By Alison Kirkham
This is the story of Tucker, a young mixed breed dog we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last nine months. Tucker was found when his now owner was cycling with some friends down Highway 78 last March. The group stopped when they heard whimpering and yelping coming from some bushes near the road. Upon investigation, they found tiny Tucker stuck in a ditch attempting to find his way out. Since the men were on bicycles, they had no way of safely transporting the small puppy home. They placed Tucker in a safe spot away from the road where he luckily stayed until they could come back in a car to get him.
After spending the night in a warm bed, Tucker’s rescuers took him to the vet. There, they discovered Tucker weighed a mere 5 pounds and was only 5 weeks old– so young his eyes were barely able to focus. It is amazing that Tucker was able to survive on his own, even for one day, before he was rescued. Luckily, Tucker was mostly healthy and able to go back home with his new mom and dad.
Tucker on his first night in his new home.
The first time I spoke to Tucker’s new mom, she gushed about how sweet he was and it was obvious they wanted to do right by him. However, Tucker was nipping and biting to the point of drawing blood. Tucker’s mom and dad had not owned dogs since they were young and unsure of how to handle this new little family member with razor sharp teeth. Adam and I decided a House Call would be the best way to help.
We met Tucker about a week later, and found a very loving, smart puppy who had not received the benefits of growing up with his birthmother and litter-mates. He was slightly skittish of loud or unusual noises, and like his mom had told me, was very mouthy.
Tucker’s mom and dad thrived as pack leaders after the House Call. They were on a great path and did a wonderful job of continuing training, but the biting wasn’t going away. Once he was old enough, Tucker came to board at the We Talk Dog facility to get some socialization. We, along with the other dogs, taught Tucker the appropriate way to interact without using his mouth. He learned the right way to play – so well in fact that he would play until he passed out in his crate each night. Tucker went home with much better manners, and his mom and dad have maintained his good behavior with structure, leadership and consistency.
Tucker began attending daycare at We Talk Dog a few times a week, where he quickly “graduated” to playing with the bigger, more active dogs. He made some good friends like lab mix Rosie, Belgian Malinois Cissy and of course our very own Coosa. Every morning that Tucker comes in to play he is happy to see us and to play with his friends. Even with his excitement about being at We Talk Dog, he does not jump up and remains an obedient, calm dog.
Being able to work with Tucker and his mom and dad was such a great experience for everyone at We Talk Dog. Watching him grow from a very young puppy to a well-behaved, happy dog is why we all do what we do. Tucker’s mom and dad were committed to the idea of a trained dog, and with a little bit of our help, they were incredibly successful.
In an email Tucker’s mom recently sent me, she expressed her thanks and reinforced the notion that putting in a little bit of effort with your dog pays off in the long run: “I cringe every time I hear of a dog destroying someone’s home or stuff and think to myself how lucky we were to have found We Talk Dog – we never had to deal with that kind of behavior thanks to y’all!”
Tucker turned 1 year old a few weeks ago and celebrated with us at We Talk Dog. He brought cupcakes for his human friends and treats for his canine friends. We are so lucky to know Tucker and his pack, and hope to spend many more birthdays with him!