Monty!

We’ve had Monty for just over a year now. How time flies. He’s about 15 months old and, maybe I will jinx it by saying so, he’s calmed down a little bit recently and he’s slowly turning into a lovely and well behaved dog. Well, he was always lovely, but now he’s a bit easier.

I mean, he’s not well behaved, he’s just not as bad as he used to be. People say that cockapoos (via the poodle genes) are easy to train because they’re intelligent. I think they’re wrong. I think they learn quickly, because they’re intelligent, but also, because they’re intelligent, they’ll just decide not to listen to you sometimes when they know the alternative is more interesting.

Bad behaviours we still haven’t managed to stop include: nipping when he gets excited (though he is getting better!), being possessive of his toys (and sometimes other dog’s toys when he steals them in the park 🤦‍♂️) and eating/picking things up off the ground. It’s acorn season at the moment and he LOVES putting them in his mouth despite the fact they are poisonous to dogs (though I don’t think he’s ever eaten one). He does drop quite reliably in exchange for chicken (unless it’s a new and exciting object), but some walks it’s just a continual “leave it… leave it… drop…”. I’m still hoping he’ll grow out of this… There are signs he will, but when he’s tired or excited he just seems obsessed with finding things to put in his mouth.

Because of that we only let him off the lead in a few places where we’re not expecting to come across much litter. Though you’d be surprised how much junk he eats that seems to not affect him the slightest. Sheep poo, for example. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to eat sheep poo, but he doesn’t care and apparently neither does his digestive system. He also loves tissues, receipts and other bits of paper which his stomach seems to break down just fine.

Anyway, the other point is that having him has been really good for me. It used to be that work was the biggest thing in my life just by virtue of it taking up so much time and attention. Now it’s not the most important thing. Looking after this crazy little guy is the most important thing.

The Cone of Shame

Monty is in the cone of shame. We’re not quite sure what happened but last weekend he had an irritated scrotum and was licking it a lot. I think it was getting better but then he went to the groomer on Wednesday and that set him off again. Over the weekend he seemed very unhappy and kept lying down on the tiles in the hallway (which he’d never done before) as if the carpet in the other rooms was irritating him. So we went to the vet on Monday and she’s given us a cone and various creams. She thinks he probably originally irritated it on a plant like ivy or brambles and if he’d just stop licking it for a few days it would get better. Unfortunately, licking his genitalia is one of his favourite hobbies, even when it’s not irritated.

I didn’t know this but the cones absolutely traumatise some dogs, including Monty. They just completely shut down and sit there looking sad. Yesterday afternoon he was refusing to eat, drink, toilet, everything. He just sat there. We ended up taking it off for a while to get him to do those things. And then it took him until 5 o clock this morning to work out he could go to sleep while wearing it. He literally sat upright all night until he eventually collapsed in exhaustion. Anyway he seems happier in it today, and in theory we can take it off tomorrow. We’ve had it off twice for about an hour each time today and he hasn’t been trying to lick much at all, so that’s promising.

In other news, at work, apparently our second in command has left. And I know this because LinkedIn told me he’s started another job. If I worked somewhere with hundreds of employees I could understand someone leaving without me knowing, but we actually have.. let’s count… 9 employees! So, great communication there. I assumed that he would be taking over running the company day to day when the MD retires (he’s in his 70s), so this seems like a bad sign.

Just things

I had a weird email the other day sending me an invoice for an unpaid tenancy from a few years ago. Usually this kind of thing is just spam or has been sent to the wrong person, but, bizarrely, this one was addressed to my full name including my middle name which has a slightly unusual spelling. Plus it seemed to have been sent by a real company. I was a bit worried by that, because it looked a bit like identity theft and the last thing I need is a debt collector turning up. But it turns out that there is someone else with my full name! And I know this because it was published online that they were declared bankrupt around the same time that the tenancy ended, and their address given was close to the address of the property in question. How strange!

I had a very vivid dream last night about a woman I used to work with. She passed me in the street and I recognised her but ignored her. She did the same thing but I turned around to look back at her and saw she was staring at me. Anyway, some fuzzy dream events later, we were talking and apparently she had been married twice in the few years since I left that job, and her surname was now Pope. I don’t think this is important, but that’s the name my dream brain chose. I was slightly unimpressed by this especially as she was now taking an interest in me. My very practical dream self was a bit nonplussed about this and decided that I probably shouldn’t become involved with someone who remarries so often (as if that’s the only issue here). So I spent the rest of the dream trying to avoid her. Then I woke up at 4 o clock thinking it was real. And then I spent probably about half an hour frustratedly trying to remember what her real surname is, because it’s definitely not Pope and it was annoying me. I remembered in the end.

I think I sleep worse at the moment because it’s quite light and warm. But maybe also because of running later in the day. I do my weekly long run on Mondays now because it’s easier to fit it in around Monty duty than on the weekend. So I don’t seem to sleep too well on Monday nights. Yesterday I did 17km and according to Strava it was my second fastest 10 mile and 15km, not that I felt like I was really pushing. Today I felt a bit drained but dragged myself out for 9km this afternoon…. And it was terrible. My heart rate stayed low but I had no energy and no power in my legs at all. I think I need to eat more after the long runs. I don’t think I’ll be doing intervals this week.

PREPARATIONS

My taper week for the half marathon has become a full rest week because I could feel my hip tightening up. I was planning to run Monday, Wednesday and Saturday but after Monday I decided not to. I’ve done a half before where it seized up after 10km and finishing that was pretty miserable so I didn’t want to risk it. But it’s actually feeling pretty good now, after a few days of foam rolling my bottom. That’s something to remember for the future. I think the tightness is the IT band, but a lot of the IT band’s insertion is in the glute max.

The other thing was that in the past few weeks I’ve started feeling very tired and wanting to nap a lot in the afternoons. I probably need to get my iron levels checked (like I was supposed to two times before…). But I started taking iron tablets again and either that or the fact I’m not running at the moment has me feeling a lot better.

So between those two things I’ve gone from feeling very optimistic to very pessimistic to a little bit optimistic again. Is 1:40 still realistic? I think so….

The plan became a bit fraught. My sister is doing it as well which presents Monty problems. The idea was that my dad would look after Monty for the morning and my mum would either come in to meet us or go in with us and potter about for the morning.

But unfortunately as of a few days ago dad isn’t allowed to be left alone with Monty. Dad seems to like Monty, but dad seems to believe that because he’s 10x bigger he can just use brute force to get him to do what he wants, especially when he’s misbehaving. When we were both there, he tried grab/pick up Monty by the neck/throat and shouted at him not to “mess him around”. Sister and I were both a bit concerned to say the least. So unfortunately now mum is going to stay with Monty and she won’t be coming in to meet us, which she’s upset about and means we have to faff around with baggage.

I’m quite frustrated about my dad. I always temper my expectations where he is concerned, but I thought we could at least leave Monty with him for a few hours and he’d be present enough to supervise and stop Monty from being able to harm himself… I didn’t think we’d have to worry about dad being a source of potential harm.

I just can’t understand what made him think that was an acceptable way to behave.

I like sleeping

Monty is being quite difficult at night now. It started last Sunday, i.e. when we changed the clocks. Probably changing the clocks upset his routine, which we didn’t really consider at the time. He was settling down in his pen in the living room at night, but now he seems very stressed at being left in the pen. So we tried letting him sleep out of the pen, and it’s a bit hit and miss. Sometimes he settles on the sofa, other times he seems restless and paces around a lot and goes behind the curtains and looks out of the window. I think he doesn’t really feel safe at night on his own, which is strange because he’s always been happy at night up til now and he’s happy to nap in there on his own during the day time.

Apparently adolescent dogs can go through something called a fear period where they just seem to suddenly get scared by things they never used to, so maybe that’s it. Some people say you should just put them in a crate/pen and let them cry it out, but it seems so mean and counter-productive. We tried that for about an hour and when we went down he was genuinely very stressed and took a few hours to calm down. It’s not that he’s being naughty, it’s that the little guy has his own needs and for whatever reason he’s actually upset! So over the past week we’ve had three nights between us of sleeping on the sofa with him. Which isn’t ideal.

So anyway… I think he’s going to be sleeping in my room soon. I just hope he can behave and not start chewing my bed sheets 🙄

This is the expression of a dog who can’t understand why you interrupted his tasty grass meal to try to get him to pose for a photo
Apparently sleeping in this position, on his back with his stomach exposed (kind of), means he’s happy and feels secure

MONTY!

Monty went to the groomer again today. He’s had a proper clip! He’s gone from being such a fluffy boy to looking just like his mum, the last time we saw her! I’m kind of sad he’s not as fluffy but it was nice to see him and think “wow, he looks just like his mum!”.

Before and after. He’s all velvety now.

I feel like he has regressed a bit recently though. Over Christmas we took him to the park every day and he was pretty much completely crazy every time we went. But after almost two weeks of that we managed to get him walking quite nicely on the lead (loose lead walking) about half of the time. Obviously, when he sees another dog or someone comes and makes a fuss of him it all goes wrong, but he’s walking a lot better most of the time in general.

But in terms of his behaviour around the house, he seems to have gone backwards a bit. He’s getting the zoomies a lot and nipping more than he used to. Some of it was definitely teething and it was obvious his mouth was hurting, but I think he’s finished with that now and he’s still quite nippy and zoomy. I can always tell when we’re about 3 seconds away from zoomies because he’ll just suddenly stare at your feet and move his head with them as you walk around. This is always a bad sign because it means he’s thinking “wow, those look fun to bite”. I think it’s his working dog instincts that makes him want to chase things that move and when he’s overexcited he can’t resist the urge. So once he’s focused on your feet, it means he’s a few seconds away from lunging at them, possibly biting them, then running away grunting, growling and/or barking as he does laps around the living room at full speed.

I suppose that progress isn’t linear and cockapoos are particularly excitable and energetic dogs, and he is still only 5 and a bit months old.

However, I ❤️ him lots.

Almost Christmas!

Sadly this year we can’t really have much in the way of Christmas decoration because Monty would eat them, but it is almost Christmas and I’ll be really glad to get some time off work.

I was playing with Monty a few nights ago and he bit my finger. Well, he jumped to get a toy I was holding and caught the bit of skin right next to the nail with his tooth. It wasn’t an intentional bite but it hurt and started bleeding so I went upstairs to put a plaster on it. I was standing in front of the sink putting the plaster on when I started to feel light headed, and the next thing I knew I was waking up on the floor. I can’t believe a tiny little cut made me faint. It wasn’t even still bleeding by the time I’d rinsed it and got the plaster out! Anyway I’m taking a more zero tolerance approach to his jumping now. If I have a toy, he has to sit before he can have it. I started letting him play more roughly with a lot of tug and throwing/chasing his toys in the living room because it seemed like he needed it to burn off his energy but it only works if he doesn’t bite me!

He has discovered how to jump to get onto the furniture. It used to be that he’d go up to a chair and put his front paws on it while trying to push with his back legs and kind of pull himself onto it, which didn’t work at all. He’s now discovered that he can actually just jump straight up in one go, and now there’s no stopping him. We didn’t really want him on the furniture, but when you leave him alone for a minute and come back into the room to find him sitting in your chair looking like he owns the place, what can you do?

(We have to cut the ears off all of his toys eventually to stop him from swallowing them. Mrs Elephant looks a bit sad now but he still seems to like her. When he’s tired he just lays there holding her in his mouth)

Here’s a picture from the puppy meet. Monty is the fluffy boy in the top right with the red harness. His mum is in the bottom left with the red collar. Notice how they are the same size as their mum already! The other three black dogs are his littermates. The white dog is a westiepoo (westie x poodle) who belongs to one of the other owners, and the other dog is a Rottweiler puppy who belongs to the breeder.

He looks like a fully grown little dog now. Or a little bear, the way he pads around the house. His behaviour is still very inconsistent though. He is teething at the moment so that may account for some of the craziness. We had a day last week where he’d seemed a bit unsettled all day, and then in the evening one of his baby teeth fell out while he was chewing on a toy. He’s usually very good at settling down and sleeping through the night, but that night I had to sleep downstairs with him because he started crying every time we would leave him. He’s a funny little guy. I guess that his gums were hurting and he wanted the comfort of knowing his caregiver was near. I kind of liked waking up in the night and being able to see him.

Socialization

Tomorrow is the puppy meet up so Monty can meet his brothers and his mum again. I didn’t really want to go but it’s good for his socialization (and probably mine too). I guess that’s being a dog parent. There will be his four brothers, his mum, the breeder’s new puppy (apparently she missed them after she gave them away and bought one of her own!) and one of his brothers’ owners has another dog too, which I think is a westie.

I don’t know what Monty will think to it all. Despite being completely crazy he’s actually quite shy with other dogs. He obviously wants to go up to them and play with them but when he gets close he often runs and hides behind my legs and takes a while to actually go up to them. Though we did meet a cavapoo puppy (very similar) around his age a week or two ago and he loved playing with him, so maybe it’s more that he’s shy with adult dogs.

Rare photo of Monty sitting still

Anyway the only negatives are that I have to miss parkrun and also that the park we’re meeting in is literally directly across the road from my old boss’s house. I hope we don’t see him 😕

Life updates

I haven’t written here for too long. It’s the usual update – dog takes up all my time and energy, when he’s asleep I go to sleep too. Well, sometimes.

I’ve had the week off this week and have been spending a lot of time with him. He is amazing and I love him. He’s also a total pain who wants to run around and jump at me all the time, and my hands are covered in little scratches and tooth marks, but that’s OK and we’re working on it. He’s such a lovely little dog when he’s just padding around the house. He looks like a little bear.

He hasn’t enjoyed the fireworks. He’s OK with them when he’s inside, but getting him outside is difficult, which interferes with his toileting (as he’s very reluctant to go inside the house now – shouldn’t complain, but it’s not ideal for him to hold it). We’ve had fireworks every night for four nights in a row now, which I think is quite ridiculous and I really wish we could ban firework sales to individuals.

In other news… I have a stomach upset 🤔 Again! I think it might be spaghetti carbonara. I stopped eating spaghetti bolognese because the sauce is too much for my stomach (all the acid from the tomatoes, probably) and switched to carbonara thinking it would be better, but this is the second time I’ve had an upset stomach after eating it, so maybe not. It’s not as bad as last time, but I saw the signs and switched to an extremely boring chicken + rice diet (like my dog!) so that may have softened the blow.

So I’m back at work next week. Work annoyed me last week. My manager asked me to create some fake data in the system to display some charts for a demo. So I did. Then on Thursday morning the managing director called me into a meeting to complain that it wasn’t what he’d asked for. The problem was that he had created this data with no thought to how it would actually look when plugged into our charting system. What he actually wanted were completely different charts, but that is not what I was asked to do, nor was it realistic for the timeframe. He didn’t even tell my manager that he’d called me. I don’t deal with the managing director much, but when I do I always come away with a bad impression of him. So in some ways I’m not looking forward to work again tomorrow, but in other ways I feel like I have more important things (dog) in my life to worry about instead. It’s just a job.

Doggies

I never realised that having a puppy would be so much work. You see well behaved dogs out for walks, trotting alongside their owners with perfect behaviour. You don’t see all the training that goes into making a dog walk on a lead without attacking it. Or when they decide that what they really want to do is flip their water bowl upside down, while still full of water. Or the hours spent walking in circles around the garden while he searches for the perfect place to poo, because apparently it’s extremely important that you sniff the entire garden four times before deciding, except you also have a really short attention span so you might get distracted by a really tasty looking piece of grass along the way and then have to start over.

He always looks so calm and well behaved in photos. Trust me, he’s not.

He had his second round of vaccinations on Friday, so next weekend we can start taking him out. Chunky boy here now weighs 4.6kg, which is up from 3.9 only a couple of weeks ago. The vet didn’t seem concerned anyway, but I’m not sure if we’re overfeeding him… The breeder (or more likely, her young daughter) nicknamed him “Mr Chonk” because he was the biggest of the litter. But once we can take him out for walks he’ll be burning off more calories.

I don’t know how you tell if a dog is fat. For one thing he’s a crossbreed, so there’s a lot of randomness as to exactly what his genetics are so he doesn’t have a known ideal ‘shape’, and for another, most of what you see is fur.

We gave him the second dose of a ‘deworming’ tablet today. We did the first dose two weeks ago, and it made him completely crazy. He took it at about 11 in the morning and spent all afternoon totally hyperactive, barking, growling and generally worrying us because he seemed agitated and wouldn’t settle. We googled it and apparently it’s not a medically recognised side effect but plenty of people on forums talk about it. Others say it can’t possibly be the tablet because it’s not a known side effect. After having the second dose today, he was exactly the same again. So, yep, it’s the tablet. He’s supposed to have it done again in two weeks but we’ll have to ask to use a different medicine.