By Thomas Snee, Maintenance Coordinator
There is a saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I can tell you, that is not true. Especially when it comes to rescue dogs. Almost a year ago, I met Tank while he was walking across Animal Friends’ parking lot with a volunteer during the early morning hours. After seeing him for the first time, I knew he needed to be a part of my family. I called my wife and told her about this skinny boy with kennel cough. After a couple of meet-and-greets with our two other dogs, we took Tank home as a foster-to adopt.
Things at home went very well and needless to say … we adopted him two days later!
Tank came to us at 2 ½ years old, knowing virtually no canine manners, but he had no trouble learning the house rules and fit in perfectly. Once he was recovered from the kennel cough, I introduced him to the sport of tracking. Tracking isn’t an easy thing to teach a dog. They must work independently from the handler and use their sense of smell to follow where a person walks in a field. All through our training, Tank loved this game and was, in my eyes, becoming great at it.
In November he was certified by an American Kennel Club judge, allowing him to enter a tracking test. Finally in March, I entered Tank in a tracking test in Cleveland. I am very proud to say, he did a beautiful job and passed. This earned him the American Kennel Club title of Tracking Dog. Tank is our second dog from Animal Friends to earn performance titles. Our other male, Sabre, has competed in National Association of Canine Scent Work events and has earned several titles. Both dogs came to us completely untrained and proved to us that you cannot underestimate a rescue dog.
No matter their background, it is possible to teach a dog many different skills all while forming a bond with you. Join a class and have fun with your pup! Both of you will enjoy every minute of it. And I will tell you, it is true you can teach a rescue dog new tricks!