Dog Blog #9 – It’s Christmas week…

Happy Christmas, one and all. I hope you had a good one. Ours was certainly different this year. We all wondered how it was going to work with our pup in tow. Would we be able to open our presents together as a family after breakfast as we have done in previous years? The traditional family Christmas jigsaw would have to wait a few months and maybe we would have to play the new board game upstairs or in the lounge when Margot was asleep… P was worried that she would chew the cardboard pieces to pieces!

Christmas Toys and Games

Not wishing to leave our puppy out from the receiving of presents at Christmas, we bought and wrapped a selection of cuddly toys for her to chew on: a teddy with a striped, fleecy scarf, a soft Olaf I picked up from a charity shop, a pink unicorn and my personal favourite, a Christmas mouse as part of the Pets Corner food order – more on the food calamity later on… Margot made short shrift of the wrapping paper, tearing it into shreds and it certainly looks as though she enjoyed chewing on the different cuddly toys. (Foxy is still her favourite though – he occasionally makes an appearance from out of her crate when she drags him around the kitchen floor. Both of his long arms are just about intact!)

We have continued to hold back a small portion of Margot’s meals to use in the mental stimulation games throughout the day, mainly by hiding small kibble bones in her toys and encouraging her to sniff them out. (There are times that we wonder about her seeking and finding skills to be honest, but it makes the games last longer. And thank goodness for Amazon boxes and envelopes as these have perfect second uses, even if some of them only last a few minutes before she tears them apart with her puppy teeth. We don’t think she has lost any of these just yet.)

I love this picture of a milky bone hidden inside the beak of one of her bird toys!

Food Calamity

So, after seven weeks with us, Margot has slowly eaten her way through the 12kg bag of More+ puppy food we ordered online from Pets Corner. I had ordered a replacement large bag before Christmas as well as some milky bones and some bacon and cheese ‘sausage rolls’ as extra treats. However, when we opened the new bag, it smelt of paint, as if the plastic of the packaging had permeated the dry food. It was hardly surprising that Margot also turned up her nose at it – well, she actually walked away from her dog bowl! Usually, she hoovers up the lot within 30 seconds. I phoned our local Pets Corner and was pleasantly reassured when they agreed to replace the bag for me as long as I could prove I had bought it online. They also asked me to bring in the smelly food so that they could see (or smell) it for themselves. Apparently, some of the batches of this dog food had been recalled. I suspected that it had been ‘extra baked’ during that hot spell in the summer months. (The Pets Corner staff were just as repulsed by the smell as we all were…)

Imagine my disappointment when I returned home to open the new bag to be greeted by the same foul and pungent aroma. Back on the phone to Pets Corner again and they couldn’t have been more helpful. Having checked the batch numbers, the other large bag they had in the store they suspected would also be ‘off’, but the smaller 2kg packets had a different number printed on them. J went back there this time and before he left the shop, they opened one of the smaller bags to perform a ‘sniff test’ of their own. Success! And because of their amazing support, it makes me want to shop there in the future so everyone’s a winner! Margot, too, as it meant she would have her dinner after all.

Cosily curled up – it’s difficult to work out where her head is!

Visitors over the Christmas Period

With a new puppy, we would not be able to take her to visit our friends and family at this stage, so we found ourselves hosting rather more than usual this year. Unsure of how the extra people inside the house would affect Margot’s behaviour, we warned all our guests to wear old clothes and to be prepared to continually tell her to ‘get down’ – as would we. Although we had already decided that she would ‘settle’ in her room whenever we were eating a big meal in the kitchen. (That had various levels of success as there were episodes of whining, scratching and biting at the door as well as periods of lying quietly on her mat in the next room.) Overall, I think our guests and Margot found a positive rapport between them, particularly those who had past experience with dogs and were therefore far more assertive in their interactions with her. My brother (previously referred to as a dog guru in an old post) told us we were doing very well, which was high praise indeed.

Walking Update

We have continued with the two point harness and leash as you can see in the picture above with some success. Personally, I don’t really understand how this process is supposed to help with preventing pulling, but P is very patient and stops every time there is tension on the leash. I think there is more control of our pup with this method, but I would like some practical exercises to convince me that this method is beneficial. Our next visit from Fleur should help with this.

Margot says…

There have been lots of strangers in the house this week, which seems to have made the big people cross at times. I have tried to be on my best behaviour, but sometimes it has been hard. I really want to see what is going on, which is why I keep jumping up at the table and there have been lots of new meaty smells in the kitchen. I have enjoyed chewing on the different soft toys, especially the arms of the snowman and the scarf of the teddy bear. These have all disappeared now. The head of the bear has also lost its shape as I have pulled out so much of the stuffing.

In other news, the travelling in the car is slowly improving. This week she curled up in the box and seemingly went to sleep for a few minutes on the way back from our walk in the park. I was too late with the camera as Margot’s head popped up as soon as the car stopped in our drive – but to be fair, before then I had been driving! She looks a bit scared in the picture below, but I can promise you she wasn’t seconds before.

Margot asleep over Christmas…

Next week… Dogs Behaving Badly and Graeme Hall, practical lessons and a new year!

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

4 responses to “Dog Blog #9 – It’s Christmas week…”

  1. Well done guys! You really seem to be getting on with things! It’s tough but worth it, keep up the good work!


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