Fingers and paws are all crossed for my new puppy

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The old saying goes that a dog isn’t for Christmas, it’s for life. And don’t I know it after two months of having a Labrador puppy eat its way through the house.

Christmas – with the baubles, the tasty snacks and the wrapping paper frenzy – was the icing on the cake.

Oh yes, that went down his incredible extending gullet as well.

Having a dog has opened my eyes to the wonderful world of dog-walkers and their expert opinion on every speck of ancestry that my Labrador might have in him.

He’s a rescue dog and I know nothing of his heritage other than he was about nine months old when I got him.

Suggestions for his parental line have included Pointer, Doberman, plus lots of others which I can’t bring myself to type and – from the vet – ‘the only thing Labrador about this dog is his colour, he’s mostly Great Dane.’ Dog ownership is a speculative game.

There’s a great commonality amongst dog-walkers – after all, everyone has a four-legged friend – but what none appear to agree on is training, walking technique and poop scoop rules (all my shoes have fallen foul whereas I, Miss Diligence, end up carrying my dog’s business in my pocket).

I have been sucking it all up like a hungry sponge – the advice I mean – as my last dog was a nightmare.

She was a Battersea rescue who, after being taken from her native urban sprawl, ended up living in the wilds of Scotland and never got over the shock of fresh air and the delicious smell of sheep.

So this time, with an ‘almost Lab’ to train, I was desperate to make sure I didn’t get a ‘pulling on the lead’ dog, an ‘attacking everything with hair more than a millimetre long in the grand hope it might be mutton disguised as something else’ dog, or a ‘biting furiously at the owner when it didn’t get its own way’ dog.

That paints a really bad picture of the last one doesn’t it?

She was lovely in the house but, looking back, I have no idea how I had the patience to walk her day in, day out for seven years when every step was a battle. She was old though.

This time I have a young one. Fingers and paws are crossed.