The name Captain fits him well. If he is not the smartest dog I’ve ever had, he’s very close. We’re working on expanding his vocabulary, which will help us get a better gauge on his potential. He already knows all four of our names, so you can say, “go to Eric,” and he will (unless he’s being rebellious). Hand signals work about 50% of the time in the house, and increasing. We’re not ready for outdoor long leash training yet, due to some of the challenges of his wolf-like characteristics. He wears his endearing smile around 80% of the time. We’ve had some close encounters with the cat, but have worked up to the place where we can now walk her past him (on our shoulder) while he maintains a sit (we’re working on staying in a “down”). His occasional “mouthing” rebellion is now never accompanied with growls, and as soon as you walk away, he caves in, knowing the leash is coming. Captain continues to fit in better and better, and other than the occasional bolt through the front door to run the neighborhood in wolf-like fashion, he is fairly domesticated.
Several characteristics indicate he has some wolf in his not-so-distant past. We see that as a positive, intriguing dynamic. His demeanor with people is that of a shepherd and not a wolf – and I think the best of the shepherd characteristics. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s a superb dog with small children (friendly and gentle), and visitors just love him!
P.S. As promised, below is a picture of Ranger (formerly Odin), 150 lbs of lean muscle and vigilance, circa 2002!