I’m getting used to this being a “big brother” idea. Ok, so I am not his brother in the strictest sense of the word. However he needed help settling in and as the senior beagle, I could step in.
Once we had recognised more fully that Lenny’s initial position was pretty much the same as mine when I arrived, the ideas started to come back to us. For instance how had mum and dad handled walking me? Did that work? If not, let’s see if there is something different can be done. How did they resolve the walking? What happened when I didn’t want to sleep in my bed, but on the big bed? How did they sort it out. How long did it take for me to become used to waiting for my food instead of diving straight in? Could I help or hinder their attempts at ensuring Lenny wasn’t the same as me. Hang on, what’s that last one all about!
There is a significant difference though. When I arrived there was no other dog to greet me and to show me the ropes as it were. I wandered into mum and dad’s life and apparently turned it upside down. We were all learning as we went along and we all made mistakes along the way. However there were also little triumphs which became more and more frequent. When Lenny arrived on the scene I was in a position to lend mum and dad my expertise in handling rescue beagles. Whether they wanted to listen to my woofs of wisdom, I don’t know, but I offered them anyway. It seems they already had a pretty good idea of handling a disruptive influence so they were able to use some of their knowledge on little Lenny. Hang on, that’s another slight on me isn’t it? Ugh good grief.
His training has helped him understand that he has a home for life here. He has to brush up on some manners such as not snatching treats from mum and dad’s fingers as well as waiting for the ok before eating his food from his bowl. He is doing really well on these, and even I have impressed ears for him. This also means he is more likely to listen to commands, unlike me on most occasions. Dad said that Lenny had understood “leave” very quickly when he was at training last week. I know they are practising regularly as I hear “Leave” and I even I have to double check the command isn’t for me. Having said all this, I am ahead of Lenny in some respects. I do know to sit at the kerb when crossing the road and waiting for my food bowl to actually be placed on the floor before I inhale my food. I know to walk close and I do know about not pulling hard when we go down slippery slopes. These are just some of things I have learnt, as I am often times told that I am a good boy when I do the right thing. I think it comes from repetition and knowing that I will get a tickle or some treats for being good. Lenny will have to learn these things too, along with many other new tricks it seems. Not that I am enjoying watching him being put through his paces each day, of course. No, not me.
I have been watching mum and dad since Lenny arrived and it occurred to me that the relaxed aura which had come into our life recently and prior to Lenny was regressing a little. We had become much more accustomed to one another and I was relaxing sufficiently to ensure that they weren’t on the edge of their seats every time I went out into the garden or wandered off to lay on a bed in another room. Now some of the concern seems to have crept back into their lives. I suppose it doesn’t help that Lenny and I usually follow each other around the house, trying to nibble each others ankles and ears to provoke the other into a squabble. We are reducing the number of times we start picking on each other for a squabble though. He is gradually understanding that he can stroll about and snooze in whatever dog bed he wants to, or lay on the rug and sun puddle. I think that, once the training has taken more effect, he will be able to wander around without thinking that he is being watched all the time and without mum and dad wondering where the little tyke has got to. Again though, they are relaxing with him as he is becoming more comfortable in the house and garden.
I am not sure I am the model big brother for Lenny. We do tend to mess about quite a bit and the squabbling and silliness can continue for some time. We enjoy our time out in the garden. Once the rough and tumble of play fighting has eased we can do our own thing which usually means me sniffing for squirrels and Lenny chewing sticks. The first walk in the morning is sometimes the best as we are both scenting all the intruders in the garden from the previous night. Sometimes I want to play and other times I am lending mum and dad a paw when they are trying to teach Lenny to calm down and rest for longer periods during the day. I am quite excitable sometimes and this may have an adverse effect on him. As I said a short time ago, we are getting better at leaving each other alone for longer and the level of play fighting has subsided. We can wander around the garden minding our own business. We eat together and don’t try to steal each others food (as much as we originally did) and we can snooze in our beds close together. Often I lay and watch Lenny when he’s snoozing. I wonder if I was like that when I was a pup, if I was pesky and always wanting to find out where the boundaries are and how far can I push those boundaries before getting told off. I wonder if I can do things differently to help mum and dad with Lenny’s settlement into the house and routine. I know what they would say to that.
I wonder if he is happy? What I mean by “happy” is, content in his heart and knows that he is safe and loved, rather than just thinking “its a nice garden and there are beds and food so this should be alright”. I hope he does know that he is safe and loved because that is precisely what he is.
Yes even by me, his naughty big brother.