We took Ranger in from a high-kill shelter in Southern California in November of 2020. According to the shelter’s story (which we now seriously doubt was 100% accurate), “Ranger had been with the same family since he was a puppy and grew up with their kids, and never showed any aggression until he bit the 7yr old suddenly while playing.” – based on this story we believed he was 100% a dog we could easily work with!
An amazing volunteer drove to CA to pick up both Ranger and another e-listed dog, Atlas (who has since been adopted!). On the way back, at a stop, Ranger bit the transporter unexpectedly – this transport has MANY years of breed experience and called to warn us. Upon arrival, after their 7-8hr drive, both Ranger and Atlas where kennel in a detached air-conditioned building and given some time to hang out in the quiet. After about an hour, I (switching to first person since this happened to me writing this!) went out to let the dogs out one by one individually to stretch their legs and get some food. Once Ranger was out of the kennel he began kennel fighting aggressively with Atlas. I tried to de-escalate the situation, and Ranger turned on me without hesitation and by my leg and hand. Both of these bites were not minor, but did also happen while Ranger was highly stressed and unvetted. As a result of this, we have not publicly listed or posted Ranger yet in the 7 months we have had him. We wanted to be extremely cautious and see how much better we could get him before trying to seek a good fit home.
We gave him some time to decompress with a new foster who is very experienced with bite dogs. We discovered that he is ok with other dogs his size (though does tend on the alpha side, so a more submissive female dog would be a fantastic companion for him), and had some barrier aggression issues, where he would try to attack the glass door between him and the inside…. however with humans out and about with him leaving him completely alone, he didn’t show aggression. We were still in a learning phase and didn’t want to give up on him.
A couple months into his time with us, we brought him in to be neutered. We were apprehensive, but the amazing medical team at one of our preferred vets was able to perform this procedure with no bites or complications. With his full bloodwork results, we discovered that he has had Valley Fever for a while. We began treatment as soon as we got the results – this alone showed a marked improvement in Ranger’s temperament.
But we still wanted to improve him further – we therefore sent him to a 3-week board-and-train program to work on his aggression issues. Upon getting him back, the foster has stated that he’s like a while new dog! He has been happy, friendly, seems to know his boundaries better, and has shown no aggression whatsoever since coming out of training a few weeks ago! The foster did attend a post-training consultation with the trainer that we used, and we are going to require at least one session with Ranger and this same trainer for any adopter so that the adopter can continue to work with him on the training that has helped improve his manners so very much!
Although he is leaps and bounds better, we disclose all of his history because we want to make sure the adopter is aware that under high stress and aggravating circumstances, there is always the possibility for a repeat incident. His home must have only adults in it, and we would not recommend him to a family that is planning to have children in the duration of his remaining years.
He is very energetic and will need active owners who are able to exercise him – He loves to go on walks and runs.
He is kennel trained and house broken, and knows basic commands – he definitely does need continued training to keep him at the level he is now, and so he understands the pack order in his new home. He will likely have an adjustment period, and we are seeking a very experienced owner for him.
He has been a tough one for us because he really can be SO SO sweet, and that happy-go-lucky boy is who he has been entirely since completing training! We are really hoping that Ranger’s bad years are behind him and that he has a bright future with just the right owner.
If you are interested in “Ranger,” please fill out the adoption application following the link below.
His adoption fee is $150. This covers neuter, vaccinations, microchip, and we will provide one month of his Valley Fever medication with details on further treatment that may be needed.