Before we got P-, my wife and I did a lot of research on golden retrievers. At the time, we wanted a female golden retriever because we thought they were more loyal.
But, somehow, we ended with P-, who was a male golden retriever. P- was a very confident golden retriever. He loved people and he knew that he was special.
Seven years ago, my wife and I were on vacation at our favorite spot. We stood at the beach and threw tennis balls into the lake. P- walked into the lake and retrieved the balls. Yes. P- walked into the lake and he would walk as far as the lake would let him before he started paddling.
During one of the throws, as P- swam back to shore, two girls spotted him as they walked along the beach. When they saw P-, they started taking pictures of him. When P- landed, they petted him and gave him tons of praise.
“What a gorgeous golden retriever.”
P-‘s response to praise is to put on a show. Sit. Shake. Sit pretty. Once it got to sit pretty, the compliments usually jump from “what a lovely dog” to genuine laughter and smiles.
When the girls stopped petting P-, we resumed our game. The girls continued walking along the beach. P- went and retrieved the ball. But when he swam back, he swam towards the direction of the girls.
My wife and I laughed. I said, “Maybe we should have gotten a female golden retriever after all.”