Gracie’s first week

We have been busy since I got here:

Thursday 14th Jan 16 (8 weeks old):

Came home with Mary, I was very brave and didn’t cry. I slept a lot, but had an instant attraction to Poppy, if it wasn’t for my play pen, I would be all over her ALL THE TIME. Mary doesn’t think Poppy would appreciate this. Uncle Gary comes round for cuddles and then I go to NEVR hospital for cuddles off the reception staff.

At the vet hospital
At the vet hospital

Friday 15th Jan 16:12400530_1720625441484683_6923550916256214785_n

I slept all night, Mary is most impressed with me! Today I go to my neighbour’s houses (please see plural), where they all love me (and how couldn’t they?!), the hairdressers and the we visit Morrisons. I got a lot of cuddles today and seen so many things, trolleys, wheelchairs, old people, tiny people and  haven’t been fazed by anything.

 

Saturday 16th Jan 16:

The good sleeping has continued (and has done throughout the week). We go to more people’s houses and then Rio comes over for a playdate, I sleep all afternoon. We then go and visit Big Gracie, she is nearly 4 years old, her birthday is on the same day as Specs!

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Sunday 17th Jan 16:

I come to puppy class (just for cuddles) with Mary, she says I am not allowed to see the other pups, because I am too young, but I get a lot of cuddles off all the customers and staff. More house visits.

Monday 18th Jan 16:

Today I went to the vets, first we walked up Chillingham road and then we went to the vets, I got more cuddles. However12494677_1722167377997156_7769501854641542568_n, this came with a catch… I had a pointy thing stuck into my back! I screamed my disapproval, Mary laughed at me! Humph! Anyway, I soon forgot about it and was more lively then ever.

In the afternoon I went to work in the office and van shopping, more cuddles. I don’t think the vans were quite big enough to fit me in though..12417804_1722777384602822_1227853760562570980_n.

In the evening, I went to puppy party at Blythmans Vets, it was such fun! I played with Rio, who is definitely my BFF.

 

 

Tuesday 19th Jan 16:

More people! Today I went to work with Specs the puppy, it was so good to finally meet her and her Mum, Jackie. We had a lot of fun saying hello to each other. In the evening I made another appearance at class, to meet the advanced students. I like these appearances.

Wednesday 20th Jan 16:

Happy birthday big Gracie and Specs!

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We went shopping today, work in the office and visited a building site, where men in yellow coats and hats said “hello” to me. There were some very big lorries and dumper trucks whistling past us. I was much braver then Mary.

Building site, we got closer, but Mary didn't want to be seen taking photos!
Building site, we got closer, but Mary didn’t want to be seen taking photos!

Thursday 21st Jan 16:

I have now been with Mary for a week. I was pretty confident, when I came, I am even more confident and lively now!

Things she now knows I love:

Cuddles off anyone, playing (especially bally and tuggy), eating, balancing, climbing and Poppy.

Today we went to Jesmond (all socialisation has been in Mary’s arms, much to my disapproval), we went up and down the high street, people kept exclaiming “AWWW!” everytime they saw me, I even had my photograph taken. It was very noisy, especially when we went to the metro station, but I  didn’t flinch.

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Separation anxiety or not?

I thought my Specs-post-writing days were over, but this little ‘problem’ is quite interesting so definitely deserves a mention.

As you know from one of my early posts, Specs was introduced to crates and play pens from day one.  Crates and pens make life with a puppy immeasurably easier – no worries about toilet accidents on the carpet, nor about them chewing your favourite slippers.  And, my favourite, when you go on holiday you take the crate with you and then you don’t incur the wrath of the holiday home owners who have asked very politely that you keep dogs off the furniture. Continue reading Separation anxiety or not?

Mary’s story, the owner of Gracie Harrison

Mo is to blame for everything, she found the advert for 3 week old Yorkillon pups, about 5 miles from where I live. I couldn’t not go to see them and when I did, it was love at first sight, I named her Gracie.

Gracie the Yorkillon

Mum, Wendy (Yorkshire Terrier) and Dad, Bubbles (Papillon) seemed to have lovely temperaments, there was only one puppy left and she was the pup I would have chosen. It must have been meant. However, once reality set it, my poor family and friends had a month of me being particularly annoying (I don’t do things by halves!):

My thoughts before getting Gracie:
“Oh no, I won’t have time to do anything with her!”
“Oh no, I won’t have time to do any work, once she comes!”
“Awww, she is so beautiful! So excited to get her!”
“Oh no! Poppy is not going to love me as much!”
“Aww! I can’t wait to play with her!”
“Aww! I can’t wait to love and hug her!”

I was terrified and excited, all at the same time. I made a list of everything I would need…

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We set the pen up about a week before getting her, to let Poppy (my older dog) get used to the new configuration. The pen means that Poppy’s life with a new puppy is disrupted as little as possible, Gracie isn’t able to constantly annoy her, the pen also means that Gracie can’t chew at things that she shouldn’t be chewing (puppies are generally suicidal).

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From the moment of bringing her home, I knew it was the right thing, it was like she had been with us forever. I am hoping in this blog to be as honest as possible. I don’t think it is always going to be easy, but I think it will be a lot of fun, she has already improved my life, she is hilarious and I love her.

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Specs muddy after a walk in the rain

Specs is nearly one year old

Yes, little Specs is no longer Specs the Puppy, but is now Specs the Dog (only I reckon she’s so cute she’ll always look like a puppy).

Our intention of blogging for a year never really made it past six months, partly because life just sort of took over, and also because, well, once puppies get to six months it just isn’t as interesting, is it?

The last six months may not have been as interesting, but they’ve certainly been fun.  Specs was without question the best puppy in the history of the universe, and is now undoubtedly the best dog.  She’s still little, she’s still cute, she’s still a ball of energy, and she still poops on the floor (only not very often now and only when mum ignores her requests to be out – bad mum!).

Her agility training never came to much, which is a shame as she definitely has champion potential, but to get to that level requires a lot of time, commitment and money.  Plus that’s not why I bought Specs: I bought her to be my constant companion, friend and stand up comedian, and she’s certainly all of those things.

Despite not doing the agility, the early training and socialisation has paid off in spades.  Specs is amazingly biddable and just loves everyone.  She does bark occasionally at loud noises, and doesn’t like strange things appearing out of the bushes, but give her a couple of seconds to work out what they are (usually people in wet weather gear at the moment) and she calms down straight away.

The wide range of training we did with her at a young age apparently, according to Jen, builds all sorts of networks in the brain which stay there forever, so when I eventually took Specs back to training class (as I did last autumn) she outshone the rest of the class who had been coming for many weeks.  I’d love to take the credit for that but I really can’t – it was all down to Mary, who now has to do even better with Gracie the Yorkillon.

Me and Specs can’t wait to meet her!

Girly Sleepover…Part 2

Hello everyone,

I am so sorry that it has taken so long for me to post this, however I have had such traumatic week, what with me being spayed, then feeling better and Mummy still not letting me run and jump! Humph.

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I was super busy when I went to Mary’s house, here is a rough guide to how my days were spent (when I wasn’t doing things, I rested in my bed, in the play pen):

7am Get up and toilet

8:30am Poppy and Mary go to for a ‘big girls’ walk

9:30am Breakfast, Mary made me do all sorts of things to get it, sometimes we did easy things like me targeting to her hand and other times we did hard sendaways, into a down. She was particularly proud of me when I did a sendaway. Toilet.

12pm Walk, I was let off the lead on this walk. Mary said she was a little bit scared, I don’t know why! Anyway, she made me trail a really long piece of rope, that she would stomp on when she wanted me to stop. Her excuse was that I couldn’t dodge away from her, if she tried catching me. I would never do that!

3pm Dinner time and toilet, yummy and more trainins, often in the garden as it was nice and sunny!

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4pm Visit Poppy’s neighbours. They love me, what can I say?

5pm Lead walking around the estate. Mary made me wear my gentle leader, so I didn’t hurt my neck. I got treats when I walked nicely beside her.

6pm Out and about at a dog class.

On the Tuesday night I went to Juniors and met up with Nina the German shepherd from Puppy class, she is so big now. Mary got me to walk backwards, it was such fun!

On the Wednesday night I went to do some Agility with Linda, Luna, Poppy and Mary. It was really fun when Mary worked with me, however she would sometimes play with Poppy and I got jealous, cried and tried to get out of my cage. Mary just ignored me, I was most affronted!

10pm Toilet and beddy byes.. I was shattered!

ps. I was so good at going to the toilet on walks. Apparently not all puppies do this, when you gotta go, you gotta go!

pps. By the end of my sleepover, Poppy started playing with me! She just ignored me at first. I think she likes me… although she may not admit it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My trip to the vet’s

Today has NOT been a Good Day.  Mum took me to the vet’s this morning. I usually like going there because they’re very kind and they love me and they give me treats, but this morning I tried to make friends with the vet but he stuck something up my bottom and I didn’t like it.

Then mum left me all alone in a cage, and I went to sleep and then woke up later with a stupid pink pyjama thingy on.

Mum says I’ll be better soon and that it’s all for the best.  She says I’ve been “spayed” which means I’ll live a lot longer so I’ll have longer with Mum and all my friends and get to eat more treats and play more games. Yeah!

Girls Sleepover!

My sister, Emma has been really clever and is graduating from University. This means that Mummy and Emma are going to Hull and I have come to my BFF’s (Mary) house for a sleepover (not looked after, I am a big girl now).

So it is 9pm now, I have been here about 4 hours and this is what I have done:

A really muddy walk,

A bath (yuck!),Specs2600

Zoomies around the garden,

Trainins- Wait and stay practise ,

Cuddles with Mary, Uncle Ian and Auntie Elizabeth. There are lots of people to cuddle here. I like that.

Oh and been to see some of Mary’s neighbours, Uncle Gary and the Schnauzer girls! People keep calling me ‘The Famous Specs’ I like having a title, it suits me.

That isn’t bad, I am going to have a nap now. Night Night.

Changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act

I’ve been prompted to write this by a couple of recent incidents.

The first was told to me by a friend of mine whose six-year old daughter was recently badly scared by her neighbour’s dog, which my friend described as looking a bit like a ‘large shih tzu’.  The dog had been let out, off lead, into the street by the neighbour.  When my friend and her daughter tried to walk into their house, the dog came running up to them, barking, hackles raised.  No physical harm was done to the daughter, though she was very badly shocked.

The second incident was more serious and happened just this morning.  Tragically, a three week old baby boy was attacked and killed, in the house, by a ‘small terrier’.

Neither of the dogs in these incidents could ever be described as belonging to one of the banned breeds.  In the first incident my friend chose not to report the matter to the police in the interests of neighbourly relations.  In the second, a man has been arrested.

If neither dog was a banned breed, how come both of these incidents, even the more minor one, are matters for the police?

Because the Dangerous Dogs Act was updated last year.  You can find an overview on the government’s website, but they key points for those of us with what we would normally consider to be ‘harmless’ dogs are:

It’s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, eg:

  • in a public place
  • in a private place, eg a neighbour’s house or garden
  • in the owner’s home

The law applies to all dogs.

Out of control

Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

  • injures someone
  • makes someone worried that it might injure them

A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if:

  • it injures someone’s animal
  • the owner of the animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal

I’ve highlighted the key phrases for us responsible pet owners: the law applies to all dogs, and the dog does not have to injure – just making someone worried is enough.

So what should we do to make sure we keep our dogs, and the public, safe?
  • If you’re worried about your dog’s behaviour, then you might want to consider walking him on a lead.
  • Even if you’re not, I would always strongly advise that you put your dog on a lead when there are children around – especially children eating.  It takes a special dog to resist the lure of an ice cream held at nose height, and his actions could so easily be misconstrued it’s just not worth the risk.
  • Work hard on that recall training.  Even if you can’t see anyone around, people do have a habit of appearing from round a corner.  If your dog has a good recall, you stand a much better chance of getting the dog under control while you get a chance to assess the situation.
  • Never ever ever leave your child and dog unattended together.  Never.  Just don’t.  It is your job to teach your child and your dog how to play nicely together, so just being in the same room isn’t enough – you need to be actively supervising their interaction.  And if you’re not, the dog needs to be in its box or at the other side of the baby gate. The most placid dog will bite if given the right provocation.  If your toddler falls over the dog while exploring the living room, would you really blame your dog for trying to protect himself?  Maybe not, but the police would take a dim view and you could lose your dog forever. Or even, like the incident today,  your dog and your child.  Please don’t let that happen.

House training update

Shh, don’t tell anyone, but we had a bit of a breakthrough this week. Little Specs is finally staying dry all night. Yippee! No more rushing down in the morning to try to catch her before she fully wakes up, and, with any luck, I might be able to stop buying all those puppy pads too.

But (yes, there’s always a but) she’s still not reliable, not at all, no way José. She’s still not yet five months old so it’ll be a while yet before she’s declared safe to run unsupervised on the carpet. For now, she still stays in her cage when I can’t supervise her, she still gets toilet breaks at least every two hours, if not more, and the puppy pads still stay in the cage – though hopefully a lot less of them.

And of course next week she goes to get speyed, so it could all quite easily go to pot then – either because of the stress of the experience, or because of the upset to her hormones.

And that brings me to my final point – if your puppy is showing absolutely no signs of progress by about this age, don’t be frightened to get her checked out by the vet. It’ll most likely be nothing to worry about, and could well be easily fixable.

 

Agility Socialisins

hnh400pxEver since I met Mary, she has been telling me all about how fun agility is. It sounds great- outdoors all day, no baths, a moving home that she calls a ‘caravan’, lots of other dogs, runnins and jumpins and lots of yummy food. It sounds like a dream!

So last week, I went to see what she was talking about, Auntie Elizabeth came to pick me up and we traveled to Barnard Castle to visit Mary and Poppy.

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It was so exciting! Once we arrived, we went to watch Auntie Sue and Magic run an agility course, they went round really fast and got a pretty ribbon a few hours later, it was so shiny, I definitely need some pretty ribbons. Mary put my gentle leader on me because I just got so excited… I wanted to be everywhere NOW! But, even the gentle leader didn’t get me down, cos there was just so much to watch and sniff and listen to!

People kept taking me away from Mary, they said they were stealing me becaustug400pxe I was “being sooo good”, although they all had a new name for me- The famous Specs!… one couple even swapped me for a pint of milk, but I didn’t mind because they gave me cuddlins and treats and all their friends came over to say I am beautiful.

Next up was to watch Luna and Auntie Linda and then Poppy and Mary run, we queued in a big, long line, so Auntie Elizabeth and I did some tugging, it was really fun, I even out tugged her. Mary said I was brilliant, cos even though there were lots of dogs all around me, I totally ignored them!

Last, but not least time for some din dins, we went to the catering van called ‘The dog thedoghouse400pxhouse’- how clever is that? at a dog show as well! The lovely ladies gave me sasauges, they were super yummy and cuddled me, I gave them my best cutie pie looks.