Age: 13 Years Sex: Male Weight: 100+ lbs
Leave a bone for Luka
Dogster stats for Luka
2 times 9
Doggie, Baby Doggie, Hims
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The Stick, belly rubbin's, butt scratchin's, treats
The Stick, though he feigns periodic interest in balls and frisbees to humor us
Anything Stinky and Meaty
The Field, The Neighborhood
Finding the Cleverly Hidden Object
We adopted Luka after looking for a "transition dog" - i.e. a younger dog to help take us through the illness (and eventual death) of our rapidly aging German Shepherd female. Luka was put in a shelter after having been found a stray, wandering the Eastern Shore. He was later rescued by Virginia German Shepherd Rescue, and we adopted him at about 2-1/2 years old from them at an adoption event. We weren't looking for a Shepherd of his coloring - our older dog was a black and tan, and we tended to like the darker coloring more. But of all the dogs at the adoption event that day, Luka was the only one there who seemed extremely laid back, w hich is a quality we were interested in, since our female tended to be high-strung. If you can imagine walking into a room and seeing a big blonde hunk of male GSD lying on his back with his legs crossed, smoking a stogie and saying "Psst! Over here! I'm the one you want!" - that's the way he appeared to us in the midst of all the other high-strung barkers or shy, retreating shepherds there that day. Within an hour of the adoption, however we found he was the antithesis of laid back!!! He was quite the accomplished actor, as it turns out. And since that time, he has proved to be both the most maddening - and the most rewarding - animal experience we've had!
For the first six months or so, we never saw Luka sleep! We would try to sneak around and find him asleep, but it didn't happen - every time we came upon him, his eyes were wide open, even on his bed in the middle of the night. Evidence was mounting that he was not a dog at all, but an alien from outer space, sent to Earth in the form of a German Shepherd to observe the humans, and report back periodically to the mother ship. Somewhat frustratingly, we were unable to observe him doing this, either.
Luka started out getting an unfavorable "rep" in the neighborhood with his nipping/herding "techniques", used indiscriminately on anyone of any age who would leave the conversational "pack" before he was ready for them to go. He was a perfect, loving animal in the house, but outside our yard, he was a complete lunatic! He seemed to hate his walks - he would either charge ahead with a grim look of determination on his face that said "Alright already, can we hurry up and get this walk over with so we can get back in the house!" or would lope from side to side with his head down like a wolf, almosts as though he was concerned that something might attack from the alleys or blind spots. Before going on walks, we wondered, which will it be today, the nutcase, or the wolf? And he had other perplexing qualities, like pulling trash out of the trash can to pile around him in a circle before going to bed at night, and freaking completely out in places with lots of cars, like a parking lot. No amount of reinforcing commands or attempts to soothe or calm him would help. High anxiety ruledthe day on the outside, and the patterns made no sense to us, at least at first - our older GSD was a very predictable girl! As a result, we spent much time, energy, and $$ on finding someone who could help us train him. He knew all the commands, and would follow them most all the time, and our insistence to animal behaviorists and trainers that it wasn't obedience training that he needed, but it was a customized mental-health and reassurance program that was called for, fell mostly on deaf ears. In frustration, some of our paid trainers - and well-meaning dog owners (not of the GSD variety) - advised us that we should put him down before he got us into real trouble. And except for the grace of whoever, he almost did! At wit's end, we called the Rescue organization from which we'd adopted Luka. They recommended a woman who evaluated their dogs and sometimes gave them training so they could be adoptable. Though she lived three hours away, she agreed to meet us at a park halfway between our homes, every weekend for several months. At first, she was unsure if she could help, but kept re-evaluating and questioning "why" he wouldn't respond to her commands or training method, and would adjust accordingly. The training was pretty ferocious, and took so much out of all of us that we were all drained at the end of the day. But as the "Shepherd Shaman", as we came to call her, said, this was his last chance - since he was now a known "biter", no rescue group would ever place him with another family. We were the end of the line, and we were unable to fathom the alternative action, so we forged ahead, learned to pick our battles, and can't now think of not having him with us! We have never regretted the time spent on helping him overcome his past baggage, and are tolerant when he instinctively has a small "flashback" - but these only occur once in a great while.
Sheerly by accident, we've come to understand his foibles and idiosyncrasies: Must...find...car! must...get...in...car! (he's a car hugger and makes a beeline for it whenever and wherever he can, and nothing can stop him). He goes nuts and comes running out of nowhere when water splashes in the tub, or when cleaning the toilet; he gets fixated and excited when lighting matches to start a fire; he comes running when we use the sink sprayer. He is also a cheese hound, and no unguarded article of food that contains it can be left on the kitchen counters! We don't know where he got these habits, as nobody knows what his life was like for the 2-1/2 years before he was found.
Luka - 4Ever Nerts
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Need advice on ear problem!
I've Been On Dogster Since:
|March 13th 2008
||More than 8 years!
Rosette, Star and Special Gift History