Our first puppies enjoyed their first birthday just before Christmas. We are pleased to introduce Amélie who started life as Cosette de Landesvoie.
Amélie has recently had her first birthday and she’s now a full sized, affectionate and energetic spaniel who has quickly established herself as one of the family.
We have started the day with a trip to a very muddy Regent’s Park and she has quietly tolerated the now routine hose down. It’s been a wet winter and she used to run to the opposite side of the garden the moment I reached for the hose, but she’s learnt that a rinse and towelling is quicker and easier if put up with in silence.
None of Amélie’s best friends were there today: full sized dogs such as Missie the English Setter and Dougal the Greyhound, nor the bounding English Pointer she met recently who outran her. But she had a good play with a black Lab in training to be a guide dog (yes, he’s great on the lead) and tore off with a Japanese Shiba Inu.
London parks have been her kindergarten: great training for how to get on with other dogs and the need to ignore runners and toddlers. Best of all for Amélie is her weekly trip to Hampstead Heath in a pack of local dogs: she always returns happy and exhausted.
Weekends are in Suffolk with more space but fewer playmates. We had thought that the distractions of a park would test most our progress with the recall, but woods full of wildlife are far more exciting than any park. The H part of Amélie’s HPR breeding is there in strength.
This is the first time we have had a dog and although Amélie’s arrival has meant a lot of changes, she has had to fit in, too. She’s been so willing to do so: never complaining about car journeys or the odd train trip, settling quickly in her crate if we need to go out for a couple of hours, and staying off no go areas such as newer sofas and chairs.
We’re not training her to be a gun dog, but I can see how she could do it well. Any disobedience now is just due to her exuberance overcoming her desire to please, and if she doesn’t end up a well-trained family dog, then the finger of blame would need to be pointed at us and not her.
So, it’s been great fun so far, everyone in the family loves her to bits. Even the odd dog-averse guest gets won over before leaving, provided those muddy paws have been restrained throughout the visit.