Kuzco had a rough start. Before coming to Best Friends, he had been living with an animal hoarder in Southern California. And, while he probably had a blast living with 130 doggie friends, he wasn't receiving the proper food, human interaction, or medical attention he should have. When he first arrived at Old Friends, everything was overwhelming and downright scary. He had to be sedated to be groomed (and he needed it!), getting him into the car for his clinic appointments was almost impossible, and he generally seemed suspicious of people. In his run, though, he is king of the castle. He romps and plays and gets along well with his doggie friends, which is typical of a dog with his background. Usually dogs from hoarding cases tend to have amazing dog skills, but are nervous or frightened around people.
It was only a matter of weeks before Kuzco realized that he loved his new life at Old Friends (and his caregivers were pretty awesome too). To him, we were just new members of his "pack." As endearing as that was for us, it's also when things started getting difficult. For starters, becoming a member of Kuzco's pack meant you were treated like any other doggie friend. If you went into his run, you were usually met with an excited, jumpy, mouthy, 60-pound dog who was nipping at your legs to herd you, or muzzle-punching you to get you to play. This is very rude behavior, but it is something we are used to working with at Dogtown.
Then things got even more complicated. Up until this point, Kuzco had ignored us for the most part. If he wanted attention, he would approach, but if we called to him, it was anybody's guess if he would come. When he started seeking out attention, it became increasingly odd that he still wasn't listening. Finally, one day shortly after, we discovered why: Kuzco is completely deaf. No amount of whistling or yelling will get his attention if he can't see you. I felt like an idiot for not noticing before, but it all made perfect sense. On top of all this, he isn't treat- or toy-motivated. This will make modifying his rude behavior even harder, but we are excited to take up this unique challenge.