This Christmas my partner and I had to decide what we were going to do with Charlie. In an ideal world we would have taken her to my partners parents house, and she would have spent the Christmas with us. However, that was not going to be possible since her mother is not particularly keen on dogs. We toyed with the idea of putting her in kennels. However the thought of her being cooped up in a cage for goodness knows how many hours a day, and without human companionship for long periods of time was certainly not what we wanted. My partner is a teacher of English, and one of her ex pupils, an adult woman volunteered to look after Charlie for us. We went to her house, that she shares with her boyfriend, with Charlie and met their own 2 dogs, and could see that this option was by far the best. They have a space around their house, not a garden as such, but an area of sand. It’s a brand new house and they have yet to create a garden.
I was a little concerned because both of her dogs are adults, both are males, and both are quite headstrong and rough and tumble types. I have to admit that we have treated Charlie rather like a baby since getting her, and she has become used to sleeping on the sofa, laying on the bed with us, and generally having a very easy and rather carefree life! In addition, she has had peace and quiet and space of her own for all of her life, therefore I could see from the onset that things would be very different for her over the Christmas period. The two dogs would not leave her alone and I could see that after an hour she was becoming quite stressed and tired from it all. Nevertheless, the day came when we took her to the other place and said our goodbyes.
Fast forward 2 weeks and a couple of days ago she was brought back to us. We could tell straight away that something seemed wrong. Rather than being pleased to see us she walked in, as if half asleep and lay down on the floor. We thanked the people who had looked after her and turned our attention to Charlie, who was barely aware of our presence. This half asleep demeanour carried on for the whole of the next day and I was becoming convinced that she had had such a terrible time and had been so stressed for the 2 week period that something had happened to her…. emotionally. In addition I began to wonder if she had simple forgotten who we were because she is still only 71/2 months old. fortunately, as time passed, she seemed to grow in confidence and her old character started to re-emerge. This morning we went to the woods, and then to the beach, and for the first time since returning to us she seemed to be the same dog that we had said goodbye to a couple of days before Christmas. As you can imagine I am very relieved.
One possible issue remains however. Whilst she was away she came into heat for the first time, and I hope that the other two dogs didn’t get the chance to do what comes naturally!
Anyway, I hope that you all had a great Christmas and new year.
All the best for 2013
The time flies so quickly these days that many things that I keep remembering to do, don’t get done! Then at some point down the road they are re-remembered, and forgotten again! However, just this moment I took a couple of photographs of Charlie and one of them came out very well. This spurred me into action to upload it, and add to the blog, which I have been criminally ignoring…. or forgetting!
I hope you like the image. She’s growing into a beautiful young dog, full of affection, fun, play and life. We could not imagine life without her!
She’s a Beauty!
Just returned from a good walk in the local woods with Charlie. We both had a great time (pictures below).
‘The Woods’ may be stretching the description a little far. Although it is a wooded area I would hardly call them proper woods, in the deciduous or English sense of the word. It’s little more than an area of greenery with conifers and a number of other species of tree in the city. That said they’re pretty enough, and for a moment it is possible to forget that you are in a very busy and built up area. Another nice point is that they are very close to the beach.
This was the first time that Charlie has ever experienced anything like this, other than a park that we visited the other day. Therefore it was with a great deal of excitement that she quickly found her confidence, and I let her off her lead to roam a little, and discover new smells and sensations. There were no other dogs in the area so I didn’t have the worry of letting her run free. She stuck quite close to me the whole time and circled me as I walked.
The temperature has been very high here for quite some time now. In fact the last couple of days have been very hot and somewhere in the region of 38oC, so it is a cool and refreshing place to be, when compared to the pavements and roads. She liked this I think and gained energy and momentum quickly. Naturally I took my camera and hopefully you will enjoy the few photos that I have posted below.
It’s been a few days since I last wrote on Charlies blog. Everything has been going well and she has continued to thrive. That was until this morning.
As soon as I saw her I could tell that something was amiss. Normally the first thing that she would do would be to run over and greet me, and expect copious amounts of attention and play. This morning things were different however. She looked up at me as if she had the mother of all hangovers, and didn’t even have the energy to get up, but her tail did wag a little.
I began to wonder what I had fed her, and if it had been anything out of the ordinary, but there had not been any dietary changes. I thought of an infection that she might have picked up whilst out on one of her walks. But I am always very careful to pull her away from anything that might look a bit iffy. And then it struck me. Perhaps it was the vaccination that she had been given yesterday at the vets.
This was her 3rd vaccination so far, and I wondered if she was feeling under the weather because of it. I’m not sure what the vaccination contained, however, I looked up ‘Vaccine side effects’ on Google and discovered that it is not at all unknown for puppies to feel unwell for a day or two after being vaccinated. This makes sense because, after all, the whole point of a vaccine, in humans also, is to introduce a safe level of infection into the body, so that it can build up a defense against it. You’re going to feel off colour because, essentially, you have been given a virus to deal with.
I was hoping that someone might confirm this conclusion. Has anyone else experienced a distinct change in their dogs character following a vaccination. As I said the internet information that I read seemed to suggest that it is perfectly normal. However, I still thought I would throw that topic out into the blogosphere for any input from you guys.
She has certainly been off her food today. however, she did woof down the sardines that I bought her in the hope that they would rekindle her appetite. She’s also sleeping a lot, and is at this very moment at the end of the sofa keeping my feet company.
The more I live with a puppy the more I see them as being like a baby. It’s heart melting really! Today all she has needed is to know that we are here to keep her company. That there is food and water should she need it. And that she is in a safe and loving place.
It’s a fact that we really have to start to toilet train Charlie. I’ll admit it that I have been lazy so far, and part of the reason for that is that we do not have carpets in the flat, and it takes very little time to clean up any mess. The mop and bucket has become my best new friend, and sometimes it’s as though I’ve always got it in my hand. I know for a fact that if the flat was carpeted we would have been going half crazy by now, and toilet training would be the number 1 priority. Nevertheless, we cannot just continue to allow her to got wherever she wants and tomorrow I will be buying something that I hope will help.
I have read that many people have a type of cage, that becomes the puppies toilet. I believe it’s called ‘crate’ training. I am sure that I could go down this route, and that the local pet store would stock them. However, whilst in a shop a couple of days ago something caught my eye which may also work. It’s the type of shop that sells everything from socks to lump hammers, but in the pet section, amongst the usual array of collars and toys they had a stack of hard plastic dog beds. The largest would probably be big enough for an Alsatian. They are really sturdy things, and would be very easy to clean and disinfect regularly. I don’t see why it would not be possible to set one of these up in a spare room and use this as a toilet.
This is what the bed looks like.
Although we do have a terrace I am not at all keen on allowing Charlie to venture out on to it just yet. There is a little gap that she could crawl under and then there’s a 30 foot drop to the road below. Therefore, the room that leads onto the terrace would be safer, and when she is older, we could move her toilet out onto the patio. I’m sure that a big sturdy bed would do just as well as buying an expensive cage. After all it’s just a place for her to go to the toilet, and when she becomes used to it she’ll visit it whenever she need to go.
From what I can gather people place a lot of newspaper in their toilet space, which makes sense. That would be easy to clean up and dispose of. Also from what I have read it is generally considered sensible to place some of her poop in the place that you want her to visit, and each and every time I see her squatting, to pick her up and run with her to her toilet. That way, hopefully, she will become accustomed to her toilet quicker and understand that that is the place to visit when she needs to go. Well that’s the theory! We will see how it goes and I will let you know. I am anticipating that this might be a long process, partly because I have allowed her to get into bad habits for the last 3 weeks. But you never know, she’s alert and clever, and fingers crossed she may get the knack of it quicker that I believe.
If anyone feels that my theory of using a bed is doomed to fail let me know and I’ll go with Plan B.
Right, I’m off to pick up a deposit that she’s left for me. I’ll get my mop and bucket!
For anyone who has ever visited Spain they would not have been able to have gone very far without seeing signs outside of cafe’s advertising ‘Churros Con Chocolate’. Churros are to Spain what Frankfurters are to Germany, or Apple Pie is to America. They can be eaten any time of the day, but generally they are considered something to have in the morning, normally for breakfast. They are usually served with super thick hot chocolate. And I do mean thick. The spoon should be able to stand upright in the cup without any support.
They are not a food to be eaten too often because the pounds would definately pile on, and you’d end up looking like the Michelin Man. However we have them on a Sunday, perhaps twice a month. Inbetween servings I promise to exercise more, but never do! Today was Churros day, and we took Charlie with us to buy them. This was a long walk for her, but I’ll give her her due she took it in her stride and walked the whole way. Coming home was easy. After she had smelled the freshly made hot churros in the bag she went balistic! Virginia led us all home. I swear my mouth was drooling more than Charlie’s. I must admit I had never seen her so keen to walk. The lead went taut, and her little legs were moving like pistons. It was good to see her so excited and energetic.
The ingredients to make churros are all edible by dogs, and so as soon as we had returned home the coffee table was cleared and plates placed. We had chocolate with ours, but of course Charlie wouldn’t be getting any of that!
At first she didn’t quite know what to make of them. She nibbled, smelled and nibbled a bit more, but then as if a lightbulb went on in her head, she scoffed. She has taken to jumping up onto the coffee table (see above). Not right up and on it, but front legs. I’m not sure if this is a good habit for her to get into because when she is older she’ll be jumping right on to it. Perhaps we should stop this now. We fed her little bits from our fingers (again probably breaking all the rules with regards to doggy care), and she throughly enjoyed it.
this is a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand we like to do this, but on the other we don’t want her begging and making a fuss when WE are eating. I guess we cannot have it both ways, and I don’t want to think we are making a rod for our own back. In fact I have read quite a lot of information that advocates very strict rules about dog ownership. Never on the sofa, never on the bed, always walk through a door before the dog. It’s slightly confusing because some people swear by ‘Dominance Training’, where the owner plays the role of the Alpha male. Whilst other writers reject this theory, because they say that all the studies that support dominance training have been carried out on wolf packs, and this doesn’t apply to domesticated dogs.
I’m going to research this further and let you know what I think in the near future.
P.S – Don’t forget, if you ever do go to Spain, eat Churros!