Growing Your Wolf Pack

pups2 My two sweet pups are often the subject of my instagram and twitter, so I thought it was high time I shared their story on here. The are both Border Terriers, and their names are Fen and Daisy. They are family dogs so live with my parents rather than me in Brighton. Daisy joined us as a pup, a particularly small little girl puppy who you could fit in one hand, who quickly turned into a rather naughty ball of energy, who's cheekier moments involved literally chewing up my homework, and one day eating a whole loaf of bread.. I'm not exaggerating there, a whole entire loaf resulting in a fairly poorly dog. She hasn't really grown out of that and will still eat anything she can get her hands on, though her current favourite is apples, as seen here. unnamed-1 pets1 So for a number of years she grew up as top dog, and the only dog in the pack. Not long after I flew the nest and headed down south, very sadly, a neighbour passed away leaving Fen, her dog, with her husband, who wanted to be with family elsewhere. We offered for Fen to stay as a little trial, to see how she got on with Daisy, and in the end, she ended up moving in permanently. Introducing a new, adult dog into the pack is far trickier than I'd have expected. There are so many things to think about as an owner, but also from the perspective of the dogs themselves, with more complexities in terms of asserting their power and finding an order than you could possibly imagine. A few years on, I'm happy to say they are wonderfully settled. It's clear that Daisy is top dog, but they get on so well, and seeing them run together as a pack is a wonderful thing to watch! Although it's a hard process to add one more to a pre-established pack, it's so worth it to see their new relationships building.

 When it came to introducing them, we had to give them space and time apart to feel more comfortable with each other. Fen was a very nervous, sad dog, who not surprisingly was confused at the loss of her human and being uprooted to a new home. The first few weeks were the hardest, but she quickly settled and felt more comfortable, and would be happy by herself on the sofa etc, instead of wandering aimlessly when she first arrived. Watching the two of them establish a pecking order was difficult too, you want to interfere on any scuffles they may have, but need to leave them to it. In reality, it's all noise and bareing teeth, and they need to do it to work out who's who, which in this case was Daisy asserting her dominance. Once this was all sorted though, things could get back to normal and they could live alongside each other comfortably. If you are getting a new dog, there's probably a lot to learn about them. They'll have favourite things and bizarre fears you might not know about, like an irrational hatred of brooms. You'll need to find out what they love eating and where they like to sleep, for example Daisy has always had her crate, where as Fen is much more of a king sized bed kinda dog! We found out she's a biscuit lover too after a rich tea pinching incident one evening! I'd definitely recommend getting some pet insurance too. As you don't know them so well yet, you'll want to be prepared for every situation. It's better to be safe than sorry, and you want to be sure that you can look after them as best you can incase something were to happen.pups3 She is now well and truly one of the family, and a wonderful creature that we feel very lucky to have in our lives. The nervous dog she once was has turned into a belly-rub loving furball who loves to chase around, with a great big personality that commands anyone to do as she wishes, including to make a bridge with your legs for her to get the best perch for watching out the window in case of c-a-t-s, or insisting on climbing into your dressing gown on a chilly morning. We love her dearly, and although initially introducing a new dog may be challenging, it's all worth it to have two safe, happy and well loved dogs, and a little pack we wouldn't change for the world. pups7 pups5

This post was created in collaboration with Argos Pet Insurance. All views are my own!

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