Monday, July 27, 2009

10 Things I've learned about Samson

Here's are 10 things I've learned about Samson this weekend.

First, Samson is not his name. It must be what the Human Society gave him to identify and personalize, but he doesn't respond to it. Fortunately, he's very attentive, so we have not needed there to be a name. In fact, if he were mine his name would be Shadow because he does follow me everywhere.

Second, he's house broken! He will run in circles at the door. A rather loud and big event considering his size!

Third, he been rather well trained. He knows a number of commands - "sit", "lie down", "no", "come" and I'm sure many more I haven't used yet. He has been trained with a leash. I spent one walk having to remind him he was expected to walk well on it. Squirrels and cats are still a huge issue, but I think a month of this would have him nearly perfect.

Fourth, he takes food gently from my hand - which is great for giving him his medicine.

Fifth, this was a well pampered dog! The worst thing that has ever happened to him is this crate. He expects to sleep on the bed with us and to sit on the couch with us. To tell him to get down after he's up there really confuses him. He doesn't think he's getting away with something. He thinks it's completely natural for him to be everywhere doing everything you are doing. He will leave you in the backyard for A/C. He is accustomed to human food. He recognizes a box of Milkbones.

Sixth, he will bury whatever rawhide bone you give him. Other than that he doesn't do any other damage in the yard.

Seven, he will lie down quietly if we are engaged in another activity like watching TV or having a conversation. There is no demanding that we pay attention to him. But if you get up or look his way, he's on it!

Eight, he cannot be trusted in the kitchen if no one is in there. We lost two hamburgers Saturday night. If we're in there, he smells the air, but does not touch the counter. I also appreciate the he moves out of my way as I move around. Dakota didn't do that - probably because he couldn't.

Nine, he's playful, energetic AND knows how to play gently. He puts my hand and arm in his mouth, but does not clamp down. He loves to nuzzle my hand when I'm walking about the house. He was very tempted to try and catch my legs as they passed by on the treadmill this morning.

Ten, he hates to be alone. I let him in the backyard to do his business and when he's ready, he comes to the stoop and howls the most mournful thing. We also put him his crate to run out for 15 minutes yesterday and you could hear the howling at the street. When James left this morning, he cried at the front door and eventually quieted down lying with his back pressed against the door watching the handle. I left him with a rawhide bone and the entire back porch (with little on it) and clear the windows to the floor so he can watch birds and squirrels.... Any suggestions????? Is this a breed thing???? I think this may be why he's at the humane society. He could not live in a multifamily dwelling without the neighbors complaining....


Theresa said...

Samson sounds like a fine and sweet dog. It's not a breed thing really with the sep. anxiety. Part of it might be that he was always with a family and someone home, and face it, he's been dumped into a situation which he was woefully unprepared. He's going to latch onto you guys for dear life if that's his make-up. The other thing is dogs in general are social, labs very much so. Single dogs have only their owners as pack mates. The howling may taper off as he learns the routine. He'll know your coming back. Short trips away and maybe a stuffed heavy duty Kong toy might help, or he just may always pine for his people. How does he ride? If you can find it, Second Hand Dog by Carol Lea Benjamin is an excellent reference. For a long time I gave out copies of this with each foster I had.
Another option for him other than stay at home people are construction guys. I've known a bunch of wonderful dogs that spent every day traveling with their owners, going to job sites, meeting other take along buddies and they lived the life of Riley.

Life Looms Large said...

I love your 10 things about Samson list!!

I don't think the separation anxiety is a breed specific thing. We had a lab growing up who didn't behave that way at all.

Of the dogs we've adopted from shelters, one of them had been a stray and he had pretty bad separation anxiety. It resulted in some howling which then progressed to chewing.

What can you do about separation anxiety in a week? I wish I had good ideas, but I don't. If he's destructive, you might have to crate him. I'd suggest a dog daycare place where he could play all day - but they might not take him since he's got kennel cough. Any dog walkers, or teenagers willing to be dog walkers around you?

I know our local SPCA would be extremely helpful with tips about any dog's issues, especially if it's one of the dogs they're trying to find a home for. Can you get advice from the shelter that Samson came from?

OK, I'm babbling. Hopefully he's napping and lounging, waiting for you to get home to play with him!

Good luck! You're doing a very nice thing for this dog!


Jennifer said...

Update from my check in on Samson at lunch - I found him of all places in his crate.... asleep.... Now the crate was blocking the door to the kitchen and would be the highest source of the A/C. So I'm sure this is about creature comforts, but he will choose his crate with the door wide open!

Thanks for the encouragement and the ideas. i had one woman at work talk of leaving the TV or the radio on to keep their dogs from howling. I may try that tomorrow. This would make a GREAT on-the-job dog - like a studio or a gallery. He entertains himself well and is very friendly. I have written the Humane Society for ideas and to give them an update. Honestly, this dog is so changed from when I met it, I don't think she would recognize him.

Theresa said...


It so sounds like the howling will pass. If he's settled down enough to go snooze in his crate it sounds more like it's just getting to know the ropes. Worst case, he howls for a few minutes after you go and gives up.
I have 3 confirmed crate sleepers and the couch is available( along with lots of dog beds), they just prefer their crates. Lots of dogs do.
Sounds like you are making GREAT progress. What a lucky dog to get such wonderful people to help him on his way to a forever home.

Life Looms Large said...

I'm glad to see from the update that Samson did calm down after being home alone for a while. That's a good thing!!

The crate probably feels really secure right now to him - another good thing!

Sounds like you'll get through your week just fine (I was a little worried he might take a page out of Kodi's book and start chewing parts of your house). And now the shelter will know a little more about how to help him find the perfect home.

Lucky dog!!