From Diesel's current family: Our previous dog had been highly energetic, so we were not scared of an active dog. We were, however, ill prepared for the scars that Diesel had suffered from his previous owners. He has been with us for 8 months and we have seen a ton of progress. We believe to-date that he is almost a year and half. He weighs 62 lbs. He has attended basic training classes. He is a fast learning; he learned how to fetch and bring back a tennis ball in 3 minutes—all based on sounds and commands as well as fetch the paper.
Diesel is a beautiful dog with a gorgeous raccoon tail. He is fun and playful. He is good with children 5 and older. Young children (less than age 3) scare him and he often hides in his crate or exhibits nipping behavior when they visit our house.
We have curbed his nipping, but he will nip when overly excited, nervous, and anxious. We see this behavior occur especially after I return from work or return from picking up my children from school. He occasionally nips when we play with him.
He has warmed up to people tremendously over the last 8 months. He barks when the doorbell rings or sees someone in an adjacent yard and can be territorial, but then is eager to say hello and meet/greet people. This is a huge step forward. I admit that I am still tentative with him when meeting service/delivery people, the mailman, UPS, and FedEx drivers. In a recent incident, he bolted out of our garage and went barking and racing after the mailman’s truck. I was able to call him back, but it was a scary situation.
As noted above, he has become much more trusting of people. He was likely abused prior to staying with us. We see this behavior with men. He still cowers, barks and growls at men, including my husband. He seems to trust women more than men and recognizes those who are “dog” people.
He is highly energetic and requires a vast amount of exercise and play. I walk/run him 45 minutes to 1 hour each morning and he gets a 30-minute walk or ball playing time in the evening. If he is not exercised, he becomes destructive and chews anything in his sight. We give him chew toys, nylabones, and mind games to try and keep him occupied during “off times”.
He appears to play well with other dogs. He plays with the neighbor’s Airedale for a couple of hours a week and I also bring him to doggy-day care to be socialized 1-2 times a week. (I believe he can be intimated by bigger dogs and appears not to like boxers and bulldogs.) I am unsure how is he with cats since he rarely interacts with them.
He is crate trained and uses his crate as a “safety zone” as well as a place to rest. We crate him when we go to work and at bedtime. I would love to stop crating him, but we do not trust him from chewing up the house or the outside.
He loves food and all types, however, he has a very sensitive stomach. I am unsure if this is linked anxiety or just a wonky stomach micro-biota. I have worked with the vet’s office for the past 6 months trying to figure out a diet that is appropriate. We have settled on dry food two-times per day along with folate daily, probiotics daily, and a B12 shot monthly. If he seems anxious, I give him a Pepcid (15 mg) to settle his stomach. He gets oatmeal as a snack, which assists in firming up his stool. I have also tried homemade snacks, including peanut butter/oatmeal dog cookies. It takes many weeks for him to adjust to new food and most commercially made snacks give him diarrhea.
Given his strength and weight (he is a big cattle dog), he can be a bear to walk. With the initial training classes, I used treats to walk him. That worked wonders, but it was terrible for his stomach. I have since tried various collars. The first five minutes are the most vigorous and difficult and then he settles down into a rhythm. He usually does better with one walker rather than the whole family and he likes consistency, which includes regular morning/afternoon walks. He loves hiking and during those times we let him off leash. He relishes those moments when he gets to run and be free.
He does appear to have an instinct to run after school buses, big vehicles, motorcycles, and bikes. I have continuously worked with him on curbing this habit. He is less inclined to go after bikes, but is still keen to go after large vehicles.
He is a cattle dog that attaches to one individual. He chose me within the first week and is like velco. He refuses to be walked by my husband or children, which has posed many challenges given my work schedule and activities.
He will make a wonderful companion to a couple or family with large open spaces or a farm where he can work and be occupied daily. He needs consistency and constancy from his owners, which is something that I cannot always provide given my erratic work schedule. He also wants more canine companions. I see how happy he is when he attends doggy-day care. I also feel terrible that he has to be crated; he needs an environment where he can roam freely.
While giving Diesel up will be very difficult for my kids and me, Diesel and my husband have a difficult relationship. We are having to give up Diesel because even after socializing with humans and dogs, Diesel refuses to stop barking at my husband. It is causing a lot of tension for my family.