Puppy training can drive you barking mad

Doncaster Free Press reporter Kate Mason.  Picture: Liz Mockler D1594LM
Doncaster Free Press reporter Kate Mason. Picture: Liz Mockler D1594LM
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Some of you may remember I was preparing to pick up my pooch before Christmas and at the risk of turning the column into a Marley and Me style account I thought it was time for an update.

In the run up to Bertie’s imminent arrival I was more than optimistic about how I would cope as a dog owner.

I had visions of a playful yet well behaved pooch who would respond well to training and be more than happy to sit quietly whilst I groomed him.

Two months on I can safely say we’ve got more than we bargained for.

Bertie is beyond cute, he has already mastered the art of paw, sit and lay, and I can’t imagine life without him. But looking after him is hard work.

I’d not appreciated the changes we would have to make when Bertie arrived.

For instance clean washing can no longer be left on the radiators to dry as we quickly realised after finding a fair few sock casualties and near misses with some of my dresses.

I had laughed at people when they suggested getting a baby gate but after finding Bertie sniffing around my make-up and shoes, upstairs is now gated off.

Getting to grips with the nipping and biting has been a challenge too, after just a few weeks of having Bertie I suddenly looked like a self-harmer covered in little scratches from his needle-like baby teeth.

Thankfully, the biting is starting to stop but it’s come at a price.

After trying several different toys to help his teething and plying him with ice cubes it seems the only full proof solution is pigs’ ears.

My boyfriend brought them home for Bertie to try and I was disgusted at the thought of touching the horrid ears that still had bits of hair stuck to them and mortified at the prospect of my house smelling like pork scratchings.

But after seeing the results I’m now more than happy for him to indulge in pigs’ ears as it means half an hour of peace.

In fact we’re giving him so many pigs’ ears I swear his tail is going to start to curl and he’s going to oink instead of bark.

All the stress aside there are so many perks to having Bertie.

We are now officially in the dog crew - when out walking there is a secret dog code that means all other dog owners now stop and chat to you or wave from a distance.

And there’s nothing better than getting home from a hard day at the office and being greeted by Bertie who is always so excited to see you.