Advice for a future dalmatian owner?

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Member Since
Barked: Sun May 19, '13 6:50am PST 
Hi, I'm Lily. I've been looking into getting a dalmatian for several months now. I've been doing extensive research on the breed as well as puppy training, and dog care. These include, online sources, books, dvds, and asking people personally their experiences with dalmatians.

I've been encountering a problem, however, whenever I announce that I'm looking into getting a dalmatian. All I get are negative feed backs, a lot of patronizing and condescending remarks about how dalmatians are "aggressive, stupid and hard to train". Though, I'm sure everyone is doing this to warm me, it's as if I don't understand the temperament of the breed, and am going into it on a whim. Despite how much I attempt to fight about how much research I'm doing, and understand the traits that dalmatians may come with, my voice gets drowned out by everyone, who are completely adamant on dalmatians being "bad dogs". Though I'm not quick to believe them, it has become slightly disheartening hearing this because of the judgement I get. I feel that they think I'm imagining this high expectation of a dog learning tricks over night and being extremely well trained dogs with a snap of my fingers. When I know this isn't the case. I know that there will be a lot of time, effort and patience that I need to put into having a dog, especially if I want it well trained. I know every dog is different and it's up to me, as a dog owner, to be extremely responsible with any breed, to train them and be their companion in the best way that I can.

I know that in the past a lot of people have gotten dalmatians because they're "pretty dogs" without understanding their temperament and what they needed from their owners. Don't get me wrong, It IS fantastic that they are so good looking, but I want a dalmatian for many different reasons. First, I've realized that dalmatians are me in dog form. We have similar traits of hyperactive-ness, and needing of attention and need of constant brain work that I feel we would make a great team. The spots really are an added plus (because I dress up in spots a lot too). Second, it's also because of the fact that dalmatians will really influence me to be the best person that I can be. And I hope that I could do the same for my future dog. I want a companion, a best friend, that will be by my side. One that I can play with and go hiking with, to the beach with. Do everything under the sun with.

Now this is getting extremely verbose, but I'm writing in here in hopes to get other people's views, advice and experiences with dalmatians. It's always nice to get a different range of views. I know that dalmatians have the greatest potential to be one of the best dogs, and I want to be a great dog owner and companion for my future dog, as much as she/he will be a great dog and companion for me. If you have any advice to offer and information about them, please let me know! Thank you so much for your time.

Member Since
Barked: Fri Jul 5, '13 1:30pm PST 
Hang in there. I haven't found dalmatians to be stupid or aggressive. What they are is crafty, high energy and slow to mature (which makes them lots of fun). Let me explain. I met my boyfriend just after his mother had passed away and when she died she had a 12 week old dalmatian. We adopted Oreo as my bf already had a 7 month old puppy and thought he knew what he was getting in to. By the time we were able to get her she was 10 months old and had no manners what so ever. She hadn't been properly socialized or exposed to new environments but boy oh boy was she cute and was super sweet natured.

I started doing research. I'm sure you've come across all of this, but this is the answers I give when I take her to the park. (She attracts a lot of attention!!)

1) The "stupid" thing started because of deafness the breed had; people thought the dog wasn't listening when if fact they couldn't HEAR.

2) The aggressive thing is best explained by explaining that they were bred to run and to guard. After 101 Dalmatians came out, people were buying them for their kids, not training them properly and locking them in back yards. They would go a squirrely.

3) As far as the hard to train thing, I just explain that they seem to pick up patterns very quickly so you have to be consistent. If you let them get away with things, they will take that as the new pattern. And we all know how easy breaking bad habits are. smile They do best with positive reinforcement for behaviour you want.

Something one of the websites I found said that dalmatians will often play dumb and manipulate people. This is where the "crafty" part comes in. Oreo would panic when we first got her and would pee on the floor. Even after she got over panicking, she realized that acting scared would get her attention (mostly from strangers, we all know the game). She now uses "the show" as we call it to convince strangers that she needs cuddling and protecting. I think it's hilarious. She also 'forgets' what 'sit' means and will give me sort of a I-have-never-before-heard-that-word-look, but only when she has an audience.

The only advice I have is:

1)Make sure they get LOTS of exercise, because especially in the beginning their brains don't seem to work unless their legs are tired.

2)Expose them to lots of new (but positive) situations, people and noises.

3)Don't spoil the puppy to much. (this will be the hardest part)

4)Be prepared to answer a lot of questions.

Have fun!