on being a dog owner….

I had never been a dog owner until just over a year ago.  I admit I was naive to what it would mean but I have a better idea now.  Some things I idealised, some things I didn’t expect to be so lovely and other things I just didn’t have a clue about.  I have jotted down a few notes of my observations so far…

One of the first things I noticed is that there is a society of dog owners that was unknown to me until I crossed the threshold of dog ownership.  People who train dogs, have dogs, groom dogs, let dogs in their pubs, have dog friendly websites, walk dogs, “know” about dogs, go on holiday with dogs are all part of it.  I like being part of this secret society.

Dog walking is a lot more social than just  walking yourself.  More people stop to talk – about the dogs usually – but it’s talk that you don’t tend to get if you walk on your own.  People are friendly and love their dogs.  Stories are shared about dog shenanigans, dog likes and dislikes, ages, breed.  There is an instant connection because of the dogs.

Dog play can look a bit scary at first glance but as Paul says, “they usually sort it out themselves”.  There is a language all dogs seem to adhere to and the size of the dog or the breed doesn’t matter, dominance and submission and a general sense of dog manners seems to be the form of communication.

Dog walking definitely makes you get out of the house when otherwise you wouldn’t.   Sometimes this is a lovely surprise and you’re please you made the effort.  But there have been a few foul days where I would’ve happily not left the house and the winter morning and evening walks in the dark aren’t very fun for anyone.  But without exercise, you really pay with a doggy that is climbing the walls….

Being consistent is another golden rule.  I’m glad we laid the ground rules down early on (no dogs upstairs, on the sofas and she sleeps in the kitchen) because the little thing is so cute and must know how to push my buttons as that I find myself thinking, “well it wouldn’t be too bad if she sat up here on the sofa with me for a bit…”. But it’s the rules and we’re sticking too it.

Dog training courses are definitely a must do.  They taught us all a lot but I think I learned the most.  🙂

The idea of getting a dog was supported by many reasons but one of them was the fact that I knew there was a good chance I’d be working away with my job and a dog would be good company for Paul.  I didn’t account for the fact that I’d miss her so much (and she me I’m told!) when I was away.

Things in life are a bit more unpredictable and spontaneous.  You think you’ve got her figured out and something completely random happens.  She runs away when she sees a big dog that looks a bit scary.  She decides she doesn’t like a particular food that she’s had since she was a puppy.  She comes for a cuddle when you’re least expecting it.  She didn’t come into season at 8 months like the vet said…or at 9 months, 10 months, 11 months, 12 months etc etc and we’re still waiting!  But a bit of spontaneity does me some good…

And lastly, I learned very quickly why dogs are called, “Man’s best friend.  An unselfish friend that never deserts him and never proves ungrateful…( paraphrased from a quote by George Graham Vest)”.  Stella is such great company and always pleased to see you.  Wherever you’ve been, the tail beats a drum when she sees you .  She loves a cuddle and a fuss and would sit all day on my feet on the days I work from home.  Apparently dogs sense people’s energy and she loves children and anyone that we welcome into our home.  If there is a time whem I’m in the house without her, I really notice her absence.  We probably are one of those typical childless couples whose dog plays such a central role in their life.  Neither Paul or I would be without her.  My little Pupper.