|German Shepherd Cross||Large||Male||3 years|
Breed: GSD cross (possibly some setter)
Colour: Black and red/tan, some white on his chest
Age: 3 (was given as a puppy to the original owner at Christmas in 2013, so probably born October/November 2013)
Vaccinated: Yes, due 2nd July 2017
Good with children? Could live with teenagers
Good with cats? Not great. He gets very excited when he sees cats and, if allowed to interact with them, will try and initiate playing with them as though they were a puppy. He may put his paw on them, mouth them, etc. If he is restrained, he may start barking in frustration. Most cats will have run away by this point, and as he seems to view running as an invitation to play, he will want to chase them.
Although we don’t think he views cats as potential prey and just wants to be friendly, his excitability, roughness, and size would probably make him unsuitable for living with the overwhelming majority of cats.
Good with other dogs? He is never aggressive, whether he is meeting dogs in the park or at home, whether they are male or female, whether they are big or small, etc., but he is very boisterous and playful. When he sees a dog, he will charge at them and jump up at them to try and get them to play, regardless of the dog. Once he starts playing, he doesn’t stop, and has had play dates lasting for hours in the past. He has to be kept on a lead in public unless given permission otherwise in case he tries to play with a dog that doesn’t want to. (his recall can be very good, but only if there isn’t another dog around)
A bit about his background: He was an unwanted gift and the person who received him put him on a chain in their garden for two and a half years. We suspect he was beaten by her boyfriend as he can be wary of unfamiliar men and gets quite scared if someone is holding a long object (like a tennis ball thrower) near him. Due to his lack of socialisation, he can also get spooked by new experiences. However, he is very curious and if allowed to retreat to a comfortable distance, he will usually come back to investigate. He is now a lot better and is happy and settled in a household environment. He still finds things like stationary vehicles with the engines on, heavy machinery, and loud bangs to be quite scary, but he rarely gets distressed about typical household events.
As he was not fed very much during this time, he is a huge scrounge and gets very anxious when it’s nearly dinner time. He is very motivated by food and very easy to train.
Walking on a lead: Not great, but has significantly improved over time. However, if he sees a dog or a squirrel, he will start lunging and barking at them, and it’s very difficult to break his focus. He will also pull to sniff groups of strangers, although single passers-by are usually ignored. He is also very strong, and will pull a lot when he is stressed.
Travelling in the car: Dramatically improving. Cherry initially refused to go anywhere near a car, and it took a long time and a lot of treats for him to feel comfortable even standing next to one. The first time he went on a 5 minute car journey, he thrashed about so much that he broke his crate. Now he will jump into a car willingly with no treats, and will lie down for a lot of the journey. He will dribble a bit but overall travels reasonably well, although he is very stressed when he gets out.
Energy levels: High! He is walked for at least a couple of hours per day, and gets off lead time whenever we run into owners who are happy to let Cherry have a play. He also often does a bit of training in the evening and plays games, like tug of war and fetch. He always seems to have energy left over.
Leaving at home alone: Has been left alone for up to 3 hours in the past after exercise and has been fine for this length of time. Cherry can get a bit restless and destructive if he hasn’t been exercised and has been left unattended, so he would probably need to be walked before leaving him at home.
We all think it would be very important for him to meet any potential owners as much as possible before they adopted him. He would probably be an ongoing project so it would be nice if a new owner had a good amount of experience, a trainer lined up, and could see what was already being done with him.
St Francis Animal Welfare is a registered charity which was first established in 1953. They care for numerous animals who are in need of loving forever homes. Based in Hampshire.