The Puppy Diaries – The Twelfth Month
This is the ninth instalment of our puppy diary, featuring Murdock the lurcher puppy, with candid insights and practical tips on welcoming a dog into your home.
A new collar
This month we bought Murdock his first ‘big boy collar.’ He has pretty much stopped growing now – although he may get a little big bigger, his neck isn’t going to increase significantly. As you can see from the photos we got him a traditional sight hound collar. Also known as fishtail collars these collars are normally made of leather and are wide in the middle with tapered ends.
Sighthounds (Salukis, Afghan Hounds, Whippets, Greyhounds etc) have fine narrow heads which mean they can slip their collar easily if it’s not fitted correctly. They also have delicate shorthaired coats that can rub off if they are wearing a normal dog collar. Sighthound collars are designed to fit dogs like Murdock better than a normal collar and spread the pressure on their neck, so that their coat does not rub off.
Murdock has adapted to his new collar very well, although he scratched at it a little to start with, I think he does find it more comfortable on walks as he sometimes pulls on the lead.
After initially puking on every car journey, Murdock now loves to ride in the car.
Rule 57 of the Highway code states:
"When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."
This is not a legal requirement, so we would not be prosecuted if Murdock was not restrained, however, living in the countryside we do find ourselves doing the occasional emergency stop in the lanes and decided it was kinder to Murdock to make sure he is wearing a seatbelt on every trip. He wears a padded harness attached to a small lead which clips into the seatbelt clasp and he loves riding in the front seat or the back between the kid's car seats. The fact that it clips into the seatbelt clasp is useful as my car sets off a little alarm to tell me someone is in the seat but not wearing a belt if it is not plugged in, so it makes sure we are driving safe.
If you travel with an unrestrained dog in the car then you may wish to reconsider this. Not only for their safety but for yours too. If you have to make an emergency stop – or you are involved in an accident, then a loose dog my injure you or your passengers too. If you are travelling at 30mph then a 30kg dog would be thrown forward with such force that it would be like getting hit with 100kg.
If you don’t like the idea of using a harness, it’s not a good idea to clip anything onto your dog's neck – but you might want to use a dog cage or an animal guard in the boot of your car instead.
Summer is finally here and as you can see from these photos Murdock has very much enjoyed sitting on the sun lounger, sleeping in a tent in the garden and playing with his rubber chicken.
We’ve also taken him to a proper sandy beach. We live close to the coast here but the beaches are quite pebbly so really enjoyed the sunshine at Woolacombe a few weeks ago. We made sure that Murdock had plenty of shade and water to drink. He wasn’t entirely convinced about being in the sea though. He’s not keen on swimming and kept running away from the waves but he is getting braver. He really enjoyed playing with other dogs on the beach too.
More and more places are welcoming dogs this summer as we Brits staycation with our pets, the Beach Guide website has a list of dog friendly beaches, if you’re planning a trip with your pet this summer: www.thebeachguide.co.uk/dog-friendly
Want to read more about Murdock and his progress? You can find all of our puppy diaries here. Got any tips for travelling with your dog? Let us know in the comments section below.