A Month of Lyon in Karori

July 2011, by Tom

After our fantastic wedding, and the after-wedding-comedown, there were two things left on the agenda for our Wellington return. Buying a house, and getting a dog!

Unfortunately for us, the house market had slowed to a crawl with winter impending, so we shopped around for a rental house that would be nice enough to let us rent with a "well behaved dog". Little did they know (after we signed the agreement) that we had yet to pick up this "well behaved dog" and, given he was only 6 weeks old, had no idea whatsoever that he was going to be well behaved!

We found a 3 bedroom, good sized house near the end of Karori, with a nice big back yard. With the help of the Turner parents, we managed to move most of our worldly possessions (thanks also to a large rental truck) on the Friday night, and the remaining bits and pieces (thanks to strongman Dave) on the Saturday. A pretty quick and relatively painless move. Just as well, as the half marathon I had been training for was on the Sunday morning! It was so nice to finally be about to unpack our boxes and to merge our goodies bought in London with our old flat stuff that was stored in the Turner basement. We could also start using all our fantastic wedding gifts!

After a short settling in period, it was time to pick up Lyon - at 8 weeks old, Jackie from Kincardine Border Collies was sad to let go all of her 7 tan and white Border Collie pups. Lyon (was born Oliver) had a new home!

Over the coming weeks, Lyon has probably trebled in size. Everyone we meet remark first on how adorable he is, and then on how large his feet are - so we can only imagine how big he will end up.

At first, Lyon struggled immensely with alone time. He would whine and yelp and carry on into the night when we tried to shut him in the kitchen (which he broke through the gate twice). After a week, he was finally settling during the night - but slept on the other side of our bedroom door. If we left the house, or even the room in which he was in, he would start to whine and carry on - eventually working himself into a frenzy! It was not a pretty sight. It was also not a pretty sight each morning, leaving the bedroom to a minefield of squidges and puddles to avoid .... Eventually, we decided that enough was enough, and caved into buying a "crate". By "crate", I mean a metal cage.

We look at cages as a place of confinement and bad times. Dogs apparently look at them as their den, their safe place to hang out. Lyon took to the crate immediately. He would happily sleep the day away inside - so long as someone was in the room. I had moved my office to the kitchen because of this. The first night we had the crate, we placed it in the kitchen with him in it and quietly went to bed. He yelped and whined and made so much noise even ear plugs couldn't shut him out. Eventually, at midnight, I had a call from the neighbours wondering if we were home as it sounded like our puppy was in a lot of distress.. Poor little guy. So we gave up on the crate for the night, and let him sleep outside the bedroom door as per usual.

The next few nights, we placed the crate in our room and he slept soundly all night - without a peep, or a pee, or a poop.

We still had a major problem though - we couldn't leave the room with him in the crate or else he would start to go mental. Working from home has its benefits, but I felt confined to the house, not able to leave for fear of causing Lyon distress .... So, we called in the big guns. A "dog whisperer" called Craig.

Craig explained to us that Lyon thinks he's the pack leader in our household. When we leave the room, he goes crazy as he doesn't know where we are to protect us... He pushes his way first through doorways to check for danger... He has to answer the door when visitors arrive in case they mean harm... He has to patrol the entire fence-line when outside to protect us...

Craig explained that we needed to take the power back. We were to constrain him on a short cable at all times inside, ignore him completely, cover his crate with a sheet so he couldn't see us coming and going and gave us two "consequences" to use if Lyon starts playing up. The first consequence is a bottle with stones in it - you shake it very fast near him and it quietens him. It's supposed to simulate a pack leaders growl to subdue a noisy pack-mate. It worked rather well. The second consequence is a water spray bottle. After a few squirts, he now backs off when ever the bottle is held up - I don't even have to squirt it!

With these two simple items, we've managed to put Lyon in his place - as a little puppy - not as our pack leader. He is now sleeping soundly at night in his crate, while in the kitchen. We can leave the house without even a peep. We went out for dinner and a show last night (4 hours!) and he was perfectly happy the whole time (I regularly check him on a web cam I have set up).

So, after the initial challenges, we now we get to enjoy Lyon for who he is - a fluffy bundle of joy.
  • He loves riding in the car. He will curl up on the back seat for hours without a peep (except after drive through MCD's - that agitated him a little - who wouldn't be agitated by the waft of MCD's?)
  • He loves playing frisbee or ball or gumboot or pot or piece of wood or rotting sock what ever else he can steal from the garden. He will let you chase him for hours before relinquishing said item.
  • He loves peeing inside to get your attention
  • He was so quick to learn sit, down, stay, shake, roll over, high five. Now, if you call him over, he will often do all at once to try and speed up getting the treat he's expecting
  • He loves lying on his back and getting tummy rubs
  • He loves jumping on our bed on the weekend and sitting on our heads
  • He loves going crazy in the lounge while we try to watch TV
In three weeks time we can start taking him outside for walks, which will be fantastic. After that, it's running and tramping and beaches and camping and .... the world!

He will certainly bring a mountain of happiness to our lives for years to come.
Oliver (Lyon) and Rufus? were the only two babies left for us to choose from.

Oliver (Lyon) and Rufus? were the only two babies left for us to choose from.

His favourite rug to pee on was Trish and Alans nice one.

His favourite rug to pee on was Trish and Alans nice one.

The grandparents come to visit.

The grandparents come to visit.