Well, it was a good day (until the family ruined it, but as we all know, that’s what family are for) yesterday, and I went off with my box in the car with my mother driving, with fairy a lot of excitement. And justified. He was just as beautiful as I remembered; maybe more so because he was more active! Jumping up a down, in excitement with his brother, the only pup left in the bed now for one more night (sorry, Bertie…). His mum was, to be honest, glad to see the end of her pups. She put her forelegs on my knees are solemnly licked my face in agreement that I would look after her baby. And I promised her that I would, too. So there we go. Out the door. With a dog in a box. A puppy, by rights, and an adorable one at that. Also fearless. On the way over to our house, on the main road, he was simply trying to get out of the box that I had my arm around, and then started biting me. I was surprised; throughout my dog career (just over a year now, starting with walking the dogs at the Shelter last August), I had never really been bitten. Puppy teeth kind of hurt, too. So when we got home, I plonked the-puppy-in-a-box down on the floor in the dining room and lifted him out. Then I sat with my back against the door and just watched him explore. He was gorgeous.
So there he was. A puppy. In my house. (That picture isn’t completely correct, as in my story I haven’t got the toys down yet.) So, after I watched him for a minute and my father stopped being an idiot and took the children to bed, I had mum supervise him while I went and got his stuff from my room. His stuff being a puppy grooming brush, a small puppy feeding bowl, a lead and collar, a harness and a white milk bone chew toy. I supplied him with these items spread around the dining room. He immediately sniffed them over then dismissed them as no particular interest, due to the fact that I was putting half a can of his food into his bowl for him. I put it down by the back door and he immediately gulped half of it down. Then, inbetween playing and running around and sniffing for the next couple of hours, he ate the rest of it. Pretty good really. Yes, so the playing. Was a bit of a problem. He was very mouthy and his sharp lil puppy teeth are not easy on skin. My hands already look like they’ve been clawed at and bitten by a werewolf. But, with a bit of luck and chew toys and scolding, I managed to redirect his attention to gnawing on something that wouldn’t hurt it: my secret weapon, Milly’s mint chew rope toy that she didn’t like and so abandoned. Rude. I bought that for her. Anyways, Toby loved it so that’s cool. He chewed and sniffed and munched some more, and I tried taking him outside a couple of times, but it was too dark to really see what he was doing, so he went toilet in the house instead. Leaving mum and I to immediately change my mind to paper training. So there was newspaper spread just inside by the back door. After a few hours of my hands being bitten quite a lot, my shoes and socks being the centre of attention when I got up or walked, and collar fussing when I discretely put it on, Toby crawled onto my lap – as he loves to do now, already – and fell asleep. It was so adorable and beautiful.
Mum carefully put him in his lil box with my jumper that smelt of me, his proper dog mum, and his old bed and brothers, and Toby slept tiredly. Until I went to stroke him and woke him up. Oops. So in the end, despite attempts to put him back to sleep on my lap, we left an awake and alert puppy in the dark, in a room. Poor baby. So in the morning, I got up at 5.30am and hurriedly got dressed to go downstairs and see my puppy. He was awake already and very glad to see someone. So glad that he… started biting. Again. So this time, I tried a different tactic. I ignored him, then said NO very loudly, then left the room without looking back and timed one minute. Then I went back in and didn’t say hello immediately. Anyway, that went on for a while, and I tried taking him outside again, but he wasn’t interesting in going toilet out there unfortunately, so we headed back in. Then I ate a bagel (bagels are great okay) not deliberately in front of him, but easily within his sights. I finished it up while mum picked him up and introduced him to James and Henry, the little ones. They were joyful and excited, though also rather afraid, in a silly way. Mum showed them that Toby was fine, and I reassured Toby that they were fine. Then I finished my bagel and fed Toby the other half of the can. He ate some of this then left it, so I put it on the side for later. Once everyone had left for work, and Dan wasn’t up yet (lazy bones), I started on training. Not properly. But enough so he got the idea. I used his food that he hadn’t eaten and called him to me. I’ve used his name a lot, because he needs to get used to hearing it, and called “come!” – and he did! I used the food as rewards, and we practiced ‘come’ and ‘sit’, which he wasn’t that great in but, hey, it’s his first day on the job.
Talking of first days on the job – it really was for him! Breaking rules on our first day, oh dear. I did the same with Milly – went somewhere where dogs weren’t allowed, because someone said I could. Terrible. Anyway, yes, so my council worker Sue came over to take me to her office a drive away to sign some forms for this thing I don’t really want to do. But I answered her questions and she wrote the letter, or whatever it was. And Toby was there. I had him in my arms the whole time, obviously, in a building where dogs aren’t allowed, because we’re cool like that. Everyone loved the ‘illegal’ puppy in the building, and we had a lot of attention on us. Both myself and Toby handled it really well, which was great! The rides to and from the place were okay for him too; he wanted to look out the window a bit, but mostly settled himself well on my lap and half-heartedly chewed the towel/rug that I had brought with us in case he did anything. He was very good for his first ever outing – not really something we should have done, but excellent training for a service puppy anyway! I feel precisely like that first episode of Growing Up Guide Pup, when they took Ricki to the grocery store like when she was 8 weeks old. I looked at that and thought to myself that they shouldn’t really do that because she’s so young, even though she’s a guide dog puppy, but there’s me doing that too. Hm. Well, I am intending to raise a service dog myself, so whatever, guess that was cool. It was kinda fun, definitely, and he was very surprisingly good for such a small puppy.
So, there we have it I guess. ‘I’ being Liz, by the way. I’ll run this blog for now, until maybe Toby wants to take it over, like Milly did with her facebook page. Milly being this awesome (and pretty big) chocolate labrador who I have dog walked for her owners since February. She’s amazing and is my Emotional Support Animal when we go out. Technically she’s also a Service Dog in Training, because I’m teaching her tasks. She even has a home made vest! But she’s a family pet at heart, and a 6 year old bitch anyway (that’s as in female dog, by the way), so she’s not going to be doing any serious public access work like hopefully Toby will grow up to do. Although she is more the type – big labrador with a proper training lead, patches and headcollar… anyway, again, this is going to be about Toby. Milly’s got her own blog, as previously stated. Yes so when we got home from that little trip. Toby fell right asleep, putting himself to bed. Which was helpful, because then I made cakes. When he woke up properly, I took him outside and I think he did something, but I didn’t actually see it. Anyway, it looks as though toilet training isn’t going too badly. Although I immediately failed with my first plan – taking out every hour or so, like they do in GUGP – we now have a different, easier, plan with newspaper training. So that’s be good. Also his biting is getting better already. We play with the toys and I’m already trying to teach him the “that’s enough” command, which will be super helpful. He doesn’t quite get it yet. He also doesn’t get his collar, as he fusses with it a bit. I’ve been taking it off every time it clearly bothers or scares him, but maybe I shouldn’t be. Who knows. We don’t have a proper routine yet. So that’s that (that’s that alright… what’s that?) and there we go and to be or not to be, that is the question. Well, not that last one. Shakespeare has little place in this puppy training. But that is indeed that, and there’s our first blog post, complete with pictures (yay Toby!). Pictures are great. So, farewell from me and this little pup sleeping under my chair. Adios!
Milly’s blog – https://www.facebook.com/millychocolatelab
Growing Up Guide Pup – http://www.growingupguidepup.org/
My facebook (for pictures and general other stuff about me as well as Toby) – https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.kilbee.7
The title pun was thought up by the excellent of my friend Carys, who is awesome. Thanks for reading!