Tony Alonso's "From A Newcomer's Perspective"
On To The Show by Tony Alonso
Life has a funny way of turning your life on a dime. You plan to do something one day and something else happens. A few months ago, I was sure I wasn't going to have another dog again (there is a reason, which will be revealed soon), yet this Saturday we are heading to our first dog show with the folks at Chambray Labs and our Miracle.
Owning Miracle has been a fun 3 weeks. This dog has undoubtedly lightened up our lives. We love coming home to find him looking at us from the patio, going crazy and happy when we come in the house. When we go outside to play with him, he is the one of the happiest living things on earth...we are some of the other happiest living things on earth...I can say that I missed this from owning previous dog, Sandy the Golden Retriever.
Getting used to having a show dog has been a challenge for the youngest of our kids, me...I am a 10 year old at heart and I started playing with the dog like I did with my own son, rough-housing. We wrestled, ran around, had him jump on me and played the biting game, where he bit my hand and I made him bite me...a ritual in my house. We also played the "chase the dog" game, where, well, I chased him. When I talked to Sandy about this, he put me in a corner, with the "Dunce" hat: "You think about what you did!!!". In reality, Sandy told me that all those things, although fun for the whole family (including Miracle), were going to create bad habits for him and those would be harder to curb as he got older. Once I was out of time out, I changed things a little and found other toys to play with, like my own kids. Thus, the real training began, not only the dog training, but also our training, where we have begun to learn how to own a show lab.
Not going to lie and tell you it was easy. I am, as I said earlier, a kid at heart, and not being able to rough-play with Miracle took some of the fun out of it, or so I thought. The reality is that our puppy has become well behaved and is still tons of fun because there are so many other things that we can do with him, within the framework of training. I guess I have to look at this as if he was one of my kids (which he is), where we are constantly teaching them. The same can be said about dogs. They are always learning and you should always teach them something new, from the time they are puppies, until they are too old to run after the ball.
Two Thursdays ago, we had our first weekly training at the farm. My wife ended up going to that one, since I was coaching my son's football team (I am an assistant at for the West Kendall Dolphins 75 pound football team), and she told me how much she enjoyed it and how much she enjoyed all the looks, accolades, the kind words from others at this training. Made me feel great when she told me that. I was once again, flabbergasted, as Sandy hit it on the spot with this dog. Everything he said this dog was, he is. His demeanor is exactly as he explained to us the day he gave him to us. If you don't want to play with him, he'll leave you be. Don't get me wrong, he is definitely not a dog that doesn't care. For example, my daughter Aly, is dead afraid of him. Why? Not even close to a clue. If Miracle comes in the house, she climbs the furniture. After a couple of times of this occurrence, Miracle simply stopped going up to her, and decided that there were better things to do than to wait for Aly, like playing with my boy Anthony. He still wags his tail when he sees her and from the other side of the door, Aly is still melting, but it is a love-scare relationship for her, and a love-love for Miracle, as he pretty much loves everyone. He would have been perfect during the 1960's, LOL...
Last Wednesday we had a very enlightening conversation and personal training with Sandy, where we learned to look at Miracle a whole different way, and also, where Sandy pulled my ears and put me on a time-out. I also learned a few games that I can play with him, without turning him in to a social disaster. The following day at puppy training, I saw a very calm, relaxed puppy go through his second class with the rest of the puppies, and in all truth, I was impressed at his demeanor, his posture, and his willingness to listen to my wife, who was part of the training. He is incredibly attentive. He amazes me daily...
All in all, our experience so far has been amazing and are looking forward to our first dog show this coming Saturday. We are very excited about our Miracle and I know that he feels the love that our family has given him, including far-away love from Aly, the terrified puppy co-owner.
On to the show!!!
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