Patience is a virtue

It has become apparent that Kubo has no patience.

At his training class last night we were doing recall. We practise this at home, the park and in class and he’s very good. Normally. He was in a bit of an excitable mood yesterday but that happens and wasn’t a concern.

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#patiencetraining

The trainer held Kubo, I walked away, turned around and called him, waving one of his favourite biscuits.

He ran to me, sat down, had his lead clipped back on- ‘Good boy, Kubo!’.

At least that’s what should have happened. Instead of stopping and sitting down he decided it would be way more fun to go and see the other dogs so he did a sharp turn just before he reached me. He didn’t even take his biscuit!

What felt like an hour of madness ensued where two trainers tried to catch him whilst he weaved in and out, saying hi to other dogs and evading capture. All the other dogs sat nicely by their owners.

Kubo loves doing tricks. He likes a quick action:treat. He is not great at holding poses and gets so excitable.

Last night was a typical ‘I did what you said but bored now – next thing!’.

I think he needs to take a break from learning new tricks and start learning a bit more obedience and patience!

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This is his ‘Hi … I’m not listening …’ face
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What’s in a name?

I’ve always wondered how people choose a name for their pets as it’s something I have always struggled with.

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Hi. I’m Kubo!

If you have children I think it is great to let them decide to get them involved and it also takes the pressure off! If someone judges the name: “well my 6 year old chose it”. How dare they judge a 6 year old. We don’t have a child.

 

I was lucky with my cats as Soda has a pedigree name (Cream Soda Pop) and the breeder didn’t have Cally’s name to hand but for some unknown reason (maybe because I had been watching Battlestar Galactica) the name just came to me and stuck.

When we chose our puppy and the time came to name him we struggled.

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The day we met Kubo

I like order so I wanted two syllables to match the others and I wanted it to end in an ‘o’ to not be too similar. Also, for some reason I am not a huge fan of human names for dogs. I have no idea why! Dave was super keen on Jake as a name but I was dead against it.

We went to a Frankie & Benny’s for dinner and spent the evening brainstorming names. Milo, Otto, Leo, Theo, Rocco, Nico, Draco, Pablo … then I got involved: Lego, Solo, Ghetto, Limo, Cargo. How about a food? We both really like food (I was eating a pasta at the time) Oregano? Too long. Basil! Doesn’t end in an ‘o’. Polo? Mayo? Pesto! Dave still liked Jake (he’s an Adventure Time fan). OK, so instead of food, how about cartoons or film characters? And the only name we could think of was Kubo.

Ironically, despite my dislike of human names for pets, two of ours have them.

People struggle to get the name quite often. Cujo? Oh, Cube-o!? But that’s fine. A helpful friend pointed out that his name actually means ‘sunken ground’ in Japanese. We can live with this too!

Most of the dogs I meet have human names – am I weird for originally being against this? Also I have seen so many dogs called Finn! It’s a name I really like but I just wonder why it is so popular for doggos. Why did you choose your dogs name? What influenced you?

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If you’re interested Kubo & the Two Strings is a lovely stop-motion animation film

 

Puppy Blues

We spoke about it in great detail: the sacrifices we would need to make, the work we would need to put in, the changes we would need to make in our lives. We still wanted a dog. Important to note that we wanted a dog, not a puppy.

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Young Kubo

Not that puppies aren’t cute! Of course they are and most people want the small bundle of clumsy fluff but we wanted a dog. We wanted a companion that we would have adventures with. We wanted to rescue a dog. However with 2 Ragdolls (cats) it was imperative that they were kept safe and happy and a rescue would be too risky.

So we got a puppy. And I got the puppy blues.

I will be brutally honest; I cried (hysterically) every night for about 2 weeks (and still some after). We argued. I pulled the ‘it’s me or the dog’ line.

It’s not that Kubo wasn’t cute. It’s not even like he was a complete nightmare, not really. But it was a huge, and I mean totally massive, shock to the system.

First of all my partner had a bit of time off so he was home with the pup all day. He’d send me cute pictures and videos and it looked like what you imagine puppy ownership to be. Then I would get home and the peaceful, cute little creature would turn into an absolute monster. I am not exaggerating. He would tear around the house like a Tasmanian devil, chase my babies (cats) and bite everything.

Doesn’t sound so bad? No, I guess it doesn’t, but it really felt like it was.

The cats are my babies and I could not stand the thought that they could get hurt or upset. Kubo only wanted to play but no matter what we did he would not stop chasing them and that was perhaps my biggest heartache.

His energy levels were to be expected I suppose but he was just so relentless. We would play tug with him or race around the garden for hours to wear him out but long after we were tired he was still going. We later learned that by continuing to stimulate him we were actually making the situation worse. We made him over-tired and ratty. You know when you are super tired but you just can’t fall asleep and are running on adrenaline? That’s what we did to him – and he has teeth! So he was OK during the day but by the time I got home he had turned monstrous.

We have a stair gate up so that the cats have a sanctuary.

I would come, resolved that this evening would be better. I was pleased to see my little pup, I would wear my smile. But it would descend into madness and before an hour had passed I would be sat at the top of the stairs with my cats balling my eyes out. I am not proud to say that there were at least two occasions in which I told Dave to leave and take his dog with him. And I meant it. I had sleepless nights. I didn’t eat.

A week passed and I thought it would never get better.

We were hardly talking. I would leave in the morning without even looking at the dog. While I was at work he was getting toilet trained and bonding and I was feeling more like an outsider every time I walked through my own front door. He would look at me with those big eyes and I would just cry and leave the room. I couldn’t bond with him, I didn’t want to be near him.

It brings tears to my eyes remembering how much I disliked this new little life in my house, how much I neglected him (not physically but definitely emotionally) and how absolutely distraught it made me.

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Butter wouldn’t melt

It did get better. Anyone who is struggling to cope: it does get better. I don’t know how. There wasn’t a turning point that I can pinpoint. I just started spending more time with him and slowly building my patience and eventually began to bond.

I felt so alone and it wasn’t until after that I realised I am not the only one who has been through this. I thought I was a horrid person because I really did want to give my boy up but I am so glad I persevered and I cannot thank my partner enough for his patience and support.

I wish I had spoken to someone but instead I smiled and told everyone how wonderful having a puppy was. I tried to be strong and act how I thought I should. The best advice I can give to anyone experiencing the Puppy Blues is to be honest.

You are not a bad person. No matter what you feel: you are not horrible or mean.

There is so much more I could say about that first month and likely I will, but for now I hope this comforts someone else. I wish I had known about the potential for these Blues before we got a puppy. It wouldn’t have changed my mind ultimately but I would have been more prepared (and not beaten myself up so much).

It is worth it in the end. I promise.

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He eventually finds a comfy spot to sleep in!