Dog Blog #7 – Socialisation

There’s that word again: socialisation, or trying to introduce our puppy to as many new experiences as possible while she is still young. I think travelling in the car is becoming a little bit easier each time we do it and certainly taking her walking where we live means many dog interactions on every occasion. Margot appears to be getting more used to this too even though I still question her manners at times. Other dog walkers are very kind in their responses – most suggest saying ‘hello’ to their dog and how important the interactions are. And the ones who know that their pets really would not like a puppy jumping all over them have been very clear and waited for us to walk on by. (After much tugging on the leash from mine!) I have been very impressed with my fellow dog owners on the whole actually – with nearly all of them it will have been the first time we have met, and they are ever so friendly.

Harness Headache

You might remember from a previous post that we initially bought a harness that was not great – it was too big and a bit of a disappointment to be honest. After a more careful made to measure approach, we invested in the Julius K9 mini mini, thinking that it would last a few months. How wrong we were…

After a few weeks (three and a half to be exact) the feted Julius K9 is not fit for purpose. I partly blame myself because I wasn’t prepared to fight Margot for it after struggling to attach it without her puppy teeth latching on and tugging as if her life depended on it. (And I had been doing so well up to this point – honest!) Realising that she had bitten through part of the strap, I patched it up temporarily with my trusty needle and thread and tried again. I managed to put it around her tummy this time and clipped the two ends together. And off we went to hit the streets for a walk on the leash.

Imagine my horror, when we returned home and I couldn’t undo the clip… I tried and tried, pulled and pulled as all the while Margot was nibbling at my hand (and I can hardly blame her really because it can’t have been comfortable and she was surely sensing my stress at this point). In the end I managed to release the velcro from around her neck and take the harness over her body and under her back legs. J discovered on his return that she must have also chewed on the prongs of the clip – the centre ‘post’ was misaligned and that was what prevented the two pieces of plastic from coming apart. A trusty set of pliers again created a temporary measure while another harness was on order – this time having done some research on ‘no chew’ versions first. I will keep you posted.

Who’s there?

Margot has discovered her reflection in the water bowl. I’m not sure at this point if she knows that the dog she can see in the water is actually herself or she thinks there is another pup, but seeing her put her paw into the water to try and touch the other canine creature is so sweet…

How you’ve grown…

J and I have had many conversations about how at times Margot still looks tiny and puppy-like, but on other occasions she appears to have grown massively. When we took her back to the veterinary nurse for a monthly weight check, we were staggered that she had not quite doubled her weight in five weeks – but almost. It was reassuring to hear that this was perfectly normal and it wasn’t anything to do with overfeeding her, which is quite often a concern of mine. We have now been advised to change her number of meals from four to three portions a day so it will be interesting to see if that has any bearing on her daily routine. (Cue some careful maths going on to make sure we don’t suddenly increase the amount of dry food and upset her now settled stomach. We will definitely start gradually…) I have written out new measurements and times because otherwise I will never remember!

In the photos below Margot looks very much like a small puppy. I still love playing with this latex dog toy. Its poor head now has various gashes or tears in it and one of the ears is no more. Sometimes when she holds it in her mouth in a specific way, the wide grin looks like it is coming from her, which is hilarious… (I must try and pick up a new one for Christmas – I think we found it in Sainsbury’s of all places when we were scouring the shelves for another bottle of enzymatic spray to clear up wee accidents. No spray was forthcoming but the rubber dog has clearly been a hit.)

Her favourite place to lie at the moment – next to the radiator, especially when the heating is on in the evening.

Our Backyard

It’s turned arctic over the last week or so although the respite from the rain has been wonderful. When the sun breaks through the clouds, it’s still icily cold, but more like the winters I remember from my childhood. We’ve had to wrap up warm to take Margot out for walks in our neighbourhood and she continues to enjoy running about in the garden. I’m surprised that we have any grass left on the lawn as our pup like to dig (!) and my roses have taken some bashing from those gnawing jaws. It will be interesting to see what grows back in the spring, if anything. I have stopped worrying about it for the moment.

Time for a new ball?

You can see in the pictures below the current sorry state of the large tennis ball. Miraculously, there are days where it seems to re-inflate itself through the punctured gash, but sadly it doesn’t stay that way for long. Margot doesn’t seem to mind though as she will continually pick it up in her jaws and sprint around the garden, only returning to tease me with it, taunting me to release it from her puppy teeth. (Incidentally, the veterinary nurse told us that we should start looking out for her teeth on the floor as they could start falling out soon. She couldn’t see any adult ones protruding just yet though. Does that mean that the ‘bitey bitey’ stage might end soon? Oh I do hope so…)

Margot says…

The big people have given me the puppy bed back. I can still fit in it – just! They used to get a bit upset when I chewed at it before, but now I can get my nose right inside and pull out loads of the white fluff. And nobody bats an eyelid. I heard one of them say something about me being sorry when it was completely flat, but I didn’t really understand what she meant.

One of my favourite photos this week…

I started this blog post bemoaning the shortened lifespan of the K9 harness #2. So far, so good with version #3. Although it has two clips rather than one to keep away from her mouth, I like the colour and the reflective sections. Another dog walker verbally admired her ‘little vest’ too!

The final socialisation experienced this week was a visit from my aunt and uncle – new people in the house for quite a few hours at once. Margot was on her best behaviour for almost all of the time they were with us. She did constantly jump up though, something we need to continually remind her not to do – with little success at the moment. Whilst we were eating, she was sent next door to her room so we could have some peace to enjoy our meal. Perhaps the whining and scratching at the door for a few minutes clearly demonstrated her displeasure. However, her audible complaining didn’t last that long and we found her sat happily in her crate once we had finished. I’m not sure why we hadn’t got into this routine weeks before now. You live and learn – it seems that we still have quite a bit to understand with our pup and her behaviour.

Next week… hopefully some lessons and advice from a professional and the build up to the festive season.

Please feel free to comment, share and spread the word.

2 responses to “Dog Blog #7 – Socialisation”

  1. Nice photos, K. I think you are both doing brilliantly well on the walks – especially considering how we both reacted on our first encounter. I totally agree about her size shifting super power. 😀 Also, I feel more connected to my local community now that we have a dog and enjoy frequent, friendly conversations with fellow dogs with their humans.


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