Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Boss for adoption

Here is Boss Man a young, approx one and a half year old neutered male Akbash dog.

Boss is in boarding in Northern California and awaits a foster or adoptive home. If you are interested in Boss contact Akbash Dog Rescue person Janet Davis at or call 510 523-6161

Boss will be placed on acreage in a quiet rural setting only. He was most likely an abandoned working livestock guardian dog.

Boss was quite down on his luck and due to be euthanized in a very overcrowded high kill California shelter a few weeks ago.

    to read about how he was rescued click the "read more" link below

           Animal control was called about a wandering Akbash dog in an area of California that uses livestock guardian dogs to guard sheep and goats. It is not uncommon for young males to wander if they are not neutered! He fit the profile of an uncared for working dog, emaciated, unneutered, no form of ID, and unsocialized. These dogs often wander due to lack of human attention in any form including food! Well cared for working dogs are used to humans, often neutered, microchipped or wearing ID tags and well fed! In addition when impounded they have owners looking for them.
            The abandoned working dogs enter the nations municipal shelter system in droves, are never claimed by owners, and hardly ever pass shelter temperament tests. How can an unsocialized dog that was put with livestock as a puppy, and never handled or leash trained, pass a shelter temperament test? Answer is they most often cannot!

         Well cared for working dogs, often on smaller family farms with owners living onsite, are leash trained and used to human handling.

           Guess what happens to these unsocialized, unclaimed working dogs? They are euthanized, if rescues do not take them. That is if a shelter works with rescues and will let dogs that fail temperament tests go to rescue groups. Many shelters will not let those dogs go to rescue and just euthanize.  Shelters will not adopt them to the public, and really most shelter staff is not at all knowledgeable about how to adopt a livestock guardian dog. This means rescues have only a matter of days to try and save the dog, as time is short once a dog flunks temperament tests. Temperament tests in shelters are often so severe, as a dog needs to be adoptable to everyone that enters the shelter doors, meaning an elderly person, or a home with kids, or people with no dog handling skills whatsoever. I call them lowest common denominator tests. Livestock guardian breeds, being more difficult, high maintenance dogs as a whole, are not lowest common denominator dogs. Many more enlightened, modern shelters will do what they call "special adoptions", so they can screen for more appropriate placement for the dog in question. However, overcrowded underfunded municipal shelters, where wandering livestock guardian dogs often end up, do strict, lowest common denominator temperament tests. Dogs found wandering with no form of ID (microchip or collar with ID tags), are strays and must go to open intake municipal shelters. Well funded shelters are often not open intake, and choose which animals they will take in.

          Here was the result of Boss man's temperament test! Typically, Boss reacted badly to a leash being put on him by the shelter manager, did not want to leave his kennel run, and that is all it took for her to be convinced he should be euthanized.  I explained, he has never had a leash on! No matter, she deemed him worthy only of euthanasia. I had only a short amount of time to get him! I am grateful at least the shelter allowed rescues a chance to get him, plenty of times shelters just decide a dog is unfit for adoption and euthanize.  Not understanding that many people are capable of calming an upset dog and that the environment the dog is in, meaning the shelter and the way the dog is being handled, is responsible for the dogs behavior. Once removed from the shelter and handled correctly, the dogs behavior changes completely.
      Were it not for rescue group volunteers, many more dogs would be euthanized in the US than already are. Rescue group volunteers see the changed behavior of many dogs that flunk shelter temperament tests, once the dog is out of the shelter and in foster homes or boarding clinics.
       Knowing I was under a real time constraint I thought I will just pay to board him at a vet clinic as he needs vet care also. The shelter manager actually told me I would not find a local shelter set up to handle Boss. I called four area vet clinics and all but one said they are perfectly capable of handling him and to bring him over. One referred me to another as they did not have a large size kennel run open. None of the vet clinics was deterred in the slightest by his emotional state. They are generally staffed with dog savvy employees that know how to handle frightened dogs.
    I drove to the shelter and went to see Boss. Since Livestock Guardian Dogs are all about threat assessment, I make myself non-threatening upon first approach. No eye contact and calm and slow. Letting the dog get used to my presence on the other side of the kennel door. I actually turned my back to Boss and kneeled down to make myself small, and talked to him, explaining he needed to trust me, and I was going to get him out. I was really hoping it worked out well as it was 2:30 PM and his euthanasia deadline was firm for 4 PM, I was his last and only chance!
    I brought some cut up hot dog as a peace offering and pushed small pieces under the kennel door to him. He smelled them but was too nervous to eat them. After a couple minutes he did something that made it perfectly clear he understood what I was trying to convey. He walked over to his empty food dish, put his nose inside and pushed it an inch or so. They had told me he was eating well, undoubtedly at least enjoying steady mealtimes for the first time in awhile!
    Eventually, after about fifteen minutes, I felt he was calm and I had been able to pet his nose through the kennel door. He was obviously quite scared but not acting aggressively. I entered the run with a slip lead and when he came over to me, I quickly, calmly slipped it over his head. When he felt it tighten he nervously backed up into the corner and began growling and barking at me. However, his posture was entirely scared and defensive, not offensive.  I let the slip lead go slack and released all pressure, I went back to my kneeling posture, facing away and slipping hotdog pieces across the floor to him. He was too nervous to eat them, but was visibly relaxing again. I sat that way for another ten minutes talking calmly to him.
    I could clearly see Boss was scared and overwhelmed at the shelter and was not being aggressive, just scared! I called for help from a very strong looking young fellow that worked at the shelter to pull Boss out. He slid Boss out, and I closed the kennel door so Boss could not go back in. The fellow slid him, using the slip lead, down the hallway and outside.  I again closed the door leading back into the kennel runs, so Boss would realize the only way was forward.
   We stopped to let him relax and I drove my car close to where Boss, a rescue transport helper, and a few shelter employes were. I had brought a new collar, ID tags, harness and leash for him. I put that all on him and rubbed his neck to relax him.
   The shelter workers lifted him up into the awaiting crate in my car, dog saved!
    At the nearby vet office he jumped out more easily, and had to be coaxed to walk down the concrete hall of the vet office. He crouched down as though he had not walked on concrete much, as I am sure he had not! Used to pasture only, under his feet.
     He remained at the vet for  ten days getting neutered, a bath, and catch a up on full health care and vaccinations. He made some friends at the vet and would follow them out to go on short walks each day. They were actually sad to see this sweet shy fellow go and gave him hugs and kisses on the day I transferred him to boarding.


Now at a boarding kennel located on a 150 acre Northern California Ranch, here is Boss making friends with the kennel manager.

Boss enjoys a dip in the wading pool!

Boss is getting some needed nutrition and rest in boarding but he is ready to move onto a foster or adoptive home.
I went to visit Boss recently and spent time with him in the exercise yard. He is such a sweet mellow guy and with a little coaxing I got him to walk up and along a ramp in the middle of the yard. This young fellow is ready for a patient kind owner. With a little time to settle in I am sure he will make someone an excellent livestock guardian dog.

Anyone interested in fostering or adopting young Boss please contact Akbash Dog Rescue coordinator Janet Davis at or phone 510 523-6161


Anonymous said...

Do you think Boss can be put on a small farm, with a 3 year old fixed female?

straughie said...

Hi please e-mail me directly at for communication, where do you live?