The Why and the How
OK so my starting point here is 15 weeks in and all I can say is adopting your second puppy is absolutely exhausting. Just like your second child — if you’ve had one — you forget all the negatives of your first; nature’s cunning way of ensuring we keep reproducing!
A real positive is that you’ve done the puppy thing before so you take several short cuts and worry so much less about the minutiae. However, you also have to walk, groom and entertain your first dog, fine for the first week or so, but the lack of quality sleep — initially four, now six hours a night — left me feeling drained to say the least. We’re also in the fourth week of lockdown so I had a very depressed Freya, who desperately tried to climb in the car every time we walked past it, or scurry into neighbours’ houses to say her usual friendly hello!
But I digress. There’s just so much I could share with you so I’ve decided to write my experiences in chunks; part one is all about the Why? when I’d previously said NEVER, and the How? it came about.
Puppy Number Two? No Way!
I’ve always been adamant there would never be a puppy number two. No way said I, one cockapoo was more than enough to care for. In fact this was the reason I’d asked my good friend Nicky to write about her second puppy experiences last year. Nicky’s clear signals as to just how exhausting it was raising her little ‘gremlin’ kept me focused on just the one.
However, as Freya turned two she’d calmed down considerably, evolving into a gentle, (mostly) obedient therapy dog, with a wonderful social skills and a super friendly disposition with both dogs and humans. And so I began to question whether I’d made the right decision not to introduce another fluffy offspring into our lives. Amusingly, it was my husband Mark (although he now denies it categorically) who raised the subject of puppy number two — this, the man who said he would never walk a ‘fluffy’ dog; that was before he fell in love with Freya of course.
So I did some research (of course I did; anyone following my blog will be aware of my obsessive thirst for dog knowledge). I discovered a *blog, written by an experienced cockapoo owner; he’d posed the following questions to help single dog owners make the decision as to whether to adopt another.
“What do you think your dog would like? Dogs are pack animals and usually love other dogs, providing they are both well socialised.
Does your cockapoo always want to play with other dogs at the park? Do they always wag their tail at other dogs when you are out for a walk? If your dog is happy and content, and well-trained, then it’s going to be a good idea to get another.”
Freya ticked every box. She loves playing zoomies with her furry friends and gets so excited when she sees them. I’d always suspected trotting along with just me on a walk was pretty tedious for Freya, as the second she encounters a friendly dog she’s saying hello and trying to get them to chase her.
Nicky’s second puppy experience
Ironically, Nicky, had the same epiphany:
“I was padding around with Bracken and began thinking she would like some company in her life apart from her loving pawrents. Since Bracken came into our lives I have always ensured she’s had lots of other dogs for company in and around our home. Friends’ dogs have visited, we’ve had sleepovers and Bracken always loved it. I just knew she would be more than happy to have another little four-legged chum in her life.”
You’ll need to read Nicky’s blog here to discover whether Bracken thought this was a good idea as well! You can also follow her pups’ antics on Instagram @brackenthecockerspaniel.
Choosing our second puppy
I’d set my heart on a female chocolate parti roan and decided the timing was as soon as possible after a three-week trip we were taking in April to Singapore and Vietnam. Careful planning of when we picked up our second puppy was important; I felt I needed a clear run without any holidays interrupting the initial six months of puppy training.
As it turned out chocolate parti roans were not in abundance and although I’d contacted Freya’s breeder well in advance, it was not to be. Meantime Chloe, a member of our Doodle Facebook Group, posted pics of her cockapoo Nala’s litter saying there was just one left — a little girl. Well I just had to take a look didn’t I?
To cut a long story short, our long-planned April holiday to Singapore and Vietnam was cancelled because of Covid-19, and so I adopted the last of Nala’s five dark apricot pups and named her Francesca Louise, Frankie-Lou for short. However, at the time there was the complication of pre-booked weekend holidays in March. As Frankie was born on the
5 January, it meant I couldn’t take her full-time until she was 11 weeks.
Chloe had adopted her cockapoo, Nala, from the same reputable breeder as me and had decided to breed a litter before she had Nala spayed. The sire — another local cockapoo — was a ‘professional stud’, so I also knew his history. Heritage is important when buying a puppy, especially those prone to specific inherited diseases and conditions.
We decided to take the unprecedented step of having Frankie stay with us for a couple of mini-breaks, one at nine and another at 10 weeks, so she didn’t become too attached to her mother, and also so she could get used to Freya. It worked surprisingly well and also began the puppy training and socialisation stage earlier. However, Freya was not impressed, but that’s fuel for another blog!
With a little help from your friends
I’d had several conversations with Nicky about how she successfully introduced Haggis into their household (she’s now one and a fully integrated part of the family). I also received some great advice from Lindsey, owner of cocker spaniel brothers Harley and Raffles [@harleyandraffles], before I introduced Frankie to Freya. Lindsey explained she’d had a very steep learning curve when she introduced second puppy Raffles into the fray.
“Harley was nearly nine and it took three weeks before he would go anywhere near him. Freya at two and a half is a much better age. I struggle sometimes because Harley is slowing down and Raffles wants to charge ahead on walks.
Just make sure you do everything to put Freya first. Putting food down, giving treats, petting, etc, to avoid jealousy. When Raffles was a bit older I gave them both chews, a carrot or a Kong together. One thing the experts say is not to bring the puppy straight into the house, but to meet on neutral territory. Maybe take Freya for a walk and happen to ‘meet’ the puppy outside and all go in together. That way you’re not bringing something into Freya’s house.”
So on your marks, get set… no, despite everything I wasn’t ready for what was to come!