Meet Brandon aka Brandy. He joined the OtterTail Labrador pack two weeks ago as our first foster dog for 2010. Brandon is a puppy in a big dog suit. It seems he and his brother spent their puppyhoods in an owner's basement or tied outside. By the time they were turning a year old they were big, unruly kids and the owner finally realized they needed training. She did not work with them long before deciding they were too much and they were left at a boarding kennel with instructions to find them a new home. With no further payments for their stay this pair of boys were indeed lucky that the kennel operators are kind-hearted and allowed them both to stay for free until rescue group fosters could be found and transport arranged. The rash of snow storms along the east coast delayed the boys' trip from Georgia to New York for four weeks, but they finally made it.
Brandon has learned a lot since he joined us and he is really getting with the program now. He is a typical Lab teenager, big on the outside and silly on the inside. With us he is getting basic obedience lessons as well as learning general manners and that cats are not for chasing. He is doing great on all counts! It appears he was a thief in his previous home, but being so young he is not committed to it. Yesterday on our walk I unknowingly dropped my hat. When I looked to Brandy he had found it and was carrying it up our hill. As I praised and encouraged him he looked totally nonplussed. "But, I'm stealing this" you could almost hear him say. He started to veer in another direction so I called him with a happy voice and encouraged him to me. Once he arrived I had a whole handful of treats ready and made a quick exchange prying my hat from his mouth before he could think about it too long. He didn't intend to bring it or give it to me, but it worked. He was "good by accident" and earned a great reward. Sometimes those seized opportunities give dogs the greatest lessons and lead to big steps in training progress. From the first day I have only called him to come when he is already on his way so that I was sure he would respond correctly and it would be a fun experience for him. Now he is developing a happy, reliable recall. All in all I think Brandy is a sweet boy who will make someone a very devoted and loving pet if they are willing to continue his training and give him the affection he so enjoys. Keep your fingers crossed that Brandon finds a wonderful forever home soon and can truly begin the new life he deserves.
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