Here at the shelter, we’ve got over a hundred loving dogs ready to find their forever homes. Every dog has worth and value and is a very good boy (or girl!). All have their likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses... and then there’s Nikko. Such a handsome package holds a dog that’s smart as a whip and simultaneously an absolute menace. He’ll look you in the eyes, wagging his tail, while he scream barks because you didn’t give him your lunch. He processes information with his mouth first, has a very small amount of patience, and the attention span of a raisin. He’s intensely intelligent and figures out tasks on the first try: enrichment puzzles are boring, and don’t even think about giving him a snuffle mat to occupy his mind. He’s honestly that super smart kid in the movies who’s not challenged enough in class so they end up setting the school lab on fire. Basically, he makes bad choices because he can all while having an irresistibly squishable face. He is obsessively food and toy driven, and that fact has gotten our staff far when handling and working with him. Another good thing he’s got going for him is that he LOVES other dogs - he plays so well in a pack of dogs that can match his energy level. He plays hard but is still capable of regulating himself and has shown us that he can get along with more submissive and more dominant dogs. Because of this, we are going to require that his future home have another dog for him to bond and learn from.
As a 10-month-old Catahoula mix, he’s got loads of energy and is already prone to be protective of his people and skeptical of strangers. But, we know there has to be the right place for him to reach his full potential and live a really good life. When he is sweet with the people he trusts, he’s a precious angel baby who leans into you, loves neck and chest scratches, and will look deep in your eyes… but when he’s bad? Oh, he's really, really good at it.
Like most dogs with behavioral issues, it can be partly biological, but the way he is isn’t totally his fault. As a puppy, he was ridiculously cute and likely got away with bad behaviors in his previous home. Once he was bigger, those behaviors became unmanageable, ultimately ending with him abandoned in a box on someone’s porch. Yes, he’s super mouthy and rude, but we can tell that someone was obviously quite cruel to him early on in his life; that is evident when you move objects by him too fast or lift up your leg to untangle the leash and he cowers with his eyes closed, fully ready to be hit. He saves a special level of disdain (or dare we say hatred?) for women in their 40’s and 50’s with medium/long silver hair (literally, he loses his mind when he sees them). We’re prone to think someone with that specific physicality probably treated him really badly.
Some really kind people donated funds specifically for Nikko to work with a trainer. He’s currently doing sessions with an outside trainer here at the shelter twice a week, and they said he’s as smart and driven as any Malinois they’ve worked with. He just makes bad choices because he can, and we’re working on fixing that with him. In training, he’s showing us how bright, adaptable, and capable he is. Nikko needs a real job, not a low-key one, where he has to engage his brain instead of just reacting to whatever comes his way. He’s neutered, fully vaccinated, microchipped, and available to an adult-only home that is skilled, patient, and ready for the challenge and love he’ll bring them. His home will need people experienced with behavioral dogs and willing to continue his training long-term. We won’t be entertaining applicants who don’t have the experience or the commitment to take on this boy - we’re not budging on what Nikko needs to finally become an upstanding citizen and part of a family.
Nikko, our 1-year-old Catahoula Leopard Dog mix, got to spend some time in foster care! Here is what his foster had to say about him:
"We got glimpses of Nikko’s playful character and silly personality when he felt comfortable and at ease. Through the difficulties, we can still see how wonderful this boy is. He didn’t show any signs of food or toy aggression the whole time he was in foster; he was happy to play with the other dogs and sit for treats in the group. He loves to snuggle on the couch with you, getting lots of pets and kisses on his head. He tries so hard to please even though it’s sometimes difficult due to his past treatment. He’s so worthy of love and worthy of a chance to have a good life.
Nikko really needs one human to call his own. Someone without any reactive dog experience or who is timid is not going to have a good experience with Nikko. He requires someone who is dog-savvy and confident in their knowledge. He’s got to have a strong leader who is loving and kind but sets very firm boundaries, giving him no doubt who is the leader in their relationship; he will take his reaction cues from that person and he actively looks to them for guidance. His person also needs to be really patient. Nikko is still learning how to be a good boy. He tries so hard to please, but it will take him some time to unlearn how to be a shelter dog and turn into a true companion. He needs someone who won’t give up on him as long as he’s still trying. He’s smart as a whip and learns so swiftly. He’s truly a very special dog.
While Nikko did well entering into a home with 4 other pups, we think he would really thrive in a smaller pack with 1-2 other dogs that are decidedly either more dominant or more submissive than him. Nikko does best on a true, set schedule and requires a lot of exercise (some of his favorite activities are playing ball, tug of war with his person, playing chase, and going for long sniffy walks). Consistency, routine, and time will turn him into the very best partner; he’ll be the best adventure buddy you can find!"
3161 W. Norton Road, Springfield, Missouri 65803