It is no secret, we melt like a chocolate bar in the glorious sun when we see a grey-faced dog. We met delightful Sammie when he was a blossoming boy and man, did he LOVE jumping up to greet people. How could he not? Sammie is such a happy guy who had to share his excitement at the sight of a “PERSON!” who deserved to be adored with paws-in-the-air enthusiasm. Then, we had the golden opportunity to see him again nine years later to help teach this choosy canine that other dogs were not as despicable as he seemed to think they were. Here is Sammie’s story.
How did you and your dog find each other?
I saw a man walking a golden retriever puppy a few blocks from my house when I was driving to the store. I stopped to let the gentleman know that a fox was walking around the neighborhood. I am not in the habit of stopping strangers on the street. But, I had seen the pair strolling before and thought it was important to keep that cutie-pie puppy safe.
We started talking about Sammie, the puppy, and he said “do you want him?” He said his girlfriend and her kids loved him; but, they were not home often so they felt guilty about the extensive amount of time Sammie was alone and cooped up in his crate. While this may sound awful to die-hard dog lovers, they really did love him and took wonderful care of him. He was healthy and well-trained in obedience at just 4-1/2 months old! They knew their limits and I was lucky to have landed my darling dog.
What is the biggest assumption people make based on your dog’s looks?
He likes dogs! Sammie loves people and will do ANYTHING to be near a human being. But, he has absolutely no interest in interacting in ANY way with other dogs. If another dog dares to sniff Sammie, he makes sure the dog understands his displeasure with a warning growl and lunge.
What personality trait does your dog possess that contradicts his or her physical appearance?
Sammie is a big golden retriever, so people cross the street when they see us coming. If they only knew… he just wants to lick them from head to toe and lean in for a good petting session!
What are the biggest obstacles you and your dog have overcome together? And, what was most helpful in helping you do so?
I adopted Sammie when he was almost 5 months old. Unfortunately, he was not socialized at all and was fearful of other dogs. I shared my home with a 10 year-old Eskie mix and spent the necessary time and effort to assure they were properly introduced. I wanted to make sure my home was peaceful and my dogs were happy. But, the sight of other dogs turned Sammie into a barking, snarling, lunging lunatic.
The biggest obstacle came on walks with Sammie. If he saw a dog, he would bark and growl and lunge like a crazy boy! It took a lot to control him and get him to calm down even after the dog had passed us.
Enter Brandi and the “touch” cue. Redirecting Sammie’s focus from the dog to me using “touch” was a game changer! Being the smart boy that he is and Brandi’s fantastic guidance; it did not take long for both of us to start enjoying our long walks.
If you could make a sign for the world to see to better understand your dog’s individual needs, what would it say?
All dogs stay away. PLEASE.
Anything else you want to share?
Sammie is almost 14 years young now; and, is not dog reactive any longer. I still do “touch” with my sweet senior for mental stimulation. But, now I only need put my hand in position for him to nose my fingers. He knows what I want which is great; because his hearing is starting to fade. But, never my love for him nor his adoration for people.
Share your story and submit your pup’s photo to firstname.lastname@example.org today.