The Fruits of Our Labor
I have no doubt that every parent has moments when they look at their child and feel great pride at who that child has become. Jenn and I had such an occasion with our Dalmatian Wrigley.
The image to the left is a good representation of how Wrigley was when he came to live with us. He was a disaster! He barked at everyone, he attempted to bully everyone he met, and he used his very large size (all 70 pounds) to intimidate those around him. There is nothing quite like an 11-month old extra large bully. Don’t get me wrong, he was a pleasure in our house. Very loving and an enjoyable pup, but he wasn’t a dog that we could take anywhere.
As luck would have it, he happened to be riding with us one day when we stopped to visit our friend Christy. Christy owns a salon and is the consummate dog parent. Her dog Jimmy is competitive on the show circuit. While visiting Christy at her shop, she invited us to bring in Wrigley to visit (there were no customers at that time) and we were happy to show off our new pup. Immediately, Wrigley lunged and attempted to scare Christy (I believe he would have bitten, had I not had a strong grip on his leash). We’re happy to report that we took ALL the advice we had been given.
Tonight we will complete our sixth training class with Wrigley. We had to force ourselves to adopt a hard line with regard to training! It was hard! We had to decide to MAKE him do what we wanted. No more “look how cute he is” excuses, which we had adopted with ALL our previous pups. A terrorist pup is not fun at 7 pounds, and at 70 pounds Wrigley could have been the dog we never took anywhere.
For a while now, we have commented on what a pleasure Wrigley is and reminded ourselves over and over how glad we are that we took the time and put in the work to train him. Everywhere we take Wrigley now we hear comments on what a good, well-behaved boy he is. People lavish the praise on him for his temperament and calm reaction. We smile, say thank you, and think about all the hard work that went into making that dog.
Recently, we attended a Holistic Health Fair. We took Wrigley to share in the occasion. It was such a pleasure to have him with us. Polite to all, from the youngest to the oldest, he was willing to be petted and hugged. The best part was when were packing up to leave, we put Wrigley in the truck as we carried our things to the truck. We were able to leave the door open and tell him to stay. He was perfect in his execution of the command!
When people say to us that they have heard about how bad Dalmatians are (or any dog for that matter), I know that the dog in question just did not get the opportunity to become the dog he or she could have been. Having a good dog, like having a good child, is hard work, dedication, and commitment.