mac1.jpeg (43721 bytes)Mac

 Mac is a neutered male Airedale Terrier and is approximately five years old. He's a bit under standard at about 22 inches. He's muscular and strong, and apparently very healthy.

 All his shots are up to date and he's suffered no illnesses in the last two years. He is an owner surrender, and is looking for a childless, Airedale experienced home. Mac would do well as an only dog, but will get along with other dogs with some firm guidance and patience.

Mac's history:

Was adopted from the Edmonton SPCA approx. two years ago. He was a stray, and was not claimed by his previous owner. The adoptive family kept Mac for two years, but were not able to deal with Mac's growling and biting. He bit both the husband and wife, as well as their young daughter. In all instances, it appears that it was a fear reaction and not an attack of any kind. Mac did not bite repeatedly in any of cases, and was startled in all cases. It was also stated that Mac had killed one of the family cats.

 The family contacted several training centers in an effort to find an obedience instructor to work with. They were told by one trainer that Mac was dog aggressive and would not be allowed in group training sessions. Other trainers told them (upon hearing of Mac's biting), that Mac should be destroyed. Except for one trainer, no one offered to view Mac in person in order to assess his behavior first hand.

 When Mac came into my home, it was apparent that he was a fearful dog, but not all the time. He would growl if you hugged him, or tried to pick him up. He did not charge at, nor make any aggressive moves toward my two dogs, and he showed an avid interest in our two cats.

In order to ensure the safety of my two dogs, my two cats, and myself, I purchased an elastic muzzle for Mac which fits in a way that allows for panting, drinking, taking treats, etc., but does not allow enough room for a full bite to occur.

Over the next several days, I introduced Mac to as many small stresses as I could in an attempt to see if there was a point at which he would bite. He never tried.
He did growl in some circumstances however. 

 Mac would not lie down on command, and trying to make him lie down resulted in growls, which would escalate to snarls. Still no attempt to bite. I used a clicker and treats instead, and within one day, Mac was happily lying down on command. He still needs a lot of work on obedience, but he's well on his way in that department. Mac heels well, and is learning to
sit and stay, and to "finish". I use a clicker and treats, and Mac understand the game very well. His mistakes occur mostly from sheer enthusiasm, and not from stubborness.

I also did daily "hug sessions" with Mac. At first, with his muzzle on, I would sit on the floor with Mac and pet him, stroke him and then hug him in various ways. If he growled, I would say "NO" very firmly, and if he allowed the hug without growling, I would click the clicker to signal the occurrence of the desired behavior, and then give him a treat. Within four days, I was not only hugging him, but he was allowing it with tail wagging, and I was able to pick him up off the floor with nothing more than a small grunt from Mac. After a week, the muzzle was off all the time, and the hugs became even more enjoyable for Mac. He now asks for hugs, pushing in close and turning to allow a hug around his neck or chest, and readily gives lavish kisses.

He can be startled by sounds and by some things that happen over his head, but I have been working with him on this as well. He's rewarded for checking out strange things, and not allowed to run away. We work out the fears together. His most persistent fear to date is the back hatch window of my Blazer. He doesn't like it over his head (this we can't avoid), and he apparently is frightened by the sound it makes. I reward him for sniffing it, and for checking it out. At this time he won't jump into the truck on his own, but I can pick him up and put him in with no struggle if necessary. I'm hoping that in time, he'll understand it won't hurt him.

Mac loves to wrestle, but he needs to learn a little restraint. He is very mouthy and isn't aware of how hard he's biting. For now, he's not allowed to play hard, and if he gets mouthy, he gets a tennis ball to chew on rather than my arm. He does not get angry, and does not really bite...he just plays too hard.

Mac is learning to be nice to the cats, and so far, he's really doing well. He's very interested in the cats and likes to sniff them head to toe. He will respond to a command to leave them alone, but I wouldn't give any guarantees on his response to a fleeing cat. He would likely chase, and in the heat of the chase he may indeed do damage to a cat. I will not give him the freedom to find out.

Mac will do very well in a home that is used to Airedale mannerisms. Mac is 100% Terrier, and other than being spooked occasionally by new sights and sounds, he is a very normal dog. His sound sensitivity does not appear to include thunder.

Mac is crate trained and sleeps in his crate at night. He is quiet all night as long as he's in the same room as me. He also eats in his crate.

Mac has earned off leash
privileges in our home, and except for one leg lifting incidence early on, he has behaved himself very well. He does steal things from table tops, so his new home will have to be puppy-proofed before he moves in.

I would prefer that Mac go to a home in the Edmonton area so I can work with his new family for a few weeks after his adoption. Mac will make a very loyal and committed companion. He's curious about everything in his environment, and wants to be in the middle of every activity. The more he's exposed to new things, the more confident he's going to become.

Because of Mac's history he cannot be placed in a home with small children, and his new family should have a good knowledge of obedience training. Mac responds well to firm, consistent training, and requires rigid rules to live by. In my home, he's not allowed to roughhouse with either human, canine, or feline occupants until he learns a bit of self restraint, and this training should continue in his new home. His new family should also be prepared to keep tabs on Mac at all times until he matures enough to settle down and earn his independence either in the house or in other situations. 

mac2.jpg (52943 bytes) Mac needs someone to commit to being his forever home. He's now had at least three major moves in his life, and he would really like someone to love him for the rest of his life and never to give up on him. He deserves this chance!

Mac is now the proud owner of a nice young couple and a new companion, another dog to play with.

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