Let’s celebrate! It’s been a year!
Well here we are! I am as surprised as you are that we have got to a year of owning a puppy! How’s it been for you? As expected? Better? Or worse? What have been the highlights? What have been the unexpected challenges?
The year we’ve had
For me, the biggest, well really the only problem is the ‘barking at other dogs’. He is still doing it and it is still driving me mad. I call him and he comes. He stops barking and says ‘sorry mum I forgot’. Silly boy! I apologise and the other person says ‘It’s fine’. I say ‘it’s not fine, he’s annoying.’ We walk on. Oh and this morning he found some fox poo for his neck. Lovely!
Chris and I absolutely adore our boy – he’s the best. We love how he barks at random stuff on the TV. It’s so sweet to see him playing with Murmur and he’s great with all the girls. He’s such a goof. I love it when he snuggles up next to me on the sofa, chewing on a bone. And he’s so handsome!
We think he’s turned out pretty well. I feel confident taking him pretty much anywhere, as long as I watch him around other dogs. He’s perfectly friendly (no really), meaning we can walk with friends or chat to people. He just likes to shout when he sees another dog.
Let’s revisit the questions I asked you 6 months ago about your dog. Do you know them better now?
Around the house
- What is your dog’s favourite food? Are they a good eater? Do they need to be slowed down when eating? Nothing has changed with his eating and he continues to be fine.
- What treats or snacks does your dog like? Raw carrot is a favourite of my dogs. They all love crisps and will offer lots of tricks to win these!
- Where does your dog like to sleep? Do they go on the sofa or your bed? Or do they prefer to find a quiet corner? I’m putting money on the fact they don’t often sleep in that expensive bed you bought? My dogs like a raised bed with some lovely vet bed on it. They usually just lie on the floor, or the sofas, of course.
- When does your dog wake up in the morning? What time do they go to bed? Does this work well with your routine? Your dog should be happier being left for longer periods, both day and night. What arrangements do you make when you are out?
- How often does your dog need to go out to toilet? Do they always go in the same place? Do they prefer to toilet in the garden or on a walk? I like my dogs to be able to toilet in the garden, so that I don’t have to take them out – it’s so much more convenient. But I know they prefer to toilet on a walk. So I make sure I pick up after them in the garden as well as on walks and I walk them after breakfast so they can toilet then.
Out and about
- How often do you take your dog out for a walk? Do you go at the same time each day? For the same length of time? My dogs have an hour long walk, off lead, around an hour after their breakfast, from 7.30 am.
- Where does your dog like walking? Do you go to different places, or do the same trudge every day? Dogs love variety and thrive on visiting different walks. My dogs love the woods! So many interesting smells 🙂
- Where else have you taken your dog? Have they been to the pub? Or to a cafe? It’s a good to show off your dog and give them a different experience. Quin continues to get out and about and enjoys the experience.
- Have you visited someone else’s home with your dog? Don’t be afraid to take them into new situations? Quin has carried on going into school and behaves himself brilliantly (apart from barking at the chickens).
- Have you taken your dog away? Quin has been up to Scotland and down to Devon – he loves it!
Tricks and games
- Can your dog do the basics? Sit, down, wait? How often do you practise these? Every few days is a good starting point.
- How is your dog’s recall? How often do you practise this? Quin is perfect at recall – hurray! <smug>
- Can your dog do any other tricks? We’ve done lots of tricks and Quin and I both really enjoy this.
- What’s your dog’s favourite game to play with you? If you have other dogs, do they play together and what games do they play? Quin has a new playmate! He and Murmur play together a lot. So sweet.
- Does your dog engage with other dogs when out on walks? Do they try and say hello nicely, or bounce into other dogs’ faces? Still annoying. Not fixed. It’s not the end of the world, but it is irritating.
Training and activities
- What classes have you done with your puppy? Have you carried on with any classes? What did you learn?
- Have you considered doing the KC Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme?
- Have you tried out other types of training? Quin has started Hoopers, which he enjoys.
- Now your dog is a year old, perhaps you could start agility?
- Obedience training is another way to challenge you and your dog and build on your working relationship.
Health and breeding
- What do you think of your dog’s breed now? Has your dog continued to be typical of their breed?
- How healthy is your dog? Have you been to the vet?
- Have you had support from your breeder? Have you been in touch with the owners of your puppy’s siblings? Each of my litters has a WhatsApp group, so they can share problems and celebrate successes!
- Are you happy with way your dog was bred? Do you think they were given the best start in life? I have learnt that it makes a difference. A puppy that is cuddled every day likes being cuddled. It’s that simple.
- Is there anything about getting your puppy that you would do differently?
Enjoy your puppy now
Your dog may not be perfect, but they are part of your family. You have already had them for around a twelfth of their life. Think about what you were doing 11 years ago? Not long is it? A year in their life is such a long time. Celebrate your puppy and the joy they have brought you.
Congratulations on surviving a year with your puppy. I hope it has been a wonderful, fulfilling experience, full of joy. I hope you have learnt a great deal about owning a dog and that you will help others to understand why owning a dog is one of the best things you can do in life. Please do contact me to let me know how it’s been and what you have learnt?
Weekly Focus Challenge
Please take a moment to reflect on your successes and the remaining challenges? Think about what you’d like to do with your dog in future? Please do get in touch if you’d like to share any of the answers to my questions?
Buy the Workbook
The Workbook – A Year With Your Puppy is available to buy. It was written and designed to be a hands-on, interactive book for you. It will help you survive the first year with your puppy, but also act as a memento of that time and the journey you have been on. You can write notes and stick in pictures of your puppy throughout the year. Lovely!
Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs? And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think. If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME, by filling in your email address below? Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.
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NB: I am not a dog trainer, or a dog behaviourist, just a dog breeder and owner. I can only offer my opinion, based on my experience.