The very handsome Rufus
Photo Cred: Amy Hempe

I am so pleased to introduce Rufus and his Dog Mom, Amy.  Amy is the creator of the blog The Rufus Files, which is a funny and touching look at her life with rescue dogs.  She is a finalist for two BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Awards: the Best Written Pet Blog Post and the Best Pet Humor Blog.  While Amy is super cool, we’re actually here to feature her pup, Rufus!


Name: Rufus

Age: 2 1/2 years old

Breed: Rottweiler/Boxer/Shar Pei mix

Color: Black and Brindle with white paws and white chest

Background:  When Rufus was about 5 months old, he was tied up and abandoned in an alley in Denver.  When Amy found him, she searched high and low for an owner to make sure little Rufus didn’t already have a home.  Unfortunately, he was all alone in the world, but that didn’t last long because he soon became part of Amy’s family!


Amy states that Rufus is “high energy, playful, very attentive, and bright,” but from the very beginning, she noticed Rufus was unsure of new people.  He is very skittish and barks around people he doesn’t know.  She also has problems with Rufus going to the vet (I totally get it Rufus, I hate the dentist!)

And while Amy’s dog Sophie and Rufus were instant friends, sometimes he really wants to play and can get a little pushy with other dogs.  Amy and her two dogs were at the dog park and she found Rufus persistently trying to get another dog to play.  The other dog was scared and the owner reacted by raising her voice to Amy.  The escalation of emotions and movement of the woman upset the dogs further, setting off lots of barking.  This one instance made Amy wary of bringing Rufus to the dog park again.

Finding Help

Luckily, Rufus has a great Dog Mom and together, they’ve been working to help Rufus feel a little more comfortable in this crazy, scary world!  Amy decided to get Rufus into doggie daycare to continue his already decent socialization with other dogs, but to also get him used to different people.  This has been great for Rufus and he actually loves the staff there. He also follows all the dog rules, even when a dog snapped at him!

When Rufus, was one year old, Amy decided to take Rufus to see a behaviorist.  The behaviorist concluded that Rufus was a barker, not a biter.  In other words, Rufus is a scared of a few things, but isn’t aggressive.  I’m sure this news came as a relief to Amy.  The behaviorist also shared with them some great tips including: have new people give him treats (building positive association with people) and don’t make eye contact with him right away (eye contact can be very confrontational for dogs).

Along with those great actions, Amy also takes practice trips to the vet with Rufus and has crate trained him, so that he has a safe, calming place at home.

The Most Improved Dog Award

Having a challenging dog has it’s ups and downs, but what’s important to remember is that any kind of improvement is a win and cause for celebration!  Amy finds that Rufus has started to mature with his age and has gotten calmer around others.  She also realized that treating Rufus when they go different places helps creates positive associations and in turn, a happier dog!

Amy so loves Rufus’ sweet personality and the bond they have.  Because of the trust Rufus has in his Dog Mom, he does great when he’s with her.  For all these reasons, Rufus is receiving the March Most Improved Dog Award! Congratulations Rufus!

Visit Amy and Rufus:

Blog: The Rufus Files

@therufusfiles on Facebook

@therufusfiles on Instagram

Most Improved Dog Logo

Grab your Free Distraction Action Worksheet!

Do you struggle with a distracted pup? This worksheet that you can print and hang on your fridge will help you identify what rewards will match up with those pesky distractions!

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