Kirsty and Clyde
Clyde was adopted by Kirsty in 2019. Here's their story.
What was Clyde like when you first adopted him? How were the first few weeks?
From the moment he jumped down from the magic bus, Clyde seemed to know that this was his home. He was affectionate, licky and lovely. He came into the garden and had a good sniff around, took an instant liking to the pot duck and within half an hour he was situated on the couch, like he had always been there.
We think he was approximately seven months old when he arrived. He was already a very big puppy. He seemed to already understand a few commands which are similar in Romanian, such as sit and stay. Down is one we are still working on.
For the first week, the three of us (myself, husband and 13 year old daughter) took turns sleeping with him downstairs. We had a huge crate for him, but he seemed comfortable on the couch, so we allowed that for him to settle. He followed us around constantly and gave us licks every minute.
We first took him on a walk on day three, as he seemed quite settled. He was wary of the sound from cars and the road, and the lead was a little alien to him, but he honestly picked things up quite quickly. We had only that year lost both our other fur babies, and the house had that doggie smell and even had a few old toys and beds, which we feel helped a lot.
After the first week of sleeping with him in his crate, he liked it during the day but night times were an issue; Clyde doesn’t deal well with separation. We tried many tactics to try to settle him but he seemed adamant he wanted to be close. He still sleeps in our room, so you can see how well that has gone!
How has the training process been?
We took Clyde very locally for the first few weeks, just around streets to familiarise him with where he now lived. After two weeks, we took him to an area close to us where there is lots of space to run and it’s safe for training off lead.
He did OK with recall but it has been a little hit and miss. We have done better with him during lockdown where due to lots of other dogs and people being out exercising, we have reverted back to on/off lead training and recall. He is doing much better how.
He is so very friendly towards other dogs, but I feel due to his huge size, many dogs are reactive to him and react strongly to not wanting him near them. He is learning, and is starting to understand when dogs don’t want him near them. He is quite strong-willed and sometimes when he wants to play with a dog, his recall goes completely. We are still working on this. He is such a big friendly dog, he wants to socialise, and has not once been aggressive to another dog.
Clyde has only had three ‘accidents’ in the house since arriving. He is so clean. We’re amazed at this. He was booked in for puppy classes when COVID-19 hit. Most of the training classes we approached asked us to wait for him to settle further before starting training, then lockdown hit, so he has not had many classes. We have done a lot of reading and have had dogs before and have used tactics that have worked but know that every dog is different.
We feel that getting another dog in the home would help greatly with Clyde and are in the process of sorting this. The training we do at home has worked well, we have been consistent as a family and he is very food-oriented which helps with training. Also lots of positive reinforcement. He likes to be loved and to please, so ‘good boy’ is his favourite word, its means he is doing well and gets a yummy treat. We used chicken or chicken-based snacks for training.
Seven months on – how is Clyde now?
Clyde is such a huge part of the family. With all three of us. He still doesn’t like separation, so we have had to get used to him being literally everywhere, but we love him and that’s OK. He has had to work on being left for short periods and not being too dominant and trying to block the front door when we leave, especially for Mum! Treats and praise have helped him to get used to me being gone for an hour or 2, and that I will return. Due to lockdown there is always someone home with him. We are lucky to have lots of friends with dogs that are also now his buddies.
Having a very large dog is not for the faint-hearted and you have to expect negative reactions from a lot of people who are fearful of dogs, and smaller dogs (which is most dogs to him). You also have to be strong and be able to handle a large dog’s strength, especially when he is determined to go somewhere. It’s often about predicting his next move and distracting him.
He is the most loving, affectionate, funny goofball. He is 45 kg, but thinks he is Chihuahua sized and can fit into the smallest of places with determination!
We cannot imagine life without him, he is a beautiful soul who helped us grieve and learn to love another fur baby again. All our friends and family who have met Clyde adore him! Rescue dogs bring something, it’s maybe a sense of appreciation of giving them a home. I know I spoil Clyde very much, even more so as his scar on his nose reminds me that his life didn’t start that easy for him.
Thanks BDMR for all the amazing work you do and for helping bring our amazing Clyde into our life and home!