It’s been less than two months with Parker and she’s been amazing. Every time I walk her, I think about how much I lucked out to get such a calm and smart dog. She started off scared of everything and not knowing any commands. We initially could only walk around the apartment complex because cars, people, and other dogs all seemed too scary for her and we wouldn’t be able to walk far enough to get anywhere. Commands were also non-existent in the beginning. We were speaking different languages and just getting her to understand “sit” took a few days but she got it and something just clicked in her brain. After that, she quickly learned lay, stay, leave it, loose-leash walking, quiet, and a long laundry list of other commands.
It just not commands that she’s great at though, she’s just a damn sweet dog. She is so kind of everyone and looks at every person she meets with love in her eyes. People always comment on how cute she is. Now, instead of catcalls, I get people who yell from their car “Your dog is beautiful!” (much more appreciated than a catcall). She loves walking up to owners at the dog park and just nuzzling her face in their legs. If there was a prize at the dog park, she’d get “Sweetheart” for sure. I’ve had other dog owners say that they wish she was their dog.
She is particularly amazing with kids. We were at a neighborhood park and I was just drawing at one of the tables. She was laying down next to me and these kids ran up to the tables. One of the girls asked if she could pet Parker and, of course, I let her. Parker looked at the kid with her sweet eyes and rolled over so that she was belly up. The two other kids came over and they were just giving her a nice belly rub and the kids were loving it (Parker too).
She’s also really great with other dogs. The dog park can be a little treacherous for owners because some dogs are more aggressive than others. You can see some owners looking at loud dogs with a little apprehensive or some owners yelling at their dogs to stop any bad playing behavior. Parker, on the other hand, is, again, everyone’s sweetheart. I love how other dog owners laugh at her requests to play with their dogs. She bows her head, taps her front paws, and has her tail wagging in the air. I laugh whenever she gets denied and the dogs she is requesting to play with her straight up ignores her. But oftentimes, she will get the other dog to play with her. I’ve had a lot of dog owners come up to me and tell me that their dog never plays with other dogs but somehow Parker got them to play with her.
She’s a very quiet dog which I really appreciate. I was hoping not to get a dog that barks a lot and, again, I lucked out with her. I’ve only heard her bark a couple of times, all when she’s been pushed to the edge. Once, a small puppy was yapping and going a little wild on its leash. The puppy got too much in Parker’s business (Parker was laying down, resting) and Parker just let out one irritated bark and the other pup got the idea, shut up, and left her alone. Another was when we were camping and we were the only campers on the campground. A person walked by the tent very early in the morning in a campground where there shouldn’t have been any people and Parker let out a warning bark. A good bark in my opinion! She howls when fire engines pass by with their sirens on and I just let that go because that’s just what dogs do with sirens.
This week, I went camping with a dog. We went for two nights and had a blast. She loved being off-leash in nature and just getting to smell everything. She never strayed too far from me and only would take one “Come” or “Here” command to have her come back to me.
The first night was just a short hike around the camp area and then I set up the tent and cooked some food for the night. The next morning was a very foggy morning! We woke up, cooked some food, packed the tent back in the car, and then set out on a 16-mile hike. We started at the campsite, walked along the creek until we got to the beach. She was so tired by the end of it, she pretty much immediately fell asleep on the ground when we got back. The first night we were the only ones at the campsite and the second night, there were a couple more campers. Another solo camper named Quinn set up next to us and had her dog, Coco that Parker played with for a bit.
I feel like I’ve had her for longer than two months. She’s only two years old right now so it’s a bit strange to think I could have this dog for the next ten years of my life. I’m already a bit sad to think that someday she will get old and not be able to run to keep up with me. But that’s a long ways away and I know she’s got a lot of good years left in her. I hope to keep fine-tuning her obedience skills. I have her scheduled to do a workshop with the City of Austin and become a Bark Ranger (basically just a well-behaved doggo). And maybe in a year or when she has truly become a completely calm and obedient dog, I’ll get her Canine Good Citizen certified and train her to become a therapy dog.