We just love him to bits. A few weeks ago we were heading into a little crisis - he was getting too cheeky, interfering with Fitz's daily routine - and in a pretty rough way. Thing would have been funny enough if he'd stopped at stealing Fitzi's nappy (and shredding it into a thousand tiny pieces), but at one point his play-biting drew blood.
As we did not want to risk the peace and quite of our home we got professional help involved: Harley now has three sessions of dog training under his belt (well, harness) and we have learned enough to re-establish our position as pack leaders. The main tool: a rattle-can (a tin can, filled with pennies and wrapped in black electrical tape) - he lives in awe of it; we do not even have to rattle, just showing him the tools is enough. We now have the loveliest of puggies: he is still cheeky, but leaves Fitz alone. He can sit, give paw, leave things alone when told and we are practising stay and recall.
Fitz is an old dog, it was a hot day, we had two pugs to look after - mixed results.
Fitz is an experienced meetup attendee, we have been going for years now. It is the highlight of his social calendar. Today was different: he had to be carried all the way to Blackheath Station, the train was far too hot, there was no number 9 bus in sight - ended up taking a taxi. He was quite motivated to walk through Green Park, knowing where we were headed. But once there he simply lay down on the lawn and stayed there for the next two hours, only occasionally getting up to drink, or tell other pugs off.
For Harley it was the first meeting - yet another first in a week of firsts (including the first time lifting his leg to pee - I might have made the wrong kind of encouraging sounds: he immediately put it down again and has not tried again since [correction: he successfully tried it just now]) He seemed to have enjoyed himself. He got a lot of attention on the train - we met a guy from the US who used to own and breed pugs; had no problems standing in line waiting for the bus and behaved well in the taxi. At the meetup he immediately made friends with every pug he met (the only one barking at him was good old grumpy Fitz). He was so good and attentive that we decided to let him off the lead. Had a watchful eye on him all the time, he does not always come when called (he's a puppy) and had to run after him once or twice when he decided to follow other pugs leaving. Whenever he lost sight of us - and actually noticed in between sniffing pug bottoms - he returned to his home base, i.e. our bags, sat down and waited for one of us to come and talk to him.
We stayed for a full 2 hours, then back via St James Park to Charing Cross Station with the usual stop over at Inn The Park. Fitz had to be carried all the way. Not sure how we will play this is the future. I don't want to leave Fitz at home, he enjoys the meetings far too much and it would be unfair to take this away from him just because the new puppy is easier to handle. We will probably resort to using his pet stroller (well, push chair; well doggy pram, really) and just ignore half of London staring and making fun of us.
Yesterday was the first time the two had to stay at home alone for 5 hours. Kind of a gamble - not sure if Harley ever was alone for that long or if he will get along with Fitz.
Preparations included a new doggy gate to keep them from doing strange things in the living room, a new bean bag so that each of them has his own cushion, setting up toys, water bowls, etc in the hallway, laying out puppy pads and then just hope for the best.
Iris left the flat around lunchtime and came back in the afternoon. He seemed to be fine - obviously happy that she was back but not overly excited and no sign of distress.
But: There was a puddle on the floor. And Fitz was lying in it. Now we know that Fitz is slightly incontinent - he dribbles a bit when he is asleep for several hours - and he does wear a nappy when he is alone. But he normally does not leave puddles - and he was not wearing the nappy.
My theory: Harley was responsible for the puddle. To cover his tracks he then removed Fitzi's nappy (he is quite curious about it anyway and keeps tugging at it). Fitz then walked over to have a sniff, slipped and could not get up again due to his bad legs and the slippery floor.
The next time they are alone I will hook up a webcam to spy on them
I took a few days off (in addition to the Bank Holiday Monday) to allow the little fellow to properly settle in. So we sort of had a long extended party - fun, fun, fun, and fun.
Friday: our first walk through Greenwich Park. A lot easier than we are used to. Fitz has very clear ideas which routes to take (through the rose garden, down the hill and then to the main entrance) - Harley is completely open to suggestions, everything is new and exciting. So we managed a long walk past the observatory, down the other side of the hill and across the lawn to the main entrance. Fitz more or less grudgingly followed us. Then to The Old Brewery in the Royal Naval College. Good beer, excellent burger and lots of admiration for the puggies. Fitz is used to taking centre stage - but now the audience is divided into puppy-lovers and admirers of age and dignity.
Saturday: house warming party at our neighbour's. Again lots of admiration and excitement - a little too much for the little one. He left a small puddle on the floor - just as expected of a puppy. But he was really good with the children, playing all afternoon. Finally got him tired enough so I actually got a good night's sleep.
Sunday: Female company. We had Molly, a neighbourhood French Bullie, around for the afternoon. She is just one month older than Harley. After a few innocent chases around the garden the two tried some more mature games. Judging from his determination and energy Harley might not have the same embarrassing problem Fitz faced ten years ago: having the once in a lifetime chance to mate and the not knowing how to do it. Poor thing
We did it. After much thought, a lot of research (mainly by Iris) and a few visits to local and not so local breeders we finally got a second pug. Meet Harley:
On Thursday evening we went to Guilford, signed the paperwork and took him back home with us. He is 6 months old, from a good home and with - at least as far as we can tell - a good pedigree (one of his half-sisters is a champion.)
And then we braced ourselves for things to come - but so far things have been a lot better than we hoped for - On our way back home Iris noticed that he was very fond of nipping at fingers. She tried to distract him with treats - big mistake. He really likes his treats and is not shy about letting others know. Fitz likes his treats as well - and is not shy about telling Harley - Back home he settled in within 5 minutes. Everything got explored, all of Fitzi's toys got dragged out (which the old boy took with surprising restraint) - First walkies - cars are fun. He has seen those before. Buses are scary, real scary. (Fitz knows that buses are these wonderful magical things that get you home without walking. He understands the concept of bus stops and usually just refuses to walk back home from the village - much rather preferring to wait for the bus) - The first night was a little rough - for me at least. Harley had never slept in a bed before, Fitz always has. So Harley got to share a proper bed with Fitz and myself. He liked it very much, thought it was a really good game. Fitz told him off in no uncertain terms but I of course was much softer on him. So he spend most of the night climbing over my face, nipping at my finger (and my nose) and generally having a good time - At about 6:30 he decided that it was time for his first morning walk. I'm used to a dog that - like me - likes to lie in. I'm not a morning person, never will be - but will at least make an effort for the new puppy
More to come: a walk in the park, the first pub, a new girlfriend
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