Onno and I’ve discussed about getting a dog for a really long time. I’m a dog person. Nearly my entire life, we’ve owned a dog. It feels natural to me and after a few years I always miss it. Onno has never owned a dog in his life as his father is allergic to the furry animal. We decided that once we have our house with a nice backyard, we will get our dog. We also had the breed down because well I’m obsessed with a golden retriever and nothing else would do. Flash forward to buying a house, renovating that said house and working in the garden. Once we moved in and finally start to work in the backyard, we started to browse the internet for our new family member. We found him just as his breeders placed the ad for him and his four brothers. The ad was placed just after he was born (2-3 weeks) so we had more than enough time to finish the garden and prepare our home for a dog. We called the lady and we made an appointment to choose and view the dog in three weeks.
I could barely contain my excitement and slowly started to buy anything dog related we might need minus the big stuff. Mostly just toys and his blanket. Finally the Saturday I was waiting for arrived. We drove through all the way to the South of the Netherlands with our new car to see our puppy. It was a part of the Netherlands neither of us has been too before so it was exciting to see how the area looked like. A lot of farms. I kind of liked it. I’m all about the country life but there is this fine line I love, but that’s a blog for another day. Back to the puppy, we arrived and I practically drowned in puppy love. Dankie immediately climbed into my lap and started to play with my hair. Stole my heart right then and there. We want the pink dog! He wasn’t pink of course, but the breeder had color collars on the dogs to tell which one is which. We stuck around long enough for lots of cuddles and drools, one container of strawberries (The breeder owns a strawberry farm. The freshest strawberries I’ve had in my entire life.) before we headed back, incredibly excited for the end of July. We of course didn’t leave without taking pictures of Dankie.
For preparation of welcoming a new fur baby in our house, we worked on the garden almost daily. It was a rough and dirty work. We literally laid down the grass the day before we got Dankie. His bench/cage arrived a week before that and we had a hick up with his food. The company send two bags of the wrong food and it took us over a week to get the correct bag of food. A few days before we got Dankie, we also got his food ball and more toys. The last bits of pieces. In between all of the shopping and slaving in the garden, I was reading a book about puppy training. As mentioned before, I’ve had quite a few of dogs in my lifetime. All of them turned out to be decent happy adult dogs. Decent as my one dog has the bad habit of jumping onto people and scratching the living hell out of them. A habit all puppies have, a habit that I never learned to nib in the bud before it became a habit. Oh wow that’s a lot of habits in one sentence. My brain nearly hurts. Anyway so I know enough about dogs but I wanted to go the extra mile. I also knew that having a dog here in the Netherlands is a lot different than what I’m used to.
In South Africa most of our dogs sleep outside in a kennel. Some dogs aren’t even allowed inside the house while others are allowed to come inside for a few hours. Others will also have the dogs just sleep inside the house and have free rein. There is a lot of different type of dog owners out there. We personally always had an outside dog. Our dogs sleep outside in the dog kennel but can come inside throughout the day. But here in the Netherlands, things go a bit differently. No dogs sleep outside, mostly because in some winters it snows. You can’t exactly have your dog sleep outside in that type of cold weather. Maybe quite a bit of the year it’s okay but definitely not in the winter. Anyway, so here most dogs are inside dogs. They sleep inside and spend most of their day inside. I knew that this would mean more training for the dog. I need to properly house train him. I need to teach him to stay of the couch and bed and many more. Hence why I spend two weeks reading the most boring book ever. I learned a lot though, but some pages were mind numbing things.
I also asked for advice. Onno’s aunt has three golden retrievers and obviously knows the ins and outs of having a dog here in the Netherlands. The main thing that I struggled to wrap my head around is the whole bench/cage situation. It felt wrong, to lock up your dog in a cage throughout the night. Now I see it as his kennel. It’s his safe little place. No one else goes into his bench. It’s his bed. Of course it keeps him safe throughout the night while we sleep. He can’t chew and eat on our furniture (choking hazards) or raise terror for the cat. I will share a blog about bench training in more detail later but the quick rundown, get him excited for the cage. Play around it. Leave treats in it. I always have his favorite teddy in there.
In the beginning your puppy won’t have the ability to hold his bladder. There is more bathroom breaks. Heck the book said you should take him out every 30 minutes. The less he goes inside the house, the better. In the beginning, we would take Dankie out around 3am. Now Dankie sleeps through the night. After about a week of waking up at 3am and then 5am, with a dog refusing to pee…we just let him sleep through the night. He does sometimes bark in the middle of the night to tell us he wants to go potty but other than that, he can hold it and sleep through the night. Oh I should make a blog about house training. I just have so much to share. So much knowledge. Some has nowhere to go! Oh Dankie can also do a few tricks! He can sit, wait for his treat while sitting, lay down, wait ten seconds with his treat right in front of him before I tell him to go eat it, he can kind of roll over. That one is still a work in progress. Fetch is okay. It needs more work and I just started to teach him to shake my hand before he gets a treat. He is a very smart boy and learns the tricks quite quickly. Most of the tricks he only does with me, so he needs some more work.
Where was I? I was talking about something before it went off to so many babbles. Oh yes. The cage/bench thing. I think I said everything I wanted to say about that. Let me think. What else was there I wanted to say in here? How funny would it be if you could actually answer me right now? I would probably have a heart attack and ask why the hell you’re in my house at 8am on a Monday morning. Not cool buddy.
Oh yes. What I learned. So by the time I’m writing this, we’ve had Dankie for one month. I learned that patience and repeating things is the key. Patience because your puppy won’t know that this is what you want from him and repeating things because well it will take him awhile to learn it. Puppy brain and all. Plus he needs to learn the human language and that might take some time. It took me two weeks of constantly fretting over the dog, constantly taking him out before he got into the habit of going outside to potty. He knows he has to go do his business outside. We still have a few accident inside here and there. House training can take a year. My main advice is to always be excited for him/her when he goes outside. Make a big deal out of it. Your puppy wants to please you so when he sees if he goes outside, he makes you happy, he will do it again. We cheer, congratulate him and even give him a belly rub. If he does go inside, don’t punish him. It will cause mistrust and most of the time he peed there twenty minutes ago and he won’t connect your punishing him about this. Just clean it up and move on with your day. I know it’s frustrating but hey patience is key. Just study your dog, eventually you will be able to pick up when he wants to pee. The way he walks and acts before doing so. Then jump up and take him out.
I will be honest with you, the first two weeks of having Dankie was rough. I was an emotional mess, two minutes away from a mental breakdown, but the added frustration that I can’t really leave Dankie alone or do much didn’t help things. Dankie had a really bad case of separation anxiety. I’m not even joking. He would full on lose his shit when he couldn’t see me for five seconds. A week after we got him, I had to go to the dentist. I put him in his cage for that time. I was gone for a hour and half tops. He was screaming when I left and he was screaming when I got back. Now he is a lot better. A real big boy.
That’s about everything I wanted to tell you. Oh wait. I should explain the whole Dankie as name thing. I explained it a little on his and mine Instagram account but I should explain it on here as well. And yes he has an Instagram account. I will have a link at the bottom of this blog. So Dankie is Afrikaans for Thank You. When I was young my mom would tell me that you need to be thankful and say thank you every single day. A good lesson right? So basically I called my dog thank you because I found it funny. And now I say thank you 300 times per day. Maybe this is only funny to me? But yes. The name is Dankie. I was stuck between Happy and Sunny for a few months, but Dankie is just so original.
Alright now that’s everything. I promise. Before I end this blog. Here is a bunch of pictures of my second fur baby.
Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!
Check out Dankie’s Instagram! Just click on this link — https://www.instagram.com/dankieeey/ — and enjoy all the cuteness.