We have a little Bichon Frise called Poppy. For some reason it’s a little smaller than the already small breed of dog and now has no front teeth. As a 6’1 tattooed male it makes it a little embarrassing to walk her on my own, one of my personal favorites was someone yelling ‘you’ve dropped your tampon’ as I chased her round the park (she doesn’t listen to me). That being said, we love her and she truly is part of our little family, especially prior to Raffy as she was my fart scapegoat.
She’s 4 years old now, Tash completely molly coddles her and they’re pretty much inseparable, so as you can imagine she runs the house. She was number 1 on the priority list….. At last head count I think I was 5, behind the dog, Galaxy Caramel, one of her bags (that looks old and scuffed), a pair of shoes and her new straighteners. On the bright side at least I made top 5 which hasn’t happened since I was a chubby kid attempting to keep a egg on a spoon at the school sports day, admittedly there was only 5 of us. I did get a ribbon though.
Tash would occasionally blur the lines between dog and human and Poppy would pad around the flat in her Ralph Lauren jumper or new pea coat with me and my misshaped £3 Primark tee shirt. I had to draw the line at little shoes for her.
When Tash got pregnant I started to do some research (by research I just watched more Bondi Vet and that RSPCA show) on the best way to introduce a dog to a new born, a dogs behavior during pregnancy etc. Quite frankly I thought it would be a piece of cake, I mean, surely if Poppy loved us then by default she’d love something that was an extension of us. This was my first mistake.
During pregnancy Poppy got a little more protective over Tash. There were a few more barking outbursts at strangers and she was obsessed with either laying on her stomach or resting her head on it. A red flag popped up, which is a shame as I like swimming in the sea and it didn’t look that rough, however, that aside and seeing Poppy’s recent behaviour, maybe this wasn’t gong to be as easy as I thought.
Rafferty arrived, Poppy was not amused……..
The day arrived to introduce them. Piece of cloth smelling of the baby, check, slowly bringing poppy into the room, check, fussing over the dog as well as the baby, check. She went bloody crazy, barking, jumping, running round like someone that had just taken an adrenalin shot to the heart. Bugger, this is definitely not what the research had prepped me for.
For the first few days we had her for a couple of hours a day, our main issue was, every time Raffy cried or you stood up with him, she would bark like she was trying warn the people of planet earth of a imminent disaster, this in turn was scaring the baby.
This carried on for a while, it did get better, but it didn’t feel like it was actually ‘getting better’, if that made sense? Raffy being sick on her nose as she came up for a sniff probably didn’t help. Poppy was just a little quieter rather than accepting him. I had admitted defeat, I just wasn’t as strong as Turner with Hooch and my idea to turn Poppy into Lassy, just incase he fell down a well…… because you never know….. wasn’t going to plan.
So we decided to call in a dog trainer.
She turned up at the door, looked exactly as if imagined, almost military looking. “Give me 50!” As I started my first press up I realised, she was actually just asking for payment. With her whistle round the neck, bum bag (or Fanny pack for you US readers – just wanted an excuse to write Fanny pack as it makes me smile) full of dog treats and squeaky toys, shorts & walking boot combo, she looked the part – we’re not talking about the Daisy Duke style shorts either.
After a few hours of trying a few different things she left some notes and went. I was hoping for some super nanny style results but instead was just a lot of the same things we had been trying, also Poppy isn’t food motivated at all (unlike me) and a lot of her ideas and suggestions were rewarding with treats – so that was that out the window.
So £50 worse off I was back in the same position. We decided to move Poppy back to Tash’s parents, they also have a brown Labrador to keep her company. Over the next few weeks Tash would take Raffy there in the day and spend a few hours and come away again. Poppy eventually got used to him and his crying and the fact there was another member of the family, she began to accept him.
10 weeks on, Poppy is home, she is great around him, so caring and loving, not to mention patient when he’s wailing the house down at 3am, in fact she just sleeps through it (shes coping better than me). Yes, she gets a bit sulky from time to time. And yes she did poop on the sofa, pee on the carpet, grabs dummies if they’re within reach, empties the nappy bin and runs round the house with a mouthful of used ones if given the chance.