Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Training: Previous owner
Posted October 13, 2014
We got Sandy as a second dog when my children were young. She was rescued from under a house where her owner had killed her mother and siblings. Sandy was easy to train to use the bathroom outside, as well as for things such as going to her blanket when plates were brought out to the table.
When we would leave Sandy alone for short periods of time, she would use the bathroom in the house even if she just went, would eat the kids shoes and toys and chew the bottom stair. We decided Sandy needed crate training and bought a large one from our animal shelter. Any time Sandy could not be watched or had to be left alone, into the crate she went. We did this for a full year then tried her outside of the crate while we went to the store. She chewed a shoe, and back to crating we went for another six months. By about 2 years of age, Sandy could be left out of her crate while we were gone, although from time to time she'd sneak a snack out of the garbage if we forgot to secure it.
Due to her history, loud noises made Sandy empty her bladder in a panic reflex like Niagara Falls. She seemed to suffer no other behavioral issues due to her bad start.
This dog had the thick undercoat of a husky, the facial markings (although pale) and the two different colored eyes, with the overcoat of a golden lab. She required infrequent brushing except when it was shedding season, at which point tufts of fur floated across our floors like tumbleweeds no matter how many times we swept and vacuumed.
This dog had had great energy and enjoyed a 5-6km walk per day. We were able to walk her off-leash on trails and fields, or at the beach and she would never go out of her range. She was great with coming back when called. Problem with this dog was the lab part. If there was a puddle, stream, brook, bay, or swimming hole anywhere in the vicinity, she ran straight for it. Calling her back produced the facial expression of a pouting child. We often let her swim to her hearts content. Due to the thick undercoat of a husky, this dog did not dry as well as labs normally do.
Sandy lived to a good age compared to live expectancy with no vet costs outside of routine things until she developed kidney cancer. Her time sick was very short and we made the hard decision to put her down to be sure she didn't suffer.
I would recommend this dog to anyone, but crate training and daily walks are required to make sure the animal is safe and healthy.