I have received many requests for updates on the new CFZ dog, Biggles.
Training a puppy from scratch is exhausting and full of surprising successes and false hopes of success. All this information you read about having to imprint (in my case) alpha female status upon your new four-legged canine friend makes sense, but is not that easy to implement (however - and I just can't resist this small bit of sexism - a tad easier than trying to imprint alpha female status over other males in this house). I have had success in some areas but have struggled, and am still struggling, in others.
We are still finding new things when out and about – the other day I took him for his walk around the field and it started to rain. Not only that, I mistimed our perambulation to coincide with schools out, so there were mums and children walking home with that most strangest of objects (to Biggles at any rate) - the umbrella. Now, of course, Biggles has never seen such an oddity before and decided that it was foe rather than friend so greeted each one with a vocal welcome. “I am sorry,” said I over and over again. “He is only a puppy and has never seen an umbrella before.”
However, during his 24 weeks of existence on this planet he has learned to sit when asked (mostly), stay when asked (mostly) and come to you when called (mostly).
He has recently been teething and for a week was very subdued. It was like having a moody teenager in the house again! He wouldn’t eat his food, unless something tasty like hand-fed scrambled egg, and spent most of his time curled up asleep in his crate. Then, oddly enough after the CFZ annual meeting, he shed a tooth and from then on returned to his former self.
Here are a couple of more notable events in the last couple of weeks, which are, perhaps, worthy of amusing note:
The most disgusting thing he has done so far:
I was sitting at my laptop late one night (and no, nobody did the monster mash, but hopefully you are now all humming the tune) when I heard a horrible sound not unlike a baby screaming as if being attacked by something evil. I soon came to the correct assumption that it was, in fact, the CFZ cat Helios 7 that was making this awful cacophony in the kitchen. Then followed the all-too-familiar sound of a cat being sick. It seemed to go on for ages.
It is not so easy for me to make a quick escape from my seat at the dining room table as the wires from the laptop are strewn across the chair next to me from the plug in the wall, so it took me a few seconds to get to the kitchen to deal with the mess. I was not looking forward to it, cat sick is not as bad as the stomach contents that children can deposit (throwing up spaghetti for example, as was the case with one of my offspring once) but at that time of night it was an unenviable task.
So, there I found myself – standing in the kitchen searching for a large mass of cat vomit. But all that greeted me was a cat looking rather sorry for itself and a dog looking rather satisfied with itself. Yes, Major James Bigglesworth had enjoyed a rather tasty ‘mess’ supper.
The most frustrating thing he has learned so far:
Toilet training for puppies is no easy feat. Potty training children isn’t either, but at least they have the added bonus of nappies. After many weeks, Biggles has developed the habit of bashing on the back door when he needs to go relieve himself. Great you may say. However, border collies are well known for being very intelligent creatures, and Biggles certainly seems to have inherited this trait. He knows we will take him out if he asks, so he has developed the little trick of asking just to go for a general potter and sniff around the garden. Hence, several times during the day I can find myself roaming the flower beds just because he wants a breath of fresh air. There is a danger here of ‘crying wolf’ syndrome.
However, he is a sweetie and we all love him dearly. Yes, he is naughty at times, but at 24 weeks he is still really only a youngster. He piddles when he gets excited, is inquisitive just like a toddler and forgets his manners sometimes, but we are getting there – slowly.