The first 2 years – my puppy is grown up!
It’s been 2 years since I realised I had to keep Quin – one of my better decisions, I must say. He has been a dream dog in so many ways, such a cuddle monster. Quin recently went to stay with a friend and they absolutely adored him! The grandchildren LOVED playing with him and he was generally the perfect house guest.
One of my puppy owners asked me a while ago when their puppy would stop being such hard work? When they’re two, I said. Well I was right with Quin. His biggest challenge over the past year has been his reactivity to other dogs. He has been so fearful! He barks at the TV when there are suspicious things on screen, such as dogs, or horses, or birds, or men in dark clothing (acting suspiciously)! So it’s not that surprising that if we come round a corner and he sees a dog, that he barks in surprise.
Luckily for me, Quin has perfect recall. Well I say ‘luckily’ but of course it’s not luck. It’s down to the countless hours of practice we have put in, since the start of his journey with us. If you look through the Contents of the ‘A Year With Your Puppy’ book I’ve written, you will see two separate chapters on recall and it is discussed in the very first chapter. That’s because it is SO important to get it right.
Unlike Fenton, Quin comes back to me straight away, even when he is down a hill and across a field, chasing a deer! This means that he also comes straight back when he is barking at a dog. I can’t always stop him running up to a strange dog if he ‘gets his eye’ on them. But he will then turn around and come back to me.
After 2 years of living with us, Quin is now a fully mature dog. That means that he is pretty settled in his temperament and behaviour. It doesn’t mean he is SET in his behaviour though! He is still able to keep on learning and changing. He still has the capacity to learn new activities.
It does mean that he is generally calmer and more settled though. Less inclined to over-react. When we see other dogs, I pop him on lead and he walks calmly past them, without even bothering to look. On the whole. A cuckoo on the telly might still freak him out though!
I am very proud to announce that Quin has already sired two litters. These are two Kennel club registered, pedigree Border Collies. Having a stud dog is a big responsibility, one which I take very seriously. Of course he has had every health test available to us, so that we can minimise the health risks he might pass on. I also check the details of the bitch he is covering, to make sure they are who they say they are.
When someone comes to me to use him for stud, they are trusting me to provide the best dog I can. I make sure they have copies of all his paperwork, so that they can give this to their puppy owners.
New breeders have so much to learn! When I started my breeding journey I was lucky enough to have watched my mum and learnt from her. I was also mentored by the owner of the first stud dog I used. I have learnt more from all the other breeders I have ‘worked’ with subsequently. When you love your dogs, you are happy to share your experiences with others.
I hope that Quin will go on to sire more litters in the future. For now I am so happy with the first 2 years of this boy’s life. He is a joy to live with and we love him to bits. Our boy.
2 years might sound like a long time, and in a dog’s life, it can be. Dogs only live for 12 years altogether after all. But it flies by and of course there are big chunks of time when your dog is lovely – just how you imagined he would be. Try to be patient about the other stuff? Be realistic about managing it? Keep working on it and practising? Talk to people around you and enlist their support?
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!
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