Doggie Date Day Series: Rowdy

Rowdy arrived at TAPS animal shelter in early June after he was found running stray in Oklahoma and was transferred to us by one of our partnering organizations. He is estimated to be a 2 year old American Bulldog mix and weighs approximately 60 pounds. He is a staff and volunteer favorite and is a smart, intelligent dog and in a relaxed state, has been known to be a very affectionate dog. Most of the time, Rowdy is an active dog with a ton of energy, but unfortunately little training. He is largely a puppy in an adult dog body. For this reason alone, he would not be well matched to a home with small children. As his stay at TAPS lengthens, Rowdy has been increasingly showing signs of kennel stress. This is a fairly common pattern for high-energy, intelligent dogs that don’t get to experience regular outlets for mental and physical stimulation. Specifically, Rowdy has been developing signs of resource guarding, which is a valuable skill to possess in the wild, but not such a great trait for domesticated, family companions. For those unfamiliar with the term, “resource guarding” is when a dog exhibits growling, lunging, and biting over toys, treats, or food. Potential adopters should not overlook Rowdy simply because of this; it is something that consistent training can help with, but they should be familiar with what resource guarding is and expect to spend some time correcting the behavior so that it is discouraged.

Getting to understand how a shelter dog might behave outside of the shelter environment is really helpful in guiding families to make a decision on whether a dog may or may not be a good fit for their lifestyle. Sometimes how a dog acts at the shelter can be dramatically different once they are in a home environment. A couple volunteers have been documenting their experiences in bringing home different dogs from the shelter through our “Doggie Date Day Series” so that we can see how they will behave once away from the shelter. It is really helpful because we get to learn more about their individual personalities since we are able to spend so much one-on-one time with them. Today, Rowdy got his turn for an afternoon play date and he did exceedingly well.

Rowdy did well in the car ride over to his play date, although he was a little anxious at first. Once he was at his play date, he spent a lot of time exploring the fenced in back yard. We gave Rowdy plenty of time to investigate his surroundings before attempting to see if he would like to go swimming. Very cautious at first, Rowdy eventually trusted us enough to take the scary step at swimming for the (we assume) very first time. He was nervous and showed his anxiety by wanting to have something in his mouth at all times (a leash, a hand, etc.). One of the behavioral traits Rowdy most needs work on is calming down when he gets excited. He got pretty excited during his swimming lesson, so we decided to take it easy and just let him continue exploring the yard and the patio furniture. One of the things I learned about Rowdy today is that he is very “mouthy”. I’ve found this to be very common in dogs that were not trained properly as puppies. This is something that I would recommend future adopters make a priority to work on after bringing him home. People always think it’s cute when a puppy is mouthy and like to chew on wrists and fingers, but this can create problems in older dogs.

Overall, Rowdy is an amazing dog that would thrive on structure and knowing how to make proper decisions. This can easily be achieved through consistent and effective training. I would recommend Rowdy go to an experienced dog owner and someone who could commit to his training, possibly even enlisting the help of an experienced dog trainer to work through a couple of (I believe) trainable behavioral issues that are mostly related to a lack of obedience training when he was a puppy. When he is with volunteers that he trusts, I see a totally different dog than most people: one that is affectionate and gives kisses willingly. I think Rowdy would make an wonderful companion with the right family if he was given the appropriate amount of training and regular exercise. He did excellent at his play date today and slept the entire ride home.

Please visit for more information on Rowdy and our other available dogs and cats.

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