Friday, 23 August 2013

Life with a new pup...

As you all know, at Easter time we lost our beloved Amber, and not long after (wanting a distraction from the pain) we welcomed little Mila (pronounced Mee-la) into our lives.

I felt a little guilty at buying a puppy, as I've always felt re-homing is the best thing to do, especially if you are experienced with dogs as we are. However now that we have George, our little boy, I felt it was unfair to both the rescue dog (who would probably have enough issues to start with, without having to learn to cope with a noisy toddler) and to George, who above all needs to be kept safe. The last thing I wanted to do was adopt a dog only to end up letting it down, or putting George in danger.

We decided that this one time, a puppy was what we needed. So that it could grow up with George and the sound of tantrums and musical toys would just be background noise - the norm. She will probably be our one and only puppy in our lifetimes. We spotted an advert in the local free paper, so off we went to the farm, and there she was. Small and oh so fluffy, with one bright blue eye like a sparkling jewel. The decision took all of ten seconds!

Small and oh so fluffy, with one blue eye like a sparkling jewel. 

 I won't lie, it was hard at first, though it was no fault of Mila's. I found it very very hard adjusting to life without my old friend Amber. It's quite a shock to the system to go from having a well trained, sensible old dog who you know inside and out, to having a fluffy ball of trouble tearing round the house chewing shoes and pooing and weeing all over the show! I pined for my old girl, missed her so much that it hurt.

Always up to something!

However, of course, Mila grew on me. and after 6 months I can honestly say that she is just what we need at this point in our lives. She is the perfect mixture of laid back and intelligent, she has funny little ways that make us laugh (like sticking her tongue out all the time!) and she behaves perfectly with George.

I'm ashamed to say that I have spent very little time training her. With an active toddler and a busy business to run, it leaves little time to spare. However despite this, she still seems to be learning the right things, such is the joy of Collies. They soak up knowledge like sponges. 

She has taught herself to go through the doggie door, and since discovering it, goes outside to toilet now without fail. She comes to call, knows 'sit', 'down' and 'out'. If she does something I want her to stop, I just have to say 'Aa! - Aa!' and she immediately stops. She is very responsive to voice commands which is useful as I always seem to have my hands full! Although not perfect on the lead yet, she is not far off.

We are just starting to let her off her lead on our walks, she's very good at her recall - except when she sees another dog. This is because she goes in the daycare everyday to play with her friends, and now she thinks every dog wants to wrestle with her! So I'm trying to take her out to more popular dog walking routes so that she sees lots of dogs and learns to greet calmly, and I know eventually this will come, I see an improvement every time we go out.

When I allow her to play with George, she knows that she is not to jump up, not to take toys from him, and if George wants her toy she is to give it to him. I also train George at the same time! No fur pulling or climbing all over allowed. I want them to have a good relationship where they can have lots of fun together but also respect each other.

I think it's funny sometimes how dogs seem to find their owners. Mila seemed to be waiting for us, the last pup left in the litter because of her blue eye and small size (other people thought her eye may be defective in some way, and of course no one wants the runt). Just as Amber was waiting for us at the rescue kennels years ago. 

So here's to making lots of new memories, learning lots of new lessons, and welcoming another dog into the family. She's going to be a good one :)