Patch came to us at 2 years old, having been returned to his breeder by his first owners and not successfully rehoused since. Patch’s breeder eventually gave him up to rescue via the Dalmatian Club of Victoria, who knew we were on the lookout for a companion for our viszla puppy Marcie. They gave us a call to try him out at home for a week after holding on to him for a month of assessment.
The first week at home showed that Patch, despite being very personable and affectionate, did have his issues. A lack of confidence and general needy-ness were easily explained by the several homes he had already seen in a short time. A habit of chewing up anything within reach is something many dalmatian owners probably have to deal with. More of an issue was his extreme reaction to unknown dogs. Patch would bark until hoarse, shiver and salivate when seeing another dog and would continue to do so uncontrollably for up to an hour afterwards. During this time we couldn’t get through to him at all as he would reject any treat, game or distraction we would offer. Taking Patch for a walk was done by avoiding any house with a dog behind a fence, and trusting to luck we didn’t run into any other dog walkers along the way.
We were already taking Marcie to puppy school at Four Paws K9 Training, and were planning to bring Patch along as well when Marcie graduated into basic class. We warned Trish of the problem, and a week later dragged a (literally) screaming Patch through the gate, and he barked and shivered non-stop for the entire time.
Trish warned us we were in for the long haul with this one, which was a little daunting, but we did like and want to keep Patch. Trish believed that Clicker training would be beneficial for Patch and were given a clicker along with instructions on its use and how to work with Patch each week when we attended.
A year later and Patch is a changed dog. We can now walk him around any street as he mostly ignores barking dogs behind gates and in class at Four Paws K9 Training, we can join right in with just about any activity or training that is on. It took us over 3 months to even get Patch within shouting distance of a class without him falling into hysterics, but some patient guidance and encouragement from the Instructors helped us take it slowly and surely. Over the year just about all the Instructors at Four Paws K9 Training have had a hand in training Patch, and we’re both very grateful for all the extra help received. He’s a much happier and calmer dog now, and will even wag his tail at another dog if he decides it’s not a threat. We’re a little way off having Patch meet and greet the other dogs, or letting him loose in the local dog park, but with the progress made this last year we’re confident that this will come in time.
Thanks for all your help,
Luke, Abbie, Patch and Marcie.
Update on Patch June 2016
We were contacted by Luke in June 2016 and was advised that due to some underlying medical issues which were causing Patch some severe distress, the extremely hard decision was made to give Patch his wings. Patch was almost 11 years old and due to all hard work by both Luke and his partner which was committed to his rehabilitaiton, Patch was given the best 10 years possible. RIP Patch. You will be missed.