Better Boarding. Beyond Training.
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Better Boarding. Beyond Training.
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Rescues2theRescue eval video (score 36/36): https://youtu.be/z7UKa0iJ6Vw
Enzo requires a high level of physical and mental stimulation (unsurprising for a young Malinois) but is excellent once his needs are met which can be accomplished without hours upon hours of direct interaction all day and is able to, and should, also live as a pet dog in addition to his training and future work. he is able to relax on "days off" (foster able to provide more info on this).
enzo warms up to new people quickly with a ball game. His future person should have knowledge on how to handle a leash to reduce leash tension during new intros, reinforcement strategies, counter conditioning, and how to promote relaxed intros and setting dogs up for success (this has all been done with him; this knowledge is for maintaining that). enzo was not treated well in his puppyhood (confirmed, not a guess). he was taught that confrontation, rushed approaches, and people busting through doors are cause for concern. he has come a long way in the years since then. His foster is a professional trainer and will be available for the duration of his life for behavior assistance. he prefers new people do not rush in to his home or immediately pet him, which is reasonable, but he does desire to make acquaintances with new people especially if they will play with him. once known for a few hours, he does not mind leashing (just show him the leash and ask him to come over) and once known for a few days, he will solicit petting and cuddles. with us he has been fine with a new person taking his leash after transport for a sniff around and warmed up to the handler in the eval video with a few ball tosses despite the leash tension initially. once he has known you for a few days and you are trustworthy and predictable, he is also predictable and seeks affection. After a few weeks he will even lay with you, cuddle, and smoosh his face into you. Enzo has so much potential and will likely become even more accepting of strangers under even more circumstances with consistency in setting him up for success and teaching him strangers are trustworthy and kind. Enzo should not do any kind of actual or perceived "protection" work - this scares him and he thinks it really is life or death since that's what he was made to feel in his puppyhood, but he seems more than happy to let that perception go and seems to want nothing more in life than to play ball, learn fun things, explore, and enjoy life with kind people. Enzo has interacted with children at parks off leash – they would throw his ball for him and he enjoyed that. He should not live with children though. part 1 of 4
Enzo is an extremely cooperative dog that is more than happy to drop things, get off things, sit and stay, and leave things. He has a long list of known cues that are awesome for communicating to him what you would like from him rather than body blocking, grabbing him, or holding him back. Especially early on in knowing him, he can perceive such human behaviors as confrontational. His future person should understand his point of view and appreciate his willingness to cooperate with just a little explanation from you on what you’d like him to do. Similarly, aversive tools have the potential to cause the same confliction in him. In foster, we have not used nor needed to consider aversive tools (see leash walking and offleash below). We would like to re-condition his ecollar to be positive to see if it can be used for re-solidifying his offleash reliability with a new handler, but did not want to rush this so it will be done when the time is right. We can walk him on his prong collar to see how he perceives the tool. (2/23 update: we have used his prong collar in relation to known cues on a few occasions and he responded well. we have started reconditioning the ecollar at low levels using food and this has gone well.) However, we can assume that any corrections given to Enzo must be extremely fair, considered along with all of the training approaches available, and his handler must understand and respect the risk of fallout that is very possible for any dog with an aversive tool, but especially for Enzo. We don’t anticipate aversives needing to be used often nor will he be placed in a home where the environment would constitute many situations calling for aversive tools. While his foster is an educated balanced trainer, his future person should also be well versed in reinforcement based training and concepts and/or LIMA training and not resort to “balanced training” immediately.
With his previous owner, Enzo did not like to be examined for long periods and will give warnings before a bite for this. Once he is bonded to a person and trusts them, he should allow more thorough examining, however this will take time and further conditioning. His future person should be aware of “cooperative care” principles and use some of that as the basis for intrusive handling when needed. His foster is happy to explain this too. We would prefer that his future person have a vet that understands how to work harmoniously with dogs concerned by intrusive handling so he doesn’t think vets are confrontational; fear-free certified vets are a great start. In emergencies, Enzo can and should probably be sedated with medication for the vet or even lightly sedated for any injury treatments. (update 2/23: Enzo did great at the vet office, being reinforced for good choices and pairing food with the sight of strangers and dogs. He did not though want to be handled intrusively.) Enzo has a slightly negative feeling about basket muzzles. He will avoid the muzzle being put on and if cornered and forced, he will show teeth and snap especially if he hasn’t known you for a few weeks (so the vet should not be the one to muzzle him). He has bitten through a baskerville with an inexperienced trainer in the past so a metal basket muzzle might be a good idea though a baskerville does a decent job especially given that his future person should be setting him up for success. His foster has worked on his feelings about the muzzle and not forced it on in foster so these feelings should continue to improve (video available on request). He was willing to put his head in the strap and muzzle and wear it for a short period using treats up to this point.(update 2/23: Enzo's system for putting his muzzle on is working well and doesn't require a lot of prep time, but this should be practiced when it will not be followed by an undesirable outcome such as going to the vet. He wore his muzzle for over an hour successfully going to and at the vet.) part 2 of 4
Enzo has a history of being ok, hiking and coexisting with other dogs of a neutral disposition, but must be experienced if planning to have him around other dogs (no small dogs, he sees them as prey). Enzo will choose people over dogs. The less dogs bother him, the better. He generally likes to play by himself or a person versus another dog, however he’s rarely been in an environment where he had the opportunity to try and play with a dog. He has done well on trail walks with one neutral dog at a time with his previous owner. we have not retested Enzo with dogs in foster, but can upon request. due to his high drive for toys, having him live with another dog full time could be challenging and we want to ensure his future placement is solid and harmonious. Enzo has seen other dogs pass his kennel which was paired with a treat and he is ok with that. With his previous owner, he would play ball offleash and ignore dogs in the distance. If seeing a dog at a short distance on leash, a leash will add tension to seeing the another dog, but getting attention back on you for a reward has proven to be successful as well as counter conditioning techniques.
seeking placement with a handler that will keep Enzo also as a house pet, not kept as a "kennel dog". While “structure” as in crating when not supervised, management for setting him up for success, and boundaries with clear r+ based foundations are excellent, “structure” beyond these uses of the term is not necessary for Enzo. Enzo does not need nor would he thrive with arbitrary requirements, being made to do hours-long “place-stays”, nor always having to be “in command”. Enzo has done excellent in foster with the freedom to explore the fenced yard and home and engage with toys freely outside of fun training sessions and needed crate time – this is integral to him displaying a relaxed and easy going disposition. Withholding free toy usage or free movement is not fair and will result in Enzo being pent up. seeking placement with someone that will provide future life updates to foster and previous owner (non-negotiable) as both have put a lot in to enzo's progress and training. The previous owner is 100% on board with rehoming so no complications will arise with maintaining contact and the foster keeps in contact with all placed dogs mostly to watch them thrive in their future homes, but especially for enzo to ensure his behavior progress is maintained (this requirement to maintain his behavior progress should be no problem for the person that is the right match and appreciates all the dedication that has gone in to Enzo).
Overall enzo is a fantastic dog with high potential. extremely driven. list of already known commands with history of advanced application. ball search on cue, sit/stare at indication started on ball search when out of reach of dog. high food drive, very biddable. well mannered in home. crate trained, housebroken. Rides well in car. Enzo occasionally barks in his crate when there's significant commotion outside the room his crate is in or whines when he needs to potty or not mentally/physically satiated, but has done very well in a crate and rotate foster environment. (update 2/23: Enzo has done well being crated in the same room as other crated dogs.) part 3 of 4
Enzo is a very special dog to his foster and previous owner. We are seeking the right fit, not a fast placement. Willing to adopt out of state and Canada, but would like placement to be within 12 hours drive time from New Jersey as foster would like to transport Enzo to his new home and take a few days to transition him for the best success, even though this likely isn’t completely necessary for adopter that is the right fit. We will not put Enzo on commercial transport nor plane to adopter (he did fine on commercial transport previously, but this is how we’d like to do his adoption). Enzo will have an adoption fee and a contract requiring return to his foster if the adoption does not work out at any time in his life as well as a training and lifestyle contract ensuring his training will follow the above guidelines using the humane hierarchy as a guide and a lifestyle that is as a pet dog/working partner and not overly constrictive).
· sit, down, stand, wait (these 4 commands are with implied stays, can do sit/down and stay while handler walks far away in sight),
· kennel (go in crate),
· around (spin),
· off (counter/bed),
· leave it (will even pause in pursuit of throw ball), drop it (auss; will out almost anything, anytime),
· his name (focus/attention/look/casual come),
· walking on leash (heeling long durations: prong collar*, loose leash: fairly fine on flat collar or even a harness with a 10 ft leash),
· heel (“flashy”; tends to align in front of handler, working on rear end awareness with pivot bowl),
· up (jump up on things, even small surfaces for intense work outs),
· get (newer: grab tug only on cue),
· giblaut (bark),
· in (get in car, running start for high cars),
· water/are you thirsty (water on the go),
· middle (between legs cue, be sure you’re ready if say it haha; can transition sit/down/stand in middle position),
· out (go away, give human space, human wants to be left alone)
Off leash: His previous owner had Enzo off leash in parks and fields and for hiking very often. They tended to play fetch often during this time so he would just stay near and focused on the game/training. If hiking and not playing, it is likely that their bond (developed with all the ball play), kept him nearby and willing to come close if needed. It doesn’t seem he had a specific recall cue trained. All that being said, to have him offleash, his new adopter will likely need to consider 2 options: 1. Keep him on long line while developing the same bond and a R+ trained recall cue or 2. Train a R+ based and ecollar proofed recall (again, this must be done using the best methods in R+ so that any inclusion of ecollar in his recall training is wise and fair and does not create fallout. Foster is happy to review their best steps for this and may begin this recall training in foster if time allows).
More fun facts about Enzo:
· will eat anything edible left out
· will destroy anything soft and plush like (in foster he has left pillows, socks, and blankets alone especially because toys are ready available; the destroying of plush items hasn’t been particularly excessive in foster. He likes to chew them then nibble, but they do last. He sweetly likes to carry his blanket around sometimes)
· loves basketballs but will pop them
· high prey drive, small dogs look like prey, cats too. Will chase and kill critters if see and allowed to chase.
· does not care for baby noises or being coddled/held
· infants make Enzo nervous. He has only ever experienced one infant and he did not understand it at all but was curious
· Enzo rarely communicates if he is in pain. Many times when injured, his behavior did not change at all. Visually check him for injuries.
· Enzo is not a resource guarder but if you are confrontational while he's snacking he will be upset (not unreasonable). he is cooperative with trading but if you've given him a stuffed kong or bully stick he'd like to enjoy it in peace. once he knows you, if he lays near you with his snack and you move your leg or touch him, he likely won't mind but often enjoys his snacks in his own space. you can walk close by him with his snack, no problem. With food in a bowl, again, it depends how you approach. we have this on video at request. if you are soft and kind and especially if you are pairing your approach with a treat, he will lift his head. if you are harsh or mean, he will defend himself and his food by hovering or if significantly provoked, showing teeth. This is more about confrontation than resource guarding. you can walk close by him with food no problem. his prized object is his ball or other novel/new toy. if you ask for "out" he will release it. if it bounces he may be incited to re-grab it, but just let him and ask again and he will release it. he anticipates it will be returned to him, but if he can't have it, you can put it away and reward his cooperation with a treat.
· We have much video of Enzo training and just living, enjoying life. Happy to share it all with any serious inquirer. part 4 of 4