Imagine a dog who only wants to protect his loved ones. A dog who’s secretly afraid of new things. A dog who’s learned that acting scary works — because the scary things leave him alone.
That’s our Kip. He’s a big boy, strong and muscular, with a hidden soft side. Kip was originally transferred from a shelter in Utah because his reactivity in a kennel environment was difficult to manage. He came here, and yes, he was reactive. Honestly, he was kind of a butthead: barking at the dogs all the time and being difficult to get in and out of his kennel. But he got adopted quickly.
Initially, Kip thrived in his adoptive home. He was still reactive toward other dogs, and he got a bit worse. The family decided to work with a trainer, and he got a bit better. A big issue was how protective he became. Kip was determined to look out for his home and family; he had a hard time meeting new people, and his family had a hard time staying calm in those situations.
When he first came back to us, Kip wanted to protect his family from us. After they left, he decided he could trust a couple of us. Gradually, his trusted circle has expanded, and Kip meets new people each week. At first, he puts on a big show. BIG show. He’ll bark and lunge, and he looks scary doing it. When push comes to shove, Kip’s more of a lover than a fighter. He eventually admitted that he likes butt scratches, belly rubs, and cuddles — but only after firmly adopting us as his own a few months into our relationship.
Kip has lived with kids. He’s loved them. He just loves so much and so hard that he wants the outside world to go away. To say he’s dog reactive is a bit of an understatement — frankly, he can be hard to manage if he sees another dog, though he IS doing better with training. To say he has stranger danger is spot on, though if the stranger happens to offer him, say, a piece of cheese, talk sweetly, and throw a ball or two, he’s willing to make friends.
Kip looks at us as if to say, “Is this OK? Should I act like this? Is this new person nice or scary? Are you OK? Should I bark at someone for you?” He’s so responsive. He’s a champ at eye contact, sit, down, shake, fetch, speak, and agility. We’re sure he will continue to improve with more positive reinforcement training, but we need an experienced handler who will remain calm for Kip’s sake. He needs to know that everything is going to be OK. And it’s our job to show him that.
Kip needs a home where he will not be constantly near or exposed to other dogs; eventually, he can learn to better manage his reactivity, but he’ll need time to work up to that. He should live only with adults and no other animals. He’s house- and crate-trained, and while he’s capable of walking well on a leash, his leash manners vary significantly depending on the situation and the handler.
Kip is our latest #OfficeDog. He’s secretly quirky, fun-loving, curious, playful, affectionate, and just a little dopey. But that’s on the inside, and he needs to get to know you before letting you see the real him. First, he’s going to show you the tough guy version of himself. Due to his difficulty with strangers, Kip is available to meet by appointment only. Please call us at 208-794-0944 if you’re interested in him.