Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted March 12, 2015
My husband and I adopted our dog, Duke, from a rescue organization three years ago. When we met him, he was very fearful and reserved. It took a great deal of positive reinforcement training and physical affection to build his confidence and trust, but he is still fearful when we drop something by accident or even open a drawer beside his bed. At the same time, he is OK with being touched anywhere on his body (paws included), but of course, he won't let us clip his nails :) People describe him as laid back and mellow, but this is really in regard to the fact that he doesn't play at all! Not everyone recognizes his anxiety until they have spent a period of time with him.
He loves to be pet but does not cuddle. We have to approach him and then he eats up the affection. He doesn't like to be on the furniture, and it is very possible his previous owner did not allow him on sofas and beds. This is actually a good thing because his joints will not support regular jumps from the furniture to the floor.
Duke has fear aggression toward other dogs that we noticed as soon as we brought him home three years ago. He growls, barks, shows teeth, and lunges at other dogs, but he has never bitten another animal or person. There are a few dogs he has absolutely no issues with. That is a mystery to us. Despite training attempts, his fear aggression is still present.
Because he is part Beagle, he does search for food on every walk. We live in the city and so we have to pay very close attention when he starts sniffing around. He used to pull on the leash, but we purchased a front-lead harness, which has nearly eliminated the problem.
Though he has arthritis in his shoulder, he is an otherwise healthy dog. He had heart worm and was treated prior to coming to us. Thankfully, it appears that there is no long-term damage from the heart worm or the Immiticide treatment. He has somewhat loose stool, but it has improved a lot since we started feeding him a limited ingredient dog food.
All in all, I am thrilled to have found him. He's probably one of the easiest dogs to care for and is adorable too :)