Say hello to Buddy! He’s 4 months old, and near as we can tell, he’s a mix of Golden and Labrador Retriever, possibly Maremma or Great Pyrenees, quite possibly some Alaskan Malamute or Siberian Husky, maybe even some St. Bernard. He’s the size of a small miniature horse right now; he’s going to be a very big boy when he’s fully grown!
Buddy is a rescue, of sorts. His current owners, Wayne and Sandy, adopted him from their neighbors, who didn’t want him. I’ve met him and worked with him a couple of times already. This is just a short Top 10 list of issues we’ll be dealing with over the course of at least the rest of this year:
- He has no experience with a kennel – he’s never even seen one;
- he has no experience with other animals, and his only social interactions prior to being adopted by Wayne and Sandy were with them, through their shared fence;
- he may or may not be house-broken;
- he has no idea how to play – either by himself, or with humans or other animals;
- he has no bite inhibition;
- he has no social manners at all;
- he tends to use his eyes rather than his nose to help him learn about his environment;
- he is very fearful of other dogs [when he first met Glimmer – while he was still with his previous owners – he hid under the porch and barked ferociously at her];
- he is very bullish and demanding and jumps on and bites at people to force them to acknowledge him;
- he is easily startled by sudden and quick movements and tends to try to bite in response.
Now, here’s the good news about sweet Buddy:
- He learns very fast. In a matter of about two minutes, he learned that jumping was not acceptable and resulted in being ignored, and that he must either stand or sit nicely to get affection. It took a few times, but he learned through our “yelping” that biting is not acceptable and that he doesn’t get affection if he uses his mouth. He surprised us when he took that lesson a step further and actually licked where he’d bitten as a way of apology.
- He wants very much to please his people. He’s so happy to be getting attention and love that he’ll do anything to keep it coming.
- While introducing him to the kennel, even though he was afraid of it, he was willing to trust us to keep him safe.
- He is very eager to learn where and how he fits in with his new family, and he works really hard to learn and abide by the rules they set out for him.
- While he has no prior experience with a leash, he did a phenomenal job of working with it instead of fighting it or trying to bite at it. He seems to recognize that it’s a friend, not an enemy.
The journey with Buddy and his people is going to be a huge learning curve for all three of them, but I have no doubt that as they all learn and grow together, they’re going to experience a most amazing life together. Buddy is an amazing boy with a big life mission to fulfill, and I’m honored to be invited to be a part of that.
Have a great day, and remember: Stay calm and lead on.