Buck, a.k.a. Buddy, has changed a lot in this past month. When he arrived, he was shy/fearful and was only comfortable on couches in the living room. He was sleeping almost round the clock, and we began to think maybe he was older than his first vet estimate of five years.
Buddy had a behavioral evaluation on December 31 because of an incident with a child at a previous foster home (a toddler fell on him and got scratched), shy behaviors, the possibility of not liking male dogs, and his not moving around the house. He was described as oddly mellow, not engaged, and uncomfortable in a house; yet no negative behaviors were observed. He was described as a wonderful dog and very sweet, but probably having had some trauma or was being shut down because of recent changes or maybe just not having been in a house before. He is into people. We were advised to take it slow and let him figure things out, that a whole other dog could emerge. He should be marked as unavailable for adoption as this process takes place. An ideal home was described as one with no kids under 12, a quieter home with opportunities for exercise and socializing.
Buck has had a few accidents of the solid variety in the house. He was licking a lot, including his genitals, and a vet visit was advised to see if there was a medical reason involved. Expensive scans and hormonal testing were not done, but the vet did test for Infection, and none was indicated. She thought the reason was likely boredom and needing more exercise. (She also characterized him on this 1-26-17 visit as bright, active, alert, and smart.) We increased his walks to include one lengthier walk of two to four miles once a day, and he has seemed more alert, peppier, and livelier with that regime. The licking has lessened. He likes to roll in snow (he is an itchy guy) and eat snow. At first, he seemed interested in other dogs we'd see on walks, but was unsure what to do with them. He is now a friendly, though rather shy, greeter. We have yet to see him get into a puppy play position with another dog.
Buck/Buddy LOVES his walks outside.
Buddy does not generally pull when on a walk, though he has done so on occasion when in close proximity with a squirrel or a rabbit. A regular leash and a martingale collar have been adequate. Although he seemed unacquainted with "sit" and "down" (but learned or is re- learning with the help of some treats), he seems trained in walking at pace with his human walker. He did not understand the words "stay" and "wait," but we are practicing by having him sit and wait while we put his food dish down, and there are situations where he seems to know staying or waiting is the thing to do.
Buddy eats his food very fast. He belches fairly soon after finishing. If we pick up the adjacent water dish while he is eating, he does not guard his food and often steps away from his food till we are done. He takes treats gently.
At first, his eyes looked constantly sad, and he did not play. He does not seem acquainted with or interested in balls, though we are rolling and tossing them to one another to see if he might catch interest. He likes licking peanut butter from a Kong and mouthing a marrow bone. We have tried a game of calling him back and forth between us and, although hesitant at first, he runs back and forth with enthusiasm. When he reaches me, he comes to a sit at my front right, and I am encouraging him to keep doing this because I'd otherwise be afraid of a 70-pound dog flying towards me. With increasing exercise, his endurance is also growing. He also likes to run alongside. He is now seeming like a younger dog than what we thought earlier. He noses for attention and pets. He rolls over to have his tummy rubbed.
I have taken Buck out and about. We went in to the neighborhood hardware store together where the resident dog goes hunting, and I talked with the owner about clues as to whether Buck had a hunting background. I take him to work a few times a week, and he seems to like the walk to and from, the change of scenery, the large carpeted areas where he can romp, greeting my office mate, answering the door with me, and greeting people in a calm but friendly manner. He even attended a committee meeting - he greeted each person who came in, then settled down and was unobtrusive.
Buddy has chewed some items - tissues, a paper bag, a flip-flop, the strap of a Croc shoe, and a remote (once here and once at previous foster). He also is increasingly interested in the kitchen and counter-surfed when we were away, helping himself to dog biscuits and treats, which are now high up. We were advised to get him a kennel which RAGOM provided (and delivered!), and we are still introducing it to him with the door open. He seems like he knows kennels and doesn't favor them. A work in progress...
Although the first time I took Buddy in the car, he hopped right in and settled down in the back seat, since then he resists getting in, shakes, seems afraid. Several things will need more work, and he should be taken to obedience classes, but he is a fine and beautiful dog.