TEARS dog Max Earns Good Citizen Award

Max, a two year old German Shepherd Belgian Shepherd cross, is a great believer in ‘third time lucky’ after being returned to the kennels twice in his short life. When he was returned earlier this year, staff realised that he was sad and confused and they felt that he needed some extra TLC. And so Carmen, now officially his favourite person, decided to take on his training. From June, Max and Carmen attended obedience training once a week at the Sun Valley Dog Club, run by Jan Meyer and Shereen Pearson.

Initially Max was a little intimidated by the class but as time went on he really gained in confidence. Shereen realised that Max was an intelligent but sensitive dog and that sometimes they needed to think out the box in order to help him understand some of the lessons.

Max and Carmen were diligent students and took their homework seriously. Carmen communicated what Max needed to learn and so on days when she wasn’t around, staff and other volunteers worked with Max and put him through his paces.

Max is an intelligent dog and needs stimulation to keep that big brain busy. He loved learning new things and he especially loved his pre-class routine which involved a vigorous game of fetch to work off some of that energy.

“I have never trained a dog before and Max had never done much training so the first class was a real shock for us! We were late entries and the other 12 dogs, of varying shapes and sizes, had already been training for months. I wasn’t sure we would be able to catch up but Max was a true star and he really benefited from regular, structured training.

Max is always eager to please and really thrives on human interaction. Max is really big on trust and throughout this exercise he had to learn to trust me to show him the way and I had to learn to trust that he was going to do his best! Max wasn’t always the best student in the class, he has some typical German Shepherd traits so if he caught a whiff of a particularly delicious smell then his concentration went out of the window and he was also a little worried that some of the bigger dogs wanted to eat him!

Max got frustrated when the instructors were focusing on the human training part of the course and when there was too much talking then he would flop down onto the ground in boredom and if he could talk I’m pretty sure he would have said, “Come on, Carmen – let’s get back to the fun stuff!”

When the big day dawned for his Canine Good Citizen Test, I think I was more nervous than he was! I armed myself with some tasty liver bread treats and gave us both a good pep talk but I didn’t have to worry, Max took it all in his stride and passed all the obedience tasks set out by the KUSA adjudicators. There are 16 individual tests that Max had to complete and while the adjudicator mentioned that he still has work to do, Max passed and now he can wear his rosette with pride (when his kennel mate Zac isn’t trying to chew it off) and his certificate of achievement is up on his kennel fence for all to admire!” – Carmen.

After the test, Max and Carmen were welcomed back to TEARS with great excitement and he was the bark of the kennels for the rest of the day. Max hasn’t let the fame of his achievements go to his head but he will sign autographs in exchange for treats. With the bronze under his harness, he has his sights set on the next level – Silver. Max is looking for a family who will continue his training.

Are you the family to help Max achieve his dreams? Are you willing to work with this intelligent, sensitive dog? Max promises that however many hours of work you put in with him, he will return them tenfold with love, loyalty and affection.