Bringing Home a Puppy
Just before I tell you all about our last few months with a puppy I wanted to give you a little background and insight into our family with a dog.
We already had a dog when we decided adoption was for us. She was an English Pointer crossed with a Doberman and Rottweiler, so she was a big dog, but a gorgeous one (I’ve written a blog about bring a child home when you already have a dog). Juno was 5 and a half years old when we adopted our son.
Fast forward 4.5 years and Juno was diagnosed with Cancer. I had been prepping Cub and hubby that she was in her 10th year and we had to expect that she wasn’t going to last too much longer (even though at the time of this prepping I didn’t believe a single word, to me she was going to last forever. She also didn’t look or behave like she was in her later years). We had talked about life after her and whether we would have another dog.
I said that it would be at least a year after losing Juno before we could have a dog come into our home. I just couldn’t imagine having a puppy again (they are hard work) however Cub was convinced we were getting a Waffle dog!! Hubby was less than impressed and said most definitely not!
Sadly, Juno was very poorly for 6 very long weeks and needed round the clock care. I was exhausted, distraught and trying to keep all the plates spinning. Not to mention worrying about how Cub would deal with Juno passing away.
When she died I knew it was going to be hard, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the quiet emptiness she left behind, even though she was lazy, she physically took up a lot of room, but her soul was huge too. Still now writing this with tears in full flow I miss her so much and I don’t think having a puppy or not would stop that pain.
I had already decided that I wanted another dog (working from home and not having Juno at my feet or to talk to in the day was horrible) and hubby felt the same. I wanted to wait a little while, but once we decided something we aren’t overly good at waiting.
3 weeks after Juno passed away we brought our puppy home. (My anxiety may or may not have been through the roof looking for a puppy, my grief was making me worry that we would buy a puppy who would then become sick and die.) To most, this is very quick to bring a puppy home. There was going to be a bit longer of a wait due to finding a breeder and waiting for the puppies, anyway, long story short, we found a puppy online one evening, spoke to the breeder (he was the last pup) and arranged to drive up at the weekend and see the puppy.
Prepping Cub for the arrival of puppy:
As a family we had talked about breeds of dogs non-stop and done all our research. We stuck to what we knew and I had always wanted a working cocker spaniel. Our family have had and have got spaniels so we knew what we were stepping into. Cub and I watched lots of YouTube videos of puppies to show him what their usual behaviours were and what to expect.
We had also talked about what would happen if we did get a puppy. We spoke about routine, where it would sleep. We had already made a bed under the stairs for the pup so Cub had got used to seeing the house changing slightly.
We laid down ground rules and how we treat puppies. Cub and I looked at training videos and talked about what to do with puppies unwanted behaviour. Now it was time to put all this talk into practise.
The puppy is home:
We chose not to tell cub about the impending puppy, he knew we were looking, but he didn’t know we had found one. We knew he would cope with the arrival of a surprise puppy, but he wouldn’t cope with us coming home empty handed. We also didn’t tell our parents because we didn’t want anyone to tell us we were crazy/tell us off!
To say Cub was excited when Loki arrived was an understatement. Once the excitement calmed down, and he realised what having a puppy actually meant the jealousy arrived.
I was the main carer for this pup and toilet training nearly broke me with Juno. Having to take a puppy out every 10 minutes for it to wee is hard when you have a child who wants your attention 24/7 and especially a child who wants your attention when he knows its with someone/ thing else.
Firm ground rules were put in place, but mostly ignored. I have shouted much more than I have wanted to and pulled my hair out most days.
Our routine had to change hugely to make sure that puppy was getting his walks. So we get up earlier, go for a walk at 7:15 and then home and get bits ready for school.
I now walk 5 miles a day back and forth to school and the dog walks and its exhausting. It’s lovely to be out in the fresh air when you’re tied to a computer but also exhausting.
Cub has found sharing his time with the dog hard. We don’t allow them to be together on their own at any time and he knows this rule. But its hard to do this without having stair gates everywhere. Or bringing the dog into the loo with me.
Mostly its rough play that would go too far, either the child will squash / pull the pup when he has got too excited or the pup gets too excited and jumps up and scratches / nips. The main problem is Juno was a large dog and play looked a lot different to playing with a small puppy.
Cub also wants Loki to sit with him at all times so will pull him up, which again isn’t ok. So we have lots of moaning from me, which again doesn’t help the situation.
I am having to protect the pup from overzealous play / Cub trying to discipline the dog (by grabbing what ever it is he has stolen, or shouting at him) so then the feelings of me loving the dog more than Cub are getting stronger.
We have sat down and had lots of chats about why Mummy might be protecting the dog or moving the dog elsewhere to protect him, but this is still spending my time with the dog and not Cub (when in fact I’m not but that’s how he feels and its great he can articulate this).
We have a good routine with the puppy and he has his space (under the stairs and a crate in my office too) Loki knows when its time to go to bed. He needs his naps and fortunately Cub understands that when he’s in his bed we do not disturb him. This has helped with overtired behaviours from the dog.
We are now having less moany days. We still reiterate the rules every 5 minutes but I hope we are turning a corner.
Puppy is getting easier (apart from mornings when he is like a child on candy floss).
I interviewed Cub on his thoughts about getting a puppy. Here it is, his exact words:
How do you feel about getting a puppy?
Happy. Having a puppy is good, they need to be trained, sometimes they have accidents but that’s ok you just need to train them. Not all the time they wee in the house.
What’s the worst thing about having a puppy?
Nothing well I don’t like him jumping up and nipping. Or scratching. I don’t like him weeing on the floor. Next question please.
Do you feel jealous of the dog ever?
Well sometimes, not every time. Only 30 days I felt jealous.
Why did you feel jealous do you think?
Because you had more time with him than me and I didn’t get to play with you so much because you just wanted to play with the dog.
What tips would you give to people who want a puppy and already have a child?
I don’t know that answer. I would say to get one but you need to really train them so they don’t wee or poo on the floor. Try a doorbell like ours so they can ask to go out. (The dog has his own doorbell)
I would say it’s not that helpful with a child and then a dog, but with a dog and then a child that would be better and easier. Unless if you got an old dog. A puppy is a lot harder with a child. Get an old dog first then get your child.
Are you glad we got the puppy?
I am very glad I didn’t know we were getting a puppy that day because I was at Nanma and pops house and it was so surprising for me.
Are you glad we kept it a suprise?
Yes (now playing with the dog and given up on being interviewed)
I hope you liked this blog, I’m not sure if it will be any use to anyone at all, bringing a puppy home has been hard, but it does seem to be getting easier as the weeks go on. Firm boundaries and having eyes in the back of your head helps. Having space for both the child and the dog is a must. Routine helps hugely for both the dog and the child.
Until next time, thank you :) please let me know what you thought,