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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dante's Story

Our New Boy August 2013.

When we were looking for a second dog we first came up with exactly what we wanted in our new dog. Having worked with Tex-Anna through many issues (with more still to conquer) we wanted to be very picky in our next dog. Tex-Anna we rescued because she needed somewhere to go and no one else wanted her, she also had great qualities that out shined her bad habits and behavioral issues - we knew we could help her through her issues and have a great dog in the end.

*Editors Note 3/23/16 - initially we had planned on keeping Tex-Anna. However even though we were able to help her through her behavioral issues their was one thing we couldn't help her with. She was terrified to walk on our wood floors and was constantly skittering, rushing/falling, and slipping on the floors because I think she thought they were slippery even though she had plenty of traction - it was all in her head.  Our friends who ended up adopting her haven't had this issue at all with her, and when she comes over to visit us at our home she now walks normally on the floors. Silly dog.**

For our second dog we knew that their were certain issues that we couldn't handle while still working with Tex-Anna.

Requirements for dog #2:
  • Cat friendly - we have 2 cats
  • We wanted a younger dog but not a puppy - we didn't have time for a puppy and the age gap could stress out Tex-Anna (senior dogs typically do not like puppy energy).
  • Wanted an athletic dog
  • Looking for a large breed dog
  • Med - High energy
  • Hiking, rollerblading, jogging buddy
  • Preferably a bully breed.
We then contacted a local rescue group in our area.The rescue we chose to work with was run by a group of dog trainers who evaluated dogs and their potential adopting family. They also did home checks and ran the dogs through a series of tests to determine personality, work-ability, and look for the best match for the family.

Unfortunately at the time we were looking they didn't have any dogs that matched our desires, but we were willing to wait for the right dog to come along.

A short time later on a Friday I got a phone call saying they were pretty sure they had found the perfect dog for us, but their was a catch....he was in Redmond Oregon. The rescue had already evaluated him and were willing to take him in, he was high energy, responsive to directions, dog/cat/child friendly but his family wanted him gone immediately and the rescue workers were out of town doing a dog agility competition. 

Why did the family want him gone?   

It wasn't that he was a bad dog, but he ate a lot of food, was digging under their fence and the family couldn't walk him anywhere without being dragged. They simply couldn't handle his wild ways. On top of that they had a senior dog, 2 cats (one was a kitten), and 4 kids. They lived in a tiny 2 bedroom house and almost no yard. If he wasn't picked up by Friday night then the family said they would dump him off at a shelter.

**I don't want to judge. But I really wish more people would put time and consideration into why they want a pet, determine how much time they have to care for said pet, and make sure they can meet the needs of the animal. If you don't currently live an active lifestyle don't think an active dog will help you to exercise. Can you afford the animal? Vet bills, medications, food, toys, etc? And if you don't have room then don't get a large breed!!**

The rescue group said if I was willing to drive from Eugene to pick him up (2 1/2 hour drive) then I could test run him for the weekend. If he wasn't what we wanted then the rescue said that they would be willing to pick him up on Monday. But if we liked him we could keep him without paying for the adoption fee! Having already met us the rescue felt comfortable with our ability to handle him.

Off to Redmond I went!

The picture they sent me of the dog was terrible, he looked like a hound with a long face (I wish I had kept that picture). I sure was surprised meeting him in person!

The first time I met Dante previously named Diesel.
Sure enough I clipped a leash on this big guy and he tried to drag me down the street! With so much pent up energy I knew I had to burn some of it off before making the long drive home.

We walked (attempted to walk), and he slowly began to understand what I wanted from him by the time we left. Thankfully I exercise a lot because he made me work hard to keep him under control. After I burned off some of his energy with a long walk we drove home (he did great staying in the back of the car), and then my husband worked with him. By the end of the evening he was "heeling" very nicely.

My hubby loved him immediately!

First Night Home!

Love at first sight, we knew he was a keeper! The name Diesel had to go - it was way too stereotypical. We had a list going and decided that he made a good Dante.

We were very careful about making a proper introduction with him to our new home and pet family members. 
  1. First we burned off more of his energy so that he was more calm, it was a long drive and he needed to stretch his legs a bit.
  2. Pack walk with Tex-Anna.
    1. Its best for dogs to meet on neutral territory.
  3. Immediately begin establishing your house rules.
    1. Leave the leash on and walk the new dog into each room that they are allowed to enter into all the while asking for and rewarding calm behavior.
      1. Avoid rooms you do not want the dog in, best to start good boundaries now.
  4. After the tour introduce non-doggy members of the pack - cats in our case.
  5. Show your new dog where their food and water will be placed.
Tex-Anna tolerated him well, and he never bothered the cats which made us very happy. 

Love my two boys!

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