I feel like I am writing an update on a baby or a pregnancy with that title but I assure you it is actually about my puggle puppy Humphrey!
If you remember a few months back, when I had just brought Humphrey home only a matter of days, I wrote this post. In it I spoke about how having a puppy isn't really what I thought it would be, how hard it is. Today I wanted to write a little update on how he (and we) are doing now.
Over the past few weeks I have started to notice a big change in him. He is definitely becoming easier to manage and I think this comes down to several factors including his age and how we are behaving around him and some new things we have been trying out.
Humphrey seems to have quite a sensitive wee tummy (I wont go into detail but I am sure you can imagine that a dog with a sensitive tummy isn't great...). Many a vet trip and many a change of food later we seem to have arrived at a brand of food that suits him. James Wellbeloved is supposed to be fairly natural and says it is a hypoallergenic food. It definitely seems to be helping. The vets put Humphrey on various special diets before coming to the conclusion that sticking to this was the best option.
The best thing we have bought Humphrey has been the Thundershirt (seen on Humphrey in the photo above). Honestly, I was skeptical that a coat would make any real difference to his obvious anxieties but I can truely say that he is a much happier dog when he is wearing it! He is now calm in the house when we are getting on with day-to-day tasks rather than barking and biting as before. He is so much easier to handle out on walks whereas before he pulled on his lead and jumped up on people and would randomly turn and bite at my calves. It was as if you flicked a switch.
The biting was getting out of hand, for example, if things weren't going Humphrey's way he would start biting at me and whoever else was around. We tried puppy classes and were told, "good luck with him..." which I have to say was very disheartening. We persevered because we couldn't give up on him and it seems we are finally getting some of the issues under control. The Thundershirt I mentioned above has been one of the things that has helped the most.
Another thing that has been happening over the last few months (not currently though) is that Humphrey has been teething and we have been finding little teeth all over the place! We have found that there have been some chew toys, etc that Humphrey has preferred to others. His favourite thing to chew is an antler that was bought for him by my mother and seems to be what he reaches for most (even now that he doesn't seem to be teething). He has plenty of toys to keep him amused and we switch them up every few days to make sure he doesn't get bored of them. He also enjoys chewing on the edible crocodiles you can get from Pets at Home which you can see in the picture above.
We tried crate training because we were told it would help with Humphrey's anxiety when we are not with him, especially overnight. This just did not work. He became very distressed in the crate and I was very worried he would cause injury to himself. We decided after persevering for as long as we felt appropriate to buy him a soft bed. This was definitely the best move because he loves sleeping in it and after the initial few nights getting used to it he has been no bother at all overnights in the past few months!
Another thing that helped with his sleeping has been Harold, our name for the toy pictured above! (Humphrey used his buster collar to his advantage to carry things around in... The little fabric dog is filled with the little bag that you heat in the microwave with calming scents in it like lavender. Humphrey brings Harold everywhere when he wants to have a nap, warm or not, whether to his bed or to the couch! It is very cute to watch but really does seem to help Humphrey sleep better. My mother bought him in a local pet shop but I am sure you can purchase him online.
Finally, I wanted to talk about a very recent change. Humphrey went for his little operation to be neutered (castrated) on Friday (13.11.15). We made the decision to have him neutered for various reasons - mostly because it is supposed to help with boisterous behavior. Obviously with it only being two weeks ago we haven't noticed much change other than he doesn't seem to flip into crazy mode like the flick of a switch like he used to. He really, really didn't like the buster collar (or lampshade as many people call it) but he had to keep it on for over a week. This was especially because he had to have a lump on his leg removed while under the anesthetic so had a few stitches in his leg. He recovered well and I will write an update post in a few months time.
If anyone would like an individual post about any of these topics I would be more than happy to do one (especially about the Thundershirt because it genuinely has worked wonders!). Also, if anyone has any advice or tips please leave them below, I'd love to read them!
Irma xo (and Humph)
Irma xo (and Humph)