The Puppy Diaries – The Tenth Month
This is the seventh instalment of our puppy diary, featuring Murdock the lurcher puppy, with candid insights and practical tips on welcoming a dog into your home.
Murdock is now 11 months old and getting quite big. We’re still not sure how big he will be when he is fully grown. His mum Pie is greyhound-sized and quite muscular and his dad, Maverick is a pedigree whippet so probably somewhere in between the two. Behaviourally he is very different to my old lurcher, Beau. He was a Bedlington/whippet/greyhound mix on both sides. Bedlington Terriers are often used when reeding lurchers because of their curly coat and their excellent temperament. Beau was very sensitive and obedient and easy to train. Murdock is much more of an anarchist and also more needy.
Due to lockdown, we have only just begun to leave Murdock on his own for short periods and he seems to be coping well. I work from home so am usually always here but he does need to start learning to enjoy his own company and he gets on reasonably well with our two cats, who tolerate him. I asked the neighbours if he had been whining or howling when we leave and apparently he whines for a bit and then settles down. They’re dog people too so they don’t mind but I told them to let me know if it becomes a problem. Obviously Murdock would like to be with me wherever I am but he does seem to be OK on his own as he hasn’t destroyed anything whilst we are out or exhibited any other signs that he may be suffering from distress or separation anxiety. So far, so good.
Another thing that Murdock has missed out on due to the pandemic is socialising. We did as much as we could between lockdowns and he went to puppy classes during the summer but he hasn’t had as much experience with people, dogs or new places as Beau had by this age. He seems especially nervous around men he doesn’t know and tends to bark at them, run away and then come back and bark again. Hopefully as time goes on and we begin to ease out of lockdown in the UK Murdock will begin to settle down. He does a similar thing with dogs – he generally wants to play but he also likes to do drive by barking where he runs up and zooms past them as many times as he can. He is getting much better at coming back when we are out on walks and we’ve also re-fenced the end of the garden and can let him play outdoors with confidence now, whereas before he was jumping over the old fence into the field beyond, doing zoomies and refusing to come back!
Now Murdock is a little older we are able to take him for longer walks. Vets recommend walking for roughly 5 minutes per month of age daily until your dog is fully grown, so Murdock can walk for almost an hour a day now with occasional longer walks as well. We are lucky to live close to the coast and he enjoys exploring different kinds of terrain and racing about between family members.
Murdock is far more spoiled than our previous dog and we seem to let him get away with more. He is allowed on the sofa and he sleeps in our beds - under the duvet! Although I don’t feel too bad about this as according to experts from the Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, letting your dog sleep in bed is good for you and can help you get a good night’s sleep, as dog’s sleeping patterns coincide closely with human ones. People who share a bed with their dogs are more likely to go to bed earlier and get up earlier as well, which is also better for you.
Murdock will be one in a couple of weeks and we are hoping to meet up on the beach with a few of his family members for a little bit of a puppy party (covid rules permitting). It will be interesting to see how he reacts to his siblings and a few more strangers.
Want to read more about Murdock and his progress? You can find all of our puppy diaries here. Got any tips for raising a puppy in lockdown? Let us know in the comments section below.