The Puppy Diaries – The Fourth Month
This is the fourth instalment of our puppy diary, featuring Murdock the lurcher puppy, with candid insights and practical tips on welcoming a dog into your home.
6 Month Milestones
This is our fourth month of owning Murdock and he is now 6 months old. He has started to calm down a little and is jumping up and biting less now that he has lost all of his tiny, needle-like puppy teeth and his adult teeth have almost all come through. He does still like to chew things he shouldn’t, especially the children’s toys, gloves and shoes so we have to make sure that everything is safely tucked away if we can.
His toilet training is also coming on well, he now asks to go out if he needs to go but he really isn’t keen on the rain so we do still occasionally find little puddles in the house but this is something we expect will improve over time. He has also started to cock his leg rather than squatting - and he has begun marking his territory on walks and stopping to sniff more things that he finds interesting.
Because Murdock has a smooth coat and a lot of whippet blood he seems to be a lot more susceptible to the rain than my old lurcher so I am looking into buying him a rain coat too. At the moment he wears a little hi-vis coat to keep the splashes off but I’m looking at getting him something that fits him better and is more waterproof.
Walking and travelling in the car
Murdock’s walks are getting longer and he is becoming confident off the lead, although he doesn’t always want to come back if he is having lots of fun – even if we have treats. As a rule of thumb, vets recommend that a puppy should have 5 minutes of walking for each month of their age so now that he is six months old this means half an hour at a time.
Car journeys are getting better and I have just bought Murdock a special padded harness with a lead that clips into the seatbelt catch, because he is getting too big to sit on passenger’s laps when we are driving and he needs to be secured inside the car. Murdock used to suffer from motion sickness on most car journeys, but he has now become accustomed to the movement – even in winding country lanes - and he has stopped being sick now. He does like to see where we are going and often stands up on the seat so he can see the road. This is another reason he needs to be secured inside the car as he is much more likely to fall over if we need to stop suddenly.
Family Meet Up
We met up with Murdock’s mum and a couple of his brothers and sisters on the beach a few weeks ago. It was really fun to share stories and see how the other pups have grown. Murdock isn’t as confident around other dogs as he could be due to the coronavirus restrictions. We haven’t been to as many places as we normally would have, or met many other dogs. He was quite shy at first and preferred to go around greeting the humans, rather than other dogs but he did settle down after a while and enjoyed playing in the sea. I need to make some time to get him together with his brother Tigger again so that he becomes more used to spending time with other dogs and feels more at ease when he meets other dogs. My friend brought her dog Dooby over for a walk recently. Dooby is quite old and just pretends that Murdock isn’t there, which can be frustrating for him when he just wants to play.
We are coming up to Halloween and fireworks night now. Luckily this year there aren’t likely to be as many people knocking on the door or fireworks displays. We don’t know how Murdock is going to react to fireworks yet. My old dog Beau was fine with fireworks when he was a pup but became frightened of them later in life and it is important to make sure that we don’t overreact or do something to make Murdock feel worse if he is frightened. If we do find it is a problem, then we will spend some time desensitising him to loud bangs and flashes so that he is less likely to be scared next year. If your dog is frightened of fireworks, we have created a useful post full of tips to help them and you.
Want to read more about Murdock and his progress? You can find all of our puppy diaries here. Got any tips for making sure that your dog isn’t afraid of fireworks? Let us know in the comments section below.