What we noticed most the first few days was that Fleet’s bladder seemed to hold nine gallons and when he did eventually go he pissed like a racehorse. Honestly it took him forever to finish and the next door neighbour was watching him from inside the chicken pens and went “Jesus…there’s enough to fill a paddling pool”
Despite being out with me and Puddi from 5.30am he rarely had a pee and not even all the usual smells of outside and spots other dogs had claimed beforehand seemed to make him want to go either it was weird.
Sadly by the third day I had to shower him. He smelled vile and was grimy, dusty and smelled of stale urine so with my daughter’s help we coaxed him into the shower and gave him a top to toe in shampoo. He hated it and got so worked up and started to whine so I just gave one last blast of warm water to get rid of the excess, turned off the shower and rubbed him down with a towel.
My husband Mark had bought a large travel “snug” rather than a metal dog cage which fits two dogs into a car and is generally cosy and warm. Fleet wasn’t happy going in there at first but took an interest when Puddi wandered in, dug up and reorganised bedding then fell flat out asleep.
He fell into our routine of being up and out very early in the morning and enjoyed pottering about at the farm and roaming the paddock just seeing what was going on. The geese shouted at him once or twice sending him running back to me tail between his legs but otherwise he was comfortable and relaxed.
With Fleet not having any strong instinctive behaviours like many border collies he quickly proved himself to be much safer and sensible around the horses. Whereas Puddi needed lots of training to tackle her urges to set off chasing them when they got daft and started cantering and bucking around the place Fleet wasn’t bothered and just stood watching.
The lack of interest seemed to be of interest to “Red” who is a 16.2hh TB gelding / ex-racehorse with a tendency to be a bit feisty at times. He and Fleet got on well and mooched around the field together happily. The little chestnut mare isn’t as keen to have him in the field though so he gives her a wide berth.
By the end of that first week (within a few days really) Fleet was fully house-trained but still getting himself worked up by holding his bladder until he was absolutely desperate then starting to spin in tight circles when he needed to go outside. He gave (or got) little notice as well so we had to keep an ear and eye out for him suddenly picking up a fast trot or circling at the doors. Had started to claim bits of the paddock and yard area outside the stables with sprinkles and tinkles here and there.
He’d also started to push his luck and steal things from inside the house to take outside and chew / destroy which I liked because it meant he was getting more confident and willing to risk being in trouble.