After three weeks with Moose, I’ve learned a few things about our big boy (who lost five pounds and is now only 87 pounds!).
Moose has no idea that he is enormous. He never uses his muscle or size to break in or out of places. Initially, we put him in our ‘tiger crate’, the giant steel dog crate we purchased after a previous foster broke out of (and in the processed destroyed) two large wire crates.
Moose wasn’t crate-trained when he arrived, so it seemed like the safest place to put him, knowing that at 92 pounds, he could easily force the wire crate open if he wanted to. This week I transitioned him into a regular crate and he’s never challenged it, even when left alone overnight.
Moose is an eager student. It’s easy to teach this sweet guy just about anything. He’s walking beautifully on a head collar (better than any of my dogs). I posted a little video about training him to the head collar:
Moose will sit all the live-long day if he knows there will be a treat reward. He knows to wait before going through any door and to hop inside his crate if we point to it. When a motorcycle or a noisy tractor pass us on the road, I put him in a sit and he keeps his eyes on me (even as I see his ruff stand up because he’s anxious) until it passes because he knows it will get him a reward.
Moose is respectful. This is a big deal when we’re talking about a dog who could easily knock you over if he ever jumped up (which, I might add, he rarely does). He sits calmly (trembling) while I fix his dinner or breakfast, not pushing or whining (as one of my spoiled pups does).
Moose does not like to be alone. All this dog really wants is your company. He had a lovely Christmas in our little cottage because Ian moved out there with him. Between the pellet stove and Moose’s space heater, they kept warm despite the single digit weather. As long as Ian was in the cottage, even if he wasn’t paying attention to Moose, he was content. He cried a bit each time he was left alone, and he cries when he hears us outside without him, but otherwise he is adjusting.
Moose is a hoarder. Whenever I give him a special treat or toy, he takes it to his crate and ‘buries’ it under the bedding which results in his crate looking like a tornado has come through recently.
Moose thinks he’s a lapdog. He is happiest laying on you or with his head in your lap, if that’s all that’s allowed. Again, no awareness of his size.
While we are making great strides with this special dog, we have work to do. He needs to learn to meet people calmly. Once he knows you, his manners are spectacular, but if you’re a new person, he has a tendency to charge you (loudly), which can be a bit unsettling, considering his size.
I’ve since learned that ex-husband of his previous owner attempted to make him a guard dog. He encouraged him to react at people/delivery trucks arriving at their house. Lucky for all of us, Moose does not have any viciousness about him, and the two times he charged at new people arriving at the house, he ultimately just jumped all over them (loudly). He’s never bitten anyone, and doesn’t seem to understand that’s part of the repertoire of guard dog. Thank goodness. I marvel quite often at the resilience and gentle soul of this dog. We have quite a bit to unlearn, but he’s a wonderful student.
We will keep on with Moose, but what he really needs is a home of his own. Living in our little foster cottage currently under construction is a lonely life. Moose has so much love to share, he just needs someone with room in their own for him.
I’m headed out on a shelter tour to North Carolina next week for Who Will Let the Dogs Out. I hope you’ll follow along with us on whatever social media medium you prefer. We’ll be coming to you live on Facebook and Instagram, with posts to both, plus TikTok.
Until Each One Has a Home,
For information on me, my writing, and books, visit CaraWrites.com.
If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.
And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit WhoWillLetTheDogsOut.org and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds.
If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.
I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at email@example.com.