Our first week with a puppy
A week ago today from when I started writing this blog post (about 3 weeks ago), Rob and I made the biggest decision we have ever made in our adult lives, besides deciding to own a home together, this was a decision we had to really think about and I couldn't be happier. We brought home our first ever puppy together. Since autumn 2018 we have seriously thought about getting a puppy together after spending the majority of 2018 searching rescue shelters and breeders for the right dog or pup, we found him. We decided on a Labrador Retriever as this was what we really wanted, a dog that would match our living style of going for long walks and having relaxing days at home or at the pub. Ever since being a little girl, I've always longed for a pet of my own and after trying to convince Rob to get a cat, a guinea pig, all sorts, we decided a dog is the best thing for us, company when our other half is working long days and another reason to get out and about.
Story behind why we wanted a dog.
For months since moving in, I always wanted a dog at some point in my life. I originally wanted to wait until we had children so we had a whole family unit with children and animals plus this meant we could go away whenever we wanted etc without any children or animals to worry about. However, a few month into living in our home, our days out began to revolve around going for walks and we never really seemed to want to go away anywhere as much as we wanted to be at home, mainly as we never knew how amazing it would be actually having our own space so spending money to go stay in a hotel every other month seemed pointless.
Me and Rob work long shifts and very very rarely get days where our shifts overlap so often we would have days where we would be at home all day on our own and as much as I love cleaning, I couldn't bare the boredom and wanted company. So pretty much all of 2018 was spent looking into getting a dog or puppy and whether we could offer enough time to train and to spend time with our new pet. After some serious thinking we met a rescue dog which we thought would be perfect but he wasn't trained and didn't like other dogs, children and couldn't be on his own more than an hour. We were heartbroken. Thankfully, this Labrador who we went to meet is with a lovely lady who rescues untrained dogs of all ages so we were pleased he went to the right home!
We then met a lady who bred Golden Retrievers, we were besotted with her lovely dogs, and she was due to have another litter in 2019 however in December 2018 we were told she lost the pups and wouldn't be having another litter until late 2019. We settled to wait until the next litter until Christmas day we began discussing dogs, as we often do, and Rob's brother's friend has Chocolate Labrador pups for sale and as a well known good breeder, we heavily considered getting a pup from this litter.
Obviously Christmas involved a lot of Prosecco and decision making whilst drunk on Italian wine isn't ideal. Myself, I was besotted already with a chocolate pup but Rob is more of a worrier and a problem solver and was heavily decision making as too whether it was the right time to get a puppy. So boxing day we spent most of the morning thinking if it was the correct time. Did we have the money for the pup? Did we have the space? Did we have enough time for a puppy? So in the end, we went for it.
Meeting the pups.
Now, I thought I would be so sensible when it came to picking a puppy, however when faced with 10 puppies I was a melt, I could of cried. We opted for a dog rather than a bitch as Rob had his heart set on having a dog called Rodney from the day we mentioned getting a dog. So we went to visit the puppies and having never seen a chocolate Labrador puppy at 6/7 weeks old I was a wreck, all those tiny little playful paws were just amazing. We received photos from the breeder of the dogs prior visiting and there was this one puppy who kept sitting in the food bowl that stole Robs heart. I told him to wait until we seen them all before he got too attached but even visiting them, this particular pup was a winner for us. Bigger paws than the rest, very relaxed, constantly looking for grub and ultimately gave the best cuddles. We found our Rodney.
Obviously we asked all the right questions about hip and eye scores, family history, socialisation and if the puppies were going to have their first injections and be microchipped. All things to consider when spending so much money on a pet as it is a very serious business getting a dog from a professional breeder. Also, they like to know that we are ready so if anyone is considering getting a puppy, don't be offended if they ask you questions too as they just want their puppies to be going to safe and loving homes. Another thing to consider is the Kennel Club registration papers and documentation, ensuring you get all the legal papers and that they are the real thing. The breeder we spoke to said she knew someone who got given 'photocopied' papers and this isn't a real legal document to state they are Kennel Club registered. Another good reason to receive all of these papers is so you can trace family history, as a dog novice, I was quite thrilled but over whelmed with how many dog show winners were in Rodneys family line. Quite surreal as I was quite blasé to the whole dog show world and just simply wanted a pet to cuddle when I was at home and to walk every day.
Collecting our puppy.
The day came we could collect Rodney at 8 weeks old after his first injections, I had just finished night shift, got myself and Rob some breakfast on the way home and got home to finish sorting things out before Rodney came home. We got him a blanket from a local shop as we read about getting a blanket to rub on the puppies mother to comfort them when they first came home so they could feel settled. We got his blanket, got in the car, plus a plastic box as we didn't want any accidents in the car.
Payments made, and a quick chat about what to expect from a puppy with regards to chewing, accidents in the house (wee's and poo's) and plenty play time. It's awkward collecting the pup because we never picked one up before and we weren't sure if it was literally, here's the money, here's your puppy, job done, but we had a thorough chat about what to do with regards to booking in with the vets, sorting insurance out and if we needed help or a chat about anything to give them a ring to discuss things.
We left feeling relaxed which is ideal since the last few weeks, relaxed hasn't been a word we've exercised very much at all. We brought a toy, plus the blanket and the plastic tub thing (actually it was a cat litter tray, we got told to bring a waterproof container to hold him in, in the car incase he pissed everywhere) and got into the car. I started to cry because the litters mother followed us to the car with the breeder and I felt horrible taking him from his Mam. He settled in the car, wanted to be able to see both me and Rob at the same time, Rob drove the most careful he's every driven in his whole life and we arrived home. Rodneys new forever home.
For the last few weeks, Rodney has roamed the Spoors / Nye household as if he was born to run the place. As he is teething (yup, if you didn't know already, puppies teeth like humans do) and his teeth are like pins when they nip you, we have found that within the first week, Rodney was using his mouth to test the limits of the house, chewing his toys, our furniture, our toes, shoes, shoe laces and hands mostly. He even bit my boob one day when I was cuddling him which was fairly traumatic but never the less, the first week really opened our eyes to puppies and how the chew anything and everything. The first day he was home was the only day he was quiet, calm and incredibly sleepy. Only rising to eat and have a 5 minute place then placing his little chocolate chunk of a bod on his blanket he was so placid and adorable. Then chaos broke from day 2. Crazy Rodney entered our lives and has had us run ragged since. I wouldn't have him any other way though.
We have reluctantly crate trained Rodney until we can trust him to roam the downstairs of our home without feeling like he is going to chew and destroy everything. Plus he is so little, he can jump off the sofa but can't quite fathom how to jump up and I don't want a broken puppy, no thank you. Also, we were told that this helps reduce accidents in the home as dogs won't 'mess' where they sleep. We had puppy pads on stand by incase Rodney was the acceptation but alas! He has never once pee'd nor pooped in his crate!! We have had a few accidents in the house, BUT, since day 1 we aimed to teach him that it was bad to poo and wee inside and outside was his place to do to his hearts content. Thankfully, we have had a total of 1 poop accident since the first week beside the first day. We also crate him at night time whilst we sleep. The first night, he cried and cried which was heart breaking but we did not want a vicious cycle of having him upstairs with us as he will need to be downstairs to sleep as his bed has no room upstairs. Night 2, no cries. Nothing. The rest of the days are history he very very rarely cries in his crate. Only if he is desperate to pee or poop which isn't often as we aim to take him out every 4 hours over night. Yup, that means at least 1 get up mid sleep. Not my favourite dog task but worth it to have a happy puppy.
All in all, having a puppy the past week has been such a hard, yet rewarding task. A lot harder than Rob and I would have imagined and some have said having a baby would have been easier than having a puppy and I could totally believe them! Never the less, he's my little chocolate chunk and I could not live without him now. Constantly at my heels, perfect for a cuddle on the evening and worth getting up at daft o'clock to let him out to toilet and giving up my lie ins for the future so he can be happy. He's amazing.