Whole Dog Journal's Blog March 9, 2015

Proud of my Grand-Dog (and his owner)

Posted at 12:59PM - Comments: (7)

Last weekend, I was in the San Francisco Bay Area for a quick overnight trip, taking care of some family business. I didn’t have time on this trip to hang out with my son; we were both very busy and so we only had time to have breakfast together. He suggested we meet at a breakfast spot that has tables outdoors; it was a lovely morning and he wanted to bring his dog, Cole, as he wasn’t going to have much time to spend with Cole later in the day.

I got to the restaurant first and selected a table that is in the middle of the sunny sidewalk in front of the restaurant. A few minutes later, my son parked across the street. I watched him and his dog stroll calmly across the street, but I didn’t call out to either of them; I wanted to see how long it would take Cole to recognize me.  I was the one who pulled him out of my local shelter a year and a half ago, and he’s spent lots of time at my house when my son has been traveling with his sports team.

It was clear that Cole registered only the sight of “people” sitting at the table that my son was leading him toward, and his tail wagged in a friendly, relaxed way as they approached. I sat perfectly still and quiet. He casually sniffed in the direction of my shoe as my son stopped by the table and suddenly, his head came up and his entire demeanor changed. “Oh, it’s you!!” His whole body wagged and he whined and tried to lick my face as I rubbed his shiny shoulders and caressed his silky long hound ears. My son complained, joking, “He was good until he saw you!”

The cool thing was, once past his surprised and enthusiastic greeting, he was good, the entire meal. He lay quietly on the sidewalk behind my son’s chair, and never once begged for food or attention. Several times, people walked by our table, twice leading dogs of their own, and each time, Cole watched them go by but never acted as if he might get up. Instead, he glanced at my son, and seeing no sign that he might be invited to greet the other dog, he looked away from the other dog, indicating clearly that he wasn’t going to interact. My son takes Cole to work with him a few days a week, and it’s obvious they have been practicing this behavior, which is vital for an “office dog” to know. My son occasionally reached down to rub the top of Cole’s head, and even gave Cole a bit of ham a time or two, reinforcing Cole’s calm, composed “down-stay.” He’s just done a bang-up job with this dog, his first “own” dog, and I could not be prouder of both of them.  

Comments (7)

I enjoy reading about the dogs in your life, because your posts show what treasured members of the family they all are and we readers can feel like we've gotten to know them through your photos & stories. Cole looks and sounds like a really great young dog, and this anecdote clearly shows the benefits of thoughtful good puppy-choosing and puppy-rearing paying off so well. What a good experience for your son (and his friends) to see that the effort, commitment, care and time has been extremely worthwhile ...
I hope someday to have a grand-dog to enjoy : )

Posted by: lynn sapp | March 11, 2015 10:55 AM    Report this comment

Any dog can be trained with a good trainer and consistent work done by "parent" & dog. I noticed you said your son gave Cole a few bites of ham....please tell him DO NOT ever give ham to dogs. It is too hard on their pancreas and can cause problems you don't want. Daughter works for a vet and she "yelled" at me about this very thing!!! Cole seems like a very personable, very well trained grand-dog and I'm sure he gets spoiled by you too!!!

Posted by: Mac's mom | March 11, 2015 10:47 AM    Report this comment

It's so nice to see not only Cole behaving well from good training but to see you give positive reinforcement to your son too! Wonderful!

Posted by: Ellen S | March 10, 2015 4:57 PM    Report this comment

What a great story; led by example. This represents commitment and time which equal a wonderful and deep relationship. If I find myself frustrated (angry) and repeating to my dog, I can quickly look at myself to know that I have mismanaged our relationship. How it hurts me to see this in my best friend's eyes.

Posted by: Agreed! The testament is to much time spent with our "friend," meaning we appreciate the value this friend has with us. It's also so heartwarming for each dog/person friendship that goes this deep. Kudo's. | March 10, 2015 2:10 PM    Report this comment

What a great story! Cole looks like such a beautiful dog in the picture of him that you post. I must add that I was reading my last issue of WDJ and sobbing by the end of your story about Tito and your niece. Thanks for sharing these wonderful stories.

Posted by: Olivia | March 10, 2015 1:07 PM    Report this comment

I marvel at your dog's behavior (and your son's training). Is this even possible with a beagle? Our beagle mix is a couch potato at home but OUT- he's a non stop sniffing machine.

Posted by: Chester's mom | March 10, 2015 10:57 AM    Report this comment

This is just another testament to the fact that there are no bad dogs...just bad dog people!

Posted by: mamaoink | March 10, 2015 10:23 AM    Report this comment

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