The owner of a Dalmatian has to be smart and consistent with regard to rules of behavior. This consistency is also required of everyone else in the household, because if the dog discovers that one person in the household allows him to do a certain thing, such as jump up while the other household members do not, he will generalize this discovery to the entire human population. Therefore, he will try jumping up on visitors and strangers on the street, thinking that at least some people will allow him to jump up.
The Dalmatian’s natural persistence, tenacity and inventiveness could make him a nuisance in the hands of a lazy or unresponsive owner. Just like small children, Dalmatians’ will get your attention, one way or another. But as soon as they get your attention, they do not always know what to do with it. Sometimes they give the cutest looking apologetic grin imaginable. One of the curious characteristics of the Dalmatian is the ability to “smile.” To some people it appears more like an ear-to-ear silent snarl than a look of glee, and to others it appears to be an embarrassed grin. In any case, when some Dalmatians get flustered, they draw up their lips and pull back the edges of their mouths, exposing almost every tooth in the same movement that people use to smile, but they are not laughing.
Dalmatians’ have a smile that usually appears just after they have been discovered in the kitchen with the contents of an entire garbage can carefully spread all over the floor, or when their owner uses a scolding tone of voice. He will then lower his head and often slink while displaying the look. The reason why it is hard to tell whether they are smiling is that they are bright enough to be suspicious whenever anything goes awry.
One of the thing they love to do in an open area is play their form of dodge ball to where they use their bodies as the ball. They will run away to about twenty-five to thirty yards and then come rushing back straight at either another dog or you, running at full tilt for a direct hit, and missing by a fraction of an inch. Their goal is to get as frighteningly close to you as possible without hitting you. Your role is to stand completely still, without flinching while he whizzes by without crashing into you.
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Keep in mind that the Dalmatian’s amazing capacity for physical activity and endurance seem to be matched by amazing bursts of genius as well. A Dalmatian will test your patience and keep you on your toes, though they are also as devoted as they are intelligent.