You’ve come a long way, baby!

Fido… Come… Sit
By Yvonne Passmore

A puppy was born. She was the smallest of the litter and, for that reason, she was named Chiclet. Cute and adorable? Not Chiclet. She was restless, busy, a scrapper for food, and would strike at your face like a cobra. This little girl seemed not to understand the meaning of no or can’t. She was independent while the other puppies were snuggly and sweet. Chiclet would lunge at your face, snag clothes with her claws, bite too hard, bully the other puppies and she thought she was the best of the best. She easily was the worst puppy I ever had and for that reason we decided to keep her.
During her first year, there were many times my husband and I regretted keeping her and wondered why we chose to punish ourselves this way. My other dogs, including her mother, also seemed to have their patience pushed to their limits with her antics.
I always make it a point to take a new dog to as many different homes as I can to help with that dog’s socialization. My parents usually welcomed my visits, with or without man’s best friend, until I started bringing Chiclet. Chiclet was a tornado if given the chance. She ravaged my mom’s beautiful gardens. She chased and pounced on their Bichon’s tail. Before Chiclet, my parents welcomed a visit. Begrudgingly, and I’m sure with lots of eye rolling, they allowed me to bring that tornado over in my quest to make this lunatic puppy into a well-rounded dog.
Fast-forward three years. My husband and I wanted to take a mini-vacation a few weeks ago. Arrangements were made with family to care for the easy-going Great Dane and Golden Retriever. I assumed we would take Chiclet with us because her reputation preceded her. I just didn’t believe anyone would want to deal with her exercise needs and her goofiness.
Amazingly my wonderful parents offered to take her so we could enjoy our time away. I was so grateful to have some time alone without dogs.
As it turns out, my parents had a great time with Chiclet. My father enjoyed their walks together and my mother enjoyed spending time on the beach playing fetch. Even Moppy (the terrorized Bichon) enjoys Chiclet’s company. Chiclet was well behaved and affectionate.
The years of work with Chiclet, while still allowing her to be who she is, had finally paid off. I didn’t do this work alone. Never giving up on her, finding ways to work with her instead of against her, redirecting her bad behaviour towards good, and having a patient and willing family have all helped to make that chaotic puppy the best dog we’ve ever had, no question.
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