My parents came down to Sussex to visit us from Glasgow this weekend. This was the first time that they met Elvis, our chihuahua puppy. I knew it would involve lots of tourist activity, walking and eating out. I thought I’d blog about how we dealt with it, to help other new puppy owners deal with a disruption to a young puppy’s schedule.
How we avoided our dog barking at visitors to our home
We are big fans of Cesar Millan’s TV programme ‘The Dog Whisperer’. The programme gives an excellent insight into dog psychology. Dogs can view their home as their territory, and can see ‘intruders’ to the home as a threat to their ‘pack’ which is why they bark. Cesar explains that if you all leave the house, then let guests into the house before the dog, then the dog will realise that they are more senior members of the pack, and won’t see them as a threat. We tried this, and it worked well. Elvis didn’t bark at them at all, and was very welcoming.
How to cope with Schedule disruption
Elvis normally spends a lot of time at home, because my husband works from home. He can trot into the kitchen and get a drink of water whenever he wants. He also tends to graze on food, because there is no rush for him to finish. We gave him breakfast first thing on Saturday, but he didn’t finish it. We then drove to Brighton and walked for miles. We didn’t get back until 7pm, so Elvis was really hungry when we got home. We usually avoid giving him scraps of food from our plates, because he would then expect it every meal time. Elvis is always well behaved, and doesn’t hassle us when we are eating on the sofa together. This weekend we had to flex that rule, and we gave him bits of chicken from our meals to keep him going. Most pubs we went to were more than happy to give us a bowl of water for him.
Dog friendly pubs
We visited several pubs this weekend, and we were pleasantly surprised that the vast majority allowed us to take Elvis in with us. Each time we arrived at a new pub, I always asked staff to make sure that it was okay to bring him in. Elvis was good as gold, and obediently sat on our laps or in between us on a seat while we had drinks and ate food. There was a couple of establishments in Brighton that wouldn’t let dogs in. On reflection, if they want to allow drunken adults and screaming kids in, but not a silent tiny dog, then that’s their own stupidity.
Socialising a puppy
The more we take Elvis out in public, the more his confidence has grown. For the first few weeks of having him, he didn’t realise that he was supposed to pee outside! He is now well over that. He is a sociable wee guy, and loves sniffing dogs that he meets. Bigger dogs tend to be quite bemused by him, and some are happy to join him in mutual bum sniffing, which I suppose is like humans shaking hands with each other. Elvis really bonded with my parents too which was great.
Elvis’s first train journey
My Dad is a massive steam train fan, so we all went to visit the bluebell railway. They had old restored steam trains from the 1930’s. We had to buy a dog ticket for Elvis for £2! He got it stamped and staff were lovely and welcoming to him and us all. Elvis was exhausted after all the walking the previous day, so he slept for most of the journey. You can see him yawning whilst posing with his ticket. I think we were all exhausted from the weekend to be fair, but it was very enjoyable!
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