So it feels like this blog is turning in to one long excuse for not posting. I have a pretty good excuse this time though. A four legged, big brown eyed, floppy eared, gorgeous excuse. Allow me to introduce Millie.
Our family dog died when I was eleven, and I don’t think there has been a day in the intervening 16 years when I haven’t wanted another dog. Having been in our house for three years, and just celebrated our first wedding anniversary, The Husband finally agreed we could get a dog. This was in part to do with the fact that he promised me one for our first anniversary and did so in front of some close friends, so there was no backing down really!
We went to the local shelter and they had two litters of puppies. We looked at the puppies, we looked at the rest of the dogs, we went back to the puppies. There was a litter of Basset Hound cross with Labrador (or a Bassador as they are apparently known). There were two left. Then there were six Tricolour Beagles which the shelter thought may be crossed with another breed, but they couldn’t be sure what. Both litters weren’t available for rehoming until the next day.
We went home. We read about Beagles. We read about Bassadors. I spent the whole next day being incredibly productive to try and pass the time until The Husband got home. We went back the the shelter and there were still both types of puppy. We looked at the girl Bassador, we had a little cuddle. Then we had a little cuddle of the girl Beagle. And she didn’t get put down again until we were home.
Millie has been with us for five days now. Life has changed. We are valiantly trying to toilet train her with fluctuating levels of success. She loves playing fetch, but hasn’t quite grasped the idea of bringing the ball back. Her favourite thing to eat seems to be the plants in the garden. We have a constant monologue of “Good Millie”, “No Millie”, “Drop Millie”, “Out Millie”, “Good Millie”, “Here Millie”. I had the inevitable delight of traipsing dog dirt into the house without realising it, and whilst trying to clean that up she proceeded to wee on the floor. We are constantly trying to take things out of her mouth that she shouldn’t be eating and replace them with things she should.
Goodness knows how we would be with children. We have spent every night since her arrival Googling various things about dog behaviour and training, and the conflicting advice is unending. She likes to chew, and nip, at hands and ankles (and everything else). So far all of the following things have been advised on various websites:
· If you don’t STOP IT RIGHT NOW she will be a violent adult only with MUCH BIGGER TEETH
· Squeal like a puppy when she nips
· Growl like a dog when she nips
· Say a high-pitched ouch when she nips
· Make your hand go limp when she nips
· Say No and move your hand away
· Sat No and walk away for fifteen seconds
· Say No and walk away for ten minutes
· Say No and sit on a high counter where she can’t reach you
· Spray her with water
· Put lemon juice/bitter apple in her mouth
· Hold her mouth closed
· Whatever you do don't hold her mouth closed
· Roll her on her back, look into her eyes and say no until she breaks eye contact
· Absolutely do not roll her on her back
· It’s normal and she will grow out of it
We are bewildered and bemused. Goodness knows what the neighbours think of my squealing puppy impression. We are keen to be good puppy owners. We are also a force to be reckoned with when it comes to clean ups and air freshener, whirling round like an ultra-hygienic version of batman and robin wiping, drying, spraying and scenting. She has already stolen our hearts, and a few tea towels. The training (both the nipping and the toileting) will take time. In the meantime there is no greater contentment than cuddling a sleeping puppy.