I will go ahead and apologize if you thought you were going to read about Charleston, SC.  This is about my buddy Charleston.  Charleston is our black Labrador retriever.  He is almost 5 years old and is incredibly smart.  He is part of the family, as you already know if you are an animal lover. Here is a picture of him sitting beside my son while we were out on a walk.

I have always been a “dog guy,” I guess you could say. We had boxer bulldogs growing up, and I saved my money and bought my first dog when I was thirteen.  She was a Golden Retriever.  She lived for a little over 13 years, which is a pretty long life for a larger breed of dog.  I began learning how to train her, mostly by what I had heard or seen and by trial and error.  We had never really trained any of our dogs in the past so I was kind of on my own, as far as my family was concerned. 

Fast-forward to today.  Charleston can do pretty much all of the “normal” commands.  He can sit, lay down, roll over, stay, come, fetch and shake.  I’m not a formal dog trainer so these are just the ones I feel most people would have their dogs doing.  These are all things that I learned to train when training my first dog.  I have gone a little farther this time by training Charleston to go to his pen or crate, use the bathroom, bark, and be quiet on command.  I also taught him to roll over in whatever direction I want him to.  I’m pretty proud of him, if you can’t tell.  We live in a neighborhood now so I have also had to train him to walk on a leash, which I never had to worry about before because I lived out in the country.  You don’t have to keep your dog restrained quite as much when there is nobody else around. 

My sons both enjoy spending time with Charleston and playing.  They are all boys so they can get a little wild sometimes, but Charleston is really good with them.  Channing is only around two years old so he’s still really small.  Charleston is very gentle with him, even when Channing isn’t returning the favor. 

We sometimes will go out for a walk in the woods and find some water for Charleston to go swimming in.  He loves that, especially going after his favorite ball.  We all enjoy the outdoors and Charleston is no exception.  In fact, I’m thinking about our next trip right now….

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