The Puppy Diaries – The Third Year
Welcome to the Puppy Diaries! This is our annual update on the progress of Murdock, the subject of our popular puppy diaries series that we started in 2020. Murdock turns three in a couple of weeks and it is probably fair to say we should rename this segment as the ‘dog diaries’ from now on as he progresses into adulthood, although he still acts like a crazy puppy some of the time.
As a lockdown puppy, Murdock did not get the same kind of exposure to people and other pets that some dogs normally do. Although he attended puppy training classes when he was very small, these were held outdoors and socially distanced due to Covid, so he didn’t get the benefit of meeting and socialising with other dogs like you might at a traditional puppy class.
As a result of this, Murdock is not aggressive towards other dogs but does seem to have a touch of ‘small man syndrome’ as he likes to bark defensively at any dog that is bigger than him, which isn’t always well received. Generally he is very good off the lead although he won’t come back if he sees a deer (which we get a lot of here on Exmoor) and I keep him on the lead anywhere that deer might be present.
He is still getting on great with the cats at home and is fairly polite to other cats and animals that he meets. He does not like being on his own much and I take him to work with me. I was working from home but now have an office space in town. Murdock took a while to adapt to this change. The first office I rented was open plan and there was a fellow tenant there who frightened Murdock and gave him a ‘bad vibe'. The more Murdock turned away, the more this extremely strange man really wanted the dog to like him and crawled around on all fours on the floor barking at him which as you can imagine terrified the life out of the poor pup. He became very nervous of strangers for several months after this but gradually overcame his fear and is coping much better now. he does still occasionally get a bad vibe from people and in these instances I trust his judgment far better than my own! After the office incident, we moved to our own private office unit where I was able to make him his own home from home with soft blankets and a cosy bed. The new office has underfloor heating which he loves, and he spends pretty much all day snoozing. He still follows me to the toilet pretty much every time I go as he doesn’t want to be left alone and this can be a bit embarrassing if there are other people in the building watching me bring the dog along every time!
Last summer we went to some fun dog shows together and won a few prizes. I really recommend this to anyone who likes to get out and about with their pet. One show had a dog race which was tremendous fun and Murdock was very well-behaved running in a pack with dozens of other dogs.
Despite the fact that Murdock usually spends most of his time sleeping, he is very adaptable and can easily step up a gear to spend a day at the beach or the park. He has definitely calmed down in terms of neediness, as he was a bit of a clingy whippet and he likes his routines and knowing what is going on but as long as we are there he draws confidence from us and feel reassured that everything is OK.
Want to read more about Murdock and his progress? You can find all of our puppy diaries here. Do you own a lockdown puppy? Let us know how you are getting on in the comments section below.