I took Cooper for the Central California Labrador Retriever Rescue a couple months ago. He had been an outdoor dog the first year of his life. This is not a good way for a dog to start his life. He went to a new home via Craig’s List but I don’t know the reason for that move. He got on fine with the existing dog at his new home but the interior of the house reportedly took a beating so he spent most of his time… in the backyard. Or in a crate when inside. His people said that he ran around the house looking for things to destroy.
Cooper wasn’t a good fit for my foster dogs so I only had him inside when I could put all of mine in the backyard. I did not experience the crazy, destructive behavior with Cooper. Counter-surfing, sure. Head in the trash, sure. But he pretty much left things alone. I don’t have a good explanation for this difference. My best guess is that the other dog at Cooper’s previous residence was amping him up, and that contributed to his destructive behavior. But that’s just a guess.
At 104 pounds Cooper was probably 20+ lbs. overweight when I got him. This gave him a bull-in-a-china-shop quality that made him a challenge to handle. Plus, he may have been the strongest dog I’ve ever had to work with. Just his sheer mass made him difficult to walk on a leash when he was determined to go his own way. So Cooper needed to lose weight, was difficult to walk on a leash, needed to learn some manners, and could be awfully stubborn at times. He couldn’t go home with just anyone. But everyone wanted him because–did I mention?–he is incredibly handsome.
Fortunately, the right family came along sooner than expected. Both parents work from home which makes monitoring Cooper’s behavior in the house a lot easier. And they clearly weren’t looking for the perfect dog. They all were willing to to take a dog that needs some polishing. They planned to hire a trainer right away to help with Cooper’s development. I laid out all the challenges they would face but they were not dissuaded. Cooper was the one. The reports have been good. Cooper loves the pool. And despite his flaws, Cooper is home and not going anywhere. Another happy ending.