The big news in the Purple house at the moment is the arrival of our puppy Coco. Coco is a Cavashichon, so she has Cavachon, Bichon Frise and Shitzu in her lineage. I wanted to get a dog since I’ve heard about the positive impact they can have for people with autism and also my middle (not autistic) boy loves dogs. So I’m hoping that having Coco can be beneficial for all our family.
Having a puppy has been a steep learning curve. It’s a big commitment and even with all the planning and researching that I’ve done it has taken some adjustment for us all, Coco included. So I thought I’d share with you the five things I have learned since getting a puppy.
Five things I’ve learned since getting a puppy;
My cat Katsu hisses! I’ve never heard my cat make the noise she makes to let Coco know to leave her alone. Managing the cat/dog relationship has been a challenge. Katsu lets Coco know that she wants to be left alone but Coco can’t resist. So I’m rewarding Coco for leaving Katsu alone, and this seems to be working. Though they still need constant supervision when in the same room. I’m hoping in time they will become more comfortable together.
Puppies need socialising and lots of it. So since having Coco she has been into town, out for lunch, outside the school gates and to visit people in their houses. Initially when she wasn’t vaccinated I carried her in a sling, everywhere I went, pretty much. Apparently you have a window when they are tiny to get them used to all the sights and sounds of your life. So older people, babies, people with beards, traffic, bikes, vets, all the things you want them to feel safe and happy around.
Puppies need lots of toys. Initially we bought her a couple of toys thinking that would be enough. But she’s more like a toddler needing to play a lot of the day, and getting bored with the same toys so needing variety. So she has a basket full now, and she plays with them all day.
Dominance theory is nonsense. Basically dominance training worked on the theory that dogs behave like wolves and that we need to establish ourselves as the pack leader in order to control our dogs. This is inaccurate as dogs are not wolves. For more information on this see this article. Instead we are focussing on positive reinforcement training which so far Coco seems to be responding too well.
Puppies chew, and bite, a lot! Obviously I knew that puppies chew and bite. What I didn’t realise was that they chew near constantly. I also wasn’t aware they have a funny five minutes every now and then throughout the day where they turn into crocodiles. Biting hold of PJ bottoms or dressing gown cords and not letting go, or if you’re extra unlucky your ankles. The only cure for this is to ignore said puppy until she behaves more reasonably.
Nearly three weeks in and getting Coco is full of highs and lows, but overall I’m confident that we have made a good decision for our family. I’m looking forward to dog walks and country pub lunches, snuggles on the sofa and all the fun that dog life can bring.
Feel free to share your puppy tips with me, as I am a complete beginner and I’d also love to see pictures of your dogs so share those in the comment box below.