|Hector gets more handsome by the day|
|Daddy's Boy, Florian. And doesn't he just work it?|
Some dogs refuse to walk on leads, some dogs pull like crazy, some stay miles behind you, some get aggressive towards others if they're on leads... and then we have rough collies. Pop a collar on (or better still, a soft harness) and off they pottle almost instinctively by your side. Florian in particular didn't seem to even notice he had the lead on. That might be because he's really quite dumb, but more of that later. In any case: lead training: so, so easy.
|Oscar striking a pose|
|Oh look, Hector doing exactly the same|
When Ste isn't here, I'm incidentally walking Hector and Florian separately twice a day, as well as together, so they get one on one bonding time with me as their "pack leader". It's also easier to get them into good habits on the lead when they're on their own, and I want them not being dependent on each other, everywhere they go. They get enough time together, so this is a great set up.
Astley Castle near Coventry is a moated castle that's been continuously inhabited for pretty much 800 years. Apparently three Queens of England have lived there. It was heavily damaged in a fire in 1978, then had an architect prize winning contemporary conversion with lots of glass and wood inserted into the ruins. We were lucky enough to visit for a few days and the collie boys rather decided they liked it there.
|Gates designed to keep cats and sundry other foes out|
|Great Puppy Exploration and Fun Potential|
|Surveying the moat. More ideal cat defences|
I'm lucky enough to live not too far from the Suffolk Heritage Coast, and North Norfolk is also an easy afternoon excursion. So the boys got to sniff the sea air, shove their noses in the sand, build a sand castle, meet lots of other doggies, and generally have a blast. What's more they had BOTH daddies with them on the two trips, so it was extra special.
|Sniff, sniff, sea air. But WHY all the photos?!|
|We totes built this sand castle ourselves. Honest.|
|Holkham Beach is fun. But let's not get our paws wet (applies to all 3)|
|Someone shoved their snozzle in the sand|
|Glorious, glorious. Dunwich Beach, Suffolk|
I'm still really trying to bring the boys up as well as I possibly can. They're eating their food out of separate bowls, a few centimetres apart, with no squabbling. They adore each other and cuddle up constantly. They also play endlessly, making the most funny little collie noises as they do so. It's Hector who normally starts it, but Florian (who is still a fair bit smaller) often gets the best of him.
If they do fall out, they get told "NO" and split up for 5 minutes as punishment. During that time, we've seen them staring at each other longingly through the glass door with one in the kitchen and one in the conservatory. It's completely adorable. And of course they are never allowed up in the bed when Ste visits. Heaven forbid.
|Cuddle time at Granny's. With some of their (many) teddies around them|
|Play time! Hours are spent "attacking" each other like this|
|3 hour car journeys to Granny's are no issue: they sleep the whole way|
|Florian is definitely winning this round|
|Peeing on command. Go Team Collie!|
|No dogs in the bed. Ever.|
I just love them both so much. It's a delight watching them play, wolfing down their supper, taking them to work, even watching them sleep. Getting two together was the best decision ever - it's a lot of work, but they're so happy having a friend and exercise each other wonderfully. I also realise acutely what Oscar missed out on when he was in his kennel, the first 10 months of his life, and want to make their puppyhood as beautiful and perfect as I can. I just adore them.
Hector is the wily, clever one, who is far easier to train, but who is a little more skittish. He is a bit more reserved with people he doesn't know, but is so extraordinarily affectionate and cuddly to me now. Florian is the Golden Boy: the little prince. He's also a naughty bugger on the quiet, and likes nipping my toes, jumping on Hector's head, but he's so little and cuddly you can forgive him almost anything. The few times he's overstepped the mark and actually been told off, he gets SO upset and wants to get back in my good books as soon as possible.
Hector tends to lead the way and Florian follows. If Hector ever becomes frightened, Florian's natural confidence seems to reassure him. I'm convinced Florian is really quite thick (his father, Percy, regularly falls into his owner's hot tub, and runs the opposite way when you roll a ball for him) but Ste disputes this....
|I suspect Ste doctored this to make him look brighter|
|The beauty of Hector's markings... just stunning|
|Florian: Butter wouldn't melt|
|My boys. 4 and 5 months old now.|
These puppies are the best thing to happen to me since meeting Ste, which is 3 years ago now. Sharing your life with a dog is an absolute blessing: having two is beyond a dream.
They've been asleep as I've been typing this - Florian at my feet (he's not nibbling them for once) and Hector in his basket, lying upside down with his legs in the air for large chunks of it. Now they're in the garden, playing with a squeaky toy.
I hope I've managed with this post to bring you a little of the sunshine that they're bringing me every moment. It's wonderful to share my joy and, as ever, thank you for reading!