The Trials, Tribulations and Treasures of puppy ownership!

We asked Flynn’s adopters for an update about how the cheeky chap has been getting on in his new home, and what a wonderful update we received!


Read on to find out everything little Flynn has been getting up to……

”The arrival of Flynn has brought such joy and he is providing us with ‘us’ time too. Apart from when we both had to be out for approximately 45 minutes (and turned our security camera on so we could monitor things), we have not left the dogs alone, ever; we work it all out so there is always at least one of us here.

 

We cannot thank you enough for choosing us to be the privileged owners of our wonderful little man, Flynn. There are no words to describe how much he means to us, how much we love him and how much joy he has brought into our already happy home.

 

To know that you all felt we would be the best owners for him has flattered us greatly and we would like you to know that our boy is coming on a treat and is clearly very happy. We decided to turn the clock back a bit because of his rocky start in life, so put him onto a 5-weeks old food regime with, in addition to his Arden Grange, a few spoonfuls of Ambrosia creamed rice (only the best!) and a couple of spoonfuls of cooked lamb mince, both of which I have always found to be excellent for weight and bone, and scrambled eggs too.

He took to this with gusto and although he is by no means fat – I don’t like pups to be too hefty when their bones are still soft – his coat is gleaming and he is blossoming. The rice has now been discontinued as his poo is still not as firm as we would like it to be, but he remains on 4 meals a day. We are huge believers in fish and all of our dogs have had tinned pilchards in tomato sauce a few times per week because the lycopene in tomato is really good for them; Flynn will be treated the same in due course, but for now he is thriving on his regular routine.

So….. what happened when we left you with our new baby? Well, sitting in the back seat with Flynn on the faux-sheepskin blanket and with several toys to distract him may have been a terribly exciting time for him but it was nothing short of holy hell for me! The first hour had me constantly dealing with a canine version of ‘Jaws’ and by the time we reached Droitwich I was lacerated, bleeding and bruised by a very small boy who ignored what I know he knew was unwelcome, but did it anyway – and Roger was exhausted by the howls of pain from behind him! Oh yes, the toys were enjoyed by Spawn of the Devil but I could see Flynn’s beady little eyes fixed on my hands and arms as he gnawed at the toys and I could see the cogs whirring in his evil little brain, calculating when, like a lamprey eel hiding in a rock, he could launch himself at me with lightning speed and impale himself on his new Mum. Fortunately, he then – as pups do – collapsed in a heap for most of the rest of the journey, coming alive again when we were mercifully fairly close to home.

The friend who had sent Roger the Facebook link of Flynn was desperate to see him and came up that evening, bringing a huge crate which she had had for her own dog. Flynn took to this in a nano-second and he is utterly brilliant with nosing the door open and going in and out at whim during the day as well as being very happy to sleep in there at night. We put a sheet over it at night, leaving just the door uncovered, so he knows the difference and that it’s now bed time and, although for the first few nights we left the downstairs hall light on, we now turn it off.

 

Beryl is still allowed upstairs for the night, which is important for her, but the kitchen door is left open so we can hear him if he is stressed. As it happens, Flynn is wonderful at settling down and the most we ever hear is a faint whine when he realises one of us has risen in the morning and will soon be coming downstairs.

Flynn’s housetraining is, erm, ‘something of a challenge’! We should have shares in paper towel companies as well as Zoflora disinfectant but ‘Yay!’, at last we have a use for the stack of infernal plastic bags which are beloved of Hovis and Warburtons! We bought 8 packs of 3 rolls each this week as we are going through them at a rate of a roll a day, aarrghghgh! The trend is positive, though, and he is starting to know what to do when he is taken into the garden first thing in the morning, last thing at night and after each meal, as well as when the telltale meandering around the kitchen with that hunched look alerts us. However, he is just as likely to come in and still have another pee, or just go when he feels like it, and he hasn’t yet learned how to get our attention.


We have had to stop using puppy pads or even newspaper because the little tic chews them into a million pieces even if we spray the edges with anti-chew spray! Horribly, he has also discovered ’JOP’ – ie the Joy of Poo! If he sneaks to somewhere where we can’t see him on the other side of the table, it’s a bit like the dread which parents of small children feel when the burble of sound has gradually turned into an eerie silence. We leap up and yup, there he is, the repellant sight of him ‘caught in the act’ and licking his lips, with a stinking smudge on the floor, evidence of something which used to be more three-dimensional! Yeeuk!


He doesn’t last the night through, so cleaning the crate of wee is a morning ritual, but lavish praise and a small treat when he gets it right in the garden will, we are sure, eventually win the day. He is still only very young and he is definitely understanding the garden protocol more. A case of ‘Two steps forward, one step backwards’.

 

Ironically, when we took him and Beryl to the pet store in our favourite garden centre 30 minutes away, in order to get him a bigger harness and his identity disc, followed by returning to the very small town of Bourne so we could give him a short walk from the car to see my hairdresser, then driving another 20 minutes home, he never put a paw wrong! Little Flynn with his huge floppy baby ears and lovely Beryl, who is a picture in her own right, attracted a lot of attention and the duo really enjoyed it all.
Unfortunately, a week after buying the next size harness, Flynn was already finding it rather snug and so another visit will have to be made. He is starting to go on very short walks with Beryl and, whereas he at first didn’t want to go further than the garden, and found even going around the corner to the side or front garden scary, our kitchen being his sanctuary where he was ’safe’, he is now getting the hang of things and striding out excitedly. Although we don’t have a lot of traffic around here, he seems not to be worried about vehicles, borne out when we took him through Bourne that day.

When we collected Flynn, amongst the things we purchased from your shop was a lovely soft oval bed which he adores. We call it ‘The Terrapin’ and from the moment he arrived here he filled it with every toy he could get his little teeth into – soft ones, rubber ones, bone-y ones and even a rather obscene-looking orange rubbery thing with three knobbly ‘arms’ with strange ends, which looked as if it has come from an Anne Summers Naughty Party (it hasn’t, I assure you!!).

Flynn and Beryl adore each other and when noisy, madcap ‘puppy o’clock’ strikes, always when we want to watch something on the TV, the two use our heart-of-the-home kitchen as a racetrack. There is barking, there is scuffling, Flynn hides under the chairs and dives out at Beryl, nips her feet and then darts in again, bewildering her and making her bark with no end – it can be as infuriating as it is entertaining! Being small he can sneak under the table, change direction in a thrice, have big Beryl in a mortified state, then with a head of steam and high speed, he literally flies through the air into The Terrapin which, compete with all the toys, skids across the room!
‘The Tyke’ knows which buttons to press – and Beryl loves it! At almost 9, but typically OES youthful, sometimes she is the one wanting to play, so he has brought something wonderful back into her life after losing Harley a year ago. The beauty is that, as predicted, she lets him know when he has pushed her too far – and that is fine; it’s exactly what he needs and she never, ever hurts him. We let her teach him and, in turn, it is bringing out the maternal teacher in her. We knew Beryl would be brilliant with the right next member of the family and she is indeed proving to be wonderful with him, exceeding even our expectations. She is a cracker.

There is no question that Flynn is extremely intelligent and, in part, that is what distracts him from going to the toilet in the garden. He is constantly on the alert, listening to the slightest sound, sniffing the air, scenting the ground, fathoming out what is going on in the distance as well as close by – it makes hanging around for him to do what is required somewhat protracted, which is a bind when it’s cold or raining!!! One thing we have noticed is his intense nose-down scenting and, in another life, he probably would have made a superb police sniffer dog. We are thrilled about one particular thing which Flynn has learnt, to do with his food. We purchased a slow-down bowl for him because he’s a greedy little tyke and we thought it in his interests to curb the speed a bit.


There is always something new to learn and I decided to try something different with Flynn, something I saw Cesar Milan do with a greedy dog. As I walked with the bowl to his feeding place, I simply pointed firmly to The Terrapin and made a ‘Pffft!’ noise like the sound of a ring-pull coming off a can of beer or when the lid comes off a new bottle of CocaCola or similar.

The result was astonishing! He flew into The Terrapin and sat there, looked at the bowl and then, fixing his eyes on me, waited until I gave him permission to come to the bowl. Since then he has never put a foot wrong and now I don’t even have to speak to him; he knows the routine, flies into The Terrapin and waits for the silent hand signal ‘Come’ command.


We are incredibly proud of him with this, he learnt the lesson instantly and has very much ‘gone to the top of the class’! (We are now trying to teach him to ‘kiss’ our hands rather than using them as objects for acupuncture, but hmm… this is proving to be more tedious, when even treats aren’t as exciting as drawing blood! And rest assured that we also don’t permit it if he has just been caught out with his JOP escapade, ‘Ooooh no!’)

It goes to show what a bright boy he is and the potential he has to learn. Having said that, he is ‘into everything’: he sometimes tries to pull a soft toy or his bedding through the bars of the crate and all we see is the huge thing jerkily moving as if by courtesy of a poltergeist around the kitchen – and no matter how many toys litter the kitchen – 14 at last count, some of which hurt (a lot!) if we stand on them by accident – tea-towels, our Crocs, glasses cases or even our specs are fair game if they are in reach. This will need much more attention on our part as he gets bigger. We recognise a ‘mind of his own’ trait and puppy classes and dog training will definitely commence shortly in order to ensure that what is cute now doesn’t become the opposite when he matures.

When we lost Harley, our previous rescue Old English Sheepdog, our 14th dog, we had little warning and were utterly devastated; our subconscious minds had not had time to prepare. Because of Covid we couldn’t follow our ritual at the pet crematorium and found ourselves, for a whole year, unable to take his box of ashes out of their carrier or wash his bowl up, which remained in it’s bucket (to raise it up) in his feeding spot in the kitchen, where it gathered dust and looked awful. Flynn came to us less than a week before the first anniversary of Harley’s death and, on that day, we washed the bowl and at long last took the lovely named box of ashes out of its carrier. It was time – and Flynn made that all possible. Harley would want that for him, too.

We were hugely impressed by the Cotswold Dogs and Cats Home and Flynn is fortunate to have found himself there. We will return the disc and small harness in the next few days so that other unfortunates will benefit from them. We would like to assure you that we will forever give this wonderful boy the love and care that he deserves and work on him to make the most of his potential to become a truly wonderful pet. There are many people around here who had seen him on Facebook and who are thrilled that we were chosen to be his Mum and Dad. Indeed, he has had quite a few visitors all eager to meet him! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so, so much.

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