This is Kona!

Kona is being fostered by us, not through a shelter or rescue organization. Please contact us directly to inquire about her.

The Stats:

  • Name: Kona 
  • Breed: Dutch Shepherd mix
  • Age: 3
  • Sex: Female 
  • Size: Medium (50lb)

More about Kona:

Kona is high energy and extremely intelligent.  On her first night with us she showed exceptional food drive and handler focus.  She was not interested in playing with a tug toy but we will re-introduce that when she has had more time to decompress and build a relationship with us.

Kona seems to absolutely crave learning and mental stimulation, more so than physical exercise (though she definitely needs plenty!).  Kona would do best in a home that could provide her with an active job, including agility, flyball, disc, lure coursing, or other similar sports.  Kona seems like she will excel in obedience, so obedience and rally competitions could definitely be in her future.

Kona is biddable and handler-focused.  She is distractible but has a low-level of external reactivity.  With relationship-building, engagement, and structured obedience, Kona should make a fine sporting or working partner.

Video of Kona's first night with us!

Update 1/28/16

Today Kona told us she wanted to play tug! She is a little munchy with slightly weak grips, but those will both be improved upon during her stay with us. 

She is showing GREAT tendencies towards liking the 'fight' and 'play' factors with little possessive tendencies, as she very willingly brings the tug back to the handler to re-enage and restart the game. She very much likes this as a game between her and her handler!

Her tug drive can and will definitely be utilized in her future training sessions!

Video of Kona's first tug session!

Update 1/29/16

Kona took a field trip to Pennsylvania today to accompany her resident dog friends on a vet trip. She is healthy and up to date on her vaccines, so we spent our time having a 'fun' visit. 

She quickly engaged with us and worked for her food rewards. To say this dog is food motivated is an understatement!

While we normally give dogs more time to acclimate and bond, Kona craves learning and training, regardless of where she is or who's around. We're working at her pace, which sometimes is slower than she'd like!

Then, we came home and played tug, introducing the bite pillow. She loved it! We'll work on her foundations and use tugging and grip work as positive physical and mental outlets!

Update 1/31/16

Jethro took a while to finish his dinner.  Kona had finished hers earlier and was starting to get antsy.  As you can see in this video, instead of doing something inappropriate, like barking, Kona instead chose to focus her energy onto appropriate activities like chewing on her Kong toys.

This was an EXCELLENT decision on her part, and one that most dogs don't make!  We had no influence on this decision, this was 100% her own doing.

For the record, Kona is absolutely FABULOUS in a crate- she is almost always quiet, has thus far not had any accidents, and is able to sleep through the night without any fuss.

Kona has traveled in a crate in the car to and from Philadelphia with very little trouble and has now multiple times been crated in the car for multiple hours.  She seems able to generalize proper crate behavior in different environments.  This is GREAT news for any sporting or working homes interested in her!

Kona learning to settle in her crate!

Kona has also been practicing her treadmill skills!  The following video is her second time out and she got up to a slow walk (1.6mph) for 5 minutes total.  We will slowly work her up to faster speeds and longer duration- for now we're teaching her how to use it gradually to build her confidence and aptitude.



Kona has also been working on being comfortable in different types of crates.  Not all crates are created equal, and while WE love our Ruff Tough Kennels for car transportation, we understand they can induce some claustrophobia.  Because our goal is to generalize crate training to ALL types of crates and kennels, we have started working with Kona to promote a positive conditioned emotional response to crates of all shapes and sizes!

Kona did a FABULOUS job and she shows how happy, confident, and resilient she is. Such a fantastic dog.

We know this is a long video, but we wanted to make sure we showed her progression and our training process clearly and thoroughly.

Kona learning that all crates are great!

Kona is true to Dutchie form, meaning one of her greatest pleasures in life is having something in her mouth!

To prevent inappropriate behavior while giving her an outlet for her natural inclinations, we play tug! To prepare her for future sporting or working endeavors, we are working on what is called the "strike", or the act of grabbing the tug. This is a learned skill!

Today was Kona's first real lesson in striking. As you can see, we have her on a backline to build frustration and give us a target range of where to put her tug for her to strike it correctly. Just like in nosework, we use the backline to build behaviors through frustration and confidence! (To be fair, my mechanics are rusty and snow doesn't make for great footing for either of us, but we made it out ok!)

Her grips are getting stronger and more confident every day also. She also does not seem to tire at all from any type of tugging exercise!

Kona learning to strike!

Kona is doing GREAT with her treadmill learning!  She got up to 2.5mph today.  This video is AFTER about 20 minutes of tugging!  She did 0.3mi in 11 minutes- twice what she was able to do yesterday!  What a happy, confident girl!  She's always willing to learn something new and puts her all into it!

Kona gaining confidence and proficiency on the treadmill!

Updated 2/1/16

The chin touch is a multi-purpose foundational behavior.  We began teaching it to Kona today! Look at those ears and that focus!  You can see in the video I rubbed her head a couple times- her eye focus is too good sometimes, and I occasionally had to break it for a second so she could remember what we were learning!

Because we don't know what Kona's future holds, we're preparing her for anything!  This is also a good training exercise that requires her to be calm and collected- not always an easy feat for this active girl!  Someone asked me recently for a "calm/settled" video of Kona... this is probably the closest I'll get for a while! 

We usually set aside just 'hang-out time' (no training), which consists of her chewing on her nylabone and occasionally checking in on us. She is 'on', but not in your face constantly; she does settle on her bed with her bone nicely and has thus far not been a bother as a house companion.

So far, she hasn't been introduced to anything she doesn't like yet. She LOVES learning. I think she would thrive and be a happy, willing participant in just about any venue, especially ones that require hours of daily training!

Kona learning the chin-touch!

Updated 2/2/16

The foot-touch is one of the most versatile tools to have in your dog's skill toolbox.

This was Kona's second session with this and she did VERY well. I'm pushing her to work faster than I would ask other dogs since we're not sure how long she'll be staying. She took it in stride!

She is a fantastic girl that learns quickly and is VERY handler focused. Given her work ethic already, I would expect her to be the type of dog to intrinsically find value in working itself- GREAT news for any sporting/working people interested!

Kona learning the foot-touch!

Updated 2/4/16

Kona's been doing great with her tug drive and play development!  She still has some learning to do but has improved SO much in only a week! Watch this girl fly!

This type of play is great for relationship building and drive development for training and sport foundations.  She LOVES to play tug and it is a great outlet for her energy. 

Kona working on her play development!

Updated 2/5/16

Kona has been working this week to learn her "sit" and "down" command. While she came to us knowing "sit" in certain contexts, it doesn't hurt to generalize generalize generalize! 

This was her first time working on obedience outside, which is why I layered some of the verbal commands with the physical prompt- this is why luring and assisted shaping improve the speed and efficiency of your training generalization!

Kona is learning "down" in English and French because I forgot most people will use English and started teaching in French! It never hurts to be bi-lingual, right Kona!?

Kona has had A LOT of interest and we look forward to meeting some of her potential adopters soon!

Kona learning her verbal "sit" and "down" commands!

Updated 7/26/16

Kona is AVAILABLE once more! 

Please contact us to adopt her!

Kona has been evaluated by military working handlers who say she would make a great worker. While she was with us for a week in January she showed great potential for bitework or bite sports. Her current owner has noted some impulse control concerns which could certainly be mitigated and controlled through training.

Kona is very intelligent, very active, and needs an experienced owner and someone willing to commit a couple hours a day to training and exercising her.

Look back at our previous postings and see everything she was able to do and learn in one short week with us!

She is an amazing dog who is looking for her perfect forever home. This would be a direct adoption through us/her owner, not through a shelter/rescue, so please contact us directly if you are interested.

Some updated pictures:

Updated 8/5/16

We've been asked to get some specific videos of Kona, so below are some of those videos highlighting her retrieve and hunt drive, as well as testing her reaction to strange people/dogs.



Retrieving Test

10 tosses, plus tossing it under the deck


Hunt Tests

4 tests- #1: Immediate Release #2: 15 second delay #3: 30 second delay #4: 1 minute delay
In this test, we threw the ball under the deck. The deck is sectioned off with horizontal slats and the section with the ball was only accessible from one side. She kept trying to get the ball from the other side (where it was closer) but the opening is too small for her to access.


Dog and Human Test

Left alone with us out of sight for one minute then an unknown person and unknown dog walked past. She showed no reaction to the new person or dog and was mostly concerned with trying to figure out where we went.

Updated 8/8/16

We tried to do a more difficult hunt with Kona today and this smart girl took it up a notch. Instead of going up the wall, she went up the way she came in- the steps! Problem was, her long line wasn't long enough to reach her ball. She showed great focus through her frustration and actually managed to untangle herself and got her ball. This girl has high possession drive and maintains it through adversity.

Updated 8/9/16

This was a hunt test in a new environment. Kona did extremely well in these tests. Regardless of the amount of time waiting, she immediately took off in search of her ball. She remained environmentally aware and would look around while waiting, but showed zero hesitation once released to go find her ball. We're very happy with what we're seeing from her.

Updated 8/22/16

After weeks of searching, we finally found something as close to rubble as possible! Kona did fabulous- no hesitation, very confident, and driven!

Updated 8/29/16

Me: "Hey Kona, do this."
Kona: "Ok!"

Seriously, this dog is a confident girl. No holds barred- if she wants something, she gets it. She is strong of will and spirit. She will push you to be a better trainer, handler, and teammate.

Whoever gets this girl will be extremely lucky. She has so much potential and just needs to find the perfect home to capture it and bring it all out!

Updated 8/30/16

Kona being Kona! This girl is ridiculously awesome!

Updated 9/1/16

Thank you so much to Eric and Tracy Darling of Pennsylvania Task Force 1 for coming down to assist us in Kona's USAR evaluation today! We are so grateful for their generosity and assistance!

Updated 12/6/16

Kona will be looking to go to her new home around early-mid January.

Kona is back with us for a 3rd time due to absolutely no fault of her own. She was adopted out as a USAR prospect but was not a good match and was returned to us shortly thereafter. 

She will NOT be adopted to a professional working home under any circumstances- this includes detection, protection, service, or search and rescue. This is not because she can't do the work, it's because she cannot afford to be washed out again. So she will be going to a pet or sporting home ONLY. No exceptions.


Kona makes a fantastic friend and playmate. She is goofy and loving and is demonstrably in sync with your feelings and emotions. She makes a great snuggle buddy. She is alert to her environment and would make an excellent watch dog. Mostly, she loves loves loves her people and you will never have a better friend than Kona.

General attitude/temperament:
Kona is an extremely confident and independent dog. If Kona wants something, she doesn't think, she KNOWS she can get it or do it. She is very strong and athletic and will muscle her way through life if given the opportunity to. That said, she has a fabulous work ethic and has extremely high hunt and food drives. She will need extensive work on off-leash obedience, should her prospective owner want that, as she is extremely prey driven and will get herself in trouble.

People temperament:
She absolutely adores "her" people, and once you become her person, you will understand how deeply her love runs (prepare yourself for lots of very pushy hugs!). To strangers, she is typically completely neutral. Kona requires at least a few weeks to consider you 'her' people. Once you give her time to settle into your home and learn who you are, you're in! Kona has a strong desire to please but will know if you don't believe in her- she is extremely intuitive and would have likely made a nice seizure or cardiac alert dog. If you don't care about Kona, Kona won't care about you. The inverse is also true- once you're 'her' people, she gives her all to you. 
Kona can be mouthy when she is excitable and effort has been made to reinforce more appropriate behavior when aroused, such as getting a bone or toy to engage people with. She has never displayed any aggression towards people and, even with a severely injured foot, has let us handle her and treat her injuries without any issue.

Dog temperament:
Kona can be forward and pushy with other dogs off leash, though tends towards being more neutral. On leash, she does not show any reactivity and does well kenneled in a room with other dogs near and next to her. Her second owner noted she did better with other 'pointy ears' than bully breeds (maybe they spoke her language better?). She has so far been positive and happy to see all of our dogs but has not been loose with them due to her being injured and in heat.

Home temperament:
Kona is an easy keeper and does fine being crated or kenneled for extensive times. Her last owner worked twelve hour shifts and Kona handled it without issue. She can be a busy dog and does well with a few bones out at a time to give her options. She can be destructive so she should not be left loose in the house unsupervised. She will eat blankets in her crate, but has done well with a kuranda bed. She is great when she hangs out in the house and is a fabulous snuggler. She enjoys being close to her people and will sit on your feet on snuggle on the couch with you if possible. 

Requirements for adoption:
• Experience owning high-drive dogs
• Fence for supervised time and tether or covered kennel for unsupervised time- she is extremely athletic and can likely clear 6-8ft fences
• No small children (exceptions to experienced homes may apply)
• Kona will do fine in any sized home, including apartments