Letter to breeder…five and a half months!

Hi Lexi,

Another update for you as it’s been nearly a month since the last one.

Rio continues to grow bigger by the week; he’s a real handful at times and when he wants to sit on your head you don’t really have much choice 🙂 He’s becoming more obedient each week, although as he’s still a puppy he still has his moments. He still cannot be trusted in certain rooms and will get anything he knows he shouldn’t have. As I sit and type this he has just brought me my glove that was drying on the radiator.

He seems to sense the things are there then makes a sly beeline for them. He also now has his adult teeth and is chewing everything he can get his paws on. We’re having to put most things we pride out of reach as he’s reaching places that previously he couldn’t get to. Yesterday Tina got home to find he’d managed to get a felt tip marker from a pot on a window ledge and proceeded to chew it leaving a lovely stain on the hall carpet. And on Monday night he decided that the wicker basket in the study was too big and he would rather chew it so it was half the size, leaving the bits down the hallway.

Last week Tina was working on stopping him from going upstairs as there have been a couple of occasions where he has come up during the night, whining and barking at the bedroom doors. A little bit of work and he’s now pretty good and stays at the bottom of the stairs looking up at you with ‘I want to come up but I won’t’ look.

Tina has been watching ‘The Dog Whisperer’ and seems to be able to use the techniques on Rio with good effect. Me, on the other hand gives up after a few failed attempts saying he just won’t do what I’m trying to get him to do. The next thing we need to work on is jumping up at people as he has just started doing that recently.

We’ve taken Rio out to some new places that are nearby. He loved being taken down the Thrapston Lakes and after some initial hesitation actually went in the lake, if only up to his ankles. He also got very muddy and I’d forgotten the mess that can make indoors when you get back home. He seems quite relaxed off the lead, but I do tend to avoid other dogs as he still thinks every other dog wants to play.

Rio’s now attended three obedience classes and although has not progressed out of the beginners lessons he has been doing really well and it shouldn’t be long before he is moved up. The only problem I have is stopping him from digging up the sand in the training area, Rio is definitely a digger!

And talking of digging, our garden is now looking like the Somme, with holes everywhere. Thankfully since the snow has been here he’s not really done much digging due to the hard ground. The snow was interesting for him; he was very wary at first but now loves it and had great fun chasing snowballs even though he couldn’t work out where they had gone when they landed on the ground.

And so to the latest video. This one was shot over recent weeks and shows him at the lakes and meeting the snow for the first time. Enjoy

Until next time, best wishes for now.

Graham (and Tina) and Rio

Letter to breeder…week 12

Hi Lexi,

Where have the days gone since my last update, it’s nearly a month now since I last wrote to you and Christmas also seems a distant memory.

Rio got through the Christmas period very well; I think it helped that I was off for the whole period so he had someone to play with all the time 🙂

We eventually managed to move the Christmas tree back into the living room on Xmas Eve but not before having to wrap a load of storage boxes up with paper and place them in front of the tree to stop him from going behind. He did manage to get behind a couple of times and only had the tree over twice!  He was pretty good at leaving the decorations alone, although there were a couple of times when we found stars and bells around the house. On Christmas Day, Rio was in his element and loved the time we all opened our prezzies; he couldn’t believe his luck with all that paper he could chew.

As Rio has got bigger we have had to remember to put things we cherish out of reach; he is now quite capable of getting items from the work top without too much effort and many a time I have come down in the morning to find some cutlery or paperwork on the floor; the latter normally unreadable and shredded. He is also a sneaky puppy; any chance of getting into somewhere he shouldn’t and he will try. The shoe cupboard, for example, is a place he loves to get into and usually emerges with a ‘prize’ for his efforts. He thinks it’s a great game to then run away with it although his favourite hiding place, behind the sofa, is now out of bounds due to his size.

We have persevered with the BARF diet; we are trying to vary what we give him to make sure it is balanced; Tina thinks Rio eats better than we do! We have found a butchers that does bones, chicken, rabbit and offal at good prices so we will start to use them more. Rio has started to fill out a bit (he was getting a rather large tummy) so we have cut down on what we feed him, especially in the morning as he was tending to leave his food anyway. He is also going off his vegetables, to the point where he manages to eat all the meat around and leave the green stuff. Typical child I suppose.

We’ve now sussed out that if we add honey or peanut butter he normally finishes it off, but we don’t want him to think he can have those flavours every time. Yes, typical child. We’ve found that buying whole chickens and then quartering them is an ideal and cheap way to feed him. He does seem to enjoy chewing the carcasses.

Since Christmas we have also started to let him off his lead down the local park; normally early mornings or later at night when there are no distractions of other dogs or people. He has done really well with his recall and normally stays fairly close. Last week he went to his first obedience class at the Oundle & District Dog Training Society. I was a bit apprehensive when I took him as I wasn’t sure how he would react to so many other dogs but he was really good; having no problems with the sit, lie down, recall and stay commands. The only one we need to work on is ‘heel’ as he does tend to pull when walked. Hopefully with lots of practice and following the instructors advice this will improve over the coming weeks.

Over the past couple of days we have given Rio a bit more ‘freedom’ in the house as we have taken the two stair gates down; the one in the kitchen was rarely used and the one guarding the stairs seemed to encourage him to get up them even more. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that he will now go upstairs, but hopefully by keeping the door shut will encourage him to not bother in future. Unfortunately last night Matt forgot to shut his bedroom door when we all went out and we came back to chewed rubbish and soft toys on the landing carpet.

We have also given up trying to keep Rio off the living room furniture; he now believes it’s his right to get up on the sofa’s whenever he wants and usually in the place you have just left. He has also got this habit of sitting on your head or body whilst trying to watch TV. I think it is an attention thing as normally there is a toy in his mouth showing a “Oh please play daddy!” kind of look.

His favourite place to sleep seems to be my study; it is normally quite warm and out of the way so I think he now thinks that is his ‘den’. As I type this, Rio is currently asleep under my legs.

As so finally to some latest video of Rio. I have put together a small movie of Rio. Enjoy.

Looking forward to reading your blog on how Seren and Maia are getting on.

Best wishes until next time.

Graham (and Tina)

Letter to breeder – week 7

Hi Lexi,

Not sent an update for a couple of weeks now, it’s been a busy time recently what with Xmas    looming etc.

Rio is growing fast!

He had his last puppy class a couple of weeks ago, learning some new commands such as ‘come’ and ‘lay down’ We’ve practiced both on and off the lead and he is getting better although he does still get distracted by the slightest of things. Still at least he is listening or sorts. His walking on the lead is getting much better too and his walks are lengthening, in fact he’s just had the furthest so far, although there was a break half way to visit my mum. He’s meeting other dogs whilst out for walks and had great fun playing with ‘Molly’ a springer spaniel in the park.

Oh no there are two Rio's!

Rio is getting used to being in the car although getting him in and and out of the car is a challenge as he cannot jump into the boot yet. I end up having to lift him in and out and with him weighing over 16kg it’s getting harder. Still it won’t be long before he’ll be able to jump in and out. We took him to the local Pets at Home store and got lots of fuss, I think the store helpers wanted us to leave him there.

We had to reevaluate the food we have been giving him as we didn’t think we’d been giving him enough bones. And so last weekend we raided the local supermarket for some cheap whole and thighs of chicken and hopefully now he’ll be getting the calcium he needs. We also have upped the about of vegetables and are trying to give him fruit as well. I tried him on banana yesterday and of the first time he didn’t clear his bowl; with the sliced banana still at the bottom. I suppose it is an acquired taste. He has his first fish meal yesterday, which did go down well. He also has had pigs kidney, although he did struggle to bite into it and I ended having to cut it into chunks for him.

He is still biting everyone and everything, although the ‘leave’ and ‘down’ commands are helping and occasionally he takes note. We have learned that when he gets really excited that’s when we put him in the kitchen to calm down and he usually then goes to sleep (not always though).

On the first weekend of December we decided to put the real Christmas tree up and decorate. He didn’t seem to bothered about it at first and we even have a photo of him asleep underneath before the netting was removed. Unfortunately it was a false hope and within two hours Matt and I were relocating the tree into the dinning room where we can shut the door, to Tina’s utter disappointment. Rio just thought we’d put up a tree full of doggy toys and he was not going to leave it alone. Never mind, there’s always next year!

As you have to do with a child as the get bigger we are starting to have to put more and more of our things out of reach of Rio or else he’ll have them. We have also had to put a stair gate up to stop him from going upstairs. Hopefully this will only be a temporary measure and he will learn that that place is out of bounds. Tina did make me laugh the other day when she sent me a picture of Rio looking at himself in the bedroom mirror wondering who the other puppy in the house was.

We have been reading your blogs and keeping up-to-date with how Maia and Seren are getting on, I do hope you get to the bottom of Seren’s lump on her head and it’s not too serious.

Next week is Christmas time and so it will be a real test to see how Rio copes with many visitors over the festive period.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and will send you an update in the New Year.

Best wishes,

Graham (and Tina)

PS I have made a calendar using some of his pictures. Here is Mr January 2012


Letter to breeder – week 6

Hi Lexi,

Rio had a good week last week, partly due to the fact that he’s now allowed to go out for walks. He gets two walks a day; one early morning before I go to work and one in the afternoon or evening depending on who is around to take him out. He is still only walking for a few minutes at a time but is generally walking well on the lead now. Occasionally he does just stop in the middle of the path or green as if to say “I’ve had enough for the minute and I’m taking a breather!” but soon gets up, normally with a bit of coaxing.

He is also starting to know where his lead is and gets excited when it is taken from the drawer, although we haven’t seen the excited barking yet that we used to get with our old dog Kane. He has met a couple of other dogs out on walks and was playing very nicely when he met another puppy  the other day, he doesn’t seem too phased or wary about meeting others.

Rio watching Ant & Dec

Last night he went to his first puppy class. We were a bit apprehensive about how he would behave but in the end he was OK, although the trainer did say to us towards the end “I think it’s best if Rio went home now” leaving the other puppies to continue their training. He was learning the command ‘Leave’ last night, something that will be very useful when he has your ankles locked in his jaws!

Rio is now over 13kg and getting bigger by the day. He has now dropped down to three meals a day and we are starting to get to grips with the BARF diet, trying to vary what he has each meal. We have realised that some of the vegetables he can have can be given raw so he has a special pot in the fridge just for his grated food. We have also had to cut down his food slightly to accommodate for the extra treats he’s getting as he is getting a bit of a belly.

We have noticed that Rio has a mad ‘half hour’ at some point in the evening; he starts off playing nicely but the excitement builds to point where he can get quite unmanageable and has to put put into the kitchen, especially when he starts biting us and the furniture and no matter how much diversionary tactics or treats he is given he will not give in.

We have had to start making sure things are put out of reach of Rio as his inquisitive mind thinks its good to grab and ‘steal’ anything and everything. I did have a pair of shoes in the conservatory for going out in the garden with him but now I only have one and we have searched high and low but cannot locate it. He also seems to know when he shouldn’t have something as he runs with it and hides in a place where we cannot get to him (such as the back of the sofa). Luckily he is getting to a size where that particular place won’t be accessible for much longer.

At the weekend we bought a real Christmas tree which traditionally we put in the living room. Tina is adamant that Rio will learn that it is out of bounds to him but I’m not so sure and am certain it will end up over between now and when the festive season is over. He has had a sniff of it already where it is currently being kept so hopefully once it is indoors he will just ignore it. Yeah right!

That’s it for now, I hope you are enjoying the updates and are happy to hear that one of Maia’s puppy is doing so well.


Graham & Tina

Letter to breeder – week 4

Dear Lexi,

It’s been a couple of weeks now since my last letter; having a little puppy around certainly keeps you busy and doesn’t you much time for other things.

Little Rio is not so little anymore; he is growing so fast even Abby noticed how big he’d got in the four days she has been away. He’s definitely going to be a big boy! When weighed at the weekend he was nearly 11kg and picking him up is now becoming a back-breaking exercise. He is also starting to get the retriever wiggle, the distinctive movement that only his breed seem to be able to do.

We are slowly all getting into a routine; us humans learning the needs of the new addition and the puppy learning what is acceptable and what is not (sometimes!). As Matt is an early bird for work, I get up just before him at 5.30 am to sort out Rio so that Matt isn’t faced with cleaning up the accidents from the night before. We have only had one totally clean night so far Rio is still struggling with the concept that toileting is to be done in the garden.Still lots of encouragement in the form of treats is starting to help and he’s getting better during the day with fewer mistakes.

Rio went for his second jab last week, again he wasn’t phased by the experienced and everything checked out OK. Hopefully that was the last time I will have to carry him in, the vets is in walking distance for future visits.

Tina and I had our first puppy class this week; it’s a free service run by Anne from the vets sister practice in Oundle with the initial class only for puppy owners. We sat with two other families and discussed puppy socialisation and got some good advice on some of the techniques to improve behaviour. Next week the puppies will be joining us, that’ll be an experience!

Rio is spending a bit more time out in the garden on his own, although he has to be watched as he has got a habit of biting some of the plants in pots; I think our gardening endeavours will have to be put on hold for a while. He got through the fireworks period quite well, although there were a couple of loud bangs that got him running back in doors at great speed. He does seem more frightened of the dustmen when then call on Monday’s, Tina says he doesn’t like them at all!

He is now big enough to get onto the conservatory furniture and has selected his favourite chair to sleep on, I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to fit on it though and how long Tina will allow it to continue!

The main event of this week was his first adventure out for a walk. We had been practicing to try to get him used to walking with a lead in the garden with limited success so the real walk was going to be interesting. I took him out early in the morning and he hated it. His backside was firmly on the ground for most of the five minutes we were out. With a bit of encouragement, a good deal of dragging and some treats we did manage to get back home but it was a struggle. I can remember exactly the same thing happened with our old dog Kane, so I know that won’t last and he’ll be the one dragging me around the streets!

As you know next week Rio will be twelve weeks old and it’ll be time to cut out one of the four meals he’s currently having. I’m not sure how that’s going to go down as he does seem to know when his meal times are, and will suss out something is missing. Still, we will be increasing the amount for each of the three meals though.

I hope Seren and Maia are getting on well together and the little one is not getting up to too much mischief!

Until next time.

Best Regards,

Graham (& Tina)

Slow News Week

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog update, the new addition to the family vying for attention and keeping me away from my iMac and the ability to document any creative thoughts.

Rio is starting to settle down into the family; yes, he does still have his mad moments biting everyone, but these are becoming less and less and he is starting to respond better to the word ‘NO!’. He also had his first ‘clean’ night yesterday, no wees or poos; let’s hope that continues as the house is starting to smell a bit ‘doggy’.

Other news includes a tumble drier that decided to trip the mains. Not a problem in itself as it is over ten years old but the tripping did cause some constanation when my HP MediaVault server decided to stop talking to my Mac (with many photos and files on it!) . I tried rebooting, taking out the hard drives and checking the internal motherboard battery but to no avail. Eventually I googled the problem and found that the unit had a reset button on the back and after holding it in for ten seconds…hey presto is came back to life, all files still intact. A quick back up of the files to a spare USB drive soon followed.

And so to get a replacement tumble drier. Tina located one on the Curry’s website and I soon ordered it for collection from the Kettering store on Sunday morning. As I left the house I sarcastically remarked  “I will make sure I try to get a machine with a dent in the front!” (a reference to the washing machine we bought last year with a lovely caved in part at the bottom of the machine). It wasn’t until I’d plumbed it in did we spot the dent and at that point I couldn’t be bothered to unplumbed it and return it.

Anyhow, I collected the new tumble drier, nicely protected in polystyrene for extra safeguarding against dents and scratches and soon had it installed in the kitchen space where the old one came from, with the help of an inquisitive puppy of course.

Time to switch it on try it out and oh no…a horrible grinding noise came from the spinning drum. The machine was pulled back out and I soon discovered the problem; the fan housing at the back of the drier was dented. “Doh not again” I shouted.

I removed the screws and soon bashed out the dents, allowing free movement of the fan situated behind. Of course what I didn’t realise was that I’d dislodged the heater element on the panel, causing the unit to trip the mains. “Doh bugger it!” Once I’d sussed what was going on I finally got the machine installed, an hour later that expected.

Not much else has happened in the last week; my car passed it’s MOT but needed three new tyres costing me a fortune to replace. I really need to shop around in future rather than pay dealer prices!

Hopefully next week I’ll have some more to write on Rio as he’ll be able to go out of the house, although judging by the practice walks we’ve been doing recently he’ll need to be dragged around the street.

Letter to breeder – week 2

Hi Lexi,

Thanks for the recent reply to my mail and thanks for agreeing to continue to get these updates in this format. Glad to hear Maia and Seren are settling down well together, as you said in your reply it must be strange for mum to suddenly be without her pups.

Anyhow it’s surprising how quickly you forget what it’s like having a puppy around; how on earth did you manage to cope with eleven?

Rio is settling into some sort of routine in his new home although we are having to watch him whenever he strays from the kitchen as he’s still not quite got the idea of toileting in the garden rather than our carpets! Still he is only a puppy and he is getting better (lots of encouragement and treats when he goes on request outside).

Matt and Chloe met Rio for the first time at home on Saturday after they returned from their holiday; Matt couldn’t believe how big he’d grown in the weeks since he first saw the puppies at your home a month ago. And was amazed how feisty he was!

On Tuesday Rio had his first vet visit; he was first weighed and incredibly has put on 2kg in the two weeks he’s been with us; I guess the fact that he woofs the raw meat down like he hasn’t been fed before helps. Tina also went to the butchers today to get some bones for him; we’ve not given him one yet as we want to monitor him with one but I’m sure he’ll be fine with them.

The vets check up went well and sat perfectly for the vet to administer his first jabs. She checked his ears and eyes and confirmed the chip was working OK. He then was given some freebies (puppy food and flea treatment) as well as some more worming tablets. The vet confirmed he should have the next jabs in two weeks time and a week later he’ll be able to go out.

The vet also mentioned that their practice in the next town run puppy socialising classes each week so we need to get him booked in as he definitely needs some lessons on how to behave, especially when people walk into the room as he launches himself at legs and feet! We’ve tried the diversion tactics of giving him his toys with some success although I think he much prefers flesh! On Saturday I visited the pet shop to stock up on food and couldn’t resist buying a few more toys, the squeaky duck going down particularly well which has helped in this area.

We have continued to take lots of photos and videos of Rio; I think he’s going to be a film star judging by the number of videos there will be of him on YouTube. Here’s the latest one I’ve put together.

Not quite sure why the video has come out long and thin; I am still trying to get to grips with my new iPhone.

Will add a further update again soon.

Best wishes,

Graham & Tina

Letter to breeder

Hi Lexi,

Thought we’d just drop you a quick mail to let you know that Rio is doing fine and seems to have settled in well to his new surroundings, he certainly is a confident dog. He has been brilliant at night, sleeping through to the morning without whining or barking with only a couple of accidents so far.

We seem to have had a bit of a takeover bid with regard to puppy things; cardboard boxes, toys, bowls, towels and a freezer full of food, somehow I don’t think the house will be ours again for a few months 🙂

As I said earlier his personality is starting to come out, he is boisterous and playful at times, boy when those sharp needle teeth catch you know it. He getting braver in the garden too, I think we may have a gardener dog judging by the way he is starting to pull up plants and dig holes!

We have kept him on the Bones & Real Food (BARF) diet; he seems to woof the food down as soon as his bowl is filled, I hope we are giving him enough as the meals don’t seem to last long. Even the chicken wings seem to be go in a short time. Did any of the other pups get any food when he was around?

We have booked him in for his first jabs next week, Tina having to do that task on her own which might be fun,

especially as it an early morning appointment when he’s bound to be at his most awake.

We’ve been trying out a collar for a few hours per day but he’s not too keen, perseverance on that one though will hopefully get him used to it.

I’ve attached a few photos of Rio, he’s had lots of visitors so far who each take photos so not all are ours. I have also been taking some video.

I hope Maia has accepted the loss of her puppies, I guess having one of them stay with her will help. I guess you are quietly looking forward to the remaining pups going to get back to some normality.

Will update you again in a couple of weeks as to Rio’s progress.


Graham & Tina

Out with the old and in with the new

We were up early this morning taking Matt and his girlfriend Chloe to Stansted Airport for their week away in Majorca. It seemed odd to see our number two baby go off abroad for the very first time, but he seemed confident enough and I guess it had to happen some time, but it did feel strange. Thankfully, we had a text from him a few minutes ago confirming he had arrived safely and was waiting for his cases before departing for the hotel.

On the way home, we had another task to perform, namely to collect the newest addition to the family, our Golden Retriever puppy Rio. The breeders home was a short distance from Stansted and so we were knocking at the door at bang on the agreed time of 9 am.

After completing the paperwork, Rio was carried out to the car by a sobbing Tina (I think she felt awkward taking the puppy away from mum and breeder). The journey was fine though, with Rio happily cuddling Tina without any fuss.

When we got home he was introduced to the kitchen where he promptly christened the floor with a wee, still at least he held on till he got home. After a bit of manic exploring inside, we then showed him the back garden, where he christened the patio with a poo, chased leaves and took a few bites out of Tina’s Fusia’s (I think we may have to move those pots for a while). It was great to see him taring around the place, he is certainly going to be a big dog judging by the size of his paws and very playful.

After an hour or so he had enough playing and is now sparko on the conservatory floor; but with Abby and Loz arriving home now, I don’t think he will be allowed to sleep for much longer.

And so that’s our new family member settled in, it’s a good feeling to have another dog in the house and I am looking forward to the time when he can go for walks.