It’s week 3 and we’ve lost our lovely puppy, he’s missing. Replaced instead by a feral egotistical belligerent bundle of teeth and attitude. I know they grow up quick but this is ridiculous, how did we get to the terrible two’s in 3 weeks?
Physically, he’s easily doubled in size and I know it sounds impossible but every time he sleeps, wakes up and stretches he’s noticeably bigger. Two days ago he didn’t have a chest, now when he struts (and trust me he struts) it’s puffed out like a prize roosters. His stubby little legs, are gone, in their place long muscular limbs, he barely has control of. The darker (slightly goldy) cream that tipped his ears is now flowing down his back to the tip of his tail.
I think it’s fair to say he’s settled in. We are now the peasants in his glorious kingdom and as the ruler, he obviously doesn’t need to heed our commands anymore. It’s not that he’s forgotten what NO and COME mean, it’s that they obviously don’t apply to him anymore. A NO at this point will often elicit a snarl and a couple of air chomps, puppy speak for know your place pleb. Training this week has if anything gone backwards, having made such great progress in the first two weeks, it’s a little bit frustrating but evidently normal, so we’ll just work through it.
The situation has been exasperated by a heatwave baking the UK, with temperatures above 30c for over a week. Being the UK, of course, there is no aircon and therefore no respite, during the day or night. So it’s fair to say patience on all sides is running a little thin. Worst still we still can’t go out as he hadn’t had his 2nd set of jabs, so there was a definite case of cabin fever kicking in, and I’m not even talking about the pup.
The poor bugger spent most of these dog days on his gel filled cool mat clutching one of two 2 litre bottles of ice water that get rotated to/from the freezer. But come midnight, he’s got to unload all that potential energy in the way only dogs know how, zoomies! The nights I’ve spent teeth flashing past me in the darkness. Between the pup and the mosquitoes feasting on my legs, I’ve felt like a fatally wounded antelope hoping for a quick end to it all.
I was sharing our stroppy pup woes with my sister one scorching afternoon. She has a year old chocolate Labrador and had been through a lot of these problems already. Having described the symptoms, her advice was to do something to push him out of his comfort zone. He was likely far too comfortable in his little cabin-fever world and probably needed a different perspective on the situation.
Great idea, we have to expose him to lots of new things in these critical weeks, planned amongst them were trips in the car. The car also has the added bonus of having sweet sweet aircon.
I got the car ready, aircon on full blast and dismissed the forge workers who were using it to melt iron, blanket on the back seat, pup on his leash I coaxed him towards the front door. He was being his usual belligerent self, right up to the point I opened the front door. The sight of a huge expanse probably blew his mind. The noise of cars and people in the street added to the experience.
Yep, I think he was definitely outside of his comfort zone, it took 10 minutes to get him 10ft across the drive and into the car. With him clipped in with his dog seatbelt, rear windows down an inch or two and sunroof open (aircon off at this point we can’t cool the planet) we went for a half hour drive. After some initial whining he settled down, I wouldn’t say he was enjoying it but he was hanging in there (not like he had a choice). After 15 minutes I pulled over, checked on him and gave him some water, he’s definitely outside his comfort zone.
By the time I’d got him back home and back in his safe space I had a happy, compliant little puppy again. I can only assume he decided there might still be a use for these peasants in his world. We’ll see how long it lasts!
On the same day of his first car drive, we shoved him back in the car and took him to the vet for his 2nd set of jabs and a quick check-over. We were sitting in the vet’s reception for a few minutes and I’ve got Archer in my arms, he can’t touch the floor, I’m not sure if it’s because it’s lava or germs. He’s being a good boy, or more specifically he’s freaking out quietly, looking for reassurance. There’s only one other animal in reception and it’s a stunning border collie with piercing blue eyes, being a very good boy, he’s just sitting on a seat waiting his turn. One day that could be us!
We get called in by the vet and I plonk Archer down on the table, expecting the mad scramble you usually get with vet visits, but he just sat there. For the entire session he just froze, even after being poked, prodded, injected and weighed (8.3kg at just over 10 weeks) he didn’t move, he didn’t whine, he just took it all in. I’ve never had a pet like him, and he’s undermining my tales of woe to the vet, clever bugger.
The vet checks Archer’s white puppy coat and spots something, out with a comb and wet tissue and sure enough, the poor sod has fleas in spite of having Frontline only 3 weeks earlier. Then the vet spots one of the little blighters and kills it. Damn! The chances are they are cat fleas, the cats had their treatment just before he turned up but with the weather as it is, it’s inevitable they’ll be in the house and garden. Ho hum! The vet gives us some better flea treatment that covers a bunch of doggy maladies. Fingers crossed it does the trick.
Other than a few extra passengers, the vet gives him a clean bill of health. We enquire about socialisation classes and luck out filling the last spot in the next class held at the clinic on the coming Monday, fantastic. He can terrorize something else for an hour and will learn to associate the vet with fun, what a great idea.
The last week has been tough on Archer and his staff. But just one week to go and he can finally go out into the big blue room proper and we can start having some real fun. Extra leash training this week in preparation, for freedom!