Kubo meets a puppy

Kubo has always been a submissive creature and even sometimes slightly nervous, but he is super friendly and playful and so when my friend got a puppy this week we thought Kubo would be one of the best dogs for him to meet.

He will almost always roll onto his back when greeting another dog unless it’s a Labrador … for some reason he is nervous of them and whenever a Labrador approaches our boy he hides behind our legs (no, he has never had a bad experience!). We had never seen him meet a pup before though so had no idea how he was going to react.

He bounded into my friends’ house with all of the energy and then sees this tiny 8-week old puppy and his whole demeanour changed; he became cautious and acted scared. He sniffed it and ran away and when the puppy got too close he hid behind us! I had not expected this behaviour at all. We thought he would be excited and playful rather than fearful.

It didn’t take him long to come out of his sborder collie and puppy boxerhell again but he did not want to interact with the puppy – all he wanted to do was steal the pup’s toys and run around with them, playing with the humans and avoiding this small creature at all costs. I was devastated! I had gone on about how playful Kubo was but he wanted to do anything but play with this unknown beast! The pup was desperately trying to get involved but clearly didn’t know what to do. It was so super cute watching his little tail wag furiously whenever Kubo walked past him.

Once we took them out into the garden however everything changed. The puppy had gotten braver by this point and Kubo was finally happy to interact as long as it involved chasing! He grabbed and stick and tried to get everyone to chase him.

It was so nice to see him finally relax and behave like the dog we know.

Back inside he then did the cutest thing I have ever seen our dog do: he laid down on his back and let the small puppy climb all over his face, play-biting and swiping, all the while being as good as gold and letting him do it (with the occasional gentle push).

It melted our hearts to see him being so gentle and playing so nicely with such a tiny creature!

I still don’t know why he was so afraid initially. I have read that older dogs may be fearful of puppies due to them getting more attention, intruding in their house or v27747269_10156112019476350_226570463_oying for status but due none of these seemed to relate. I guess it was just being in a new place with a new dog who had never met anyone but his siblings before. He was probably behaving strangely and I can only imagine Kubo, not being the most dominant dog, didn’t know how to react to this. If anyone has any insights into why he was so nervous I’d love to hear them!

They will keep socialising and hopefully grow up being friends as Kubo will not be the bigger dog for long!

(it was impossible to get a decent picture of these two once they had started playing!)


Just a short drive

Kubo gets into the car on his own and looks out of the window.


This may seem normal but it has only just become a thing for us. He used to be awful in the car; every journey he would drool uncontrollably and really be very unhappy.

In hindsight we made a big mistake when we brought Kubo home and it has taken us about 4 months of severe patience to undo.

When we picked Kubo up we put him in the boot because we thought that in the future we did not want the dog with his muddy paws tramping over the seats. As advised, we drove a couple of miles and then pulled over for him to potentially be sick. He had already been sick – how he had so much in his little belly I’ll never know! He had clearly eaten a roast dinner and swallowed the runner beans whole!

We cleaned him up with the help of some ladies from the community centre where we had pulled over and continued home. He was sick several more times.

We continued taking Kubo in the car to get him used to it and he continued to be sick. He did stop the vomiting after a few days but would drool uncontrollably with anxiety and was clearly distressed.

Baby Kubo coming home

Then it dawned on us: the car took him away from his family and the car made him feel nauseous so it was no wonder he didn’t want to go in it!

The training began. We tried to not take him out in the car and we fed him as many meals as was practical in the boot or on the back seat with the doors open. We worked up to closing the doors. The idea was to make the car a positive place.

This went on for a couple of months and then we were able to move on to to coaxing him into the vehicle as we’d read if he makes the decision to get in (rather than being picked up) it would be better.

I remember one of the first times sitting in the back passenger seat calling him into the car with a high-value treat for over 20 minutes. I was exhausted from being so patient and upbeat but he had done it and we kept working on it.

There were moments in car parks where I felt embarrassed as I sat there trying to get Kubo to come into the car without losing my cool and just picking him up. We (quite by accident) discovered that Kubo responded to weird noises and if we made an unusual sound he began getting in, presumably to see us and check we were OK! Using we discovered that we could get him in the front foot-well of his own accord within a few minutes. Though making strange noises in public car parks was even more embarrassing!

Then one day he was in the foot-well, I was in the passenger seat and he just climbed onto my lap. From that day he now chooses to sit on the front passenger seat (we have a seat belt for him) and he discovered that he enjoys looking out of the window. He is not a small dog and will always insist on sitting on the seat, even if it means sitting on someone’s lap!

We are slowly now trying to transition him to sit on the rear seats on his own.  No doubt this will take another 6 weeks or so but by keeping calm and continuing to reassure him (with the help of tasty treats!) we know we will get there.

driving dog
I’m sure he prefers the drivers’ seat!


Fireworks: the fun, the stress

Last night was of course New Year’s Eve and for many people it was a night of fun and merriment – and so it should be!

We were in bed and asleep before the clock struck, not because we’re scrooges but because Dave needed to be up before 5am for work.

At midnight however we were awoken by the whooshing and banging of many fireworks and a very, very loudly barking dog.

I have never begrudged anyone fireworkand to be honest, before I was a dog owner I don’t think I even spared a thought to people buying boxes and letting them off in their garden. Sure, the bangs can be a bit annoying on a school night but for the few days a year that they’re a thing, let people have their fun.

When I was a kid my dad would do a few fireworkdown the end of the garden and I really enjoyed the thrill of letting off our own though as an adult I have never bothered. I do enjoy going to a professional display and have been to the Firework Championships a few times (check it out if you’ve not been before!).

Since getting Kubo however, fireworkare an absolute nightmare.

It is obvious, when you think about it that fireworkare terrifying to animals. The cats have never been that bad with them, I thought: as long as they are able to be next to us or under something they appeared OK and I always had a Feliway for them. They can’t bark though, so maybe I was wrong.

Kubo goes mad. He barks and barks and barks and cries and runs around like a maniac and barks. It is clearly horrible for him and although I don’t know if it is fear, nervousness, defence or something else, it is certainly not a positive emotion.

We have tried everything: desensitising videos with firework sounds to get him used to the noise; we did not let him out once they started (despite him desperately wanting to); the TV was on loud to try and distract him; the curtains were drawn and he was well fed. I even bought Adaptil tablets and as a last measure used Pet Remedy de-stress and calming wipes but nothing seemed to soothe him. We were reassuring with him and tried to keep him focused on other tasks but he has none of it when the fireworkare on.

Going to bed before midnight, we thought if we could settle him he might be OK and feel safe in his covered bed when the New Year struck. We even put a 10 hour pet soothing music loop on! But once they all went off at midnight he was inconsolable. Being in a city there were just so many and so nearby (including neighbours).

Of course I would not say people shouldn’t do their own fireworks, even though in the moment I really do feel like that! It would not be fair when I got to have them as a child and I know many people have parties and it is a highlight of the night. I don’t however remember anywhere near the amount in the sky as there seem to be now … also I think I enjoyed sparklers more!

Does anyone have any other tips we can try? I hate to see him so distressed and I am always keen to hear what other people’s experiences have been.

Happy New Year to you all and I hope your pets are safe.

Wishing for a quiet night tonight,

Arianna x

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.

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.

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?

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