updated 01/19/2010 AT 11:24 AM ET
•originally published 01/19/2010 AT 11:30 AM ET
He’s got a reputation for being Dancing’s bad boy, but ballroom pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy is a pile of mush when he talks about how he recently fell in love. Indeed, the 30-year-old is head over heels for the 4-month-old English bulldog puppy he adopted.
“I am in love. Absolutely. It’s amazing,” Chmerkovskiy gushes. “I used to look at dog owners like they were insane and now I’m one of those people. I swear to God, I have not seen a cuter puppy my entire life.”
Traditionally a cat lover, Chmerkovskiy says one day he and his brother Val, also a dancer, started talking about bringing a pet into their New Jersey home.
“We both got on our laptops to research different breeds,” Chmerkovskiy explains. “We wanted something that would be cool but chill, not one of those crazy puppies that runs around and gets big and insane. We turned our laptops around and we were both looking at English Bulldogs.”
The brothers contacted a breeder in Ohio after seeing their pup on the business’s Web site. Before they even got the little guy home they decided on the name Sir Sleep-A-Lot Chmerkovskiy.
The pup accompanies Chmerkovskiy as many places as possible because “I want him to be used to being around people,” he says. And he’s already becoming a chip off the old block. “The girls loooooove him. He’s a girl magnet!”
Training the pup is still a work in progress and Chmerkovskiy says he could do without all of the unsolicited advice.
“Everybody has an opinion. They say put him in a cage at night. That’s where he should sleep,” Chmerkovskiy says. “I do not agree with that. He needs an abundance of love and care. He sleeps under my armpit with a paw on my chest and somebody said, ‘You shouldn’t let him do that. His paw on your chest is a sign of dominance.’ I was like, ‘Puh-leeze. You’re jealous.’ ”
Read about more Dancing with the Stars’ pets on PEOPLEPets.com:
Dancing’s Karina Smirnoff’s Relaxation Secret: Her Dog, Randy!
DWTS Pro Lacey Schwimmer In Step With New Chihuahua