I can’t believe that Lola is a year old today. It doesn’t seem like five minutes ago that we brought her home in one thought, and in another it feels as though she’s been part of our family forever and it’s difficult to imagine life without her now.
Before Lola, it had been a long time since I had had a dog in the family, so I wasn’t part of the looking after and being responsible for, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect when we decided to bring a puppy into our home. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I’ll admit I didn’t realise how difficult it would be. Looking back it’s amazing what happens in a puppy’s first year.
After staying in for the first few weeks until her jabs were up to date, we had some garden play as the weather was being kind to us. She was pretty good with her toilet training and we only had a few accidents in the house to begin with.
The day of her first walk, the weather decided to change and it poured down all day. I remember we contemplated not taking her out but reasoned that we couldn’t do that on a daily basis if the weather was bad so we persevered. Poor Lola was soaked (as were we) after her short walk.
She was very excited and inquisitive on the lead that we soon realised we needed more than just the collar and lead to enjoy the walks and began to explore options for her such as a harness before settling on the halti which seems to work the best for her.
The first couple of months we spend adjusting to our new lives. We had to stop and think when we wanted to go out for longer than a few hours at home, and I remember during the Summer holidays last year, I took Miss A to Go Ape with Tina, and I had to arrange someone to look after Lola so she wasn’t left alone too long.
We also realised we needed to work on training in the sense that every time Lola was let off the lead she wanted to run up to any person and dog. Not all dog owners are as friendly as you may think and we did get a bit of a shock from a small percentage of people.
At home, we were battling with stopping Lola getting onto the furniture, which she seemed to do when she wasn’t getting enough attention. I found myself caught between wanting to give her the attention, but also being aware that if I gave her all my attention when I was at home, it would cause problems later on, so I decided on the less is more route to keep my daytime routine when at home as easy as possible.
The basic training went very well and Lola learnt to sit, and stay very quickly (but only if we had her undivided attention). We all learnt quickly that treats of cheese, hot dogs and occasionally kibble would work wonders when it comes to training.
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The autumn seemed to blur into the Winter, and we were all settling in quite well as a new extended family. Lola soon learnt she could get away with anything with Hubby and not so much with me.
So much so that he is definitely her master and she responds a lot better to him, but he does give in a lot more as well. He allowed her onto the furniture after saying he never would, and he also allowed her upstairs onto the bed (both of which I disagreed with).
After a little while I think Lola got too comfortable and she did a wee on the sofa. From that day on she hasn’t been allowed on the furniture or the beds, and she’s only allowed upstairs supervised and is brought down again.
I think Hubby learned his lesson there the hard way over who was to be the boss in that relationship!
Lola got her first taste of snow this Winter, and she seemed to really enjoy it. We took her to the park on the one day we had snow, and she managed to turn herself white which was quite funny to look at.
In more recent months, she has been testing our patience with digging in the garden and running away from us when she knows she’s being naughty. She is very clever at doing circuits of the garden when she’s got energy to burn. Take her to the forest however or the beach and she’s as good as gold as she has the space to burn off the energy. Her favourite form of exercise is catching a ball when it’s thrown for her.
In the last month, she had her first sickness bug and also came into season. We are quite used to her being sick when she eats things she doesn’t but when the sickness continued for a few days we were worried as it wasn’t nice for her, so she had a few trips to the vets that week. Thankfully it passed quickly with some antibiotics and she was back to normal very quickly.
At one year old, Lola is now at almost full height and she will more than likely fill out in her muscles making her look a little chunkier. She is a good size Labrador, not too big with an amazing personality. In the last week we have noticed a big improvement when out in park open spaces.
She still runs off when she sees a dog as she wants to play, but her recall is getting better, and we can get her to walk to heel off lead when we walk past people which is great. She would ordinarily run up to anyone to say hello to them, but of course not everyone wants an excitable puppy bounding up to them. I know I wouldn’t have before we got Lola ourselves.
I’m looking forward to the next years with Lola in our family, who knows what adventures she’ll bring but we’ll enjoy them all.
Happy Birthday Lola x
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