Another week has gone by as the days have become shorter, the nights seem even darker and our puppy continues to grow. Margot remains puppy-like in so many ways though – certainly she has made excellent progress in some areas, yet there is certainly room for improvement in others. (This is starting to sound like a school report. Maybe I should categorise the sections into subjects? Once a teacher, always a teacher…)
At the Vet…
One of the main events last week was taking Margot back to the vet for her second vaccinations. As you can see from the photos, we did measure her properly and bought a better fitting harness, a Julius-K9 Mini-Mini in dark green. (I think she looks rather fetching in it. Interestingly, the lady we crossed paths with inside the vets’ reception area immediately assumed she was a male dog due to the colour of her collar and harness.)
Once again, I was so impressed with the two people who helped us at Lynwood. The vet, Luisa, took a good look at Margot, feeling her legs, tummy and looking in her ears. (With typical chewing acumen she managed to get the stethoscope tube in her mouth – that’s Margot, not the vet.) Luisa asked us what food we were giving her – it’s a brand called ‘More+ First Steps’ for dogs up to a year old, which Sarah the puppy lady had started feeding the litter. Being careful to check the amount, I weigh out four scoops a day. It would be wrong to overfeed her and to be honest she does seem very greedy (or perhaps hungry!) but you do worry that you are giving her the right amount of food. The guide on the 12kg bag gives a daily measurement for a dog’s adult weight – which is clearly where some guesswork comes in, as well as googling the average adult weight of a female labradoodle. I mix the dry food with warm water to soften it a little which has helped with Margot’s digestion. (In the first week she regurgitated some of her food and ate it again…)
The second vaccination is to boost Margo’s immunity further from Leptospirosis and Parvovirus (sometimes referred to as lepto and parvo – of course…) Initially, we were disappointed that we still couldn’t take Margot out of the garden for another ten days after this jab, but having read the information on the PDSA website about the nasty parvo virus and the severity of the leptospirosis bacterial disease, we completely understand that it is absolutely vital to ensure our puppy’s safety for a little bit longer.
We were also offered the Kennel Cough vaccine. If a dog catches this, it can result in (not unsurprisingly) a nasty cough as well as a raised temperature and sometimes also a lack of appetite. P didn’t want to watch when Margot’s skin was pierced with a needle and she was relieved when the kennel cough dose was administered by liquid from a pipette up one of her nostrils.
On our way out, we picked up a box of Advocate, a triple liquid dose of flea, lice, mite and worm control to be squeezed onto Margot’s skin in between her shoulder blades every month. The nurse also gave us a Droncit tablet, ‘a highly effective treatment against all common species of tapeworm infecting dogs’ according to the vetuk website. Instructions were to space out the doses over a few days to avoid overloading Margot. Phew, that’s a lot of medication for a small dog!
Chewing and Biting Update
I know this is an aside, but to start off with something positive, the toilet training seems to be going very well… mostly. As long as we send her outside for a quick wee before we go to bed, she will sleep through the night without any trouble. During the day, unless I miss her silently waiting by the dining room French doors to be let out into the garden, she will go to the toilet outside. (Once I missed the signal… Margot trotted back into the kitchen and seemingly did a wee directly in front of me as if to say ‘See, you weren’t paying me enough attention.’) I’m hoping that the next stage will be some sort of whine or noise to give me a bit more of a clue that she wants to go outside.
But back to the chewing…
There’s been little improvement here, unfortunately. My fleece has holes bitten into the hem on both sides from where she has jumped up and tugged with quite some strength. That sweet little fleecy pad she was pictured sleeping on in last week’s post (and in one of the photos below) now has a ten pence piece sized hole on the underside. I managed to pick up trails of stuffing from the kitchen floor and poke it back inside. (I’ve already sewn up a seam on this cushion once – it looks like I will need to fish out my needle and thread again both for the seat pad and my jumper.)
And cue another embarrassing moment when P had a friend over to meet Margot and he left 45 minutes later with a hole in his shorts. (They had been having fun playing with her in the garden up to the point where she must have been overexcited – or not yet understanding the word ‘No!’ I texted the young man’s mother to apologise and she was very kind and understanding in her reply…) I am still waiting longingly for the play biting stage to end.
Is Kong the answer?
On a normal working day, J comes back home with nuggets of ‘dog info’ (and sometimes presents) from his colleagues who are also dog owners. One very kind lady gave him a treat ball – see above – and a tube of dog pate to try. The ball looks like it has rows of teeth on its outer surface and you can fill this with treats that can be licked or chewed out as well as providing an allowed chew toy. For the first time I used it, Margot was amused for 30 (!) minutes, rolling it as well as licking and chewing on it constantly. When it rolled under the cabinet, I was quick to retrieve it! Again she has given it a good going over, as it is quite soft rubber so I don’t expect it to last very long. The more substantial, tougher green ball in a similar style doesn’t appear to have the same attraction, even when daubed in pate. I’m not sure why.
Another nugget said to be the chewing magic wand is something called a Kong. ‘The Kong Puppy soft rubber formula is customised for a growing puppy’s baby teeth and gums. This gentle, but long lasting toy helps satisfy instinctual needs and provides mental stimulation.’ On the face of it, this toy sounds amazing (and this was definitely reiterated by J’s colleagues) but both Margot and I are a bit nonplussed by it. Its strange shape results in a revolving, circular movement, which is entertaining for a few minutes, but it isn’t a miracle solution. Even putting it in the freezer so that it is soothing for her gums hasn’t added to the attraction – or lack of it. Apparently, Kong Puppy is ‘even more enticing’ when stuffed with dog peanut butter. (I have some of that on order so I shall keep you posted. Perhaps we weren’t using the Kong properly. I am prepared to have my mind changed. Let’s hope Margot is too!)
‘I’m getting used to the garden. There are lots of places to run about and hide in and loads of sniffing opportunities. I like digging in the gravel and the wild flower bed. The other day I fancied a game of tug so I dropped the rope ball at the big person’s feet. She joined in but going around in circles made her a bit dizzy.’
She never goes to sleep on my lap… Remember when I made a comment about wondering which member of our family she would form the biggest attachment to. My guess was spot on!
I keep hearing this word ‘socialisation’ and how essential it is to introduce Margot to new experiences whenever possible. The night before going back to the vet, P and I sat with her in the car. I didn’t drive anywhere, but we wanted to make her feel more comfortable inside the strange metal box. I think it worked in preparation for the next journey as she seemed less stressed the following day. There’s so much more to introduce her to, but we are still quite limited being tied to the house and garden at the moment. Our time will come…
Margot is used to being picked up by the other two members of our family and I have been growing in confidence every day. Below is my attempt at a first selfie – I’m not sure if Margot is impressed or not.
Next week… being more assertive, lead training and getting out on the streets!
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