Puppy grows up!


As you may know, I have a dog called Lola and a cat called Millie. I thought you might like to hear our journey of picking our pup, and see her first year in pictures.

Deciding the dog for you
I would say prior to picking up our puppy, we took about six months to intensively research what type of dog we wanted, and visited about four different breeds of pups to clarify what we were thinking. I can not stress enough how important this research is, it is a life changing decision owning any pet, but particularly with dogs - they require so much care if you want a well behaved, well balanced and obedient dog that enriches your life and so that you can enrich theirs!

When making our minds up, one of the things my husband and I did was went through a very looooonnnggg list of pure bred dogs and short-listed based on their size, temperament and general characteristics (although of course, every dog is different!) 

From here, we came up with six breeds that we liked and in the end couldn't make our minds up between a Poodle or Schnauzer, so when we saw someone had some cross-breed pups for sale, we thought they were worth a look!

Viewing puppies!
9 weeks old
The family Lola came from were 'hobby-breeders', and let us see both Mum and Dad as they were both family pets. The Mum was a miniature traditional salt-and-pepper Schnauzer, and her dad was an apricot Toy Poodle (how Lola's black and white, god only knows!) We've been told they're called 'Schnoodles'. She came from a litter of seven, two boys and five girls. We'd already decided we wanted a bitch before we drove to have a look at the puppies, and the family told us that three already had homes (both boys, phew!) and so we had four to choose from.

My husband and I were both super nervous at visiting the puppies, as we had only spoken to the breeder over the phone - there are so many terrible people out there breeding so-called 'designer dogs' just to make money, and mistreating dogs and puppies, as well as conning kind, animal-loving people into sparing with their hard earned cash. It is so hard to turn yourself away from that situation, particularly when you see animals in squallor, but as the RSCPA says, if you buy a puppy from people like that thinking you're saving her/him, you are not, you are simply enabling these loathsome people to continue breaking the law. Report them to the RSPCA, no dog deserves to be born to cruelty.

When we saw the pups they were only 6 weeks old and not ready to leave their mum yet. Of the four bitches we had to choose from, we made up our mind almost instantly. All the pups were tiny and sleepy, but one's tiny tail wouldn't stop waggling, every time you spoke or looked at her. She was inquisitive and just so funny we knew we had to have her! 

Crazy Poodle hair!
Two weeks later, we drove back to Wales to get her. I had gone a little OTT in my preparations for her arrival, including removing all our dining room chairs (so there was less around to chew) and buying child safe plug socket covers! Every gap or hidy-hole was blocked up, every cable pulled or tied out the way, including some that she blatantly wouldn't have been able to reach. The floors were cleaned with antibacterial puppy-safe cleaner, the cat was relocated to another room, there was a baby-gate on the bottom of the stairs and the puppy crate and pen were set up. It was like Fort Knox!
Crate training
When she came home (in a cat box!) we were given a blanket that her mum and litter mates had been sleeping on. We made the decision to crate train her, so that she would always have somewhere safe to go or sleep regardless of where we were (or who's house we're in!) so we warned our neighbours in case she cried through the night, and distributed ear plugs. I don't know if this helped, but she was the last puppy to leave, so she had spent a week where each day another of her sisters or brothers left until it was just her and Mum. I think it was less of a shock for her to leave this way, and we were so lucky - she never cried once and was perfectly happy to go to sleep in her crate.  
10 weeks
Crate training was one of the best decisions we made, including the 6 week puppy training programme and not allowing her upstairs or on the family sofa (we have a sofa in our back room which she is allowed on, but in our sitting room she's not allowed on the sofa even though sometimes I really want a cuddle while I watch TV!) This has also been fantastic for travelling to. 

My husband witnessed something awful a few years ago on the motor way. There was a pile up, and one car had gone into the back of the other. The force of the crash had caused the boot open and the dog jumped out and started running down the motorway to oncoming traffic. He says he didn't know what was worse, watching the dog bolt, or the woman's grief stricken face as she screamed for her dog. I never, ever want to experience this and so it was another reason we opted to crate train.

Smiling despite how hard it was!
3 months
When Lola came home, I took two weeks of annual so I could be there 24/7, and then my husband took the two after: she was a lifelong commitment so we had to do it right (and she was way better than any holiday anyway!) I remember though at about day 10 standing at the end of the garden crying my eyes out because we couldn't crack the toilet training. People tell you it's hard, but my hands and knees were raw from cleaning our wooden floor after a week's worth of accidents! One day I counted and she peed 27 times in one day! Thankfully now, her bladder is a bit bigger and the dog trainer we used managed to help us back in the right direction.

When we had had her for a month, we slowly introduced her to our cat Millie - check out my post on Cat Vs Dog: Living in harmony but as you can see, now they torment each other like sisters - here's Millie stealing Lola's bed!

9 months old

Puppy hair cuts!

11 months old
Because she is half Poodle, and Schnauzer are non moulting too, she has to be trimmed. They also call Poodle-coat type dogs 'hypoallergenic', but as I've never been allergic to dogs, I couldn't say for sure if Lola is or isn't. All I know is that I'm forever having to use a lint roller to get rid of cat hairs, but not dog ones! We took her to the groomers as soon as she was three months old, as we knew if she hated going it was going to cause massive problems for the future.
15 months old
Now, it took me months to convince my husband to let me put her in a pink collar, so the concept of clothes were totally out of the question - haha. I suppose he had a point, it was bad enough he's 6'3" and walking a dog that stood about 8" high! But when winter came around and she'd had her first hair cut (scalped!) We had to at least by her a coat. And then I find this crazy Where's Wally? Jumper appeared from nowhere! Naughty husband - hehe!

When Lola turned one I can remember being surprised - it felt like she had been part of our lives forever and we couldn't imagine being without her now.

Puppy's grown up!
1 year 10 months
Any other Schnoodle owners out there? Leave me a comment below!

Laura x

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