Shadow shows a lot of promise, but he is what we call a “project dog” due to his behavior toward other dogs. Here is his story.
We think Shadow lived outside and jumped the fence of his prior home, then ended up at a shelter as an unredeemed stray. Figures that the person who left him to a lonely life in a backyard didn’t bother to claim him.
A DAWG friend helped evaluate Shadow while at the shelter. She noted that Shadow was very good on leash, and was calm and gentle. Shadow wanted to say hi to every dog (even the ones that weren’t being very friendly). Sounded good to us, so Shadow became a DAWG dog.
DAWG dogs live at a luxury kennel, where they learn routine and are socialized with other dogs, then are taken to weekly adoption shows. Shadow started jumping the kennel fence (his past “skill”), so to protect him when outside, he was put into a pen — by himself — with a roof. Shadow was safe, but as the saying goes, the cure was worse than the disease. While Shadow could be blended with other dogs before, the separation from them now caused Shadow to act aggressively toward them. This new “personality” may also be the result of Shadow’s misunderstanding of, or being over-aroused by, dogs playing with each other, something he can see them doing in adjoining kennel pens. Sadly, some dogs in rescue don’t understand how to play. It’s hard to believe that such a common behavior we take for granted could be so alien to a dog, but it shows how empty Shadow’s past life had been.
We are working on “reprogramming” Shadow’s behavior at adoption shows, which are highly stimulating and not the easiest venue, but one that may replicate some of the stimuli Shadow reacts to at the kennel. Shadow is doing much better due to the relentless work of our trainer, Al Marx, but it takes a while to reboot a dog’s reactions, especially when a dog’s past was so lacking.
Some people take great joy in working with neglected souls, so if you think you are the right home for Shadow, let us know! For peace of mind, Shadow’s adopter should have no kids or other pets, and hopefully will have a privacy-fenced yard. Shadow needs a yard, because he is starting to play (and sports a goofy grin when “gets” the fun he’s experiencing). The lab in him would probably enjoy “fetch,” and what dog doesn’t like doing laps? A roll in autumn leaves, flopping into snow, and digging in spring-warmed dirt would be fun for him as well. Shadow is obviously not a dog park dog, not that we endorse dog parks for any dog (except when empty).
The Shadow we know and love is “worth it,” despite his limitations. To see Shadow on YouTube, click on the following link: http://youtu.be/yR9tMeHUut4
For more information on Shadow, or any of the other wonderful DAWG dogs, please submit an online application. There is no obligation. Once your application is received, a DAWG volunteer will contact you.