Saturday, 27 August 2011

Dad's home

HAPPY DOG! Edward was all smiles when he saw his Daddy again.
Hubby has been away for more than a week now, and poor Edward has been pining for him. Everyday he has been wandering around the house, looking and sniffing for his Dad in every room. When he couldn't find him he would walk back to Husfruen, flop down on the floor with a heavy thud and sigh. Apparently life is pretty boring without Hubby around the house.

YAY! That tail wouldn't stop wagging when Hubby got down on the kitchen floor to play.
I took Edward with me to the airport to pick up Hubby. When we first saw him coming out of the terminal building, Eddie was a little bit confused for a second or two, then he just jumped on his Dad - smiling widely and wagging his tail. When we walked to the car, he didn't walk, but bounced - backwards, because he couldn't stop looking at Hubby.

PLAYING and rubbing belly.
When we got home the two of them had a long playing and hugging session on the kitchen floor.

BIG BOY. Hubby thought he could see that Edward had grown in the last week.
Now, things have settled down and we're all going to have a nice and quiet evening together.

- I THINK HE MISSED ME, just as much as I missed him.

Monday, 15 August 2011

What a morning

Poor Eddie has been sick during the night. We slept like babies and didn't notice a thing until this morning when we were greeted by pathetic whining and a nasty smell from his cage. He had thrown up and had diarrhea all over the place, poor little thing.
In an attempt to keep it away from his sleeping area, he had put his bottom up against the wall of the crate and sprayed the walls and carpet liberallyMy oh my, what a job we had to get everything cleaned. We even had to break away some skirting boards, because it had seeped down behind them. Fortunately, we have some industry strength odour eliminator with enzymes, which is very effective.
Eddie had to go straight in the shower, even though he had a bath last night. He was not happy, but there was no way around it, unfortunately. The crate had to be carried out on the lawn and hosed down.
We have no idea why Eddie had a bad stomach. As far as we know, he has not eaten anything unusual. However, he could of course have gobbled up something in the garden when we haven't been looking. This is after all a puppy who thinks it's a good idea to be snacking on slugs and rotten leaves.
He was pretty miserable for few hours, but now he seems to have recovered a little, so we'll take him out for a stroll around the neigbourhood. A bit of fresh air will probably do him good.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Football match

Today we had a football match in the garden between our visiting Liverpool supporter and Edward, who isn't quite sure which team he supports yet. He might be talked into being a Liverpoodlean, but his Dad is a Geordie, so he should really support Newcastle.

Edward loves his football and never gets tired of playing. Even though he wore a leash, he managed to run rings around the Scouse-lover.

Not many people can keep up with Eddie when he's at full speed.

- COME AND GET IT, if you can.
- HMM, you're not in the same league as Solskjaer, are you?
- HA HA, I dribbled him off his feet.
- COME ON, GET UP! Don't sit there and complain.
- OFFSIDE? Never.
Being just half a meter above the ground, and having four legs, probably gives Edward quite an advantage when it comes to football. He managed to wear out his opponent completely, but it was fun while it lasted.

Monday, 8 August 2011


First published in Norwegian 6 April 2011
Apparently, Standard Poodles are supposed to be very intelligent, the eggheads among dogs, just beaten by Border Collies. Obviously, we are very eager to put this to the test, and although our little puppy is just nine weeks old, we thought we could start with teaching him some easy commands.
The exclusive treats from the pet shop were brought out. (16 British pounds / 26 US dollars for a tiny box – bloody hell!) We tried the command "Sit!" and it went remarkably smooth. Edward got the point at once. We did what we had been told, held the treat above his nose and said "Sit!" the moment his bottom hit the floor. When we had done it twice, he understood what he was supposed to do.

CONSENTRATION. The little smart guy is focused on the treat.
Now we have repeated the command several times during the last couple of days, and it seems that Edward has no problem knowing what to do, but we think he still connects it exclusively to the treat. He doesn’t sit if we ask him when we are outside for example, not unless there is a treat to be had.
Since we are such rookie dog owners, we are quite unsure of how long we should harp on one command before trying something new. Should we try to teach him several things at once, or should we wait for him to learn one thing at a time?
It would for example be very good to work on calling him, but so far he does not respond at all to "Come!" We've tried a few times to use treats here as well, and then he comes running, but not before he has discovered that we actually have something for him. If there is anything more exciting is going on, sniffing around the bushes for example, he ignores us completely.

We have also tried a little bit of "shake hands", but he has not quite understood the point of this yet. Admittedly, he waved his paw around a little, but we definitely need to work more on that one.

SHAKE HANDS. Edward doesn’t quite see the point of this yet. 
This morning we were very surprised to see that Edward had actually kept dry the whole night, but he was so excited to see us that he peed on the puppy pad when we came to take him out of his crate. Then we took him outside to do his big business, and when that was done he ran happily inside to eat his breakfast.
- Wow, we thought. - Is it really that easy to get him housetrained?
We can hope, but I think we’ll not cash in on this victory just yet.
By the way, sleeping alone in the crate seems to be completely fine. He whimpers a little in the evening, but calms down when he understands that we are only a few meters away and then he sleeps quietly all night.

When we went for a walk this afternoon he was incredibly cute. We met our next-door neighbour who was keen to say hello to the newest member of our family, but Edward wouldn’t have any of that. No way, no how.
He pulled as far away as the lead would allow, but we managed to make him come over to get a treat. While I was talking to the neighbour, Edward hid behind my legs, looking on very carefully. Just like a shy little child. He didn’t nag at all, just sat there and waited patiently. When we showed off how he had learned to sit on command, he seemed awfully pleased with himself. He sat so proudly and upright that he almost overbalanced.

Bathing beauty

First published in Norwegian 5 April 2011

Yesterday we had good weather and were able to enjoy ourselves in the garden and took several little walkies in the sunshine. Today however, the west coast showed its typical rainy side. The torrential downpour didn’t seem to faze Edward in the least. He lived up to his origin as a water dog, splashed around in every puddle he saw and drank so much muddy water you would never think we offered him a water bowl at home. It was probably to wash down everything he ate, such as grass, twigs, soil and rotting leaves. He also tried a huge slug and ended up getting his nose all sticky with slime.
With such a drenched and dirty puppy, we decided that we might as well give him a proper bath. So it was the laundry sink for him today as well.  It looks like he's going to get to know that sink really well.

NOT VERY HAPPY but remarkably calm.
Even though taking a bath can’t be very fun for him, he puts up with it without complaining in the least.

HOW CUTE AM I? A clean and cute puppy.
Afterwards it was nice to be dried with a warm and soft towel, before being groomed.

MIDDLE PARTING. This little curly head still has limited hairstyle options.
While Hubby did the blow-drying, Edward laid calmly on Husfruen’s lap and was combed until he became nice and fluffy. We have a proper hairbrush for dogs, but we have mislaid it. Until we find it, we’ll make do with a regular comb.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Edward got tired of the whole grooming business and decided to chew on the comb.
TUG OF WAR. Playing with the towel was fun too.
After the blow-drying, his fur became ever so soft and lovely. He suddenly looked a lot bigger.

A FLUFFY PUPPY relaxing in his designer daybed.
Finally it was time for a nap in his nice new bed. It will just be a daybed until he is housebroken. For now he must spend the nights in his crate. By the way, last night went very well. He fell asleep without whining or complaining, and showed no signs of wanting to get out when Hubby looked in on him at four o’clock. When morning came, he was terribly happy to see us, and we were very pleased to see that he had done his business on the puppy pad and nowhere else. Good dog!

The first day in a new home

First published in Norwegian on 4 April 2011
Yesterday we picked Edward up from the breeder. He was one of a litter of twelve puppies, so his mum was probably a little relieved that there were now only two left that had not yet left for their new homes. Edward and his sister were constantly nagging mum and running after her. Even though they really are weaned, milk from mum obviously tastes good anyway. Although there were now plenty of teats to go around, they nevertheless managed to fight over the same one.

Although Hubby did his best, it was not easy to get a good shot of the two black tornadoes charging around the garden. Not even when they tried to chew on his camera bag. They were running and jumping and play fighting all the time.

BYE BYE, MUM. Edward waves goodbye to his mother.
 It is obviously not easy for a small puppy to be separated from his mother and siblings, but that is the way it has to be. We have not had bought a travel cage yet, so the trip home took place in a cardboard box on Husfruen’s lap. We thought maybe Edward would whine and carry on, but the trip went just fine.

HELLO, WHERE AM I NOW? A confused little puppy looks up from his box.
When we reached Hilltop House, it was high time for a little wee before exploring his new garden. 

There was so much new and exciting to smell, and plenty of space to jump and run around.

AT FULL SPEED with ears flapping.
Indoors, a new crate was awaiting his arrival.

SNIFFING and inspecting his new bed chamber.
Upstairs in the kitchen, there was food and water to be had. The breeder had given us a pack of puppy feed from Hills, so he should get the same food that he is accustomed to.

SO HUNGRY. The food went down sideways.
After dinner, it was time for a little snuggle on Husfruen’s lap.

ENJOYING HIMSELF. Edward really likes a bit of tender attention.
Finally, it was too much for this little puppy and he fell asleep under the kitchen table.

Despite many people telling us to keep the puppy in our bedroom for the first few weeks, we decided against it. We felt it was better to establish a proper place to sleep from the very beginning. Besides, we really don't want to do anything that might trigger Hubby's allergy. 
In the evening, there was some whining when he was put in his crate, but it stopped a lot faster than we had expected. We were close by to calm and comfort him. He had been outside to do his business, both large and small, before bedtime, so we hoped the puppy pads would be adequate for the night’s needs. Alas no. In the morning we found out that he had pooped down the entire crate and it looked like he had been rolling in it as well. We were completely overwhelmed by how such an enormous amount of poop could come out of such a small body.
He was very happy to see us and did not protest at all when we took him straight into the sink in the laundry room to be thoroughly washed by Husfruen, while Hubby took on the task of cleaning out the crate. Tonight, I think we had better set the alarm clock, so that we can take him outside once or twice during the night.

Today has been spent playing in the garden, eating and napping - many times over.

We have bought a puppy

First published in Norwegian on 3 April 2011
Finally, after many months of consideration and planning, we have decided to become dog owners. To buy a dog is not something you should do on impulse, and we've been weighing the pros and cons for a good while. There is so much to decide on: Should we get a large or small dog? Male or female? Should it be a super fit runner or a lazy couch potato? What sort of disposition would we prefer: a tough guard dog or a shy wallflower? Short or long fur? Sleek and elegant or chubby and charming? The list of questions is endless.
At long last, we decided on a standard poodle, a breed that is supposedly intelligent and easy to train, social and friendly, loves a long walk but is quiet and easygoing. It will require a lot of grooming, but hopefully, we’ll take that in our stride.
For us, one of the most important qualities of a poodle is the fact that its fur is hypoallergenic. We have had several attempts to keep cats of different breeds, but because of Hubby’s allergies, we’ve ended up giving them all back.
Just to check his reaction to dogs, we have tried looking after several dogs for friends, and that has gone well. However, since we know that allergies can easily develop at high exposure, we found it best to choose a dog that is known to be allergy friendly.

As you can appreciate, this process has been a long one, but once the breed was decided, the whole thing went incredibly fast. Last week we started to look at what was on the market, and wouldn’t you know, a breeder who is also a vet, living fairly close to us, had puppies that were almost ready to find new homes.
Well, we thought, we can at least drive over and take a look at them.
That was it. After being greeted by a very nice and well-behaved poodle mum with a litter of adorable puppies, we were charmed beyond help. A little black bundle of joy settled himself so calmly and comfortably in Hubby’s arms, and was so cute that he just had to be ours.

In the week that has passed since then, we have done everything we can to prepare the puppy's arrival at Hilltop House, which is where we live. We have visited all the pet shops in the vicinity at least twice and pestered them with questions about everything between heaven and earth. We have gathered feed samples and bought wildly overpriced treats and expensive chewing toys. Then we found out that a discount shop had cheap treats and chewing toys, so we bought some there as well. At a farmer’s outlet we got free treats and food bowls, which we really appreciated, because it dawned on us that having a dog is not a cheap affair. We have bought collars and leashes, and of course poop bags - one of the more mundane but necessary aspects of keeping a dog. Hubby even found out that there are puppy pads available - absorbent mats for small accidents. They smell of grass so that the puppy will learn to associate that smell with doing his business on the grass outside. We wonder if they will work.

We also needed a rather large crate, and found that this was something we could just as easily buy used. A quick search on the internet revealed that there are hundreds of people selling used dog supplies, and we were lucky enough to find an almost new crate locally, at half price.

Of course, the puppy will need a comfortable place to sleep, and the selection here is almost endless. Husfruen saw the opportunity of getting something new and stylish for the house, and insisted on the world’s loveliest wicker basket from Udesen Denmark’s home collection. We certainly hope the dog will appreciate such an exclusive bed.

Tomorrow we’ll be picking up our new family member. His name will be Edward.
We're very excited!