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.
Puppy’s first road trip
We decided to have a wee holiday in Devon for Easter. The journey would take approximately five hours. Ed and I packed a small suitcase each. Elvis had considerably more luggage that us! We brought his crate for sleeping in, his travel carrier, and a rucksack with spare blankets, puppy pads, toys, food, chews and tiny jumpers. Continue reading “What it’s really like taking a new puppy on holiday”
Watch Elvis the chihuahua painstakingly rearranging his blanket. He’s a determined little guy!
We’ve had Elvis for two weeks now, so I wanted to summarise the experience. The best bits are definitely the constant cuddles and affection. Elvis is very generous with giving kisses! Every day when I get home from work, I get a wonderful welcome home. His wee tail wags constantly and he jumps all over me. He makes us laugh every day! And life is never dull.
There are a few things that really surprised me about getting to know Elvis. I’ve never had a dog before, and had thought it would mean lots of early walks in the rain so that he could do the toilet. I wasn’t really looking forward to that if I’m honest. I had never heard of puppy pads before. I’m beyond pleased at how quickly Elvis has taken to using them, and how it doesn’t smell at all. He’s still getting used to going outside. We live in a flat, and it’s a long way to get outside, his little bladder wouldn’t be able to last that long at the moment.
One thing I hadn’t considered was the interrupted sleep. When visiting friends who owned a dog, the dog seemed to take itself off to its basket when it felt sleepy. I expected Elvis to do the same. Not so! We’ve trained him to sleep in his crate, but the longest he has slept is seven hours. Five is the norm. I’m hoping it’s because he is still very young at five months old, and partly because he’s getting used to his new home. I’ll keep you posted.
At first, he was very clingy, and wouldn’t even let us go to the bathroom alone without following us. But now, he’s happy to chill on the sofa alone for up to five minutes, before he comes looking for us.
Given the cold weather, we decided to get Elvis a warm jumper. The nearest ‘pets at home’ is around six miles from where we live, so this was Elvis’s first car journey since we brought him home a week ago. It was kind of a big deal. I was really apprehensive about how he’d cope. I put the kitten harness on him. He reluctantly hopped into the travel carrier. I put a blanket and chew in there. He took to it surprisingly well. We put Oasis on in the car. He didn’t cry at all, he seemed quite content. We got to the shop, and put him down on the grass outside, expecting him to sulk. But he sniffed around and explored like a happy pooch! I was so proud of him. After a few minutes I picked him up, went in to the shop, and got a few chews, a padded harness, and a warm jumper. He was so well behaved. He slept in the car on the way home. When I put his carrier on the living room floor, he was scared. He hadn’t realised that we were back home! He took a good ten minutes to come out. Once he was out, he was rewarded with chicken for being such a good boy.
Now that we’ve had Elvis for three days, I wanted to summarise our experience so far. We’ve bonded with him very well. He loves hanging out with us, and loves giving kisses and cuddles. He now eats and drinks water, but only when we go over with him to where his food is. He absolutely hates being on his own. He has mastered using puppy pads, but is so averse to going outside that toilet training will need to wait a while. I’m relieved that he doesn’t react to our neighbours coming and going, and even loud noises and dog barking on the television. He only makes a noise when he is left in a room on his own. He is totally uninterested in playing with his toys or eating ‘treats’. When offered a dog biscuit or ‘chocolate’ doggy treat, he sniffs it, licks it, then walks away. If we gently throw toys to play with, he just looks at it, a bit confused. Given that the golden rule when training a puppy is to reward good behaviour and ignore bad behaviour, it’s difficult when he doesn’t want a ‘reward’, all he wants is to be next to us.