I thought I’d write a little update post on a little update now we’re one month in to owning two dogs – incase anyone is thinking of getting a second dog – or failing that like looking at pictures of two cute dogs. If you don’t like pictures of cute dogs, there’s something wrong with you.
I thought I’d start of a bit of a background as to our decision to getting a second dog, since we bought our house almost two years ago, we have talked about getting a second dog on almost a weekly basis. Dexter is a fabulous dog but high energy and could be a bit of a handful – and we’d always been talked out of it by family. “What if you have another and he’s just as bad?” was the recurring question that came up.
Over the past year his behaviour had kind of changed and was constantly walking around one spot in the garden, nothing we could do would get him out of that corner if he didn’t want to move. Even after an hour or more walk, or even a trip out all day he would come back into the garden and go to the same spot, walking around two plants doing figures of eight, often accompanied by barking. After about a year of this and showing no signs of this ever stopping – and only progressively getting worse no matter what we tried we called a dog trainer.
He advised it wasn’t bad training on behalf or that there was unlikely anything we could do. It was him calling for his pack (beagles are pack dogs) and he didn’t have one. After seeing how Dexter’s behaviour instantly changed when the trainer introduced his dog into the garden – he was out of the area, playing and having fun. We’d even never been able to trust Dexter off the lead outside of our home, but we went for a walk with the trainer, his wife and his dog Zuko – and for the first time we trusted him off the lead to run through the fields free by himself. When I got home I cried, yep, a mixture of happiness of how happy he was, and how he clearly needed a friend – he was a thoroughly ecstatic, and exhausted dog who loved the company of other dogs and our decision was sealed and within a week we had been to visit a litter and picked our pup – with a 4 week wait ’til we got him.
Now before anyone says – “why didn’t you adopt”, but because we work full time that’s generally not seen as something that will swing in our favour (whilst they are checked on and totally safe with an indoor kennel with a large attached outdoor run and cameras for us to spy on them whilst we’re at work, we always know what they’re doing – Sleeping!). We were also after a specific type of dog and breed that could match Dexter’s high energy and want to play and run. In our area (most adoption centers in the UK only have a 30-50 mile radius they’ll cover, which when you live as rurally as we do is very limiting on the option front!) there turned out not to be many available where we live that we felt were the right age – for example we didn’t want a 8 year old dog who may soon be starting to not want to run as much as Dexter does, a puppy seemed like the best option.
In a way we were in a rush – with getting married next June we didn’t want to be “waiting” for the right breed to come along for adoption, and having to struggle with getting a new dog settled at the same time as trying to tie up loose ends, we wanted a dog who we could trust and doesn’t need constantly watching over or we worry about leaving at home. Not only that but the purpose for getting another dog was to make Dexter’s life better and more enriched – so we wanted this to happen now, not in six months.
The breed we ended up getting was a Sprocker – a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Springer Spaniel. There was thought and consideration behind choosing the breed rather than just picking what looked cute (although that did turn out to be the case!). Beagles are very dog orientated, they want to please their dog pack, they’re not so bothered if you tell them off – they’re also scent dogs so are lead by their noses & high energy. Cocker and Springer Spaniels/Sprockers want to please their humans first and foremost, they’re easier to train, still high energy and lead more by sight and sound than nose. With this in mind Dexter who wants to please other dogs, should follow and copy in theory of a more people pleasing breed.
We ended up collecting Charlie a week earlier than planned – without going into too much detail the breeder staring being very awkward and we thought he would be better off with us at home. This kind of scuppered our plans a little, both Ben and I had a week off work one after another to make sure the dog settled in – and we had him a week early. We hadn’t even decided on a name until we were on our way home with him on my lap! This meant we had to leave Charlie at home for a week whilst Ben who works a whole 40 minutes closer to home than I do, came home and checked on him during the day as we left Charlie inside as his immunisations weren’t fully clear and I didn’t want to leave him in the kennel with Dex unattended to eat and chew everything whilst not having someone watch over him. Luckily that week went perfect, the puppies had been raised on a farm and had gotten used to being left for good chunks of the day whilst the farmer was out.
Introducing Charlie and Dexter was interesting, we were meant to introduce them at the Breeders but the day we ended up getting him was the day we ended should have been introducing them. We made them meet near our house – but not on Dexter’s Territory, there was a lot of high pitched “what is that you have” barking from Dexter and a lot of “what is happening” looks from Charlie. After 10 minutes it calmed down and bought them into the garden within minutes they were chasing each other around.
Both Ben and I’s weeks off work were very similar – except for he had glorious sunshine and I had rain that was chucking it down for the most of the week which meant I couldn’t get a lot of my week off jobs done. Days were filled with a mixture of them wrestling with each other – their favourite thing to do – closely followed by biting each others faces, following each other round with toys and napping. Charlie still can’t be walked until after his next set of jabs this week, they’re always happy to be reunited with one another after they’ve been apart. Dexter originally liked to be no where near Charlie near nap time, but he’s slowly tolerating him more and more.
Dexter now spends much less time in that area where he was calling for his pack and when he does its mostly when Charlie is asleep. Dexter was never very good in the car – he barked and barked but since getting Charlie he seems to have mellowed, he now just whines now rather than barks – fingers crossed that continue to get better over time. So far Charlie is a total Mummy’s Boy – something I’m relishing in as Dexter used to be for the first year until he changed sides. Hopefully Charlie will keep following me about more than Ben!
Overall we couldn’t be happier with how they’re getting on – my only regret really is that we didn’t do this sooner, although we would have had another dog, not Charlie – and Charlie is darn perfect so I’m glad it took this long too.