On the whole, Diesel is a very good dog. He is calm, gentle, and he showed a definite eagerness to please during his first training session. After observing his behaviour over these first few days, he does have some issues. Some will naturally resolve over time; others have to be dealt with right away.
Diesel pulls like a fury on the walk. He does not follow, he is constantly on alert and looking around him, and he is making all the decisions about when to stop, when to go forward, which direction to go in, and etc. The result is that his humans - understandably - tend to become a bit frustrated with him, and that makes the exercise unhappy for him and for them.
Diesel is very good at home. He is respectful of Charlie's and Glimmer's space, he listens very well to Karis and Paul, he is extremely patient with the girls when they play with him, and he is quick to learn and respect the rules, boundaries, and limitations set out for him by everyone in the house. During the first training session, Diesel showed that he is eager to learn, and that he is happy to have a job to do. This is very positive, as it paves the way for rehabilitation and proper training.
Diesel is very insecure where Karis and Paul are concerned. When neither of them are present and he is given over to my care, he whines and paces from one end of the house to the other, searching for them. He will not listen to anyone, nor will he relax, until they are home again.
The Good News
While Diesel does come to our pack with issues, he does understand and respect the rules, boundaries, and limitations Charlie and Glimmer have given him. He had to learn the hard way from the foster's cats that cats are to be obeyed at all times, but he did learn, and those lessons guide him with Charlie now. When Charlie warns him he's about to get smacked, Diesel immediately steps back and gives Charlie space. His ears are up and forward, he does not go into a calm-submissive state, and he gets a very intent stare going on that earns him immediate correction from me, BUT: he respects Charlie's space and he doesn't push the issue.
Diesel has shown that he wants to learn, and that he wants to please his humans. When he is given the "watch me" command, he obeys immediately, and he stays focused on the person giving the command so he can respond to whatever will come next. There is no question that he can be rehabilitated and taught everything from basic obedience to more complicated tasks such as scent-recognition, search and find, and so much more. Diesel is highly intelligent; the sky is the limit when it comes to teaching him new things.
Karis and Paul definitely have their work cut out for them with Diesel's rehabilitation and training. But, if they are open to learning how to be strong pack leaders for Diesel, and if they practice what they learn, they and Diesel will be truly happy.
Rehabilitating dogs is much easier than training humans. This is because dogs don't hold onto things like we humans do; they don't hold onto ideas and conceptions about anything except what they learn through repetition. Also, we humans tend to try to use human psychology on our animal companions when we're trying to help them and teach them. Well, human psychology does not work on dogs; you have to use dog psychology - especially when dealing with situations such as Diesel's. Many humans don't understand that, and they get upset when they see someone correcting their dog in a way - for example, through touch - they don't feel comfortable with. They don't understand that proper correction involves touch, and that when used correctly, touch helps the brain snap out of whatever negative state it's in so it can move forward into a more calm and balanced state. Many humans also don't understand that everything their dog does - whether marking while on a walk, pulling, or any other unwanted behavior - is a decision their dog is making, and if they don't take control of those situations properly and consistently, their dog is never going to follow them. Not because the dog doesn't love them, but because he or she sees their humans as pack mates instead of pack leaders.
I'm starting to ramble, here. The point is that Diesel is an awesome dog with tremendous potential for fulfilling whatever role his humans want him to take on. There is no limit to what he can learn. The only limitations are whatever his humans might be carrying.