Dog Adoption Story: Steffanie McGahan and Baz

Baz, first known as Kaos, came to DogsBlog.com’s rescue partner, Fife Rottweiler Rescue in early 2010. At the same time Steffanie McGahan was looking for another dog to bring into her home when she came across Kaos on DogsBlog.com. Here is her story about life with Baz and how he settled in and in her own words, “He is still learning and improving every day, as am I as are both my son and husband.”

Baz came home with us on 20th February 2010. I must confess, once we let loose this seemingly enormous Rottweiler in our home, I though ‘Oh My God’ what have I done! He had no manners at all, would knock you down barging through doors, and his greed had/has no bounds. In the beginning we had to shut him away at mealtimes or he would have literally been on the table. He also had a bad habit of grabbing peoples feet when they passed.

However, with training and patience and love, all his bad habits have significantly decreased. He will wait at doors, he will pace about a bit at mealtimes but is getting better and definately doesn’t try to get on the table any more thank goodness. He will occasionally grab my 11 year old sons foot but only when he gets over excited. He is also prone to growling and jumping about if someone goes upstairs. We have been working on that, and it is also improving. It seems to be a nervous behaviour as opposed to aggression.

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If you let him upstairs with you, he charges about checking all the rooms – I’m sure he thinks a bogey man lives up there. He was very inquisitive with our old cat, that settled down in a day or so, and was fine with our other dog, a 5 year old Staffordshire bull terrier who quickly established herself as the boss. He is now much calmer, and very obedient (mostly). I have found him a dream to train, very quick to learn, although incredibly stubborn if he so wishes but I believe that is a breed trait rather than a personality disorder.

At first, there were lots of things he was afraid of, like the vacuum cleaner, and believe it or not, a dog bed, I don’t think he had ever seen a dog bed before. He is also now crate trained, which took a bit of doing. trying to persuade a 6 stone Rottie he wants to go into a cage. He had also never been taught to walk on a lead, another task we took on board. He was a worried dog when he first came home, didn’t trust us, wouldn’t let me look in his ears, or check his feet. Now he is a happy boy who trusts us to take care of him. And in return he has learned, among other things, to walk on a lead, sit, down and wait on command. He also gives a paw (hard to teach that to a dog who didn’t like me touching his feet!) and catches biscuits when you throw them. That last one was easy!

I have owned several Dobermanns over the years, and when my last girl died in July 2009 I was distraught. When I felt able to think about giving a home to a new dog, my first thought was to rescue an adult because by then, I had realised how many dogs were in rescue kennels, its a desperate situation. I had actually been home checked by the Dobermann Welfare Association and was waiting for a dog that suited our family when I was idly looking up rescue dogs online and found DogsBlog.com.

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My husband happened to mutter in the background that he fancied a Rottweiler so I typed it into the search box. Hey presto our boy popped up, I showed him to hubby who fell instantly in love with him and the rest is history. I was entrusted to his care because of my background in obedience training, as Baz (or Kaos as he was appropriately named in the kennels) had the foot grabbing and over excitability problem. Full of nonsense was his apt description!

I would without hesitation, search on DogsBlog.com for my next dog, and would recommend the site heartily. To anyone considering taking on a rescue dog I would advise that they think carefully as it is a huge responsibility for all the family – I think its important for ALL the family to be equally committed to bringing a rescue dog home. Even though my husband and son wanted Baz, they were both losing patience with his dominance and foot-grabbing habit for a while. Everybody has gotta pull together to show the dog how to behave. If you have the time, patience and leadership skills it is a tremendously rewarding experience. My boy Baz would be dead if it wasn’t for the Fife Rottweiler Rescue and I can’t imagine life without him even if he is still full of nonsense. Full of nonsense = full of life.

He is still learning and improving every day, as am I.

Our funniest/scariest moment with him was six weeks or so after he came home with us. I had just started letting him off lead in a field close to us. He had been running about beside me fine, then he scented something and took off. He stopped at a little car, ran round and round it, still scenting the air. I had almost caught up with him by then, but he took off again up the street. I found him a few houses up the street, sat on a front door step in front of a gentleman who had one hand on his front door and one hand clutching his chinese takeaway with a rather worried look on his face.

I was completely mortified and apologized profusely to the gentleman who took it all in good stead. We believe that Baz had been fed a lot on takeaway food. Needless to say after that incident, we did a little training walking past the local Chinese takeaway and learning it was NOT acceptable to grab white plastic bags off people as they walked past so now passers by can keep their shopping safe.

Baz has been an experience I wouldn’t change for the world. I even traded in my lovely convertible sports car for a sensible dogmobile. I would encourage anyone looking to bring a dog into their home to consider adopting, it’s everything you could hope for – and much, much more!

To try and debunk the myths about dog adoption and encourage dog lovers to consider adopting, DogsBlog.com and Butcher’s Pet Care, are launching National Dog Adoption Month this September with the emphasis firmly on spreading the message that breed research is the most essential preparation any potential dog owner can do. Understanding the unique quirks and habits particular to a specific breeds enables even the most experienced owner to make a better judgement about the compatibility of their lifestyle and any new dog they intend to bring in to their home.