Disclaimer: If you decide to take this journey with me, please be warned. It has become very apparent to me that I know very little about training and raising an obedient, well behaved dog. If anything, as each day passes I have come to the sinking realisation that I am in fact useless at it.
But I suspect I am not the only one that is coming to terms with the feeling of utter despair and failure as your beloved canine stands proudly before you with a half chewed, muddy shoe knowing that the other one is lost to some mystery stockpile in the garden.
Surely I am not alone when I look down at the latest thing Tommy has chewed (Lipstick, candles, jewellery box, a calligraphy set, a Nintendo Switch controller to name but a few) and wonder why he is chewing these things when you literally cannot scatter more chew toys around the house. Getting up in the night can be very painful if you stand on a Dentastick in the dark.
If you are tired of being dragged all over the park whilst looking enviously at the other dogs trotting joyfully in step with their owners, then this is the site for you!
This is just a brief glimpse into mine and my families life with our 10 month old Black Labrador, Tommy. The two words I speak the most each day are:
Welcome to Tommyno.
The story so far
Almost a year ago to the day myself and my wife made that heartbreaking journey to the vets with our 5 year old Border Collie Baxter that every dog owner dreads. Baxter had been our first dog and to us he was perfect. Calm, obedient, loyal and more human than dog. He was special (A lot more about Baxter later on).
But he had been very unwell for the last year and had deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks. We went to the vets with our beloved dog and came home with only his collar and lead.
As we sat in the car, tears streaming, figuring out how to tell our son, James, that he would not see Baxter again I stammered,
“Never again, we will never have another dog. We can’t put ourselves through this again”
Famous last words indeed. Come May, we were all of the same thinking that the house needed a dog to make it a home. The house was too quiet. It was strange not having to mop the floors 5 times a day. Even our long suffering cat, Hulk, seemed to be missing Baxters presence (little did he know what was to come).
I could never have another Border Collie again, I felt I would be forever comparing him to Baxter and that would be unfair on the new addition. But it needed to be a good family dog with an unquestionably good nature.
What about a black labrador? Hang on, there is black lab and border collie crossbreed? They call it a Borador! Amazing, that’s will give us the best of both worlds. That’s the dog for us!
Later that month, Tommy, the Borador came into our lives and changed it forever.
Beautifully formed with a shiny black coat you could almost see you reflection in. A white patch on his chest and white tips on his front two feet being the only giveaway to his border collie heritage.
We all immediately fell in love with Tommy. Well everyone except the cat. He looked on in disgust as he came to terms that once again he was not the sole recipient of our affections.
Tommy settled right in. As the weeks went by he experienced a lot of firsts. His first collar, his first walk on his lead, his first taste of soft furnishings… Meanwhile, two things became very apparent to us. The first being that he was going to be big. Baxter was a big dog, but you never really noticed because he was very calm and unobtrusive. Tommy was large, muscly and would remind you of this every time he would bound into the room and leap onto your lap, head, back – whichever he came into contact with first.
The second realisation was that his basic training was not going to be terribly straightforward. He was smart, certainly. But he had an attention span shorter than the lead he was being walked on to keep him under control. He quickly picked up sit and ‘paw’ but the rest of the commands I gave him were obviously less fun than tearing down the washing off the line or chewing through the bathroom flooring for 5th time.
This was going to be a challenge.
So here we are, a below par dog trainer and a crazy dog, intent on destruction. I made this site to try and find some answers, but also to share in my mistakes and to maybe try and help other dog owners along the way. There are lots of exciting things coming up, I’ll be giving you more information on that in my next post.
In the meantime please continue to read, like, share and follow Tommyno.
Rich and Tommy