The story of a Mozambican dog

We have a Mozambican dog. This is a definitory statement. We have a Mozambican dog and that uses all our time. This is again a non running article. Maybe will have a bit of running but not too much !

We adopted our dog in May – June 2012 in Mozambique. He lived with his brothers and sisters in a very small, dark and filthy room, just next to a kindergarten in the city of Nacala. We knew the owner of the kindergarten and she had 3 adult dogs, among them the mother of our dog and 6 pups. She was saying that she takes care of them however … I think it is a matter of standards. She fed them …sort of and called the vet when they needed. That was quite important.

Anyway … when I went to pick it up I haven´t got time to check anything and anyway I had no clue what I want from a pup. The only thing we knew it had to be a male. There were 2 males there, one of them was not to give away … therefor my choice was rather simple. I grabbed the little rat got him in the car and home we went. I said rat on purpose. He looked like one. The dog was 3 months and was malnourished , had no fur and was full of fleas and ticks.

Long story short … the dog, on its name Thor , is a rare mix of dachshund, Rhodesian ridgeback and we suspect that he has some boerboel inside as well. His mom was a 50%/50% Rhodesian with dachshund  ( I still wonder how they did it… a female rhodesian can eat a dachshund and still not be full ).We never seen the dad, so we can just suspect that his dad had some boerboel in his genes.  The mix of breeds makes him to be very stubborn. As time passed we understood that he was traumatized and abused as well. By his reactions we suspect that the kids in the kindergarten would have beat the pups on regular base and by his reaction towards the natives from Nacala, well, we are sure that the guards were beating them as well.

To add something to the problem : this was our first ever dog … mine and my wife´s as well. We had no clue what to do and how to do. So we started reading. The easiest thing to come by was the famous alpha dog movement and Cesar Millan’s ways! I don´t want to start a polemic around here but for us did not really worked. It did worse actually at some point.

By the time we were going out of Nacala in 2013 we had almost a normal dog. Almost . Still had a grudge against black people and kids however we were able to have guests in our house. As we started our journey to return to Europe … we flew from Nacala to Maputo where we had to stay a week. We left the dog in the only place we knew that offered the service ( a vet with kennel service). And when we got him from there we noticed a step back. He did not like white people also. Did not mind it as we were on our way out. We finally arrived to Norway, passing through Portugal and after some months we arrived here we had to get our dog seen by a behaviorist. He was aggressive towards everything that was not us, except female dogs. No way we would be able to have guests, no  walk on the street was easy so we had to do something.

First behaviourist looked at him for 5 seconds, tried to approach, did not manage, looked for more 5 sec and stated : This dog must be put to sleep ! You will never be able to correct this !

We could not do that so we went to another behaviorist. We started working with the beast, changed from  the ways of the whisperer to what I think it is called positive reinforcement and we started seeing results. Our dog became more …a dog than an aggressive beast ! Though the “Beast” lays with him as a nickname. He is Thor the beast !

This second behaviorist asked us a lot of questions and among other problems seems like the pill we gave him to cope with the long travel from Mozambique to Portugal, was the worst choice ever, making him paralyzed but aware. So poor dog was terrified and could not move for 12-13 hours.

As it was not complicated enough … we had to cope with some health issues as well. When we arrived here he had a serious case of dermatitis. So serious that the vet said she has never seen something similar. We had no insurance on him so … we had to pay!

Later on, actually in the beginning of 2014   we tried the chemical castration as a way of calming him down. It worked. However, it made him to gain very fast, about 5 kg. In a dog that is 18-20 , if he gains 5, that will slow him down. We did not notice so we went in a vicious circle. Usually I would run him in the morning to keep him tired. But, as he got fat we could not run. As soon as we ran he started limping. So to get him tired we would train him, we would do mental games and searching games. All this requires treats. The treats gave him more 2-3 kg. So we arrived with the dog at 28.9 kg. He was supposed to be around 20 !  So we are on diet now!

However, meanwhile, at the advice of 3 behaviorists and some more veterinarians we solved the problem for good and we got him by the balls … and we cut them out !  Now, as we are in the recovery period there is no running, and as I am alone at home for some days , there is no running for me also. I can’t just go and leave him alone with the stupid cone on his head …

To keep the long story not so long I have to mention something. With this dog I have learned something very important : commitment ! The easy way out of this problem would have been a small injection and that is it. No more dog, no more problem. I did considered it for a while, but my wife did not want , so because of her the dog is still here. At the end I do not know if I would be able to do it, but I did considered putting him to sleep. However we did not and we managed to get almost a normal dog out of him. We worked a lot, we were consistent, and spend a lot of money, but at the end of the day we did not gave up on him. Was not his fault. I would say this was as important as a lesson for me, as the marathon training was. Long term commitment to a goal !

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