Welcoming Matilda: Paws under the table
Those first few nights reminded me of what it was like having a new baby... which, in effect, was what I did have! And just like having a new baby, it soon got better – in some respects!
The sleepless nights soon stopped. I knew I was doing neither me or Matilda any favours by taking her into bed with me long term, so after a couple of night's 'bonding', I got strict with the night time puppy crate routine. It actually turned out rather easy in the end – Matilda tired herself out around 8pm each evening, and soon began to trot off to the crate unprompted, even when I wasn't in the house. It was a huge relief, as I really did think those early nights were indicative of our future: constant bedtime crying and howling!
Toilet training became the big issue instead. Although paper 'trained', excitement and immediate need to go meant (means!) lots of puddles and 'packages'. I cannot recommend wooden floors enough if you have a puppy...
But despite the puddles and the poos, the sleepless nights, the biting, chewing and destruction of every cushion, chair leg and soft toy in the house (did I mention that?), two weeks in, and with Matilda at ten weeks old, she well and truly had her paws under the table. She was completely settled in, loved us, and we loved her.
The day she turned ten weeks, we took her along to puppy socialisation classes at our vet's practice. The practice allowed pups to start between their first and second injections, and it was only animals registered at the surgery who were invited along, so their health and temperament were know to the staff.
Matilda was only girl in our class of four, and the smallest puppy there. She also proved to be the feistiest, noisiest and most badly behaved, constantly badgering, teasing and flirting with the biggest, heaviest, hairiest puppy.
Our classes were divided up into play sessions for the dogs, and mini-lectures for the humans. It was only over three weeks, but in terms of her socialisation (which my vet said there was a very small window of opportunity for with puppies – they need to find their feet with other dogs by fourteen weeks or they will struggle) it was amazing – her confidence and behaviour around other dogs became excellent.
Her lead-behaviour, road-sense and general discipline less so... but more on that next time!
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Haven’t registered? It’s really quick and simple.