From The Blog, Puppy Power

Life with a second puppy


This article follows on from the introduction Adopting your Second Puppy, which explained the How and the Why our fluffy addition came about. On reflection, a real positive of adopting my second puppy was that I knew in advance exactly what I wanted for the future. Life with Freya had been perfect before Frankie and so subconsciously my plan was to work towards the same routine. We’re now at 20 weeks, which is when the utter exhaustion emanating from our two canine household began to settle down – I’m now totally in love with two cockapoos. 

In the beginning

Freya had been introduced to Frankie on two separate occasions when we paid short visits to Mum Nala and her puppies. We’d been unable to take Frankie full-time until she was 11 weeks old, but her breeder Chloe and I agreed this was a little late. We wanted to avoid separation anxiety as Frankie would spend the first nine to 10 weeks of her life with the full complement of siblings as well as Mum.

Francesca Louise AKA Frankie-Lou at 9 weeks

Day One — A long weekend break at 9 weeks 

We followed Lindsey’s advice [see heading With a little help from your friends] and ensured that Freya went into her home first with the puppy brought in once she’d settled. Ideally, they should have met outside as non-threatening ‘friends’, and then potentially trot happily into the house together. However, Frankie hadn’t had her second injections and we didn’t want to take the risk of her catching an infection.

We cuddled Freya reassuring her that this little puppy was here to play. Freya had accepted furry friends in the house without any issues in the past; carefully holding them both during the introduction was a ‘just in case’. It turned out it was the right approach as our gentle therapy dog’s personality changed dramatically: she lunged, viciously snapped and growled at Frankie – this was to be our first day. Once we let go of Frankie she enthusiastically dived on Freya, a natural behaviour learnt with her doggy family. She wasn’t in the least worried about the rebuff as her Mum did this on a regular basis. 

As a result we took great care to keep them apart, although in the same room, retaining Freya’s routine so she could see the puppy didn’t disrupt her day. We’d purposely chosen a weekend so Mark and I could do this together (prior to lockdown); we felt it important to ensure Frankie also received the attention she needed so she could settle in. 

Snuggled up in her den with Freddie the hot water bottle

Frankie was crated in the kitchen overnight, but we were concerned the inevitable puppy separation crying would upset Freya and so she slept in our room – a privilege normally kept for the weekends. As it happened, Frankie settled well in her crate – with a little Smooth FM in the background – after letting her cry and yap for 25 minutes. However, when I woke her at 2am for a wee, she just wouldn’t settle again, even though I ensured everywhere was in darkness and I disturbed her as little as possible. So very little sleep for me on the first night. 

Day Two — Mediation

The second day brought more of the same behaviour from Freya so we continued to ‘protect’ her from Frankie so she didn’t feel as though she had to accept her. It was obviously going to take time, but there was a glimmer of hope by the end of the evening as Freya’s curiosity got the better of her and she began to sniff around the places puppy had ventured. She was still hiding and avoiding Frankie but only growling now rather than snapping. I decided to change tactic at night and left Frankie to sleep where she chose with us in the sitting room, while I watched a film or two. I then took her for a wee at 11:45pm and placed her in her crate with Freddie the hot water bottle. It worked! She slept until 5:30am and I was delighted I’d achieved a few hours sleep.

Day Three — Introducing Flexible Routine

I wanted to introduce routine into Frankie’s day, while maintaining Freya’s, so set times for feeding at 7am, 12 noon and 5pm. I noticed Frankie  poo’d and wee’d as soon as she woke and again after breakfast; this gave me at least an hour at 7:30am to walk Freya while Frankie slept in her crate. Frankie’s key deep sleeps were after breakfast and after lunch, giving me quality time to walk Freya and give her some one-to-one attention.

The garden was neutral territory

The Breakthrough: Once Freya ceased being a puppy, she tended to only come into the back garden if I was there; as a result this was neutral territory. I didn’t realise this at the time, but when she saw me playing ball with Frankie she trotted out to join in. This is when they began playing together, all I had to do was control how boisterous Freya was as she had no experience of puppy play. Also I needed to limit the time they played so as not to damage Frankie’s soft joints. See: How Far Should I Walk My Cockapoo.

So bedtime came and again Freya slept with us…a real treat for her. Frankie remained crated but refused to settle and I had no idea why. Advice from professionals is don’t respond except for toileting, and if you do, avoid fuss otherwise it promotes attention seeking behaviour. However, at 2am – two hours and two wee tries later – I gave up and slept in the sitting room in the hope that she could sense me nearby and would settle. As it happened this was the worst night, but it left me drained and exhausted the following day.

Day Four – A true breakthrough

Not surprisingly, Frankie was also tired on day four after hardly sleeping, but she still woke at 6am. After toileting, she settled down and Freya and I took the opportunity to snooze on the sofa together while she slept. I lifted Frankie wherever she settled to sleep and put her in the crate with the door open, having made it into a comfy den. See Crating a puppy – the controversial question .

Mouth play

The true breakthrough came after a neighbour called round to meet Frankie. Freya sat close to her while our neighbour petted and reassured Freya that she was still her number one. She continued to do this as Frankie came up and introduced herself. We suddenly realised that Freya was accepting the sharing of affection and a little later began to ‘mouth play’ with Frankie making very strange noises; such a relief and much earlier than I dreamt this could happen. Play and acceptance continued, however most of this was in the early evening, leaving Frankie adrenalin hyped so she didn’t settle at night. Lesson learnt!

16 March 2020 – 10 weeks old – Freya & Frankie begin to play together

Day Five to 11 – And then there were two

Frankie went home to Mum and siblings on Day Five and had another short visit with us at 10 weeks, when we continued with the puppy introduction. We were on a pre-puppy booked holiday when lockdown was declared and so we returned collecting Frankie on the way. She was now 11 weeks, the same age as Freya when we brought her home. We reintroduced the two of them once again in the garden; after a few grumpy Freya moments, they played and we could already see a fragile bond was beginning to form.

12-15 weeks – Simply Exhausting

The exhausting nights of limited sleep continued and I thought it would never end, but gradually over the following few weeks Frankie increased her ability to sleep without wee interruptions. I continued the pattern of going to bed late – midnight mostly and being able to sleep until 5am, which soon began to feel normal. Keeping the routine as relaxed and normal as possible for Freya was also trying – there seemed no time to rest in the early days. I also started Frankie’s basic training at 12 weeks: sit; food manners; not jumping up; heel work on the lead whenever we walked on hard surfaces, allowing freedom on grass so she understood the difference; and independence from me as she was very clingy. Frankie is super smart and picked up everything really quickly – except the jumping up when she greets you after being away for 5-minutes!

29 March – Freya with Frankie at 12 weeks

15 weeks – Another Breakthrough

I’d been keeping Freya and Frankie apart at night so not to disturb Freya. Frankie had begun to wake around 3am, but clinging to me rather than wanting the toilet. I realised that she was walking up frightened, maybe because she was alone (this had never bothered Freya). After speaking to Animal Behaviourist, Rachel Leather, who I’ve commissioned to write the From the Expert piece for this blog, I put Freya in the kitchen with her bed close to Frankie’s crate. It was like a miracle. Frankie slept from 10:30pm until 6:30am. By the third night of togetherness it had expanded to 7am – as you can imagine I was thrilled.

Frankie’s first antler

Treats: One area I found difficult was treats as puppies can have very little in the beginning while their tums settle and their stools become solid. This meant that I had to take care when Freya enjoyed her daily chew, or our friendly postman posted her biscuit through the door each day. Frankie boldly snatched them away with Freya looking on bewildered. Luckily she stole Freya’s antler and we realised this was a perfect puppy choice and bought her one too!

Food: Unlike Freya, this was not a problem. Frankie scoffed her kibble in seconds, making for some pretty disgusting smells during the evening. I introduced a feeding dish with raised sections so she had to eat around these and it slowed her down (this did the trick). We could only surmise the frantic eating was because she and all her siblings ate from the same bowl and so it had been ‘all for one’. By 15 weeks I had begun to introduce different natural textures and flavours – carrot, celery, cucumber, cherry tomatoes. Her stools had settled into a solid state three times a day, which married with her three meals. I tried reducing the quantity given at lunch in an effort to go down to two meals a day, but she was franticly hungry by 4pm. Two meals, in line with Freya, came at 19 weeks.

The slow version of kibble eating according to Frankie

16 weeks – The world other than Frankie’s

By 16 weeks Frankie began to show caution. We live in the country and she developed a natural aversion to cows, which I encouraged. She understood negative distance barking from other dogs, but her hunting instinct also kicked in as she desperately tried to chase ducks, pheasants – anything that moved basically – tugging on her lead. Lockdown meant there was very little opportunity to introduce her to dogs, people (especially tall men) and children. We are lucky enough to live on an estate with park and woodland so we did meet neighbours at a distance. However, Frankie lunged at other dogs anticipating the playfulness she experienced from Freya. Naturally, she also expected to do everything Freya did; the challenge was managing this behaviour. I let Frankie run free with Freya in a safe area (lead still on) and also began recall training. 

17 weeks – Instinct to Survive

Winning is so important to Frankie…she has a survival instinct heightened by being one of a litter that remained together. She would challenge Freya for everything from the ball to the postman’s biscuit treat, as well as diving in if Freya received any attention. Frankie constantly scavenged for food frantically. Unlike Freya, who was initially a fussy eater, I worried I wasn’t feeding Frankie enough, even though I followed the kibble guidelines and she was growing and developing well.

Walking on the lead

18 weeks – Enforcement of the rules

Frankie was now sleeping well as her bladder matured. She could easily manage 10pm until 7:30am. More formal lead training began – perfect until anything from a leaf to a bird distracted her, all par for the course naturally. At this point we’d stopped worrying about her toileting indoors, although she forgot to ring the bell to go out, just sat expectantly by the door, not helpful when you’re in the sitting room! She still occasionally forgot herself and had a wee on the mat by the front door for some reason. We continued with the enforcement of rules, especially in the garden: ‘no digging’, ‘off borders’, ‘leave plants alone’. Along with no chasing of the ducks, geese, pheasants, squirrels, etc. In fact enforcement of everything we now took for granted with Freya.

Frankie stealing anything she thought was food was hilarious although we hid our amusement naturally otherwise this would have continued into adulthood

19 and 20 weeks – Payback

Don’t get me wrong, from the introduction of a puppy into the household to 20 weeks seemed like an eternity, but it’s such a short length of time when I consider what we’ve achieved together and there have been so many laughs along the way. Frankie can now hold her bladder long enough to join Freya’s morning toilet ‘walk and sniff’ at 7:45am and the last wee of the day trot at 10:15pm. She still needs plenty of sleep, but fights it to remain with us. I continue to pop her in her crate for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon and encourage evening napping, which is when Freya snoozes. She can now walk for twenty minutes, twice a day – the most difficult limiter I found of having a mature dog who needs plenty of exercise. Carrying a progressively heavier puppy in her puppy sack is not going to be sustainable for me! We’ll see how I learn to cope with this one.

Freya with Frankie at 20 weeks; they’re now inseparable

Tips from A Novice

One tip is to watch for resentment creeping in if your first dog is an angel like Freya. I would never have believed it possible, but it can make you less tolerant to the antics of puppyness, especially when you’re tired.

My biggest tip is to establish the training and routine in line with your first dog as soon as you can. It will be disrupted, this doesn’t matter, just get back on track as and when you can and begin again.

Frankie’s Routine By 13 weeks

  • Between 7-8am Breakfast
  • 9am Hour’s sleep in her crate while I toilet walked Freya
  • 11am Hour and a half sleep in her crate
  • Between 12 and 1pm Lunch
  • 2:30 pm Hour’s sleep in her crate
  • 5:00 pm Hour’s sleep in her crate
  • 9pm Frankie began her deep night sleep in the sitting room.
  • 10:30pm Woken for a wee and then put in her crate with Freddie the hot water bottle.

    Nights were still erratic…sometimes she would sleep straight through until 5:45/6:10am. Others she would wake at 3am for a wee, followed by another at 5am, but this at least meant I could ‘sleep in’ until 7 am YAY! But she was three months old and through my fog of sleep deprivation, could see she was doing remarkably well. 

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