9 things I learned since we had a dog
Our handsome miniature labradoodle came to live with us in March this year. He’s a lovely little fella, full of energy and with such a wonderful personality, but there are things I’ve learned over the past few months that just never occurred to me were dog related or I was too daft to consider. Here are the 9 things I’ve learned since we had a dog:
- Dogs have baby teeth too. Yes I know they’re mammals but I’d never thought about the dental lifecycle of a dog until now. Once our dog turned 5 months we started to find teeth all over the house. Canines, incisors, molars, the lot! I do worry slightly that the doggy tooth fairy should be visiting each time we happen across another tooth but I think the little chap is happy with a new chew toy every so often to help him through his teething period. Hopefully he’ll stop trying to gnaw at everything else soon.
- Running circles around you. This happens a lot. He’ll get something he knows he’s not meant to have. A sock. A flower from the garden. A pair of underpants. Then he’ll run around me so fast that I can’t get to him until he decides it’s time to lie down and chew the aforementioned item. My first thought when this happened was ‘aha, so that’s what running circles around you means’. My second thought was ‘how do I get my underpants back’.
- Having your collar felt. One of the first lessons you learn down at puppy training is showing your dog when it’s time to calm down. Grab his collar lightly but firmly and your puppy will start to understand that it’s time for him to sit down and chill out. I’m sure this is what the boys in blue meant when they gave some young rapscallions a clip round the ear, allowing them to go away having had their collar felt.
- Now I’ve seen everything. Before my dog is 6 month or so, he needs to see everything. We’ve visited lots of places, with lots of people, on lots of different modes of transport. So far he’s pretty cool with the whole thing. He likes the train and the bus, but isn’t so keen on the car. We’ve been in to town and tackled crowds, had meetings in people’s houses and in cafe’s and restaurants and he’s been good at that too. The books say he needs to meet lots of other dogs as well as different types of people. A common thing that might freak your dog out are men with beards, so we went to Shoreditch for the afternoon, so that’s all good! (see old dog, new tricks)
- Puppy dog eyes. You may be as hard as nails but as soon as your new family member arrives at your house he’ll want to manipulate your every move and get exactly what he wants. Fire up the puppy dog eyes. They are a real thing that gives your dog super powers. All it takes is his chin on your lap and his deep brown eyes to look up at yours and you’re done for. Our children can probably learn a thing or two from this, then again maybe not.
- You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It turns out that this is total rubbish and maybe just applies to actual old people rather than dogs. Your dog’s training is an ongoing thing that keeps his mind alive and helps him to be a well adjusted member of doggy society. I’m sure that along with everyone else from puppy school, we’ll not be doing as much training as we should and we’ll also forget that our dogs don’t actually understand English at all (sit, sit, SIT!)
- Cut to the quick. This is a phrase that’s used a lot and taken from granted until your friendly breeder asks you if you want a pair of doggy nail clippers, because clipping your doggy’s nails is, well, easy, right? No. No it’s not. When you cut your doggy’s nails to the quick they let out the most heart wrenching yelp that all of a sudden you understand the pain of being cut to the quick (the soft bit at the base of the nail that if cut, can be very painful for your puppy and can bleed A LOT).
- The dog ate my homework. During my school years, way back when, this was the most commonly used comedy excuse for not handing in your homework, even if you didn’t have a dog. It would regularly feature on Grange Hill or Why Don’t You, but the reality is that DOGS DO EAT HOMEWORK. This is an absolute truth. But they also eat bin bags, cotton wool pads, anything in the garden that hasn’t come out of their own bum, and even sometimes that. Dogs are like goats, they eat everything.
- Hanging your head in shame. I’ve gone out of a room or upstairs and the pup has stayed behind. He barks a bit and cries a little because he misses me, but then it goes quiet. ‘That’s good’ I think, he’s getting used to being alone. A little while later I return and there’s fluff all over the floor. The little fella has killed another toy and removed its insides with his teeth. He knows this isn’t a good thing to do and he looks at me with his head down and through his soon to be cut eyebrows. Did I tell him off? How could I!
There are probably loads more but it’s late and the dog needs a wee before bedtime.