Some of you may remember my post about Garfunkel. He was a much loved dog and kept my counters clear of food, white hairs in all my clothes, spots in my eyes, but mostly love in my heart. I have felt that a part of me was missing since he passed away. I have been waiting for a new spotted friend.
The reason I have been so absent Learning Horses because on March 10th we brought home our new Dalmatian puppy, Spotlite's Fire Marshall.
Marshall is a AKC registered liver spotted Dalmatian (they come with either black or liver spots). He is a show pup, so I plan to show him in the conformation ring. We also want to do performance events (like agility, obedience and rally). But most importantly Marshall is going to be my trail dog.
Dalmatians have a long history with horses, there is great information at the Dalmatian Club of America's website. They are THE coaching dog designed and built to run miles and miles each day and guard the horses at night (and keep the barn free of rats). That history has been preserved by the AKC in the title of Road Dog or Road Dog Excellent. The RD or RDX is a ride on horseback (by human) where dog follows along and performs off leash commands. The dog is required to get vet checks. This is our goal.
Because Garfunkel had arthritis at an early and and Steinbeck had some type of problem with his back leg, I wanted a dog that had a pretty good chance of having good health, which is why for the first time I got a registered dog from a breeder (all my other dogs have come from shelters).
Garfunkel had been around horses a bit when we lived in Alaska with my mom. But never had the opportunity to go riding with us until a few years later at Reed's Ranch. His first time out on the trail he was loving it. Running like a crazy dog in and out of the bushes and just having a grand ole time. When we got closer to the house we were on a very narrow part of the trail and Garfunkel was right behind a horses back legs, tail on his head just walking along with them. They were not bothered by him (and these were horses that would kick at a herding dog), in fact over time, he did it to all the horses. Garfunkel had no training, just instinct and there was never any animosity between him and the horses.
But I didn't know anything when I was raising Garfunkel. I knew very little about dog training and I was a college student with no money and I made some big mistakes. This time I hope to do better.
I would like to invite all of you to visit Marshall's blog at Learning Puppies!