I wanted to introduce you all to the latest member of our family. This is Storm an English Springer Spaniel. Storm has been with us since February when he was just 4 months old. He was rehomed to us from a family member.
Storm was purchased as a pup and initially much loved and wanted but it became clear as he got older that he was not suited to an urban home with owners who both worked full time. At this point we agreed to take him on.
We have been very carefully introducing Storm to our existing dogs and so far he seems to be settling in well. Storm had been introduced to lots of people and is confident with people of all ages, he is good with traffic, copes with being left for short periods and travels well. However he had virtually no experience of other dogs and minimal training.
We have been making lots of gradual introductions with friendly gentle adult dogs and his confidence is growing but I suspect that this lack of early experience will always be evident in his initial anxiety towards new dogs.
I have my fingers crossed as I say this but I think he has cracked house training at last and his recall is improving (as long as there are not any birds around!). He is a bright little chap and has quickly learnt to respond to a range of cues.
Storms story is all too familiar. Many young dogs end up being rehomed or in rescue when their owners realise how much work is involved in owning a young dog. Cute puppies will need to be taught where to toilet and yes there will be accidents, they will nip (and their teeth are sharp), they will chew things (Despite an array of appropriate toys and chews Storm has damaged the woodwork in our utility room and pulled up a section of flooring!) and they rapidly become adolescents with a whole new set of challenges.
If you are thinking of getting a new puppy consider is there someone at home to housetrain the puppy? Initially they will need to be taken outside at least every hour. What breed / size of dog is appropriate for your house and lifestyle. Springer Spaniels are a very active breed (At 8 months Storm requires both physical and mental exercise in order for him to be able to settle and relax). Can you afford all the costs that go along with dog ownership? Food, toys, vet fees, insurance, training costs, bowls, beds, id discs, collars and lots more soon add up. If you work full time then dog ownership is probably not for you unless you are planning to employ a dog walker, use doggy daycare or have friends / family who are happy to care for the dog when you are at work. We are very lucky as my husband works from home and so our dogs are only ever left for short periods.
Do you have other pets and if so how would they cope with a new puppy? Finally but no less importantly are you able to provide a home for a dog for the next 15 years?
If you would like advice on choosing a puppy or rescue dog give me a call at the practice – 01566 772211. If you would like help integrating a new pet into your household why not book a new pet behaviour consultation.