When his puppy energy recharged, the mischief of his youth took over.
I won’t say that Annette and the girls failed to train Mulligan. The girls, as all kids do lost interest as the cute puppy continued to grow. Annette tried to train him and I helped when I thought I should.
Then one day it happened.
I was taking a nap on the couch when I suddenly heard a thunderous noise coming toward the living room. Netter was carrying Mulligan by the collar. Approaching the back door, Netter swung it open and heaved the dog toward the backyard.
Looking out the window, I could see that Mulligan was fine. In fact, he was romping through the yard, completely unaware of the magnitude of the situation.
Annette had had enough. The dog was incorrigible, she said. She couldn’t get him to do anything. He wouldn’t come when he was called. He wouldn’t listen to any commands. He whined and cried at the wind and any disturbance out our front window. He clawed at door-jams until they were damaged. He chewed the carpet. He was the “worst dog ever.”
Now, if you know my wife you know that she is not easily angered or frustrated. Netter is usually the picture of patience. She is simply not easily tested. This particular day, Annette was being tested, and she wasn’t faring well.
Alright Jim, I thought, it’s time to stop ducking the issue. It’s time to step-in.
I’m not the “dog whisperer” by any means, but I have had some success training dogs. I knew that Mulligan had one chance to remain with our family – so I gave it to him.
“Calm down, Honey,” I said. “I will take care of it.”
I grabbed a leash and headed for the yard. Mulligan and I were going shopping. Curious, Annette joined us for the trip.
I’m not a big fan of corporal punishment, or hurting animals for that matter, but I do believe that some means of getting a child’s or dog’s attention are better than others.
Mulligan had won himself a choke collar.
The cool thing about PetSmart is that you can take your animal shopping with you. The three of us walked into the store and I picked out a collar for what was now definitely “our dog.”
I took him home and assessed the situation.
It was readily apparent that Mulligan is a very smart dog, probably the smartest dog I have ever had. He knew darn well what he was doing or not doing and what he could get away with.
Using the collar and my “Dad voice,” it took only a few days to get his attention and begin to turn things around for all of us.
As we worked together, Mulligan and I would become very close.
In the process, in a manner of speaking – Mulligan would save me, or at least my sanity.