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Shane, now Sherlock

Meet Shane, a young American Bulldog who was brought to Woodgreen by his owner because he wasn't getting on with the two other dogs at home.

Shane lived outside alone. As an affectionate dog, this really knocked his confidence.

Left outside, this friendly giant became very nervous of new people, pets and unfamiliar situations. When Shane arrived our expert team put a lot of effort into creating a stable routine that would keep him busy and happy. There was also plenty of fuss and attention from dog handler Emma who took a shine to this oversized lapdog.

Shane - American Bulldog on The Dog House

How we helped Shane find his confidence

We helped Shane by training him to avoid becoming upset and distracted by other dogs. When out on his walks, he would often freeze and stare at other dogs. But by keeping him at a safe distance, we allowed him to look without feeling like he needed to lunge or bark at them. To encourage him to keep walking and ignore distractions, we tried lots of different tactics. Eventually, our brilliant dog handler Emma tried squeezy cheese as a treat to reinforce calm behaviour, which worked like a charm. Squeezy cheese is a long-lasting and high-value reward that’s great for training dogs like Shane, but it’s high in calories so we were careful to not give him too much.

Struggling to find a new home

With so much stacked against him already, we knew it was going to be a challenge to find Shane the right home. Despite some of the prejudice Bulldog breeds receive, we also wanted to ensure his new owner would be able to confidently handle his size and ongoing training needs.

“It’s been quite difficult to rehome Shane. He has a lot going against him. People see a very large, strong bully breed. He’s also white, which people don’t tend to like for some reason. I don’t know why because he’s just lovely!” – Emma, Shane’s dog handler

Usually, dogs are rehomed within around 30 days, but Shane spent 90 days with us. We used this time to keep up his regular training and socialisation so that his confidence in himself and his surroundings would be in a good place when he eventually met his new owner.


Lisa and Shane

Finding his forever home on The Dog House

Once he was ready to be rehomed, we set out to find him the perfect match. He was looking for a quiet, peaceful home with a patient owner who could supply him with lots of cuddles and patience. During the filming of The Dog House, we introduced him to big breed fan Lisa, who had been through a difficult few years. She was looking for a rescue pup she could cuddle up to and didn’t mind a dog who needed a bit of extra help to settle into a home environment.

After just a few minutes together in The Meeting Pen, Lisa’s patience was rewarded as Shane came straight over for a cuddle on her lap. The team were thrilled that Shane was showing so much trust in someone new and that after such a long stay he had finally found his forever home.

Lisa got in touch with us recently to let us know that Shane, now called Sherlock, gives her a purpose in life and makes her feel more calm and settled. She’s also passed on that he’s made himself quite at home on her couch and loves running around and playing football on her field nearby. Another Dog House happily-ever-after!

“Sherlock is an absolute star, he’s overcome so many problems and even conquered his fear of the stairs! I rent a private field where he loves to run around and play football. He’s a much more confident dog than the frightened pooch I brought home.” 

Lisa, Shane's new human

Busting the ‘bully’ breed myths

People often cross the road when they see large ‘bull’ breeds, thinking they’ll lunge, bark or show other unpredictable behaviours, but American Bulldogs are actually very sensitive, affectionate and incredibly loyal.

Dogs like Shane have the odds stacked against them from the get-go and naturally, it takes longer to find them new homes. Like many Bulldog breeds, Shane was a big old softy who adored human affection and company.  

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