Visiting dog

Tanner looks so innocent and walks so nicely off leash on our long walks up the hill, around and back down on our way home. Only twice has he wandered off to explore a neighbors yard or to visit a neighborhood dog. Last week, he raced ahead and begged for treats from a fellow walking his black lab, Rennie.  He completely ignored me as I called for him and hurried toward them.  Fortunately, they all became fast friends and when I reached them he was seated next to Rennie and receiving treats along with him.

We have worked hard on recalls and most often he turns on a dime and returns to me at a gallop whenever he’s called.   But he’s a Dalmatian, and a smart and determined one at that–one who always believes he has an important job to do.  This is what is so appealing about the breed to those of us who love them. They are complete clowns and wildly entertaining, as if they’d figured out how to get away with whatever  they have in mind and still be cute.

Yesterday it was snowing, however, and not so cute when he left me to wander up into the woods and right up to a neighbor’s front door to visit their dog.  After calling and calling and almost giving up, I too wandered into the snowy woods only to spot him milling around with an older couple who had clearly just stepped out of their front door with their dog to possibly invite Tanner in.  How does he get away with this mischief, I often wonder, and come out looking like “a beautiful dog and such a good boy, and so lovely with our Deannie!”

Here he had pooped on their front walkway which was meticulously kept, and they were complimenting him. Standing there in my down jacket, hood covering my hat,  collecting snow flakes and unable to see through my fogged up glasses, I leaned down to try and move his “gift” into the shrubbery with a stick, naturally having no baggie or means of collecting it, and apologizing profusely, wishing only that there were something I could do to make us both disappear,  as they invited us in.

After politely making my getaway,   it was clear that we have a great deal of work to do before Tanner can be allowed to simply wander on ahead, making his own friends.

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