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Toilet Training and other tales

Well its been overa week we have had Oscar now, and I have rather conviniently glossed over the whole Toilet Training issue.

Actually, Oscar has been very good with it all, with only a couple of accidents on my wife's prized Rug.

We have been using Training pads, that we place near the door, so as to familiarise Oscar with the location of nearly being outside. The pads apparantly have a chemical in them to attract puppies to 'eliminate' on them. I love that word by the way, its so subtle and kind on the ears - especially for a prude like me.

In the past week, both my wife and I have developed a sixth sense for knowing when Oscar is about to eliminate, and how to protect our indoor furnishings. We are happy to share these with you now:

Sign #1
If your puppy starts sniffing around - pick him up and place him on the pad.

Sign #2
If your puppy runs out of the room suddenly - pick him up and place him on the pad.

Sign #3
If your puppy starts circling - pick him up and place him on the pad, or check with your vet that he doesn't have four left paws.

Sign #4
If you puppy starts whining / crying - pick him up and place him on the pad.

New puppy owners will instantly have two new best friends; Puppy Training Pads and Kitchen Roll. So those of you who like a flutter on the stock markets, I highly emplore you to invest in both - as sales will always be strong as long as there are puppies!

We are heading down to my parents house in Christchurch; Dorset; UK, tonight to celebrate my birthday early / show off the puppy. No doubt that Oscar will be spoilt with attention / more toys.

It will be a real test to see how comfortable he is in the car in his crate. I've been getting him used to the car by bringing him with me for the past few days to pick up my wife from work. 30 minutes is fine, so hopefully 2 hours will be ok - fingers crossed!

'Puppy Party' - #1

Well, it's Thursday, and Oscar has just attended his first 'Puppy Party' at the Vets. I must admit, I was a little nervous, as I didn't think dogs could interact with each other until they had their last set of injections at week 12. The Vet reassured me over the phone, however, that it is perfectly safe as long as they have had their first set of shots, which Oscar had on 20th July 2009.

We got there before anyone else, which showed a little eagerness on my part, and we both patiently waited on the benches for the others to arrive. First to enter was a Collie called 'Issy'. Oscar's ears immidiately pricked up and one-by-one the other five dogs entered. A German Shepherd Dog called 'Teemo', A Chihuahua called 'Tallulah', a King Charles Cavalier called 'Cookie', A Labradoodle called 'Nero' and a Huskey called 'Rocksie'.

Keeping hold of Oscar was extremely difficult as he was terribly excited and wriggling all over my lap, desperately seeking an opportunity to leap onto the floor and play with the other dogs.

We were split up into two groups - Big Dogs and Small Dogs. Oscar of course fell into the latter - this didn't stop him fearlessly bounding up to the German Shepherd Dog that was four times his size though!

There then followed a talk from the Veterinary Nurse, who discussed parasites that owners need to protect their puppies from. This then concluded with the puppies (in their groups) being allowed to play on the floor.

The session ended with us showing what commands our pets had learned, and I couldn't help but smile, knowing what we had learned in day three! The nurse came round and asked if Oscar could show us what he had learned, and right on cue, he sat, gave his paw, and lay down.

The party ended and left us both with excitement for next week's Puppy Party #2.

It has just occured to me that we have now had Oscar for a week! Time to have our own puppy party at home, I think!

He's Smart....No really!

Ok.. So we've now had Oscar for nearly 3 days, and he has already learnt to Sit, give his paw and lie down. Im truly blown away by his ability to pick things up so quickly.

Before Oscar, I had two English Short-Haired Pointers (named Humphrey and Bogart), and alhough I pretty much grew up with them, I failed to teach them more than how to sit and give their paws.

If any of you reading this blog are struggling with any of these commands, below is a breakdown of what worked for me. Please note that I am by no means a professional dog trainer, but have found the following methods to work:

Have a treat in your hand and call the Dog to you by his name, followed by the command 'Come'. When the dog is about an arms length away from you, raise your hand with the treat exposed, so the Dog's head rises up, and say the 'Sit' command. The angle of your hand should naturally put the dog in a position to sit. Repeat a few times.

Have a treat in your hand and call the Dog to you by his name, followed by the command 'Come'. Use the Sit command you have just learned and praise the dog when he obeys. Then (with treat still in hand), say the 'Paw' command whilst picking up and shaking his left paw. Repeat the command, but let him try on his own. If he fails to remember, keep picking up his paw and repeating the command so he is familiar. Once he obeys, release the treat and praise him.

Lie Down
Have a treat in your hand and call the Dog to you by his name, followed by the command 'Come'. Use the Sit command you have just learned and praise the dog when he obeys. Then (with treat still in hand), lower your hand to the floor just in front of his paws and say the 'Lie Down' command. The dog will sniff / lick your hand for a while but should eventually and naturally lie down. The moment he lies down, release the treat and praise him.

Let me know how any of you get on with this, or if you have your own methods that have worked for you.

Toys, Insurance and Vets - oh my!

Well we have had Oscar for a little under 24 hours now, and although a little shy at first, he has definitley come out of his shell today.

We've decided to crate train him, which means that he basically lives in a large travel crate which has been lavished with a comfy bed, together with a carpeted flooring. (See picture above).

It's great, as we should (in theory) be able to take him in the car with us without yapping or crying, as he will, in effect, be in his bed.

Now although, I splashed out on a few choice toys before we got Oscar (Kong and Ragger), it has become clear that we need a few more. So Im off to our local pet store later to get some Tennis Balls and a Rubber Bone to put treats in - also a 'Kong' product.

I also got Oscar's pet insurance sorted out today. It is definitley worth shopping around online, and it's imperative you get a plan that covers any illness your pet may get, for his / her life. This may work out a bit more each month, but will be more than worth it if they ever get sick. Petplan offer this for around £30 a month, but we compared online and found More Than to offer more for just £13+ a month.

Finally, I also registered Oscar with a local vets today, so I can relax a little now knowing that he is covered on all bases. A little bonus from registering him, was that for the next 4 weeks, he is invited to a 'Puppy Party' at the vets, where he can socialise with other puppies of the same age.

Our first party is next Thursday, so no doubt, Ill report how it went.

He's Home!

Well, after several weeks of patient (or rather impatient) waiting, I am delighted to report that our new Border Terrier puppy, Oscar, is home!

And so begins this first chapter in The Dog's Tale Blog, and indeed my first ever 'proper' blog, as it happens.

This will grow to document Oscar's life, how it has affected our lives, together with some of the things we have all done together (or not) as a result.

A bit about Oscar...

Oscar is currently (as of writing this) 8 weeks old, having been born on 31st May 2009. He is a Red Grizzle, Border Terrier dog, who bears the rather amuzing kennel name of 'Horizontoll Google'

A quick look at the dog registration certificate reveals the name of his (real) parents. His father is none other than 'Minty O Meopham' and his mother is 'Horizontoll Miss Molly'. Must admit, we had a little chuckle over those names.

A bit about me...

My name is Sebastian Brook, Im an Actor / Website Designer, and I guess now...Dog owner! My real name is David Brook, but due to Equity (The Actors Union), there was already a David Brook, so I had to pick another name, and...well...Sebastian felt a bit more Showbizzy than 'Dave'.

Im 29 years old, and live with my wife, Amry, in Sevenoaks; Kent; UK. We both met at Drama School in 2001, while I was in my last year, and she started her first. We got married in Salt Lake City; Utah; USA in 2005.

Just before this blog entry comes to a close, I will publish our first pictur of Oscar - enjoy!