Today I saw something that made my heart warm and brought a smile to my face.
Dad had to run an errand and Lenny was whimpering a little whilst he was out. When dad returned, Lenny bounced along the path in the garden and greeted dad with a wag of his tail and the usual standing on dads leg so he can get closer for tickles and ear rubs. I always got the feeling that Lenny liked living here but now I can confirm it.
Dad has been taking Lenny on some longer walks for a few days a week recently to try and get Lenny more accustomed to some different places and scents. We have been restricted during the quarantine period as to where we could go fairly safely and not bump into too many people in a close proximity, for instance on a narrow path through the woods. On the walk Lenny gets plenty of praise if he does something right, such as being polite to another dog, not arooing at humans, walking closely if they’re on a steep downward slope and returning from the end of the lead when called. I think it has worked. When Lenny saw dad come home, his whole demeanour changed.
I had praise and tickles when I first arrived but I don’t think I necessarily appreciated or understood what they were for. I always though they were a precursor to more shenanigans and pulling like a bucking bronco at the end of my lead. I know I am happy and have a forever home here. I think until recently Lenny was still slightly hesitant. The last few weeks he has come on markedly and feels more attached to us all.
He’s found his forever home too. I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
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.
It’s been eight weeks since my little brother arrived in my house. Eight long weeks of getting used to each other and giving Lenny a chance to find his paws in a new home. When he arrived, no one really knew what was going to happen. In fact it’s still like that, sometimes. However, even I have to admit, that things are changing albeit gradually.
We are his first proper home and he would need some time to adjust and settle. Indeed we would also need time to adjust to having a lively young pup in the house. I have regaled you all with the early days of trials, tribulations and shenanigans as well as Lenny getting his first experience of training with local professional trainers. Dad is included in the training and we still aren’t certain who exactly is being taught sit, stay, down and leave it.
Anyway they postponed the second training session by a week as the weather was really bad and as the session is outdoors so everyone would have got very wet. Dad decided it might be a good idea if Lenny went to visit his grandma. I have met her quite a few times and she is really nice. She even has tasty ankles which I always try to lick. It makes her laugh and I know she loves me. I told Lenny to get her ankles if he could as she would laugh and love him like we do. So, they set off in the car only for dad to notice after 15 minutes or so that Lenny was drooling and looking quite frightened and trying to pace around in the car boot travel crate. When they arrived at Grandma’s I am sorry to report that Lenny was ill and was very eager to get out of the crate. This didn’t bode well for the return trip. However he managed to get home without further problem. Mum and dad started looking up what might be wrong with him and it seems most likely that he gets motion sickness. They also asked some of our many friends if any other beagles suffered from motion sickness. If so, how did they get round it. There were some very helpful replies especially from other Cyprus Beagles parents. So mum and dad decided they would block out his peripheral vision in the car in time for his next visit to the training sessions. Dad reported that Lenny seemed far more comfortable and happy travelling this time. Lenny even half heartedly wanted to get into the car for the return trip from the training. I think it helped that they had a full on session so his brain was probably quite tired from all the thinking he had to do.
It seems that pups are fairly susceptible to having motion sickness and we hope we have gone some way to helping him in his plight. This is a shame and I want him to grow out of it. I have woofed with him that he isnt allowed to have this motion sickness as we have way too meet ups with friends for him to be being ill. He woofed he will try to get better.
In the meantime we have been tearing around the garden like a couple of banshees, chasing everything we can find and generally being very beagley about life. We are getting on with each other far better than we were a few weeks ago. He’s even managing not to bite my ears so often, so that’s all good.
As you may know, I have a little brother. I say little but this isn’t true as he is as tall as me and has longer legs than I do. We actually think he is related to a giraffe.
We believe he’s around 8-9 months old so his puppy-ish brain should be capable of processing information and instructions given to him by the various people who now run his life, or believe they run his life. Since he has been here, we have tested different methods of possible training for him. One of the current methods is being loose lead walked by mum each morning, whilst I am dragging dad around some of my favourite places and getting my hunting fix. Lenny is then taken out for more loose lead walking around lunchtime so that he can remember some of the things he has picked up on the earlier walk. Mum says it’s quite frustrating sometimes as she has to stop every time he pulls hard on the lead but often times he can walk quite nicely. There are always distractions such as squirrels, cats, people and cars on his walking route so it is taking some time for him to understand what is required of him. He’s getting there but its just a bit slow sometimes.
However we are ratcheting the pressure up somewhat as he is going to training school for the next 6 weeks with dad and he has no idea. I mean Lenny has no idea, not dad. Although maybe I need to hold that thought until the training school has done their thing to both of them. I think that mum and dad are looking forward to seeing Lenny become better able to understand basic commands and actually react well to them. Apparently it is too late for an older beagle in the house, but I have no idea who this other beagle is.
Lenny and dad have come back from their first training session and dad is smiling. My little furry brother, however, seems to be quite tired. Somewhat disconcertingly his breath smells of treats so this requires some interrogation. Am I allowed to do waterboarding if he doesn’t admit he’s been fed copious quantities of sausage treats? Dad said it was very interesting, good fun and he’s picked up some good tips and ideas. This all sounds a little ominous for my brother. Should I tell him though?
He’s going to be clicker trained, has learnt sit, down and basic recall. Also he’s going to be socialised as much as possible every day. Dad was advised that Lenny needs to be walked toward other well behaved dogs and their owners to try and get him used to being around other furs and not over-reacting or baying and pulling. This could prove interesting as there are also cats and squirrels on his circuit walk and he always pulls and yelps at them.
What will he make of it all when the training days are finished in five weeks? We will just have to wait and see. I will keep you all updated, I promise. In the meantime there are regular training sessions in the garden when mum and dad teach him to sit, recall and lay down. Even I have worked out that if I sit, lie down and come back when called, I can get treats too.