Sparky is a fairly easy to care for pooch. He is about 6 years old and he came to us fully house trained and after a couple of tests we found that he is perfectly fine being left at home with free run of the house. He doesn’t destroy anything, and doesn’t get into any trouble.
But Sparky is just a dog. He really doesn’t have any special personality traits that make you go “WOW” I just love that dog. He plays tug with the other dogs, and just largely joined the pack. We had some early dominance issues but once he learned his place, he completely respected it. The one thing that I cannot get Sparky to learn is the dog door. My normal methods don’t work.
Normally, to teach a dog to use the door, I would put him outside, then hold the door open and offer a treat from inside. He would come through the door and we would repeat a couple of times. Then I would call him and hold the treat on the other side of the flap until he pushed his nose through and came on through the flap. But Sparky won’t even come near the door if the door isn’t open. You can hold the flap open and he won’t even look to the dog door…. he keeps looking up to where your face should be.
You can’t use the backup method of shoving him through the door. With most dogs, you can lead them to the door and at least teach them how to go out even if they can’t figure out how to get back in. I have done this by getting the dog to the doggy door and lifting the flap, and then pushing the dog’s head to the door. Once the dog sees light on the other side, I can push… gently… on their shoulders and they will dart out the door.
But you can’t man handle Sparky. He is really sensitive about being picked up, turned over, or pushed. If you try to handle him, he bites. And this is why he is hard to get adopted out. Anyone with small children are kind of out of the picture because you never know when a small child will lay on him or push him. He gets really nasty if you do. And if you do turn him upside down to dominate him, he cries like a stuck pig. He just panics.
He will make someone a good pet though. He loves being scrubbed on the back and the head. And he is very low maintenance. The labs that we have kept always want to be on you or with you all the time. They shadow you. But Sparky… just lays on the bed in the hall or on the bed in your office and does nothing. He just lays there. In fact, if you leave your office and go to bed, all of the other dogs will get up and follow you to bed…. but Sparky will just be perfectly content sleeping right where he was. The only thing that gets him up is when he thinks it is time for food or he wants water.
As for the doggy door thing, he is a tanker. He can hold it forever. He has never had an accident even when I am working on a big project in the basement and forget to let him out periodically. When he gets to the point that he really needs to go, he comes and finds you, and then nudges you on the hand until you follow him. He will lead you to the door and as soon as you open it, he runs out.
So, Sparky is a dog. He doesn’t require much maintenance. He doesn’t require much attention. He plays well with the other dogs. He is pretty much a good dog… as long as you don’t try to physically handle him. He is toy aggressive at first, but then after some scolding he stopped being toy aggressive.