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Scout Shepherd: Notes on a foster dog

Originally named “Gus” by the Friends Animal Shelter, details eventually came out as to who he was and why he is so scared of people.  You’d be scared too if someone shot you in the head!  Scout is here to find serenity and learn trust once again.

Last Updated: June 27, 2020

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Jan. 14, 2020
  • Breed: Shepherd Mix
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Youth, Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: @ 55 Pounds
  • Spayed/Neutered: Unknown
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: Nervous but not aggressive.
  • Gets Along with: People, Dogs, Cats
  • Crate Trained: No
  • Housebroken: Maybe.
  • Departure date: Undetermined

History

Scout was part of a “pack” of dogs whose owner let them run loose in the neighborhood.  One neighbor took exception to that and shot Scout in the head.  He survived — physically — but is so scared of people now he won’t let most people anywhere near him.

Scout’s Progress Summary:

Detailed notes on this foster dog’s progress are posted below the summary.

Dog to Dog Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: Yes
  • Preferred style of play:

Dog to People Behavior

  • Is affectionate: Getting there
  • Is good with:
    .   Men: Yes, once he warms to you.
    .   Women: Yes, once he warms to you
    .   Children: Little Kids are scary things!
  • Jumps up on people: No
  • Mouths: No
  • Walks well on a leash: No

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters his crate: No
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: No  Yes
  • Understands going outside to potty: No  Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: No  Yes
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: No  Yes
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: No  Yes
  • Stays off people furniture: No  Yes

Commands:

  • Comes when called: No
  • Sits on command: No
  • Down / Off: No
  • Shake / Paw: No
  • Kennels on command: No

Medical

  • DA2PP: date (by)
    . Booster:
  • Bordatella: date (by)
  • Wormed: Dates | Product | Dose | By
  • Rabies: date (by)
  • Spay/Neuter: date (by)
  • Heartworm Test: date, result (by)
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    . date, product, dose
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . date, product, dose
  • NOTES:
    . Stopped eating 06/10, very loose stool.  Giving 11ml Fendbendazole daily 06/11 – 06/15 – that took care of it.
    .

Diet

Blue Buffalo Chicken & Brown Rice, 1 cup AM, 1 cup PM.  White Castle cheese slider for lunch (because he loves these).

Our peanut butter treats as rewards for compliance.  Other treats include Retriever Beef Basted Sticks and Hartz Oinkies: Chicken

Gallery

In chronological order, newest at the bottom. Some pictures are linked to a more detailed Doggy Tale about that update, click those to open the related story.

Your room is ready, sir.

Tarp in place to block that cold North wind.

Scouts hidey hole from the bitter cold.

Dog’s eye view

New ceiling from sheets of cardboard over warm room hold down the heat.

But he’s not having any part of that, so I hung a heat lamp over his bed outside.

Scout is letting me pet him!

FINALLY! I got a collar on him

Progress Updates

Progress notes are listed below, in chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Jan 14

Today Scout bade farewell (for a while) to Autumn at Friends Animal Shelter.  She was the only staff member able to get inside Scout’s defenses (and his kennel).  She accomplished this with her gentle spirit — and bags of Krystal cheeseburgers.

I took her advice and showed up for my first “interview” with Scout with a bag of bribery in tow.  It worked, he let me come into his kennel and sit in one corner while he cowered in the opposite corner.  But he let me in!

Yesterday Marie bought a box of White Castle cheeseburgers at the grocery store — they’re pretty much the same, right?  Maybe not!  Today I held out a quarter of a White Castle to Scout, he sniffed it and turned up his nose, “That is NOT a Krystal cheeseburger!”  He wanted nothing to do with it — until we got him into the transport box and were on our way to PMFC, then he decided to pick out the meat and cheese, but stomped the bun into paste on the floor of his box.

Jan 19

It’s going to be COLD over the next few nights, down in the teens.  Yeah, yeah, the Wisconsinites scoff when I say that, “You call THAT cold?” Well, yeah, in Tennessee we DO call that cold.  And I’m concerned about Scout.  All the others will go inside at night — and in the day if it’s too cold, just come out for potty breaks.  But Scout isn’t having any part of wearing a collar yet, much less going for leash walks.

The plan has always been to have inside and outside areas for our kennels.  But the inside part has not come to pass yet.  But we decided to try to do something with it for Scout.

Dog’s eye view

The building is still full of lumber stacks.  There is an aisle between one stack and the kennel side wall.  We bought a couple of brood lamps to hang over that aisle, put a piece of carpet on the floor set a raised bed in there with blankets on it and a bed warmer under them, then blocked off the end of the aisle with a large live trap stood on end.  Then, I unblocked the door to the interior so he could get in there.  I put his water dish in there, and his food dish.  He went in to eat then came back out.  I went in to retrieve the dish and it was noticeably warmer so it should stay reasonably comfortable even when it gets down to the 20’s outside.

Jan 26

Scout still prefers his outside bed.  But then, it’s only getting down to the mid 30’s at night.  I think enclosed spaces make him nervous.  But someone has been in sleeping on that bed in the warm room.  So, maybe, late at night when things are boring …

When I take Phoenix her lunch bowl, I warm up a White Castle cheeseburger for Scout.  He has gotten to where his eyes light up when I come out at noon.  I tear it into quarters and he takes the pieces from my fingers.  He will let me  pet him on the muzzle, and when I go in his kennel to perform “housekeeping” he often just lies on his bed and watches instead of scooting about trying to find an escape route.  We’re getting there.

Feb 4

Feb 16

This boy has reached a tableau. He is comfortable with me being in his room and will let me pet him, but he’s still too nervous to put a collar on. I think it would do him a world of good to get him out of his kennel occasionally for some yard time. But I’d need to be able to get him back in, and that means a collar and lead at the least.

He too has an inside space, a larger space, heated with a brood lamp where he can escape the bitter cold. He usually does not use it. I can only guess that he prefers to be out where he can see what’s going on. So he has a heat lamp over his outside bed as well. There have been a couple of times that I went out for Phoenix’s early walk and Scout was in his hidey hole.

March 6

Scout hates the camera, so it’s hard to get photos or videos of his progress, but we are making some progress.

He will now let me pet him any time I want.  He still loves his cheeseburger for lunch, and will come right over and stand next to me to get the pieces I tear off for him.  He does a little spin-in-a-circle happy dance when I bring him food.  His tail is not tucked up hard under his belly all the time.

Heavy rain spooks him really badly and this is about the only time he will go hide inside the building.  Otherwise he prefers to lounge on his Kuranda under the heat lamp.  That steel roof IS loud in a heavy rain.  I should probably have the underside of it sprayed with urethane foam to deaden that and insulate it against heat transfer in the summer.

March 20

We have made slow, steady progress with Scout.  He still stresses and is anxious about human interaction, but he will let me pet him any time I want.  He is especially sensitive about touching the left side of his head behind the ear, that may be where the bullet wound is.

When I bring him his cheeseburger for lunch, he does a little happy dance by twirling in a circle.  I wish I could get video of it, but if I bring the camera, even if I set it up outside the kennel, he spooks out and won’t do anything.  He will walk right over and stand in front of me to get the cheeseburger pieces I hand him.

His tail is now longer permanently tucked tight up under his belly, Most of the time it hangs down and is motionless.

I did get a collar on him.  That caused him to lie on his bed and tremble the rest of the day.

Its been a couple of days now and he’s getting used to the collar, as long as I don’t touch it.  It’s possible it presses on that bullet wound and hurts – but that’s a guess.  A harness might be better for him, but getting him into a harness is a pipe dream right now.  My goal is to get him out in the yard on a lead.  He’d do better if he had some freedom.

April 15

Every animal lover knows that a dogs tail tells volumes about what the dog is thinking or feeling. (If you don’t know, check this out: https://pineymountainfoster.org/dogs-tail-tells-a-tale/ ) So you will understand the happiness I feel over the changes in Scout.

Scout is (or was) terrified. So much so that he was perishing at the shelter. So he came to Piney Mountain to find some serenity. It’s been a long road, a road paved with White Castle Cheese Sliders as inducements for him to let me get close (Thank you Autum: that was a great tip). He has spent much of his time with his tail tucked up tight under his belly. Terrified. You would too if someone yelled at you for being in his yard and then shot you in the head. He survived, but he carries more than physical scars.

He has come to anticipate my mid-day visit, when I bring him a warm cheese slider, tear it up into pieces and hand feed it to him. He got into a habit of doing a little spinning dance of joy when I approached his kennel with his favorite snack. In the past few days he has started doing this when I bring him his morning and evening kibbles too. And yesterday he turned loose and allowed his tail to come up above his spine as he spun around. I loved seeing that!

He allows me to pet him on the head and shoulders. He often draws down to the floor: he’s still nervous about it, but not fearful. And if I’m late with his lunch, he’s not afraid to call me out, reminding me that he’s waiting. It’s slow, but he’s making progress.

It may be that Scout will need someone special to give him a forever home. Someone who is patient and kind, and gentle. He may never be a “normal” dog again. But Scout is a sweet fellow. An exceptionally handsome fellow. A good boy. He wants to be loved, and to love, but that fear of being hurt again gets in the way. It won’t be long now that the crust is cracking, and he’s opening up. Now that that tail is rising to the occasion.

June 27

Scout show definite signs of wanting to come out and play with the Huskies, especially Cyrus.  But when I go in with a leash, the leash spooks him – foreign objects are scary.  I can go in with my pooper scooper, hose, floor brush, squeegee, and disinfectant foamer and he’s fine with all that because he recognizes these things now.  I’ll start taking a leash in with me at treat times and work on getting him out in the yard.

One thing I must say is that he tries SO hard to keep his room clean.  He lifts his leg and pees THROUGH the fencing to get his urine outside, and he has one small spot where he leaves his poop, and no where else.  If I can get him out for leash walks, he will “housebreak” easily.

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