|Alex at 7 weeks old…|
I knew becoming novice dog-owners would be tough, but I didn’t realise we’d be riding such a roller-coaster for a lifetime (sorry, nine weeks).
First, Alex didn’t sleep through the night until he’d been here for four days. It was harrowing to hear him scream for hours on end. He’d eventually drop off to sleep, exhausted, only to wake half an hour or so later and start howling again.
Soon we were all —Alex included—shattered from lack of sleep. OH moved into his office in town and cancelled the week’s holiday he’d booked to catch up on chores around the house. Our son, who has wanted a dog all his life, did all the research into breeds and breeders and paid for Alex out of his savings, was pretty disillusioned by the racket and sheer, unending misery of it all.
We racked our brains. What was the puppy so unhappy? He was well fed, had water, toys, a comfy bed, the radio and a nightlight. We turned the heating off overnight, in case he was upset by the sound of the boiler firing. All that did was to make us all freezing cold, as well as miserable.
|…what a difference 8 weeks makes!|
Staggering outside in the half-light at 4am for Alex’s first toilet break of the day, while he was busy I bagged up the usual mess left behind by the deer that somehow manage to break in each night. Then it struck me—to get from the northern boundary of the garden to wreck our fruit trees, they had to walk across the terrace, only inches from where Alex was (supposed be) sleeping inside, under the window in the living room.
It only took minutes to shift the puppy’s crate into the kitchen, well away from any route the deer might take on their way to the orchard. That night, Alex had his first experience of unbroken sleep since leaving his breeder, and so did we!
If only transporting Alex by car was so easy to solve. We started off by feeding him in the stationery vehicle then taking short drives to the end of the lane, then to a friend’s house, gradually increasing the distance each time. It doesn’t seem to have any effect. He spends the whole journey yodelling fit to burst.
The cat is another hot topic. Alex was brought up with cats, so he thinks our huge and ancient pest control officer is bound to love him as much as he wants to love the cat. The cat has other ideas. For the first few days, he refused to come into the house. He’s gradually been coaxed back in, but won’t share any space with Alex. Whenever they meet he swells up to twice his already impressive size, hisses and spits. Alex assumes this is a friendly gesture. He advances, and gets firmly cuffed by the cat for his trouble. It’s as though the Archbishop of Canterbury and Richard Dawkins stumble upon each other several times a day. Unconditional love meets immoveable obstacle…
Have you got any solutions for our puppy problems?