The bed saga

We have a current situation going on in our home ….

Puppy Vs Floor

He has beds, he has crates, he has “his place” and yet he choses the floor. The hard, cold, comfy floor. I’m aware that dogs will chose to sleep on the floor if they find themselves too hot because it is by all rights the coldest place in the house. I have no issue with Atlas sleeping on the floor until it becomes a problem.

I’ve fallen on him, he decided to leap up as I was stepping over him and we both found ourselves in a very awkward  heap on the very cold hard floor. He gets stepped on repeatedly, things get rolled over his tail, things get dropped on him and we constantly trip over him.

If Atlas was a human he would have won an Oscar by now for his amazing dramatic talent, for instance, you accidentally roll an onion over the base of his tail, where, I might add there is no bone just hair and you would have to assume that I’ve just tied his furry poms up with an elastic band. The noise that comes out of him when he thinks he’s in pain has no comparison, this is only turned up by a few hundred decibels when we do accidentally hurt him.

All jokes aside, I then started to notice that he has little calluses forming on his elbows, they don’t seem to hurt him or bother him but I know from previous experience that it is the bodies way of trying to protect the bone. This isn’t something I want really for him if it can be prevented and so the research started.

I came across a raised dog bed. These apparently are fairly common however since I live under a rock Id never heard of them. They stand about 8cm off the ground and have a metal frame covered in a mesh which is fully breathable and keeps the dog cool …. perfect. Also because of the bed being raised it helps with joints and should hopefully relieve the pressure on his elbows from the floor. I duly ordered one, paid for it and it arrived within a couple of days.

Atlas

It was really easy to install, simply four screws and an allen key. To be honest I wasn’t quite prepared for how big it was going to be but if it does the trick then we can cope. within ten minutes it had all been put together and Atlas had sat on it no problem.

Atlas1

Perfect, he fits, the bed fits and he likes it, so off I went back to work quite proud of myself thinking I had very easily solved the problem of the lumpy elbows. If you’ve been following this blog you will have come to realise by now that nothing with Atlas is every quite as simple as it should be.

Upon my return home from work, which was essentially two hours since I had left him, I am met with this …

Altas2

Hole

A giant puppy with a giant puppy paw stuck through his brand new raised dog bed because apparently munching on mesh is a good way to pass the time. so note to self … the mesh is strong enough to hold up a 35kg + dog but will easily succumb to munching shark teeth.

We’ve, since decided that for now he will have to live with the hole in his bed and we will just cover it over with his blanket for now. All in all however, apart from the ever growing hole, the bed has been very well received and it has saved him from being stepped on at least 10 times already. hopefully in the long run it will help with his little elbows too …..

atlas 3

Love to you all ❤

 

Advertisements

Atlas vs Child

Parents with children who decide to get a puppy and don’t lose their shit in the process … I applaud you.

Amy and I don’t have children, remember … we are the “cool aunts” we try to convince ourselves that the kids love us because we don’t have kids and they can colour their eyebrows in with pink felt tip and stay up late but in fact its probably just because we have a toy box. A toy box filled with toys the kids have never seen before and don’t have to share because there isn’t anyone else to share with.

So to conclude, we are the cool aunts.

We also have an Atlas.

Not the fun coloured, spinning educational type, that the parents of said children would probably appreciate, no, an 8 month old giant missile that weighs more than three children put together.

Yes … the fun kind of Atlas.

Now before Atlas came home, Amy and I have become accustomed to a more gentler way of life, with a female dog that was probably as old as your nana. She was not interested in the kids what so ever, she didn’t want their food, their noisy Thomas train nor their bikes and scooters, she absolutely was not interested in being present for a game of hairdressers or having her nails painted. If the kids were there, Jasmine was in hiding and that’s what she liked.

She did actually take part in a re-enactment of Frozen once and played the part of Sven the reindeer because, and I quote “We need a life sized prop”, no she wasn’t as big as a reindeer but she played it very well.

Take us forward to present day and we have Atlas.

Atlas is super friendly, over friendly in fact. I’ve only ever heard him growl once and that was due to a fountain shooting up from the floor and almost taking his top jaw off. I’ve got to hand it to the guy it probably was a very big shock. Atlas loves everyone, the problem we have with Atlas is that he does everything at super sonic speed.

With adults, I’m sure that’s no problem, they get the “please ignore him until he calms down” and we all go about our business, until the children arrive and that’s when the party starts. He has stolen socks of children, stolen shoes off children, ruined a game of soldiers because he’s either knocked the soldiers down or eaten them, sat on them, literally squashed them and then the inevitable, sent them flying. I don’t mean just made them lose their balance, I mean actually sent them flying.

It doesn’t matter how much you say, please stay calm, don’t run, don’t scream his name and head off in the other direction … kids don’t learn, and quite honestly if I had a giant dinosaur thundering towards me at super sonic speed and someone told me to stand still and be calm, Id be hot footing it the opposite direction too whilst shouting some very choice words at the crazy person telling me to stand there.

I get it …

There’s the older child, she’s Twelve and Atlas loves her. She has the ability to comprehend that where Atlas is concerned, at the moment, calm is better. They go on adventures and watch films and just generally manage to coexist quite happily. she strokes him, she feeds him, she cant walk him yet but she gives it a good go. All in all there’s a beautiful friendship blossoming.

~Atlas and Darcey

There’s the middle girl, she’s a little smaller but isn’t in the slightest bit bothered by Atlas and his crazy antics. She’s only seven so we have to be careful but she’s pretty good with him. He respects her which is always good but then again that might be because she wants to do things with him. She generally complains that he’s in her way, he’s usually sat right on top of her to be fair. Or that she cant see the TV, again he’s usually sat in front of her and because he’s a very similar size to her their heads are at the same height. Again … all in all slightly more stressful than the older one but not bad considering Atlas is such a giant goof ball.

Ava and Atlas

And then there are the boys.

The boys range from six to just turned four and there are three of them. Atlas thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread. They scream, they run, they play on bikes and scooters and put up a great game of chase. They play with toys that make loud noises and have cars that shoot around the living room. Sounds great doesn’t it, I cant blame him, occasionally I feel the need to join in. Until we have discounted little humans who have to be pulled out from underneath the puppy before they start to suffocate or very upset little people because the bike tyre has gone down due to mysteries chew holes.

Who am I trying to Kid … its carnage, its the clash of the titans all over again. We have taken to Atlas being attached to me on a house lead to ensure that no children are harmed in the “visit Amy and Sophie” day. He eventually calms down but kids come first, now we know these kids will go home and so we don’t feel so bad that whilst he’s learning he isn’t let lose on them, how on earth people manage with children and a puppy that live in the same house 24/7 I do not know, all I can say is well done to you!

We do have the odd moment of utter cuteness …

Noah and Atlas

We are obviously aware (or secretly praying) that he will calm down and we try not to hide him away from them because the children and Atlas need to learn to be together shutting him away and not continuing our lives as we would, would only exasperate the situation and then maybe one day there will be a child living in the house, what would we do then? The bottom line is he has to learn not to react to the children and the children have to learn how to respect the dog.

We have a long road ahead but we are trying to subject Atlas to everything and everyone to enable him to become a well rounded member of the family. He comes to as many places with us as we can take him and has training sessions frequently (not that his obedience is getting any better).

The main part is he is a baby and is still learning, but in the interim, jokes aside we are very cautious of what situations we put him in where children are concerned, mainly due to his size. That’s our responsibility isn’t it? To ensure the children don’t get hurt and become frightened but to teach them how to be kind and to have respect which will then hopefully enable them to have their very own best friend when they’re a little older.

Please, any tips on how you deal with high energy clashes between children and puppies is much appreciated.

p.s. no children were harmed in the making of Atlas vs Child !

 

 

 

I’m not convinced I like him!

So before I go into how much of a massive arse hole Atlas is I’ll just brief you on how delightful he can be ….

1. He’s good in the car

2. He sleeps at night

… the end !

The rest of the time he literally is that person you just look at at want to punch in the throat! He has the most beautiful face and honestly not even that saves him most of the time.

Take this weekend for example now set the scene, it’s sunny, so of course, every man and his great aunt fanny is out, so obviously we decide to go for a nice afternoon stroll with a friend and her baby! Oh how stupid were we to think we could go out in public ! The moment he got out of the car he started squealing like a guy who has his testicles locked in a vice! Before you ask … there was no reason for this at all!!

So we’re strolling along trying to ignore the fact that the noises  coming from the dog are totally normal with a strange smile on our faces like “we know we’re embarrassing ourselves but we’re committed now and it’s happening” and he spots a deer ! Oh we that was it ! He then starts wailing like a blood hound who’s had too much gin and attempts to bulldoze his way through the pram to get to said deer! I at which point decided to try and divert his attention by playing with his ball and walking in the opposite direction. What I actually ended up doin was hitting him on the head with his ball and dragging him away whilst the god awful noise was still coming from the dog!

By this point the theory of Cesar Milan being “the pack leader” and “setting boundaries rules and limitations” went to shit! I’m fairly certain people wanted to call the rspca on the crazed woman who looked like she was beating her dog with a toy in the middle of Dunham Massey !

We finally retreat to the comfort of our  home. Four walls … safe enclosed space! Haha oh no no ….. the running around in circles starts, honestly it’s like the scene out of Mary poppins “places everybody, places” grab your shoes and your brew in the knowledge the five stone flying cannon could come your way at any minute! It’s not pretty!!

After that, the humping starts …. now credit where it’s due it is only one of two of his cushions. But lord above it’s not something I want to see when Corrys on! Having to shift your view every two seconds to avert your eyes from his back end going ten to the dozen on his pillow!

When that finally ends you think you’ve cracked it …. no !

Thats when the staring starts! Never in my life did I think I’d be made to feel awkward by a dog ! Well believe me …. the intense staring with a dog who’s eye level to you is the weirdest thing and I have no idea why he does it. Eventually he decided that he’s seen enough of my face and lies down.

Thats the exact same time you realise your sodding brews gone cold and your bladders screaming at young because you’ve been holding back Niagra falls for the past hour whilst carnage unfolded in your lounge!

You cant move … you can’t even think about moving because you know if it does it starts again ….

I’m stab writing this on my driveway preparing for this evenings battle !! I’ll keep you posted !

Get a puppy they said … it’ll be fun they said !!

 

(Atlas and his teeny tiny hat … if only he wasn’t so cute 😂❤️🌍 )

900F34E2-FDBC-446C-8C77-EFD33F800D56.jpeg

Not the Cauliflower !!

This afternoon it was pretty hot! we’ve ran out of peanut butter so in my wisdom, decided to give the massive, giant pupper of ours a cheeky frozen treat .. frozen veggies.

This was the reaction ….

(note how miniscule said piece of cauliflower is !!)

Atlas

Atlas is raw fed, and let me tell you this whittles down any fun treat your dog ever liked, every! expect for in Atlas’ case, his beloved peanut butter and frozen peas. Yep I am officially the fun sponge of the family, on a plus note though I am no longer thinking about shares in dentastix!

There is a reason for his raw feeding, and this is due to him being the itchiest thing I have ever known. He’s like a baby with eczema. He came home pretty itchy but we just initially put this down to him feeling a little confused about the whole new house, new family, first car ride etc. He was originally fed on Oscars dry food which I love ! They are fantastic, Jasmine was fed on that and so naturally when his lordship arrived, he was weaned straight onto their large breed puppy food, and he loved it, until the itching got worse.

We did the most obvious initially, the de fleeing and making sure his little body had no unwanted visitors via worming. We tried an oatmeal wash which was recommended and apart from making him look like something out of a L’Oreal advert, it didn’t really touch the sides. We re-mortgaged the house for piriton from the vet (as I paid she kindly announced I could have got them for 60p at Wilkos) …. you can imagine my joy when they didn’t work ! He was given something similar to a nuclear bomb on a second visit to the vet to ensure he had no fleas (after explaining he was in fact critter free) and then as a last resort was given a round of anti-biotic’s. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was not overly surprised when the itching persisted. We were then told by the vet that he was, and I quote “just itchy” ….. you have got to be kidding me! At this point I lost myself a little and was so angry that they had dismissed his problem which was in fact irritating the life out of us, let alone just him, that I went to researching myself.

In the mean time Atlas actually won the pet idol competition ran by Oscars food (fabulous) and so he was able to obtain a free bag of food. We decided that at this point we had nothing to lose and so changed him onto the grain free option they had … he hated it and we had to mash it with water. I don’t think he actually hated it but at the time he’d gone from tiny puppy pellets that resembled rabbit droppings to huge giant planets for food and his little teeth just couldn’t do it, Especially as he was losing them left right and centre. It did however calm the itching slightly, but not completely.

I then saw an advert for raw feeding and did some research. I spoke to three breeders and a few friends that also feed raw and so decided to give it a try. Having never prepared raw food for dogs before it took a little trial and error to understand what I was actually doing (trust me its like a minefield) but once we did we have never looked back. I found that most companies will do the complete minces with the 80:10:10 ratio of meat, bone and offal that is recommended, and it was around the same as we were paying for his dried food. He loves it so much that I had to invest in a slow feeder because it was gone in seconds.

Atlas 2

We are still at a trial and error stage and notice quite significantly when his body doesn’t agree with a certain meat, for instance he loves fish and tripe (Warning … it smells like death) but he loves it, I added a chicken and beef for a bit of variety and the itching started, take the beef away and it stops. I like to add different things to ensure I can give him a variety but at the same time figure out which he will be ok on and which he wont. We are lucky at this point that the itching does only last a few days, unlike before when he was always scratching to the point of causing sores.

His coat is beautiful, his teeth are white and his weight is 34kgs. He’s not overweight as you can see … just the size of a small aircraft ! But I have found cons to the diet, which brings me back to the frozen veggies. Training treats are difficult to find, most make him itchy because they are not completely fresh. We end up buying tonnes of chicken and ham and occasionally sausage to reward him when training. He loves peas, so we use these in his wobbler toy, but as I mentioned its trial and error and finding what works for you and your puppy.

I would like to at this point mention that I am not adverse to dry dog food and I am certainly not on a rampage about how everyone should do go raw, it just so happens that Atlas took us on a different journey and we do what’s best for him

Our local butcher is fantastic and gives us huge bones for £1

(the rug takes a bit of a beating. Its basically Atlas’ he chews it, shreds strips of it, plays with the fray and now rolls around with his raw bones, it will be replaced when he learns some general house rules, in the mean time we are the family that watch Corry and Emmerdale with half a cow leg in the living room!)

Atlas3

P.S. my mum is a vegetarian …. we have to arrange feeding times around visits, and god forbid she finds a raw butchers bone lying around !!

Its all fun and games with an Atlas in the house Continue reading “Not the Cauliflower !!”

The Naming of The Puppy

When naming your new pet, whether it be a dog, cat, bird etc, you instantly fall into one of these categories. The first being the “pick what ever comes into your head an hope it fits group” for less anxious people, this would do fine, sometimes I wish I was that person … I’ve picked the name sprout and that’s what were going with, how much easier would that be … to those people, I envy you ! The second being the “pick a name off the family tree group” Obviously again this works perfectly well for some people, we in fact did this with Jasmine, her great, great Grandmother was Lornaville Jasmine. The third being the “shorten their kennel club name group” works perfectly, assuming your dog has one. Atlas does in fact have one and is registered with the kennel club but this isn’t something I thought could be shortened to a cool house name (ill go into that shortly) and the last category you may find yourself in is the “research everything and ensure the name has thorough meaning and suits the pet group” …. want to take a guess as which one I went with ?!

Correct …. I am right in the middle of the “research everything and ensure the name has thorough meaning and suits the pet” group, one word, IDIOT!! You end u with a list as long as your arm and start contemplating whether its normal to give your pet a middle name.

First of all, the lovely beautiful bundle of puppy smell didn’t live with us yet so how was I to possible know his personality?? Second of all you forget that the name you have chosen, or looking at choosing, is going to be shouted at least 100 times a day depending on said animal for the foreseeable. Obviously in our case this was a dog … that means a lot of name calling, especially when you have a free spirited personality like Atlas, trust me, most days I’m not convinced I chose well, I’m starting to become quite sick of the name!!

So we were lucky enough to receive first pick of what was going to be the puppies official kennel club names. There was a few different ones to pick from, however Amy and I both liked “The Regal King” … now you see why shortening this wouldn’t really do us any favours. Imagine shouting King across the busy park to a dog with absolutely no decorum, no manners and running around with half a tree and a plant pot in his mouth having just ploughed into a three year old and scarred him for life ! (yes I am in fact talking from experience) it just wouldn’t work.

We had the Regal King part sorted and he was registered. I had been quite adamant that I wanted to call him something strong and something that would represent his size and something not too long. I ideally wanted something from Greek Mythology, its dreamy and romantic and clearly nothing like Atlas at all, and so the search began. Amy took a little bit more convincing as she wanted something a little less unusual.

We had narrowed it down to around seven  names:

  1. Atlas
  2. Forrest
  3. Ocean
  4. Barnaby (not my choice)
  5. Reuben
  6. Sailor
  7. Solomon

Back and forth we went between them all. I then met a friend who had called their dog Reuben, so that was out. Forrest reminded us of Forrest Gump and more and more I found myself shouting “run Forrest run” and so that was out. Ocean was dismissed quite strongly by my mother and so that was out …. anything for peace and quiet. I wasn’t a great fan of Barnaby, ever, although Amy and I eventually agreed that it was a bit long and had too many syllables, and Amy wasn’t to keen on Solomon, and so that was out.  It was then down to Sailor and Atlas. I loved the meaning of Atlas, Atlas was a titan who was responsible for bearing the weight of the heavens on his shoulders. As we knew he was going to be larger than life we decided this was what we would name him, hoping that our now, nearly five week old land shark would suit it, the breeders response was “oh well that’s a first, but I like it”.

Turns out he’s terrified of the dark and so maybe we didn’t choose so well, he also does not appreciate a good starry night …. he gets confused with the shadows on the floor (I am rolling my eyes as I type)

Parents of actual children will know that choosing an unusual name for your child comes with a few awkward conversations. In our case with the giant furbaby, we have a straight 50/50 split.

The older book worms of our community like his name and often comment on him being big enough to hold up the stars. That is, when they eventually manage to hear his name. One visit to the elderly started an argument between Edith and William (both circa 200 years old) about whether he was named after a book of stamps of a book of maps …. turns out the battery in old Williams hearing aid had gone, much to the disgust of Edith !

The younger generation sort of look at us and smile with a pained look on their face and say “ohh that’s nice” quite evidently I’m not going to give every human under the age of 80 a Greek mythology lesson and so we just now say “yeah like the book of maps” this seems to end the confusion pretty quickly and then they carry on about their business.

Safe to say, apart from online, we have never met another Atlas. Come to think of it nor have we met another German Shepherd with one ear that refuses to stand … but that’s an ongoing saga !

So name down … now was the countdown to bringing him home !!

 

Atlas – The Regal King

Four weeks and four days ❤

Atlas

 

 

 

 

We chose Atlas …

Hopefully by now you will have read the previous blog about how we ended up being in contact with our lovely breeder and his family with their delightful country house in the abyss.

I have to just mention that initially we were very aware that the poor the breeder and his wife clearly couldn’t quite work out the dynamics of the two women who had just arrived at his home late and a little disgruntled. It became quite obvious that they were trying to comprehend whether one was wanting a puppy and the other had gone for moral support and advice or whether they were in fact a couple. Of course they were polite and never asked the question however I have noticed the same look a few times, whether it be training class, vets visits or just out walking with a misbehaving Jumbo Jet on a lead !!

You have the family with the nice car “oh that puppy went to a family with a range rover” or the wife who is a vet “oh that puppy went to the lady who’s a vet” Atlas is “the puppy with the two mums”. Of course there is absolutely no animosity but it is interesting to watch the faces of people who are trying to understand the makings of a less traditional family.

Now if you haven’t ever seen a litter of puppies close up then you cant fully appreciate the feeling of pure emotion that comes over you, and yes before you say it, you are right baby dogs absolutely make me much more broody than baby people! Atlas was one of originally eleven puppies born, unfortunately three didn’t make it and so there were eight. Eight bundles of pure loveliness shuffling around their crate like tiny seals looking for their next meal. Their eyes had just opened and so they looked like someone had just taken a picture with the flash too close and their eyes hadn’t had time to adjust.

Beyond the squinting eyes and the lack of coordination, there in front of us was effectively our future best friend (or so we thought). So the breeder at this point is very proudly passing us puppies and showing us the little girl that they were keeping and one puppy that had already been reserved, Mowgli.

I think I previously mentioned that there were only boys to choose from because this was mums last litter and they wanted the girl who was already named Ember. I was at this point quite insistent that I wanted a big dog with as long a coat as possible, we had already had long coat and that was what we liked.

As I was quietly trying to figure out which puppy was which (im sure you can empathise that is is quite difficult to tell puppies apart at that age) he announces, and I quote “Now this big guy is my favourite … look at the size of him” and presented us with the most divine little face I have ever seen. He was slightly bigger than the rest and was significantly fuzzier than the others also but in all honesty my initial wants had gone completely and I just wanted to snuggle this little monster and not put him down.

They say dogs choose their owners and as soon as I held him he looked straight at me, tilted his tiny little head backwards howled and then snuggled in for a snooze. At this point I was delirious and took that as a sign that he had chosen us … now knowing Atlas it is evident that it wasn’t at all fate and was just his prodigious personality shining through even then.

You will be please to know that I did let Amy have a hold before announcing to the breeder that he was the one we wanted to share the next decade with, evidently not realising that I was never to have a cup of tea on my sofa ever again and that we were going to have to very quickly have to learn how to deal with public embarrassment due to our new puppy fancying himself the class clown, of course we wouldn’t really change him for the world ! We chose the tiniest little blue velcro collar that I’m fairly certain came from the craft section at the range and popped it on his neck to make sure that he didn’t get mixed up with the others, were told that we could collect him on the 18th January and that if we wanted to pop back to see him we were welcome any time which we did of course take him up on …  and so our story began.

 

 

Baby Atlas – The day we fell in love

Atlas2Atlas1Atlas3Atlas4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He got his silver !!!

Just a little … more recent update of the dinosaur!

We have been following the Kennel Club Good Citizens award. He very quickly sailed through intro and bronze and did the most amazing trial run of the silver a couple of weeks ago.

Lo and behold the great big lump made a spectacle of us all. We dually watched as Archie the Bichon tootled around strutting his stuff so delicately on the end of the lead whilst the nine year old handler put him through his paces …. did I mention we were massively out shined by a NINE year old?!

I feel a slight tugging on the lead and turn to see Atlas lay on his back chewing Ruby the Labradors toy and grunting like a dying hippo, safe to say it went very quickly downhill from there.

Recall – this must mean run off and play with the other dogs first.

Stay – how many positions can one dog manage in two minutes (and lets not forget the incessant high pitched yapping like a Yorkshire terrier)

Heel work – not a major problem you’d have thought, considering this is something we do daily, how wrong you are ! he would have won first place and a gold star if he was auditioning for Zippy the bloody bush kangaroo !! ohh the shame !!

One word … MORTIFIED !!

I think they only gave it to him to avoid me either crying or leaving him there and swapping for Archie the Bichon! He excelled himself, he really did … he was most proud of his efforts to sabotage our Wednesday evening training at the local church hall.

Atlas 1 – mums 0 !!!