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Woman's best friend

PUBLISHED: 12:05 21 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:05 21 October 2014

A short-haired man will need very little grooming, though you may have a fight on your hands every time you try to get him into the bath

A short-haired man will need very little grooming, though you may have a fight on your hands every time you try to get him into the bath

Archant

House-training is a big issue. The man should always be let out into the garden last thing at night to pee. Most men pee secretly in the garden anyway - it's a territorial thing

That cuddly fur, those sensitive whiskers, those adorable, big pleading eyes… The creature depends on you and it’s up to you to train it, look after it, and make sure it stays healthy, happy and well socialised. Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a new man.

The first issue to confront is whether or not to have him neutered. It’s tempting, of course. But if you neuter your man, what’s the point in having a man in the first place? You might as well have a Snow Leopard or Cassowary.

Some people think neutering will solve behavioural issues, but there is the possibility that a neutered man will just lie on the sofa drinking Campari and watching the shopping channel instead of drinking lager and watching football as nature intended. An entire male should cause no problems, as long as he’s properly trained not to mount any passing female or indeed the furniture.

First, show him who’s boss. On no account let him sleep in your bed. A basket under the kitchen table is the place for the new man. There may be howling for the first few nights but be firm and don’t give in. If you let him into your bed you can say goodbye to the duvet, and the smells are appalling.

And don’t feed him scraps from the table. A bowl on the kitchen floor should suffice. Maintain vigilance about his diet, because no matter how conscientiously you provide salmon, salad, blueberries and yogurt, the minute he’s out of your sight he’ll be gorging himself on kebabs and doughnuts. You’ll be able to tell when he’s strayed, nutritionally, because he’ll have that guilty hangdog look, and of course sugar on his chin.

House-training is a big issue. The man should always be let out into the garden last thing at night to pee. Most men pee secretly in the garden anyway – it’s a territorial thing. Don’t let him get away with pooing in the garden, though. Long walks off piste in National Trust woodland are recommended for that.

Your bathroom should be off limits to him, unless, of course, he’s rolled in something smelly. This often happens on Friday nights if the man is let off the leash in town centres. A short-haired man will need very little grooming, though you may have a fight on your hands every time you try to get him into the bath. The long haired varieties are not recommended as they can rapidly become scruffy – evidence of this is widespread in, for example, Stroud.

You must control your man when he’s out for walks. A sunny-tempered, well-trained man will always want to play with other males, but an invitation to a kickabout won’t always be appropriate – if, for example, the other man is wearing a muzzle and snarling.

Getting the plaque off his teeth is usually a problem. It’s sometimes necessary to administer a general anaesthetic in order to clean a man’s teeth. And vaccinations and other routine health care present an almost insurmountable problem. Most men will be terrified of the doctor and start whimpering if you so much as slow down when you’re driving past the health centre.

Some men are just hopeless couch potatoes, but throwing a TV remote control is one way of getting him to run and retrieve – though you may never manage to get it back again.

If all this sounds a bit arduous, think of the faithful companionship. Well, the companionship, anyway. And after all, you wouldn’t want to have to bite the burglars yourself, would you?

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This article by Sue Limb is from the November 2014 issue of Cotswold Life.

For more from Sue, follow her on Twitter: @sue_limb

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