We found out from the Lab Rescue Christmas Party why Max was given up. Both Mike and I were quite puzzled why anyone would give up such a great dog as Max. He's quite mellow for a puppy, housebroken, obedience trained, and very sweet. Apparently Max was an involuntary give-up. Max had another dog friend he often ran with, and they were found with a dead cat. No one was quite sure who killed the cat, but Max had to be given up which is when lab rescue got him. The general feeling was that Max was at the scene of the crime, but it was actually the other dog that killed the cat.
Mike and I no longer believe that might be entirely true. We have groundhogs that live in our backyard for a few years now. The dogs will catch sight of them and chase them from the yard. However since dogs rushing down the deck stairs are noisy, the groundhogs have more than enough time to make it under the fence before the dogs get close. Its been a co-habitation for a while, the dogs get a little bit of fun and no one gets hurt.
After a few of these chases, Max decided to try a different approach. He sat on a little hill overlooking the burrow entrance and just stared at the entrance. After about 20 minutes, the groundhog came out of his burrow and that's when Max made his move. Max caught it and did cause damage to the back right side of the groundhog. Mike and I heard lots of barking and saw Max lunging at something on the ground. When we got close, we noticed the groundhog's back legs didn't seem to be working well. We put it into a box with some newspaper and brought it back to its burrow. We left the box there while I called the Wildlife Rescue Assc. By the time we went back to see how the groundhog was doing, it had disappeared (probably back into the burrow).
We think the groundhog is still alive. I've been leaving food (apples, potatoes, assorted veggies) at the entrance, and it disappears the next day (and its not the dogs stealing it). Also, I've noticed fresh dirt that's been dug out of the burrow. So either the groundhog is alive and well, or another groundhog has moved into the tunnel and buried the old one (yuck). The strangest part though is groundhogs are supposed to be hibernating right now (starting mid-oct) so I have no idea what it was doing out.
So Max definitely has a high prey drive and we think hemay have been more than just an observer in the cat incident in his previous home.