Why hello there everyone, I have a v exciting blogpost for you all today. A blogpost that has been SO highly requested since the delightful Peter & Nancy came into our lives just over a month ago now. I'm so excited to be writing this and to be sharing some of the CUTEST photographs in the world ever, honestly you have been warned, your heart may burst from all the cuteness!
But anyway, requested or not, I thought it would be really lovely to do regular updates, or pup-dates should I say, on their development as they grow from puppies into dogs, partly for my own reflection, but also for you gorgeous lot, as I know you're as smitten with them as we are.
So first up, a bit of a back story on how we came to have not one, but two dachshund puppies.
Basically, I've been completely and utterly obsessed with sausage dogs since around the age of 12. Those who are closest to me know this all too well having spoilt me with dachshund related goodies for every birthday and Christmas since then. I don't really know what started off this obsession, but theres just something so charming, so adorable and funny about them and the more I got to know the breed, mainly through stopping owners in the street, I fell more in love with the stubborn, loving and playful pups.
When George and I knew that the purchase of our house had all gone through, thats when we started to think about the prospect of having a puppy. George had also grown to love the breed through hearing me waffle on about them from day one of getting together and he was keen to add another member to our family in the form of our own standard dachshund.
Once we had found a breeder, how of which I'll discuss a little further on in the post, we drove down to Norfolk to somehow select a puppy of our own. There was a litter of 9 and it was almost impossible to choose. The lovely breeder Debbie had been sending us regular photographs and videos of the males of the litter, as we knew that was what we wanted, initially at least, and there was one little boy, in a blue collar that had stolen our heart even before we'd met him. A photo of him, lying on his back was dropped into a Facebook message and we were convinced he was smiling back at us, thats how we knew he was the one.
When we saw him, we fell in love further and decided that he would be the one to come home with us in 6 weeks time. George however, had fallen in love with the runt of the litter, a little girl who almost didn't make it. After being hand reared she was a little smaller than the rest of the litter and once George held her, there was no going back for him.
For 6 weeks, George begged to have her AND the little boy pup. I was adamant I only wanted one and so the little tiffs began haha. However, once the 6 weeks was up and we drove down to collect our little puppy, who we'd already named Peter, I simply could not leave this little girlie behind. She had eyes that looked deep into your soul, filled with love and she was absolutely TINY! Peter and her were the best of pals and heartbreakingly, she was the only pup without a home to go to, having not been advertised through fear she might not make it. And the rest, is history. George knew me well enough to bring down the extra money for the little lady and so we left Norfolk and made the long drive home with the two new members of our family, Peter and Nancy.
FINDING A BREEDER
It's often quite the minefield when trying to locate the perfect dog breeder, there are some horror stories out there and everyone will always have an opinion on the matter but this was the correct route for us. It was important for me to meet both mummy and daddy dogs before going ahead and that is exactly what we did when we rocked up to Norfolk to meet Debbie. Nutty was a beautiful tan dog, full of life and extremely excitable indeed, whilst Ollie was the most perfect Standard Dacshund I have ever seen, he was beautifully built, he was loving and he was gentle. Both Nutty and Ollie were perfect and Debbie was an absolute delight!
However, I must admit, this was all down to George, he's SO awesome at coming up with the goods when challenged, and boy did he come up trumps with these two. So with that, over to George to talk you through how he found our breeder.
Hi everyone, my process began online, I searched and made a list of around 15-20 telephone numbers before I began to make calls. I made notes and details throughout each phone conversation and gave each breeder a star rating out of 5 on how much I liked their vibe, which I quite enjoyed. I kept in touch with each person, requesting updates and in some cases photographs.
Initially it was a struggle as most litters didn’t match up with our situation as it had to work well timing wise for when we moved into our new home; we wanted it to be perfect and ready for young puppies. I kept trying for around 2 weeks but unfortunately we had no luck. I put it on the back burner and Megs and I decided to wait for the new year to roll around to revisit the search. However, another two weeks went by and I had a text from a breeder and the timings were perfect, proving that some things are meant to be.
Tips for finding the right breeder - I found various websites which only list legitimate, experienced, well trusted breeders
Debbie was great from start to finish with helping us get it right with the pups. Most importantly, she really cared about the dogs; It was up to her whether we were the right fit to take on a puppy. It was like being interviewed, which I didn't expect but absolutely loved, it just showed her love and passion for her pups. She kept us updated with photographs and videos whilst we eagerly awaited the day we could collect Peter and she actually sobbed when we chose to take Nancy too as she was thrilled Nancy was going to a young, happy home with her brother... Cute.
TRAINING - TOILET, SLEEPING & CRATES
This was my biggest concern for getting two puppies, the dreaded training, particularly that of toilet training. Having never had dogs before I was worried about training one, so the prospect of toilet training two was a different ball game entirely. And whilst we're still not quite there with it, it gets better every single day. Both Peter & Nancy have their preferred toilet places both outside and unfortunately inside too. When inside, it's just a case of watching them and when they're not running around playing, sleeping or nipping at our ankles, we know they've gone to "their spot" inside the house. We've not been using puppy pads as we feel that, that encourages going to the toilet inside, however there are some great pro's for doing so, especially if you have carpets; We have wooden floors throughout so it's no hassle if we have an accident. We've really learnt both of the puppies body language for when they need to go, which is a tip I was keen to share with you. Look out for the signs that tell you they need to go, whether it's a little whimper, which they both do if they're sat on your lap or in bed with us or if Peter sneaks off and is acting a little sly, then we know. And Nancy, well she starts pacing up and down, which is quite an obvious sign that it's time to take her outside.
If we do have an accident inside, we sternly tell them no and pop them outside so they associate going to the toilet inside with a bad thing, in this case being locked out, if only for a minute or two. And when they do go outside there is tonnes of praise and of course, treats!
They're getting there slowly but surely and it's not been half as tricky with two as I anticipated as they tend to copy one another anyway.
Sleeping has been an absolute doddle. From night one they slept right the way through from midnight until 9am, I even sent George downstairs to check on them in the middle of the night when we hadn't heard a single cry, I was SO worried. But alas, it's because they have each other, they're not afraid and they're warm and familiar to one another. They haven't cried throughout the night once, even when staying at our parents houses. As long as they have the familiarity of their crate and of course, each other, they're happy. That is certainly the biggest perk of going for two puppies rather than one, they sleep like little angel puppies right the way through the night.
With the talk of crates, I would highly recommend crate training. We have a rather hefty pen that the puppies go in at bed time and whenever we're out of the house. The puppies feel safe in there and you come home to a non-soiled house... BONUS! It was tricky at first to get the puppies to go in voluntarily but now, when nightfall comes around we simply call "Get in your bed" and off they toddle straight into the crate, it's bloody marvellous! I would suggest leaving the crate door open throughout the day when you're all at home and popping some toys in there too, that way the puppies don't associate it with anything bad and they can play in it throughout the day too.
So a little bit about Nancy, gorgeous beautiful Nancy. As mentioned she's much smaller than Peter due to being the runt of the litter but that does not stop this little girl one bit. The saying "Though she be but little, she is fierce" was written for her, she really is a feisty one and knows how to put Peter in his place, which I'm secretly very proud of indeed.
Feisty as this little lady is, she is the most loving dog I have EVER come across in all my life. The aforementioned eyes filled with love, that look deep into your soul are still very much apparent and you'll often catch her staring into the eyes of whoever is lucky enough to be cuddling her at that moment. She has SO much love for everyone and shows it through a shower of kisses, I've never known a dog to give as many kisses as Nancy, it's absolutely ADORABLE!
Nancy's favourite toy is a donut shaped cuddly toy, with a squeaker inside, as it has a whole in the middle which she can shove her snout through to carry it around. She thinks she's a Rottweiler at times and loves to bark at people in the street (something we're trying to snap out of her asap, but it is pretty funny coming from such a tiny dog)
She's a great eater, chewer (another thing we're trying to combat right now) and she is SO playful. She really gets off on the fact that Peter can't fit under the coffee table anymore so you'll often find her hiding from him smugly underneath it similarly to the photo above. Currently, she doesn't possess the stubborn personality trait that Dachshunds are known for and I hope to god she stays that way as she's doing REALLY well with toilet training, crate training and even with a few cheeky tricks. She's the most beautifully feminine puppy I've ever seen, I mean just look at that delicate little face, and she manages to steal the heart of EVERYONE who lays eyes on her, especially mine.
Oh my little Peter, my first love and the cuddliest dog EVER! From the off, Peter was a little more nervous than Nancy, we think it's because Nancy was hand-reared so was used to people more than he was, however, Peter bonded with people quicker than Nancy as he was desperate to hide his face away into the crook of your elbow and fall asleep so he didn't have to deal with the chaos around him... HOW CUTE!?
He's always loved a cuddle and you'll often find him curled up on someone's lap, nose buried and snoring away.
The bigger pup of the two, Peter was always a bit more adventurous than Nancy; eating plants, digging up the soil and hiding piles of it under the sofa, darting up the stairs to explore the house and climbing into his toy basket for a closer look, he's hilarious.
Adventurous he might be, but he's a little slower when it comes to training (must be a man thing😜 ) but he's really come on leaps and bounds in the last two weeks after Nancy showed him the ropes. He loves walkies and takes great pride in the fact that Nancy likes him to be in front of her for protection (I know my heart just melted too) and he's extremely GREEDY! I think this must be the case for most puppies but my goodness can this boy eat, he'd eat all day if he could and really loves stealing food, treats and chews from Nancy (something we're hot on the case for snapping out of him) he's growing SO fast so I can understand where it's going but it's been one of the hardest thing for me to deal with, knowing when and when I shouldn't feed him, 'cause nobody likes a fat sausage.
He's very protective of me, and likes to have me all to himself, but we never ever let him get his own way, that's the stubborness inside of him, a trait that he has by the shed load! We often call him Kevin the Teenager as he groans a lot if you move him, wake him, or tell him off, it's actually quite hilarious.
All in all he is the perfect puppy, he's playful, loving, he's hilarious and independent and he's the perfect counterpart to his little sister Nancy because of it.
SAUSAGE PROOFING, TOYS & FOOD
Sausage dogs are prone to back problems, what with their long length and short legs and unfortunately with that comes IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease) The thought of either of my two babies developing that (although it can be genetic too) breaks my heart so we're trying to prevent this from happening in any way we can. We've installed a baby gate to ensure that they do not climb the stairs. Peter worked out how to get up the stairs pretty quickly and it terrified me, especially as we live in a Victorian Terrace and the stairs are extremely steep even for us humans. As soon as Peter had figured this out, a baby gate was purchased and installed. Annoying at first and definitely not the look I was going for with our new home but Peter & Nancy mean more to me than the aesthetics of our home and to be honest, we're now very much used to it.
Peter & Nancy are very loving dogs and very excitable puppies so will regularly jump up to be close to us, whether thats just to say "Hi, I'm here" or "Please let me up onto the sofa for a cuddle", and whilst we're always very careful with how we pick them up, ensuring that we support their backs, pups will be pups and they'll still throw themselves off the sofa or beg, on their back legs to come up. We're currently contemplating shopping around for a ramp or two, 'cause they're not quite understanding us when we shout "No" to stop them from jumping up, they're just puppies after all.
They have a number of beds, one of which we got from Chelsea Dogs, a store George and I really enjoy browsing but the one that SO many of you have asked about is what I can only describe as a nest, hive, cave situation. And whilst a google search won't bring up the exact bed as we found it in TK Maxx by accident, they do pull up some similar styles which I would highly recommend for dogs who like to burrow, especially sausage dogs as they absolutely LOVE it.
When it comes down to toys, we've spent hundreds on ropes, squeakers, teddys and balls yet all they bloody want to chew or play with is my slippers, knickers or our socks... Yeah really, be prepared!
And as for food, they're really great eaters, we've had them on Green Dog biscuits since bringing them home as that's what Debbie, the breeder had them on, however they LOVE scrambled egg, turkey, chicken, carrots, apples and oily fish. The oily fish, although they stink afterwards, is really good for them as Dachshunds get really bad dandruff (cute right?) a dose of oily fish such as mackerel, sardines or anchovies (in sunflower oil) once a week keeps the flakes at bay.
HOW I FEEL & WHAT I'VE LEARNT
I remember when I was holding Nancy for the first time and thinking "gosh I'd hate to regret not bringing you home" thats when I knew I'd rather have a hard few months with two puppies than regret leaving her behind for the rest of my life, and my goodness was it the best decision I've ever made, I simply cannot imagine life without the two of them here with us.
I've never looked at something, the way I do with these two, and have my heart instantly fill with love. They bring me so much joy on a daily basis and whilst it's hard to get anything done with them around, I'm revelling in this puppy stage, as unfortunately it won't last forever.
Getting two puppies has been great for George and I, but also great for the two of them too; They've always got one another so they never feel lonely or scared when they're left alone, Which I really wanted to mention as many of you have asked me how I felt about leaving them alone, which I don't take too lightly I must say. I can't speak for any other breeds but I know that Dachshunds are very loving, intelligent and sociable dogs and therefore need to be around people as often as possible. I absolutely hate leaving them and didn't for the first two weeks of having them. We then started leaving them for 2 hours or so and now have got up to around 4 hours, which is where I'd like to stay. The guilt I feel is unreal even when I know they have each other for company, but life does need to carry on to some extent. I'm lucky enough to work from home most days and on the days I'm out all day, George will take them to the bar with him, so they're very rarely on their own which is lovely. I don't know how people have 9-5 out of the house jobs and still have puppies, in my opinion it's not good for the puppies at all, but of course, this is just my opinion and with my two Dachshund pups.
The responsibility for having a dog is huge, but it's something I'm really loving. I've always been extremely maternal so caring after two puppies has been totally amazing especially with someone so great and equally as paternal as George by my side. I would highly recommend thinking long and hard before you take the plunge with your pup or puppies as they are a lot of hard work, more so then you'll ever imagine, but my goodness is it rewarding!
Peter & Nancy are such incredible little souls and we're constantly being praised for how well behaved, loving and obedient they are for such a young age which really is amazing to hear. Honestly, I think it's 'cause we're with them an awful lot so they're not alone long enough to develop bad habits.
By the time the 3 month update comes around I'd really like to tell you that they can both sit on command, thats definitely a work in progress and I'd like to have started the process of separating them for an hour or so a day. Litter mate syndrome is common amongst siblings and I'm keen to not let this materialise too much more than it already has. They're good at being separate, for example if one is with me and the other is with George, but this has to be in the same room or they get a little antsy being apart from one another. George and I are going to take them for solo walks every day to ensure they don't become too dependant on one another and they both get equal amounts of love all of the time.
Deary me that was a long ole post now wasn't it, but a post I absolutely LOVED putting together, I mean just look at them, they're absolutely freaking adorable and photographing them is SUCH a dream!
I truly hope you enjoyed this post and that it offered an insight into owning and training a puppy or two along with whether Dachshund's are the dogs for you. Please let me know if you have any questions and I'll be sure to answer them in the comments below or in my next pup-date which will be once we've had them for THREE whole months, oh how time flies.
x M, George, Peter & Nancy