My wonderful hubster had many reasons for picking out Hurley when he decided to surprise me with a puppy to celebrate my new store.
#1: He knew it would surprise the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of me.
#2: He knew I wanted a shop dog, a dog to be in the store with me day in and out and to create a welcoming environment for my customers and their pets. Mission accomplished! Hurley is quite the super-star and has his own fan club. It's great that I have neighborhood peeps stopping in just to see the puppy but it's double awesome when they kids come in to play with him. He's winning hearts left and right!
#3: He knew I wanted a BIG dog. As if 2 60-lb'ers aren't big enough, Hurley could, as I love to tell people, be anywhere between 60 and 200 lbs. I say that only because I love the wide-eyed expressions I get at that range. Realistically, he's on the small side for a St Bernard puppy, even if only half Bernie, so I think he'll only get to a measly 80-100 lbs. He'll be more of a good-sized pillow than an entire beanbag.
#3: He knew I wanted a FLUFFY dog. Growing up, I had an American Eskimo dog named Snowball (yes, I was 5 when we got her, hence the silly name). I loved, loved brushing her and if I dog-sit my friends' fluffy dogs, they often go home with a good brush out. We're still not sure exactly how Hurley's hair will develop as he grows; he's certainly a little fluff-ball right now.
#4: He knew that both St Bernards and Golden Retrievers were great breeds for temperament (as are Pitbulls and Labs, I will point out) and in addition to needing a dog that will be well mannered in the store, I had also mentioned that someday I'd like a dog that would be good for therapy work.
Hurley is obviously a super smart puppy. He sits on command as well as my other two girls (even better sometimes!). We're still working on down and have begun stay. I'm pretty sure he'll have a reliable sit-stay before I can get him to lay down on command. Best of all, he pays attention to me with the intensity that Sadie often has. His attention span is incredible for being 14 weeks and it's always focused on me (as I am the source of all yummy treats but hey, I'll take it!)
The plan is to train Hurley to become a therapy dog; I would love to volunteer with him and participate in reading programs for children. Much of this plan depends on his developing personality and if I've learned anything from Maggie & Sadie, it's that you can't force a dog to be your ideal, you can only help them to become their own ideal. Time will tell if he's got therapy dog in him. Time will also tell if I'm a good enough trainer to get him to that point. I certainly can plan well enough - we've already got a Hurley training goal list, which I am about to transfer onto calendar format so we can see our weekly training tasks. Goal #1 is to pass our Canine Good Citizen test when he's a year old. I say "our" because I think this is much a test of my abilities as his.
Go Team Hurley!