** Note this video was made his THIRD week here. Not even a full month. This dog has completely transformed from the anxious, unsure rescue dog he was his first day.
* The reason he has a cone on him in the video is because he was neutered on 2/17/10 and we don't want him biting his stitches.
Souljur is a male one year old German Shepherd x Pitbull mix who also has a bit of Akita in his blood. His GSD versatility and Pitbull antics lead me to believe these two breeds are dominant, but his facial structure and ears are undeniably Akita. Stature, fur, and tail are all GSD. Build, antics, temperament, muscles and paws are Pitbull.
I adopted Souljur roughly three weeks ago on January 30th [ a Saturday ], 2010. His euthanasia date from animal control was to be February 2nd.
When I found him on the WWW.DOGSINDANGER.COM website, he'd had less than a week to live.
I drove a total of 9 hours out of my area to rescue him.
When he came to our house, he was unruly and didn't know what was expected of him. He had trust and behavior issues like nipping and jumping up. He didn't know anything but sit, and even then he'd need a treat to be prompted. He wouldn't go up or down any stairs for fear of falling as he'd never been up them before at age one [ so they were dizzying to him ]...
With patience, POSITIVE reinforcement, NO BIAS ON HIS CONCOCTION OF BREEDS, -no- harsh or negative or "tough" training [ which just shuts him down I've discovered by other people's "tips" I've tried ], he has become the lovable and trainable dog glued to my side today. He definitely is a project, but together we are healing. He still has a long way to go, but everyday is a new slate.
I have homeschooled him everything he knows today in just three weeks [ but I can't take anymore than 25% credit; he has the versatility of the Shepherd and the trying heart of the Pitbull ], and through mutual respect we've made it SO far. Many people have told me to look at his size and consider his breeds and tell me to use a firm hand with negative reinforcement. They've tried telling me I was doing it wrong, and a "certified dog trainer" once even told me to force him down the stairs [ of course, the staircase she forced him down were the stairs he took longest to go down out of all of the rest in our house because he was traumatized from that experience ]. I'll tell anyone who thinks the same way I do that you should never force a dog down anything. Prompt him, but give him the respect he deserves. He's not "below" you [ most people don't think this, but I've found people who encourage negative reinforcement generally do ].
All it takes is love, dedication, time, patience, and RESPECT. You can achieve so much more than what you bargain for with a dog who loves and respects you back. You just need to share the same respect for him, and be an alpha that's fair [ being an alpha doesn't mean becoming mean or having a power trip ] and you will have a lasting relationship. :)
Looking back, I can't believe Souljur was the unruly dog that had me in tears three times in the first two days he'd arrived. With perseverance and praise, he's made himself from a dog who wouldn't listen at all due to lack of trust and unclear signals, to a dog who knows much more now in three WEEKS than any other rescue I've ever owned.
I'm the proudest dog owner there ever could be [ haha, doesn't every dog owner say this? ], and everyday is a new adventure. Again, most of this is him and his willingness to love and trust me after his bad past, but loving him back and having endless patience doesn't hurt either ;)
Song: Paper Heart
Artist: All American Rejects
Copyright: 100% to them and their record label. I do not own the song, only the gorgeous dog ;)
NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED WHAT SO EVER.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Skeletor's new friend: a rescue named Souljur
Souljur's rescuer is a really good trainer. Perhaps I can learn a thing or two!