He’s finally learning to relax

Relaxation is not a strong point of Atlas’ actually come to think of it, relaxation doesn’t really mix very well in our house.

Atlas can usually be found bounding around our living room pretending the floor is lava or just generally being a goof. Yesterday he threw his toy with that much force across the room that it almost sent the television rocketing to the moon. As I’ve mentioned previously, his newest most favourite pastime is the dreaded digging, we, in our naivety had thought that has ceased. Boy were we wrong.

However recently he has learnt that whining and singing doesn’t get him any attention and he is learning that having the odd afternoon snooze is quite a nice hobby.

Here is Atlas this afternoon managing a five minute lie down whilst Amy ate her lunch in peace.

Atlas

 

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 !

 

 

 

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 !!”