Friday, June 9, 2017

Luke Skywalker our very first foster dog

Roo did his therapy dog training through Austin Dog Alliance, so I learned a lot about their programs. Aside from working with schools, libraries, hospitals, nursing home, etc to set up therapy dog visits, one of the major things ADA does is train service dogs for veterans. They usually find dogs in shelters who show promise as service dogs and then train them. Pretty cool!

Not every dog is able to complete service dog training, it's pretty intense, and a dog has to be just about perfect to be a service dog. Luke is one of the dogs who showed promise, but didn't quite complete the training. I believe his downfall in service dog training was that he loves other dogs too much.

I told ADA that we'd be willing to short term foster a dog for them from time to time. Short term at ADA generally means about 2 or 3 weeks. About 3 days after I told them this, they asked if Roo and I would come up and meet Luke and think about fostering him. Luke and Roo got along well at the meet and greet, so home we went with Luke!

ADA says Luke is a Labrador/Shar Pei mix. He does love to retrieve and he's got lots of cute wrinkles around his face. But I think he may have some Australian cattle dog (Red Heeler) mixed in too. Some friends who've seen him say "yeah, for sure he's got some red heeler" and some say "no way" so who knows. But whatever breeds he is, he's very sweet and very smart.

Luke is well house trained, he has not had one accident in the house. He is crate trained and does well in the crate for as long as 8 hours at a time. I usually have to guide him into the crate rather than just telling him...who wants to go to bed when there's fun to be had!?!

Luke came to us knowing how to sit and lie down, and quickly learned to shake paw after watching Roo do it a couple times. He's very smart, learns quickly and is motivated to please people.
 Luke loves to play fetch and he's learning to drop the ball/toy in your hand when he brings it back. But for now, I mostly use 2 balls, which makes him drop the first one at my feet immediately when he brings it back.

Luke is also great at walking on a leash nicely. He generally wears an EasyWalk harness for walking (that's what Roo wears too) and he rarely pulls at all, it's pretty impressive! I've also taken him on 2-3 mile runs and he LOVES that.

Luke loves to play with toys, but he needs the indestructible kind. He thinks all squeakers must be removed! He has done really well with West Paw zogoflex toys, rope toys, Benebones, and Galileo bones.

Luke also loves to play with Roo. I think Luke would like to live in a home with another dog, but it should be a fairly high energy dog, as I think Luke might annoy an older or low energy dog. I think Luke would also love to have kids to play with. We had him at an event last weekend and he loved meeting all the kids and was very good with them. He actually had a little girl at his last foster home.
I would say Luke is moderately high energy. He loves to play and go for walks or even runs, but he also loves to lie down and cuddle and watch tv with you. He'll chill for hours in our office chewing on a toy while Jeff works.

Luke is really smart and learns quickly. I think he would really enjoy getting to do something like agility training or nosework. Luke is a great dog and just waiting to find his forever family. If that might be you, please contact Lindsey@austindogalliance.org


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