Friday, March 9, 2012

The tale of “Lucky Luke”

Luke, a two-year-old St. Bernard, came to the OHS from a puppy mill seizure in late 2011. He had spent the first part of his life in a kennel with limited human contact.

The staff and volunteers at the OHS have worked with Luke to ensure his time here is enriching and that he has  a strong foundation for when he finds his forever home.

It’s a whole new world for Luke. He is learning social etiquette, how to meet and interact with other dogs, how to sit nicely, and how to become more engaged in his immediate surroundings for longer periods of time.

Here is what one of our volunteers has to say about Luke:

“When I first met Luke, he totally ignored everyone.  He spent his time throwing himself at the cage door or collapsed in resigned defeat.  He had spent so long in a cage without human interaction that he simply didn’t know that humans were worth noticing. He didn’t know to look to humans for anything and certainly not for any sort of positive interaction.”
“For now Luke is still more environmentally oriented than people oriented. His environment is distracting and it can be difficult to get his attention.”
“It is hard to believe how far he has come unless you saw the dog that first arrived and the dog that we see now.  At first glance, he may still seem disinterested, but when I take him through the lobby and he actually stops to sniff the hands of people along the way, even just for a moment or two, I see incredible progress.”

What Luke needs:

1. A lot of exercise!
2. Training and obedience classes to form a bond with his new owners.
3. A home with teens and adults only.
4. Strong and assertive owners who are knowledgeable and experienced with the St. Bernard breed.
5. Owners who are willing to invest time and energy into training
6. To be the only dog in his new home. No cats, either. No exceptions.
7. Lots of mental stimulation when left alone. A crate or an isolated area of the home will ensure he doesn’t find inventive ways to entertain myself.

Luke’s timeline at the OHS:

December 2011:

·  Given his name “Lucky Luke” by OHS RIS Agent Hammond, who assisted in the puppy mill seizure.
·  Luke was non-responsive to humans and would “shut down” easily.
·  He wasn’t interested in toys or treats.
·  He was afraid to take walks.
·  OHS staff and volunteers began clicker training.

January 2012:

·  He began responding to treats so clicker training became much easier.
·  He started following other dogs on walks, which encouraged him to walk beyond the end of the building.
·  He began to sit for his food bowl. 
·  He was neutered and moved to the Adoption Centre.

February 2012: 

·  Luke could perform commands (even with distractions).
·  He began keeping his room clean, but was still not completely housetrained.
·  He started jumping up to see through windows.
·  He began to play and roll onto his back for a belly rub.
·  Luke began responding to commands outside, even with other dogs around.

March 2012:

·  Volunteers have started formal dog introductions to get Luke more interested in making friends.
·  Luke will now take treats and do tricks for anyone—outside or inside; even people he has never met. 
·  He knows his size and will still bulldoze his way to escape, but then will turn to look at you to make sure you are coming, too.
·  He will roll over on command, and will gallop to come see you and say hi.
·  He knows his name.

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