Big-dog-little-handler: Santa paws is coming to town.

It’s Duke’s first woofmas with us!

My wonderful boy has come on leaps a bounds since we took him home. I was still very worried a big family Christmas might be one hurdle too large. I had visions of our wee beast knocking over the old ladies and crashing into the Christmas tree. First battle was getting there, second was staying calm and settling in my in laws home, third a 20 person Christmas Day and finally unfamiliar dogs!! A laundry list of potential pitfalls; so much to go wrong.

First it was the travel! Stopping every hour to let Duke out the car. Why?? The beast is unbelievably car sick. Thankfully we made each stop without a puddle of dog sick flying across our car! Win! He even behaved beautiful at our pit stops despite not liking car parks. Hopefully heading home will be as successful.

Settling in a strange home isn’t easy for our naturally suspicious hound. Every movement someone moved he would get up. He also had to abide by some new rules: no four legged fiends on the sofa!! The poor sausage struggled with that one. But eventually he settled. He even stayed on his blanket while we took a nap. Although he kept pleading to me with his puppy dog eyes to let him up. He seems to be able to settle now; although he does have a wee bark every now and again to protest about not being allowed on the sofa. We have kept him on the lead in the living room so he can be easily led away from tempting presents and interesting looking things to chew! We also felt it best to avoid any zooming around.

Christmas Day has brought a few challenging situations for our nervous boy. Christmas present unwrapping was not challenging. And he loved it! In fact he got so excited he peaked quite early and was wrapped in a blacker by 10am!

Two walks later and we headed for Christmas lunch; lots of unknown people, sights and sounds. At times he just froze! A bit of gentle encouragement seemed to help and he calmed. Some noises proved too much so there where lots of treats and love to make him calm down and settle again! But he knocked over no old ladies so I suppose he did well. And maybe even won over my mother in law who treated him to some turkey. Not everyone liked him but many seemed besotted: who can blame them???

We kept his lead on in the house and kept his box accessible just in case he wanted to escape. But he proved himself to be a very good boy even with the presence of our final challenge: strange dogs.

Four legged beasts everywhere! On walks and in the house. Both Karl’s sisters have dogs so duke had to learn to behave! One dog, a chocolate lab, is a playful trouble maker. The other a tiny but sassy dog. The lab proved a fun play mate and he even learnt to walk nicely next to her. The small dog however proved terrifying and duke proceeded to act as though she was going to maul him. Well you win some you loose some!

As Christmas Day comes to an end I feel so proud ! He’s really done well. Santa paws was right to bring him treats!

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