Meet Kopper

Meet Kopper, a 3 yr old male chocolate Labrador Retriever looking for fun.

He came to us from the Castaic Shelter, brought in by his family because he was not behaving. Our two most experienced volunteers were asked by the shelter staff to help find Kopper a great home. They saw that his high energy and desire for human attention was going to require a special kind of family.  When we visited, we found a very happy, friendly and energetic pup, ready to please and bust outa there. He is a pure Labrador Retriever, a very handsome boy with a gorgeous dark chocolate coat and a high prey drive. While in rescue since November, we’ve discovered Kopper to be a proud, alpha dog who loves belly rubs, giving kisses and craves attention from his humans. He loves to tear apart stuffed toys, chase the ball and all-out run as fast as he can. 
His greeting manners were such that he would run up to other dogs and chest-bump them, giving the other dog the wrong impression. They would either run away (which pleased Kopper) or turn and challenge (not the best choice). So he always had to be on leash at the park. He did fine inside his foster home with the 9 yr old chocolate female lab – eating, sleeping, walks, running around the yard, greeting visitors at the door. Kopper is eager to please his humans.

This is what Kopper needs in a new family:

  • Love and attention and structured rules
  • A patient person, experienced with the retriever personality and energy level
  • A willingness to manage and control the situations he is exposed to with other dogs
  • A willingness to continue behavior modification (we’ve seen great progress and want that to continue)
  • An energetic and adventure-filled life, exposing Kopper to new situations slowly
  • A large fenced yard (no dog parks for now)
  • Preferably an only dog home, no other pets (especially little critters which he will chase) and no children (under 18 anyway)

Heres is some more about his life while in Rescue (

 Just before Thanksgiving, Kopper came into rescue but had to be kenneled because there were no foster homes available. He was in a board and train for 2 weeks, learning leash manners and existing with other dogs.  In early December, he went to live with one of our experienced fosters, who have (by chance) a 9 yr old chocolate lab. While Kopper had much more energy than her, he live in the home and walked to the park daily. He is a runner, so he didn’t get to prance freely around the unfenced park like all the other dogs.

Then one day, his “prey drive” showed itself and he chased down a little white dog and got it in his mouth. Thinking it was a one-off (since he’d been around other dogs and never did this before), we moved his foster home. But then, on a new, dark street, Kopper got away from his handler and went after another little dog. We immediately took Kopper to be evaluated further, then back to the same board-train kennel. The aggressiveness of his prey behavior was not exhibited before these instances but is common in the breed.

Kopper spent 4 weeks in board and train, learning to “leave it”, being unleashed with other dogs in the yard, walking by other unleashed dogs and practicing leash manners. He did well, got the exercise he needed and spent several hours a day off leash with other boarded dogs. Once he feels secure with the other dogs near him, he will no longer try to dominate them – this is a delicate balance as you may know. Kopper finally got it with this pack. Still, 4 weeks is not enough to get a consistent behavior, so Kopper went to his next foster home and began training in a home environment.  

In mid-January, in addition to good leash manners, and getting plenty of exercise, we introduced the “little white dog” trigger. After 4 weeks, we’ve seen him turn away from the pretend dog, Stuffy, and look at his Dad, sit and take a treat calmly. He still will chase and dominate other dogs while off leash, so more work is needed for this behavior.

If you feel you can meet Kopper’s needs with love and patience, please contact his rep at Kopper is in rescue with His ID is 4456. You can read more about our adoption process on the website also.