair to the dog, this leads to a much greater chance that the puppies will not be successful lifetime placements. The breeder (unless I am very mistaken) did not require a written contract and change of address notification, so she has no idea where the dogs end up and whether they are dumped in shelters.
- People who will buy mixed-breed dogs with no health testing and no predictability are exactly the type of owners who would be adopting from shelters if there were not these types of breeders around. So this really IS a situation where a dog purchased equals a dog euthanized.
- The purchase of of poorly bred dogs creates a market for more poorly bred dogs. People see a cute dog and they want a dog who looks just like that (heck, I do that--I LOVE that "shaggy dog" look and I melt when I see a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle). Since dog ownership in this country has become all about looks (a sad and bad situation that deserves its own thread), they'll go out and find that "look" for themselves. And since everybody is buying Shi-Poos or Malti-chons or Doberdoodles, breeders who want to make a buck jump on the bandwagon and make millions and millions of puppies, don't support them, don't help the owners, and produce unhealthy or unpredictable dogs, many of whom end up in shelters.
- Breeding mixed-breeds has become an unbelievably lucrative trade. It's not uncommon to be charged $500-1000 for a mixed breed; I saw a litter of Aussiedoodles recently for $1600 each (the same breeder was selling Labradoodles for $2600). So for a litter that costs $200 to produce (no stud fee, cheap food, no vet bills, etc.), you can make a couple thousand dollars and it's a slam dunk. This is why breeding continues.
- The ONLY way bad breeders will stop breeding is if they can't sell the puppies. Legislation fails (it's been demonstrated multiple times). Peer pressure fails. The ONLY thing that works is if they end up with puppies peeing and pooping in their living rooms and can't sell a single one.
The purchase of even a single--yes, a single--deliberately and irresponsibly bred mixed-breed OR purebred makes the shelter situation worse. It's just NOT OK.
Now is the OP supposed to give back her dog? I'd say no. And, thankfully, if she's willing to ask, she'll get a lot of support that should help this dog live as long and as happy a life as possible. And of course she loves and adores the dog. None of that is wrong. Owning mixed-breeds is not wrong. Even breeding them is not wrong, inherently--like I said earlier, if they did it responsibly I'd love to send people to buy their dogs. But it is NOT EVER EVER right in my book to give money to people who care so little about dogs that they produce puppies carelessly.
These babies did not ask to be born. Every single one is made deliberately. Every breeder must be a guardian, every breeder should be terrified of making a mistake and putting lives into the world that will not be long and happy. It's the very least we can do if we're going to make these puppies happen.