Animals, General Life Tips

We Got A Puppy And This Is What I Learned

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!

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Check out Dankie’s Instagram! Just click on this link — https://www.instagram.com/dankieeey/ — and enjoy all the cuteness.

Animals, General Life Tips, Story Time

One Year With Speculoos (Our Cat)

How exciting! One year ago Speculoos became a part of our family and I can honestly say that it was packed full of laughter and so much kisses (Speculoos loves it). I love the little fur ball so much and I can’t imagine life without him. So much has happened over this year, so many funny stories to share so I figured why not share them with you with some pictures of Speculoos. Also I squealed while choosing the pictures for this blog. Also I took so much pictures of Speculoos. I still do. My camera gallery is mostly just him.

 

And yes most of these pictures is going to be from young and little Speculoos because well that’s what I have on my computer. For more recent pictures you really don’t have to go very far. I post about Speculoos on my Instagram way to much but he also has his own Instagram because well he is just that cute.

 

Potty training Speculoos was a slow progress. It took a month but I’m proud to say Speculoos never makes an accident. He didn’t even make one accident in the new house (a very proud cat mom here). In the old apartment in Onno’s office we had the typical eight square storage space from IKEA that we stored my clothes in. Behind it we stored my two suitcases (from my travels from South Africa) where we always kept our out of season clothes. It was open and easy to access. The first potty accident Speculoos had was on the carpet in our living room. For awhile after that it seemed like Speculoos found his litter box. However when I did the laundry I got a nice old handful of poo. Lesson learned. I cleaned it up. He did it again. I got a new laundry basket (one that can close is higher and out of reach).

A week went by with no other accidents. That is till I came home from a first meeting with a Insta friend (My only zombie bait, Zoe *insert wave*) to a very unpleasant surprise. While working in his office, Onno discovered a horrible smell. He followed the smell only to find Speculoos own personal litter box all over our bags. It wasn’t pretty. Everything was covered in pee and poo and well yeah the picture is painted. It was anything but pretty. Wait I said that. Let’s move on. Onno stacked it all in the kitchen area (guess the dining area but we had a open floor plan) and as I was washing things, Speculoos used his litter box, my bag, again. It took me a week to clean everything and even longer to get the smell out of Onno’s office. But that was the worst of it. We blocked the area with a box and Speculoos finally discovered where his litter box really is and actually started to use it. Did I mention the time he peed on the little mat in front of the shower? Yeah that was horrible to step into. Oh wait while I’m talking about his accidents, Speculoos had one just before we moved. He peed on our bedding but I think that’s due to us removing boxes and stress of being left alone for so many hours for so long. The renovations was rough on all of us.

While I’m on the subject, I did punish Speculoos (in the beginning not the accident before the move) every time he went to bathroom in areas we didn’t want him too. This is how my parents trained our animals and there is probably other ways but well this is just how I train my animals. It works. So basically I take the animal to the accident and press his nose into it and give him a hard tap on the bum. Afterwards I take him to the actual place I want him to use as a bathroom. After repeating it a few times it will start to click for them. Also to get rid of the horrible cat pee smell use sea salt. It will also crystallize the pee and make it easier to clean. I said the p word so many times. Oh. Also I said the oh in a very high pitched squeaky voice. Just ask my husband.

 

Okay let’s get back to my cute adorable cat stories. There is so many instances that our silly but stupid cat made me chuckle like crazy. Speculoos being scared of a strawberry or attacking the oranges. Or Speculoos running of with my tissues when I had a cold. Or how Speculoos will stare Onno down and attempt to steal his pizza. It’s actually hilarious. He will lay in the lid and if Onno is distracted his little paw will go up. Or when Speculoos fetched his little ball from down the stairs. Or when Speculoos played in the wrapping paper till he knotted himself in. Or when Speculoos stared at the bird for a full hour with his tail wagging. Our silly little cat has brought us so much joy. I love him so much.

The most vivid stories actually come from most recent. Speculoos has always loved water (he stares at us when we shower) and while I was in the kitchen I had the bath running (it takes about 15 minutes to full) and I hear a little splash and turn around to see Speculoos run out of the bathroom. It didn’t take much to guess what happened. Speculoos went for a bath and regretted it. Afterward he gave me the stink eye from the bathroom floor while licking himself as we bathed. The silly little thing. I really love him so much. Wait I’ve said that before but writing all of these stories just makes me feel all warm and fluffy and so many other stories are coming up in my head but enough of that. Here is more adorable pictures of my silly little orange cat.

 

Honestly I screamed at that last picture. Also the middle one. Here are both of them again because come on! That is painfully adorable!

 

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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PS. I will be sharing a few more blogs about Speculoos (the move, how we introduced him to the outside world and maybe his first night with us ever?) soon.

PSS. Here is Speculoos Instagram profile — http://www.instagram.com/speculoos_the_cat/

 

Animals, General Life Tips

What To Expect When Getting A Kitten

We can all come to an agreement that kittens are the reason why the sun comes up every morning. Kittens are wonderful little ball of furs and if your thinking about getting one then please do. There is a few things you should know but finer details. I’m just kidding. Here is my finer details.

Speculoos (Speculoos is a ginger spread here in the Netherlands. It’s like gingerbread and fudge had a lovechild. Its heaven) has been a part of our family for nearly two months now and although I’ve enjoyed every last second of it. You also need to know of the ugly that happens behind the scenes.

  1. Cat Claws

Any cat and I mean any cat will scratch. It’s a thing. It’s not going anywhere so if you want a cat just know claw marks is your new best friend.

  1. Bite The Human

Oh and they love to bite. They’re teeth is razor sharp so sign yourself up for some bite marks. Don’t worry, the scratch marks will always be the winner.

  1. Litter Box What?

This one is probably my least favorite one. When they’re in a new surrounding they don’t usually know straight of the bat where they’re litter box is. Read: Pee and poop everywhere.

  1. Cat Hair Everywhere

This one like with any animal you keep inside the house is to be expected really. Cat hair will get everywhere but simply groom your fur baby with a brush every day. I just bought a baby hair brush. It really doesn’t need to be fancy. Your cat will groom itself on the most part. Just get those loose hairs that causes those hairballs.

Trick: To remove cat hair from furniture and clothes take normal tape, wrapped it around your hand sticky side up and just dab dab dab. Your kitten will see this as a fun game and help.

  1. Sleepless Nights

Cats are night creatures. Get used to this idea because I can promise you now your little fur baby won’t see your foot hanging out from the side of your bed as a sign to leave you alone your sleeping but instead of something to chew on. I’m saying this as Speculoos is biting my toe.

  1. Whiny Husband Because He Isn’t Getting Enough Attention Anymore
  2. People Don’t Come To Visit You. It’s All For The Kitten

Honestly it’s amazing and I love my boy so much. It melts my heart when he starts to purr when I pet him and never leaves my side. He even grooms me at every chance he gets. He sleeps in my neck and licks my ears. He is my sweetheart. If you want a bucket load of cat pictures of my fur baby head on over to his Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/speculoos_the_cat/?hl=en

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