Since there is a lot to say about an adoptable dog who has been in foster care for more than a couple weeks, I’m breaking this into a few posts.
There are a number of things potential adopters often ask when deciding whether a dog will be a good fit for their home and lifestyle. Here are the answers to those questions, all in one spot.
He’s definitely lab, but there’s something else there. What do you think he’s mixed with?
Eddie photographs very lab-like, but in person it’s easy to tell he’s a mixed breed. Based on his blocky head, the way his front legs are held when standing, and the popularity of lab/pit-type mixes in our area, our best guess is 1/2-3/4 lab, 1/4-1/2 Staffy. Realistically, he’s purebred shelter dog, which means he could be anything.
His Petfinder profile said he was treated for heartworms. Has he had a negative test now?
He was pulled from the shelter for heartworm treatment, but he was treated. Eddie is now perfectly healthy and on preventatives. At his annual exam in February, he had a negative heartworm test. He is also up-to-date on his basic vaccinations. While his vet’s office would need to confirm, I am pretty sure he has also had kennel cough and leptospirosis vaccines.
What was his history before you got him?
He was brought to the shelter as a stray, so we have no idea. He didn’t seem to know how to live in a house when we got him, but he’d also been in the shelter for a few weeks at that point. It’s possible that he was someone’s outdoor dog, a chained dog, or a neighborhood stray. Fortunately, dogs live in the present, and he is now a happy indoor pet.
Is he housebroken?
Yes. When he needs to go out, Eddie will bark or put his paw on my husband’s leg. He does wait to ask until he really has to go, so we typically take him out before that. We can ask him “Do you need to go outside?” and if he does he will bark. As with any dog, it’s best to establish a potty spot outside before they enter a new house or building.
Is he leash trained?
Yes. He can heel next to his handler or walk on a loose leash with freedom to be ahead, behind, or to the side. He does still pull occasionally, but when that happens we just switch directions. What works best for him is flat out switching directions and not switching back unless he pulls again. It’s not a frequent turnaround. He starts out a bit on the excited side but usually calms down once he potties. He does well on a martingale collar or Easy Walk harness, which we use in case he sees something exciting. I prefer the Easy Walk, which will use his weight to turn him back to his handler if an exciting critter runs by, and his harness will stay with him when we move.
How does he do in an unfenced yard?
With training, he’d probably do fine supervised in his yard. Honestly, though, we don’t know. We live between a freight line and the bus route with lots of squirrels, cats, and groundhogs passing through the yard – not an ideal place to work off leash with a dog who is very excitable outdoors.
Is he crate trained?
Yes. Eddie loves his crate. It is his #2 safe spot, after my desk. He often goes to his crate just to hang out. If you have been following us for a long time, you may have seen how he used to crawl into places where he didn’t really fit when it thundered. Now, he just heads to one of his safe spots and takes a nap. When we are not home, we do crate him. He’d do fine closed in a room without access to food (a baby gate would be insufficient), but our current setup doesn’t allow for that. At night, he sleeps on a dog bed on the floor.
Does he like car rides?
“Like” would be a very weak word to describe Eddie’s feelings on car rides. He thinks they are really fun and exciting because he can smell lots of stuff and gets to go fun places. While driving around town, he typically behaves well in my car but can get noisy in my husband’s – something that can be altered pretty easily but we just haven’t worked on it too much. We have learned that when he gets noisy in the car, it’s usually because his bladder is full. At highway speeds (55+ mph), he settles in and lounges or naps and will stay that way for hundreds of miles at a time. Since he loves the car so much, he does have a car harness that can be clipped to a car seat anchor or the seat belt buckle in the back seat. Like Big Yellow Ball and the Easy Walk, his car harness with stay with him.
How is he with kids?
We haven’t had him around kids much. He’s been around one 4-year-old a couple times but that child is shy of large dogs, and he was very interested in the elementary school aged children at obedience class. I think he’d do fine with elementary school aged and older kids as long as the kids know how to behave around dogs. While some dogs are very tolerant of any behavior, others prefer to have their space respected. Those basic little things make a big difference – don’t grab stuff out of the dog’s mouth (regardless of whether or not they guard food and toys), leave the dog alone while sleeping, don’t try to startle the dog or climb on him, and learn what signs mean a dog uncomfortable (lip licking, showing the whites of his eyes, backing away).
How is he with dogs?
He currently lives with one dog and has lived with another. He is fine with his dog housemates, although we do separate dogs for feedings and when we are not home – good rules to live by with any dog no matter how much they love each other. With a slow introduction, he can live happily with another dog although he’s not interested in playing with them. Plan on this taking about a week, possibly slightly longer, and we can give details on how to go about doing this introduction.
He is dog reactive, but has come a long way in the last few months. Other dogs are still a bit scary to him, but we have been working on making positive associations with other dogs. Seeing other dogs in a controlled environment at obedience class and a couple adoption events has helped tremendously. We also have a few tricks up our sleeves that have worked with him that we will pass on to his adopters or next foster home.
Today, he makes squeaking noises when he sees another dog on his walks. We just turn around or cross the street if he shows discomfort. Understandably, he is still not a fan of being in tight quarters with a new dog. We don’t believe he was well-socialized as a puppy, so he will probably never be a dog who loves to play with others at the dog park, but he is learning how to properly behave when he sees another dog.
How is he with cats?
Indoors, he is uninterested and should be fine with cats who don’t mind dogs. He has always ignored the kittens that stay in the waiting room at the vet clinic, even when one batted his tail. We recently introduced him to the clinic’s blood donor cat to see how he would do with an adult cat. He was fine with the cat walking beneath him, around him, around the rest of the room, and greeting him nose-to-nose. I don’t foresee him disrespecting cats who don’t like dogs. He does get excited when he sees feral cats at a distance from the balcony door.
How is he with people?
Loves them. He’s happy to cuddle on the couch, be petted, or play the occasional game of fetch. When he’s happy or doing training, his pretty eyes light up with joy.
Eddie is looking for his forever home or a new foster home. Applications for both adoptive and foster homes can be found at crossroadsanimalrescue.org.