Meet Marshall, my latest guest from Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue. This time I actually have a Golden Retriever. He came over to my place because he was so stressed in the kennels at Homeward Bound that he actually hid under his bed much of the time.
Marshall is about a year and a half and has been a backyard dog for much of his life. He apparently received very little training so his manners are atrocious. He jumps up on people, mouths very hard at times, and pulls hard on the leash. Check that. He lunges with vigor on the leash.
It’s not his fault, of course. When dogs have problems it’s almost always due to the humans in their lives. Sometimes the humans are deficient in some way but many times it’s due simply to bad luck. Marshall’s original owners didn’t have enough time for him so they wisely found him another home. Sadly, there was too much upheaval in his second home along with a severe injury to his human so Marshall was largely left to raise himself. The results have been less than optimal.
This handsome boy actually has a lot to offer … once we get the behavior under control. He’s smart, athletic, and intensely curious about everything in his world. What concerns me more than his behavior is that he has yet to make a strong bond with a human. He’s not afraid of me at all but he’s made it pretty clear that I’m not a priority in his life. Dogs, especially Golden Retrievers, are social animals so it’s not natural for them to be this aloof. I think of Marshall as having a hole in his soul.
We’ve made some progress on decreasing the mouthing and jumping up. But he still has moments when he decides to be a brat. In fact, that’s why I’m typing this now. I took him out for his last potty of the night and he decided the leash and my hands and ankles were fair game. So I took him back to his kennel and asked him to think about what kind of dog he wants to be. It’s about time to go out and give him another chance to behave. G’night all.