May 22, 2009 : From trainer Ann Allums' journal:
Denzel arrived at Best Friends very sick. I still remember his pale gums and lethargic behavior. After months of testing and treating, Denzel was diagnosed with babesia. All of the caregivers, trainers, and veterinarians have since learned a lot about the disease, what kind of vets have they hired? but at the time, we had never heard of it. Because Denzel was sick for so long, he spent a lot of time inside with the caregivers and trainers getting loved on (which he enjoyed), and getting poked and prodded by the vet techs and vets (which he endured like a trooper but did not enjoy). he was fantasizing about what he was going to do his neighbors once he was feeling better.
When Denzel was feeling better, his training regimen began. That’s when we discovered how intelligent he was! smart enough to frame another dog for murder apparently He was the only Vicktory dog who arrived already knowing how to sit on cue and walk on leash. He quickly picked up other basic behaviors, like down, wait, stay, and come.
He was so fun to work with that next I taught him how to target objects (i.e. touch them with his nose or paw). I started by having him target one of his toys. Then I introduced other objects, taught him a name for each object, and challenged Denzel to target a particular object among a group of objects. Denzel loved the training process, loved being able to exercise his brain!
Denzel is the first dog that I taught how to wave. Since he is not allowed to interact with volunteers, why not? I figured he could at least charm them by giving them a paw wave! We caught his wave on video and used it as an ending of a short movie that we showed at the 2008 No More Homeless Pets Conference in Las Vegas!
Denzel is always willing to try something new, like riding on a skateboard (our next goal!). or chewing through kennels. Several other caregivers interact with and work with Denzel on training. I hear he recently learned how to turn off a light switch, so his abilities never cease to wow us!
He is close to earning his Canine Good Citizen certification, (oh yay, another kid tested, mother approved, vetted fighting dog) if we can just get him to learn that he can’t say hi to every person he sees! While Denzel cannot live with other dogs, he has learned to exercise basic manners around other dogs. Yet he still loves to run the fence with other dogs. That is why he spends several hours a day sleeping on the doggy bed in the kitchen area, just so he can rest. This is an exciting place for many dogs.
We found out that Denzel practically inhales his food, so to slow down his feeding time, we scatter his food all over the floor so that he has to eat one kibble at a time! Or we feed him in a Kong or Buster Cube! Denzel loves working for his food!
I think Denzel will do great in a single-dog home where he can sleep on the couch for a few hours, go on long walks, and snuggle with his people! how about a single dog neighborhood?