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Dakotah (aka FROST) Yellow Labrador Retriever & Husky Mix Etobicoke, ON

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Large
  • Yellow / Tan / Blond / Fawn, White / Cream


Friendly, Affectionate, Loyal, Playful, Smart, Protective, Curious, Funny, Athletic, Loves kisses
Coat length
Vaccinations up to date, spayed / neutered.
Good in a home with
Other animals. dogs.
Prefers a home without
Other dogs.

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Meet Dakotah (aka FROST)

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In the words of Dakotah's foster mom:

Dakotah is a sweet, smart girl in need of a quiet place to grow, with consistent, loving, patient and firm owners. She would be best with a quiet home where there is lots of time with her people. Although she has been around children quite a bit, and would be quite fine with them as visitors, she may be best suited to an adults-only home, in order for her to grow more quickly in overcoming her PTSD reactions. She has had a lot of interaction with elementary aged kids at my cottage and been very good with them, albeit with me staying in proximity. She loves to play fetch and chase games with kids.

Based on my experience, Dakotah will do best in a quiet household where she is ideally an “only dog”, to allow her the space to work out her issues with a minimum of disruption. She is good with a consistent routine to her day, and does require space to run daily, either at a dog park (she loves them) or in a large area in a yard or park where she can be managed off leash. Her recall is improving but not always 100%. She would also be better in a home that is not close quarters with a lot of other strangers (ie not well suited to condo or apartment living as she will bark at noises out of her sight). We found that our cottage community that is close quarters with lots of other dogs and people was very stressful for her, even though she was with us. Again, she was getting better at it, and with time and her regular calming meds I believe that situation will no longer pose a problem for her. Once people are known to her, she willingly engages with them, but too many strangers consistently present, either two or four legged, is stressful.

Dakotah is not generally food-reactive, but as a former “street dog”, she will not hesitate to go after anything edible that is left out on tables or the counter if you leave the room. We are working on that boundary and although she will “slip up” occasionally, she has gotten much better at not touching “people food”. She will let another dog know with a stern growl if they approach her bowl, so when there are other dogs in the home, it is best to separate them at feeding time, until she is able to feel that her food supply is “safe”.

She can be defensive of her sleeping space. Being awoken by touch or close contact is definitely a trigger for her, so she should always have verbal cues first, plus clear egress if she is needed to move from her sleep space, be it her own bed or the bed of her humans. She can also be reactive if one partner leaves the bed in the dark and then tries to re-enter the bed. We have learned to always have the partner still present to get her to get down and go to her own bed before the second partner returns to the room. Again, she needs a clear egress path to avoid a PTSD reaction. I believe she fears being trapped, although she is very good in a crate that she knows is “her” space.

Dakotah is amazing in the presence of other dogs and strange people if she is OFF leash; for example, at a dog park. She can be very reactive ON leash however, it is one of the things that we have worked hard on with her in the past 6 months, and she is getting better. When she is boarded, it is at a free-range boarding facility where she is out roaming with other guest dogs all day and she is quite happy there and a cordial member of the “pack”. She is better with dogs close to her own size for “roughhousing” because she herself is still young and full of energy, but has been left with smaller (i.e. 10-25 lb.) dogs at the boarding facility and been fine. I do not leave her alone with my chihuahua puppy who is only 4 lbs, as he is a typically “persistent” puppy, and I fear that Dakotah may be too rough with him. There have been a couple of times when she has been and I do not want to risk it any further.

Dakotah responds well to firm and consistent behaviour management and training, but with a calm voice. She does not respond well to yelling humans, or humans in conflict with other humans. She is very intelligent and has exhibited a strong willingness to please, and that makes her quite trainable. She does not seem to exhibit any retaliatory behaviours that we have seen. She does like to shred Kleenex and cardboard however when she is alone for extended periods, if it is accessible, but she does not chew possessions that we have seen.

When she is experiencing triggers, she should NOT be touched or grabbed by the collar to remove her from the trigger stimulus, but talked away from the triggering factor before connecting with her physically, or she may bite reactively. I have found that once I have successfully removed her (say, from a window where barking escalates) and calmed her vocally from high anxiety, that I then can calm her further with consistent eye contact and my hand sitting gently over the top of her head to ground her back to my presence. She seems to know that she has done wrong when she exhibits aggression during these PTSD episodes, as she is very subdued afterwards and seeks out affection. It is important to note that in the “thick” of one of these episodes, she is not really present in the current moment, but in a full-on fear reaction that is linked to some earlier trauma. The important reaction is to get her “back” to the present moment above all else, to regain her calmer side.

I believe that her medications will be able to remove the triggering eventually altogether, along with consistent anticipation by her humans in advance of the episodes happening, to either remove her from the situation or focus her attention with touch and voice to keep her grounded as the trigger passes through her space (this particular method works very well when she is on leash and approaching another dog.) She is reactive to seeing other dogs walking along the sidewalk approaching her space from inside the house, reactive to other dogs when on leash, and as mentioned reactive to having her sleep space disturbed. We allow her to sleep on the bed, but she may be better to return to the previous owners’ practice of having her sleep in her crate. If it is only one owner with her, she is NOT reactive if you get up and then return, as long as you speak to her while approaching.

She is very well house-trained, is very good about waiting to go outside in the morning, and will wander back and forth to the door when she needs to go out.

Dakotah can be a digger, especially if left outside alone too long and gets bored in the yard. We try to catch her in the act and stop it, and she is improving.

Dakotah still needs work on her “car manners”. She tends to be restless, anxious and whiny on both long and short car rides, although we have seen some improvements in that. I believe that her calming medications will also assist in making car trips more pleasant for everyone involved. ?

She will need lots of daily exercise, at minimum a morning and evening long walk, ideally with some “free run” time on one of them.

She loves her ”stuffies” and loves to play tug of war with them either with her humans or with other dogs, as well as with her tug ropes. She particularly loves playing ball fetch with the tennis ball chucker stick we added this winter. She is a bit tentative about wading in water, but loves walks in the woods, which is a part of our regular repertoire of exercise.

Overall, she is a good dog, who just needs a calm consistent environment with a patient owner, someone willing to learn her habits and triggers, and spend the time to help her how to stay grounded under stress until she learns to self-manage them. Once she has learned to overcome the reactionary triggers, she will shine in her true personality as an amazing smart dog with lots of energy and love.

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Dakotah (aka FROST)

Dakotah (aka FROST)

  • Yellow Labrador Retriever
  • Adult
  • Female