So I’ll admit it I wasn’t a dog person when I was growing up so when my husband started to talk about getting a dog I didn’t immediately say yes. But luckily I changed my mind and we agreed it was the right time.
Friends were positive “oh that’s great news” and “the family will love having a dog” were the kind of comments we got.
The response once we’d decided on a Springer Spaniel was decidedly different: “oh!” and “aren’t they the crazy ones?” said with incredulous tones.
But we were undeterred and several months later Doug arrived at the house.
Luckily we have a bay window so this became his ‘cage’, if that’s what you want to call it. I like to think it as more of a ‘fort’. We added wooden fencing and metal fencing, we added more and more and yet he still escaped. So we gave up and let him have the kitchen to himself.
Now we were quite quick to decide on what breed to bring into the family, we also knew we wanted a boy dog however choosing the name was a different kettle of fish. It was like choosing one of our children’s names.
There’s a whole range of things you have to think about when choosing a name.
- Does it go well with your surname? You know when you register your pet; insurance, vets etc. they are going to have your surname
- Never choose a name you may end up using as a child’s name. You do not want to get confused over who’s had an accident on the front lawn, who just ate the slipper or who needs to go for a walk!!
- Last of all you need to make sure you don’t sound ridiculous when shouting for your pet over the field or park you’re in
I know when we chose ‘Doug’ I thought we were on safe ground. I didn’t think we’d call one of our children Doug and I didn’t think I’d sound too daft shouting after him however what I didn’t factor in was my accent. Now I don’t think I have a strong accent but apparently when I say the dogs name I suddenly become incomprehensible.
‘Dog, I suppose that’s easier to remember?’
I then have to resort to calling him Douglas and that’s not even his name!!
According to a guardian article from September 2014 (click here for full article) these are the top ten most popular dog names.
We have a fairly big garden but even when we’re home he’s loathe to stay in it and I had no idea to where he’d end up once we were out of the house. He’s already been in the neighbours garden (plus one a few doors down) so I think he could pretty much end anywhere.
Even as a first time dog owner though I was torn to whether we should leave him outside whilst I was at work (where he could comfortably do ‘his business’) but then would he be too cold? Should we keep him inside but in a smaller section of the house? It was quite hard to work out which was best so we pretty much took it day to day. On the warmer days he was outside where he could settle in his kennel or find somewhere warm in the sun and on the colder days we kept him inside.
We decided to partition off part of the garden so we separated the bit where he’d already escaped from which left him with a nice area plus some covered space so I was sue he’d be ok.
This has worked well with only a few hiccups but they’ve been mainly our fault; mainly forgetting to close the new gate. These have been resolved yet again by adding height to the existing fence. Our poor neighbours must think our garden looks horrendous but I keep on thinking at least the dog isn’t ‘messing’ up their garden!
Doug had been pretty well behaved really but we still felt some puppy training may help. So around the age of 5/6 months we decided to embark on puppy training. We felt he needed help with some obedience issues. Well I say ‘we’ but my husband took him.
I also felt like I was being dragged around when I walked him as he really pulled on the lead. We went through three or four different leads even at such an early stage but ended with a ‘halty’ as slip leads still allowed him to take me for a walk rather than the other way around.
The room was full of every size and breed of dog you can think of. The first task was to play a game of ‘you sniff me, I’ll sniff you’ as a way of socialising the dogs together. Plus I guess the trainers could try and tell who the troublemakers were!
Doug was used as an example of a dog that was pulling on the lead with his owners but within one minute he wasn’t pulling on the lead, at least with the trainer! Think they have some sort of magic powers!
I’d read about the positive reward schemes (sounds like a supermarket reward card!!) but hadn’t expected Dougs behaviour to be rewarded by garlic and cheese bites (again this sounds like something you’d buy in a supermarket). Doug loved these little things.
He completed his course and he (us?) was given a certificate to say he’d passed!! Yeah our little pup had past his first test!!!