Zen to my Jazz – adding a second dog to the family…

Jazzy and 8 weeks old Master Zen. Photo by Becky Bunce Photography

There has been so much I wanted to write about when I set up this blog but life happened and crushed many of my energies, time and writing spirits for a long time. Alas, we are back.

First of all I’d like to introduce the newest, squishiest and most adorable Springer boy who joined us in the end of August at 7 1/2 weeks old and who has now just turned 4 months 🙂

Master Zen, Zen for short, is a black & white working English Springer Spaniel bred by a friend of mine, a hobby breeder, Pippenmoor Gundogs. Her first spaniel litter was out of a very hard hunting girl so I wasn’t sure if that was the right type of dog for me, a pet gundog enthusiast. Then Penny arrived. At the time she was too young to be bred and I was still coming to logistical terms of having two dogs so over a year long wait was both very much needed and timely.

The idea was to get another girl, a black and white this time but so happened that Penny ended up only having one bitch and five dogs in her litter. It also so happened that I wasn’t the only one listed for a girl from that litter. A week of indecision followed as I pondered on waiting for another littler to come up but in the end it all boiled down to the fact I loved Penny and wanted her offspring whether a male or a female.

The pups were born on the 3rd of July 2019

The whole experience of the 7 1/2 weeks of waiting was one not many puppy owners get to experience. I was able to watch the pups on a 24/7 webcam as well as visit them weekly. Puppy TV was many of an evening entertainment over those weeks!

On top of that, two other puppies were going to two lovely friends who were also getting their second spaniels. The sharing of the anticipation, the worries and the joys of expanding our little dog families definitely created a one of a kind “getting a puppy” event.

Choosing the one puppy from among the truly lovely five pups was not easy. I watched them on the webcam thinking of all the things I’d like from a puppy but ultimately how much can one tell at such a young age, I certainly was simply guessing! I chose the blue collar boy on 3rd viewing because he seemed so content and ‘zen’ about life 😉 I wanted a dog that would be quite different to Jazzy so they could complete each other.

He also cuddled up with me straight away and that was that! Puppy behaviour science it was not !

8 weeks old. Photo by Becky Bunce Photography
8 weeks old. Photo by Becky Bunce Photography

On the 3rd of November Zen turned 4 months old. Here’s is a little summary of our life so far 🙂


  • he was super quick to toilet train, within a few days he understood the drill and within a few weeks I understood his drill. Last house accident he had a month ago when we had my parents visiting and house renovations meant many routines went out of the window a bit.
  • he has a lovely natural steadiness and studious approach to life which makes him very easy to train – he adores children and babies and has done so from day one. Bonus after Jazzy’s fearfulness of them.
  • he’s a cuddle bug, affectionate and adorable –
  • minimally destructive if given replacement toys, nothing precious damaged so far
  • very quick to learn new things and loves learning
  • super easy health wise. Jazzy had various digestive issues as a pup from 10 to 20 weeks, some more scary than others so Zen’s gut health is a huge relief. I don’t know if it’s due to him being weaned onto raw diet by his breeder and him continuing on it with me but his only issue so far has been a handful of loose poops after different chews I’d been testing for him.
  • loves his toys and entertains himself for hours with them
  • loves Jazzy!!
  • after initial few car journeys where he was quite dramatic, he now travels very well and loves his crate
  • great with bedtime routine, he runs to the bedroom on “sleepy time” cue 😛


In many respects he’s an easy pup, our only main challenges are:

  • strong nervous reactions to unknown dogs. It’s problematic because there are dogs here all the time, new dogs, known dogs, new people etc so it’s impossible to shelter him from them. He’s very loudly vocal about his fears too so taking him out places is tricky (even though his overall settle is great) –
  • nervous reactions to objects he considers suspicious (very vocal about them)
  • excitement wee dropping; this one actually drives me mad lol because I have carpets everywhere and I feel like every morning I’m there with a carpet cleaner! It’s only tiny drops too so if I’m not quick they disappear forever and I have to clean large surface just in case. I hope he grows out of this…

Overall, he’s a super boy. He gets on very well with Jazzy although I do have to separate them once or twice a day when his playfulness gets too much for her. I will continue to work on his nerves and build his confidence which will hopefully help him become braver and more self assured in different situations. I will write more about it soon.

Next up: Jazzy’s experience of The Gundog Club Field Tests Grade 1 & 2. We took our exams on the 27th October.

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