Teething puppy & his toys

Oh, those sharp puppy teeth! Right now I look like a victim of self-harming because Cooper is teething big time and it means he is biting into everything and anything including our hands.

Of course, we try to discourage the biting by constantly sticking one of his favourite toys between his mouth and our fingers – and often it helps – but once in a while the toy isn’t there or we aren’t quick enough.

The good news is that the furniture is still in one piece and even the garden plants are surviving nicely and I think the toys and regular play times help a lot here.

When it came to the choice of toys I refused to rely on plastic Nylabones and Kongs because I was never quite convinced by the chews and never liked the idea of stuffing the Kong with food and treats because in 99% chanced it would turn into a habit of eating extra food and snacks (and high possibility of weight gain and, with cockers love of food, a bit of an addiction).

Instead we got him several toys made of cotton ropes and linen, a hemp donkey, a Beco ring and bone, Kong’s knot bear and a tweed mutant rabbit. Ironically, Cooper never quite warmed up to any of these for more than a day, but instead showed a lot of interest in anything with tassels or made of suede. As a result, I ended up buying him suede ball and bone and carrying his Petstages Puppy pal everywhere. The ironic thing is that after all the shopping efforts Cooper chose a cardboard kitchen towel rolls, an old linen box and a tassel with knots I made for him out of my cotton belt, which somehow made me realise that I am definitely done with buying toys and instead should simply make a few myself.

Fingers crossed there will be time for me to do it. Really fancy making a cashmere teddy bear for my boy.

And it’s been a week already

Cannot believe it’s been a week since we brought Cooper home! The time flew by… The boy looks stronger, grown up and definitely more confident. Instead of the shy puppy he was last Sunday, Coop is now an explorer,  biter and kisser. And he is absolutely gorgeous!

So far he leant his name, “Come”, “Bed”, “Mummy”, “Daddy” and, surprise-surprise, “Food” and “Kitchen”. He also uses garden whenever the nature calls unless he is too distracted by having fun. And in my turn I’ve leant a few habits of his that help to encourage all the positive changes that make everyone’s life easier long term.

He is also happily wearing a collar (and the one from Pets at Home was definitely the best) and also tried walking on a lead, which didn’t seem to bother him in the lightest.

Diet-wise – he is now fully on Royal Canine Cocker Spaniel Junior. In addition, he has already tried a little fresh cucumber and this week will be having a little grated carrot in one of his meals every day.

Oh, and he is teething. Big time.

Puppy life, day 3 & 4

First of all, cocker puppies are mad, absolutely bonkers as if they come with an infinite supply of Energizer butteries. Secondly, I am falling in love with mine like there’s no tomorrow. Cooper is simply the sweetest.

True, it’s hard work at the moment (which makes me appreciate and remember how amazing-amazing-amazing and so effortless Oscar was!), with all the training and cleaning, no sleep and utter impossibility to complete a single task in 10 minutes because he needs me and I don’t want to leave him. Whenever it becomes a touch too overwhelming, I simply tell myself that Oscar was amazing not just for his genes and mind, but the efforts and time I put into making him that way. And then I hug Cooper and he kisses me back, and it feels good again. We run, go nuts, play, clean, and then collapse – me – on a sofa, Coops – next to me.

On a great scale of things everything is going well and I think we are stating to establish a routine. Our day begins at 4:00 when Cooper wakes up and asks me to take him outside for a wee. Then we spend an hour playing. At 5:00 he calms down and goes for a nap, this time we have a cuddle on a sofa together. I know, some may not approve, but he will end up sharing a bed with us once in a while when he is older, so a little cuddle now and then won’t hurt. Besides, he actually loves his Curver.

I put him against the back of the sofa, so he ends up being in a sort of “nest” and can’t jump off. First time we did it, I couldn’t sleep and spent an hour staring at his sweet little face. Right now, the constant need to close my eyes is so strong, I give in and use the next hour to catch on my zzzz’s, too.

Coops sleeps like a baby, on his back, stretched alongside me waking up once in a while to give me a little kiss.

At around 6:00 we wake up, get to the garden for the toilet and a little run, then “visit daddy” upstairs where the pup stays for a little while, so I can quickly jump in a shower and change.

At 7:00 he has breakfast, then a quiet’ish play time, toilet and more play time until he eventually falls asleep.

His lunch is served at 13:00 and dinner – at 19:00. Every time he wakes up, it’s toilet first, then play time for 15-20 minutes, then second wee and an hour later –  one more toilet break. He loves to run and explore the garden and feels a lot more confident around the ground floor sort of making it his playground-slash-domain.

Around 20:00 we have one more hour of running around and playing, then he slows down with a blankie and a chew and eventually goes to his bed. I started using a cue for it from the very first he slept in it, so by now he almost always reacts to the word (unless he is very busy with something, which is normal).

At midnight he wakes me up asking for a toilet, so we go to the garden again, then sleep until 4:00, get up and start everything all over again.

I tried putting a collar on him yesterday, but neither of us was happy with it. I thought it was a bit fiddly to undo (it has a clip, not a buckle, and I am most definitely a buckle kind of person) and a touch too small for him. So I ordered the simplest one from Pets at Home today, plus a leather “follow-up” option for when he is 3-4 months old. Todays choice was exactly the same I trained Ozzy with, it’s not something for a pup to wear when going for walks, but is very light and easy to put on when getting them used to a collar. Hope Coops likes this one.

First 48 hours with Cooper spaniel

Finally, Cooper is here and although my brain is off track due to a massive lack of sleep, I cannot simply skip these first 48 hours of our life together.

Last Saturday we drove 4 hours up North to meet and collect out little boy. In my imaginary world everything would go smoothly, from a stay in a lovely hotel and Italian dinner that I booked weeks in advance to cuddling with Cooper the same day before heading back home on Sunday morning. In reality it turned out to be such an emotional roller coaster that my body couldn’t cope with the excitement too well. I was ill, my body was shacking from an adrenaline rush, I had a migraine and only wished I could get through Saturday and get home.

But meeting Cooper and his family was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. His mum and dad were gorgeous and came to me for a cuddle and kisses. And Cooper simply fell asleep in my arms as if it was utterly natural.

And on Sunday we picked him up, put in a wicker basket lined with a linen bag, vetbed for extra softness and a couple of puppy blankets, and drove back. We were really worried about Cooper feeling uncomfortable or experiencing a call of nature, but the little guy slept through the journey waking up once in a  while just to give me a quick kiss or chew his toy before nodding off again.

Upon arrival, feeling very tired and unsure of the new surroundings, the pup sweetly settled in his new bed, surrounded himself with a few toys and fell asleep for a couple of hours.

The rest of the day and first night were spent playing, cleaning, eating and sleeping and, luckily, Cooper liked everything. I moved to the sofa to keep him company 24/7 and take him to the garden whenever nature calls. And yes, having a little pup is tiring and the sleep is pretty much non-existent for me now, but he is absolutely worth is and such a sweet little bundle of joy.

Diet-wise, he was raised on Royal Canine Puppy Junior given to him three times a day at 9:00, 15:00 and 21:00, but since I wanted him to be on Royal Canine Cocker Spaniel Junior and eat a little earlier, I began making little swaps at every meal to allow his digestive system get used to the new food without problems and moving feeding time by 30 minutes.

On Sunday he had RCPJ all day, on Monday I replaced roughly 1/5 of RCPJ with RCCSJ at breakfast, then 1/4 of RCPJ with RCCSJ at lunch and dinner. Today I gave him 2/3 of RCPJ mixed with 1/3 RCCSJ and will keep doing so until he is fully on RCCSJ. Weight-wise, Sunday menu was 50g RCPJ x3 (but he seemed very hungry afterwards), Monday  – 45g RCPJ + 15g RCCSJ at breakfast and lunch, 40g RCPJ + 20g RCCSJ at dinner (and although he still woofed it down at a speed of light, he seemed satisfied and slept better), Tuesday onwards for at least two weeks (until he is 3 months old) – same as Monday dinner.

As of today the food is “served” at 7:30, 13:30 and 19:30, which gives him enough time to empty his bowels at night before going to bed and also less time between waking at 5:00 for a little play, nodding off until 7:00, going to the toilet and then having a meal. Seems to work well so far.

We are still establishing a proper routine, but he already remembers to ask for a garden toilet most of the time, which is blissful. To teach him, I simply watched Cooper for a day to see how his behaviour changes when he’s about to do something, plus took the pup outside after every nap, meal and at night and waited for him to relieve himself – normally happened within first 5 minutes or so. Of course it’s not perfect yet, but it’s only day 2.

His taste in toys changes every day and I am glad we stocked up well this time. He loves to chew ropey toys, Becco bone and blankets and has a special relationship with his puppy playpal – sort of catepillar-like toy with projections of sorts and a noisy buckwheat-filled insert.

He knows his name and since he follows us everywhere I use “Come” cue to play-teach him recall. Today we also tried a puppy collar – Coops was ok to put it on, but wasn’t 100% about wearing a new accessory, so we will try again tomorrow.

Love him to bits.