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Advice Needed: to rescue or not? (Long Post)

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Joined: 18 Jun 2003
Posts: 3
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: 06/18/03, 2:06 am    Post subject: Advice Needed: to rescue or not? (Long Post) Reply with quote


For the past year I have been keeping my eye out for either a GWP or WPG available for rescue. I think I have finally found a male GWP that may fit with me and my family.

I need advice as to whether or not you, who all know this breed so well, agree with me and think it is worth my time, the dog's time, and that of the shelter's time to pursue this adoption. It'll be a two day drive just to meet him.

I am an avid upland hunter who has not owned a bird dog in 15 years. I grew up hunting with family dogs (Irish Setters, Goldens, and Springers). I haven't trained a dog, especially for hunting, in a very long time. I am a school teacher who has summers off to work with the dog. I do have a couple of hunt buddies who regularly train their pointing dogs, so I will have some support. I also have two small boys at home.

Now, about the dog. He is beautiful. He is young, maybe 3-4 years old. He has been hunted, to what extent, I don't know. I hope to get more information tomorrow. I am told that he was timid when he first came to the shelter because he had been yelled at and reprimanded often due to his aggressiveness towards cats and rabbits. He has, to their demise, gotten ahold of a some cats and rabbits in the past. That is why he was exiled. He has had no obedience training to speak of, but he is good with children and friendly with adults. He has been kenneled his entire life. He barks and growls at other dogs when he first meets them and then acts fine toward them once he gets to know them.

My questions are as follows:
1. Is it possible/probable to help him become less aggressive towards cats and rabbits? Not that there are many of either where I live. I just don't want him off to the races when he sees one with me hollering, "Whoa!" is a cloud of dust.
2. Can his immediate response to other dogs be mellowed? Can he be better socialized at this age? Is he reating this way out of fear?
3. Is it too late to obedience and field train him?
4. If, on the extreme off chance, that he is gun shy, is there a fix for that?
5. Is it possible to housetrain him at this point in his life? Not that I want to turn him into a house dog. I am happy to build him a kennel. In fact, I think I'd prefer to keep him in the kennel during the day and in a crate in the house at night.
6. Which training books and videos would you all recommend?
Of course, if you can think of answers to the questions I haven't thought to ask, please feel free to answer them.

I feel like I am focusing so much on the negative aspects of this dog. He is so beautiful. He deserves a second chance; I'd like to give him that if possible. I do want to err on the side of caution here, because I'd hate to ruin him for good if he and I were not able to be successful together.

Thanks for your time and advice.
Keith Hunter
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Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 6
Location: casper, wy

PostPosted: 06/18/03, 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The answer to most of your questions is yes it can be done. I have taken in gwp's from people that decided the dog was just not in their lifestyle. I have one that I just placed with a man who is just tickled pink with the dog , but not after a lot of frustration. The dog waws similar to the one you describe, it was timid and did not handle situations like the one you are looking at. Plan on spending alot of repetitive time with the dog in order to get the dog the way you want it. Do not expect the dog to be perfect. I would try to spend some time at the shelter with the dog and see how it reacts to you and your family. I believe I saw a post on this site (or Gun Dog magazine) from a man in North Dakota that prefers rescue dogs. You might check that one out. Good Luck.
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Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 33

PostPosted: 06/18/03, 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please consider the book, Second Hand Dog by Carol Lea Benjamin. It is a terrific book about adopting an older dog from a rescue/humane society or just unknown background. It'll help you deal with some of the baggage your boy might be coming with.
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