All of our planning and preparations were going along great – with the exception of one really big, brown hairy problem – what do we do with Dooley Bear?
Dooley Bear was special from the beginning – he was one of those “free” dogs. Very sweet but he was crazy. His nickname at doggie daycare was “Wild Man”. Dooley Bear loved to charge at people and run through their legs to knock them over. He also had this knack for frightening children by licking their faces incessantly and putting their small arms into his mouth – just to nibble on them.
He was a great dog when he was just around us, but oh boy. Anytime friends would come over he would lose his mind. We always had this vision of us and our dog: we’d take him to bars and restaurants and sit on the patios. Take him to parks to play. Nope, not with our Dooley Bear. He just couldn’t handle being around people and meeting new people – he literally got so excited anytime he would meet new people (or he would see friends) he would lose his mind and turn into a terrible dog. “Dooley Bear the Terrible.” When Dooley Bear was a small puppy these behaviors were “acceptable” – but as he grew and grew into a freakishly tall, 105 pound Chocolate Labrador – something had to be done to fix him.
Dooley Bear was about 5 years old when we made the decision to move to Belize. But what do we do with the dog? We both liked him enough to want to keep him, but there was no way we could move this crazy dog into a condo. So what to do?
We tried the standard dog training class – for 6 weeks we’d spend 1 hour with a trainer every Satruday. Then during the week we had homework. Well, you can imagine how this went. We’d get our homework assignments – “practice X 3 times a day” – yeah right. Who had time or energy after work?
So needless to say, this training didn’t work on the Dooley Bear. Training fail.
Now what? It was either find a trainer who could fix him or leave him with friends and not move him to Belize. After much searching we saw a doggie boot camp – this sounded great. We drop off our broken dog and then 2 1/2 weeks later we pick up our new and improved dog. We found a trainer in North Carolina who sounded great – Dogs by Andy. Andy’s resume was amazing: trains search and rescue dogs, trains police dogs, trains service and therapy dogs – over 30 years of experience. We met with Andy and Amanda and were so impressed. If anyone can fix our Dooley Bear, they can. When I talked with Andy about Dooley Bear having some separation anxiety he said, “that dog needs to man up and stop being such a baby”. That’s exactly the kind of trainer we needed! (Plus he also trains a lot of dogs of NASCAR drivers too – which is cool).
A week later we loaded up Dooley Bear into the car to drop him off for his boot camp stay. As we were driving up to Dooley’s school we saw all kinds of old, broken down NASCAR cars sitting around and were like….ummmm…are we in the right spot? Did we make a wrong turn? We actually called them because we thought we were lost. But they were like nope, you’re in the right place – we can see you. So we pulled in, said goodbye to Dooley Bear and wished the trainers luck. (By the way, there was a strange looking elevated bathtub thing we saw and asked about it – they said it’s the bathtub where they wash the dogs after their trainings – we’re wondering how they got Dooley Bear up in there for his bath?)
2 weeks seemed like a long time to be without Dooley Bear so we dropped him off when we had a trip already planned down to Belize. So we were down in Belize on vacation while Dooley Bear was working and learning. Do you think that was fair? The trainers sent us pictures and updates of how his training was going.
I graduated! I get to move to Bellies with my people!!!
On the pickup day we had to go and spend a couple of hours there so we could be trained on how to work with the new and improved Dooley Bear. When we saw Dooley Bear for the first time he didn’t even recognize us – but as soon as he got close enough to smell us he got his waggle back and was so happy to see us. Pretty sure he was ready to go home!
The boot camp was a complete success. They worked magic on our Dooley Bear and fixed him. He got to move to Belize with us and now we can take him everywhere with us and hasn’t knocked anyone down – or made a child cry – since his training.
At least not yet……..