|My life with a German Shepherd Dog
A German Shepherd is a man with a flock of sheep. His dog is called
a "German Shepherd dog" (GSD). Little did I realize what was
involved in raising such a magnificent, large breed animal. Tyler
has taught me a lot in just 2-months.
Here is an example of what Tyler did one day at 6 months of age. He
grabbed the slack part of the leather leash in his teeth and started
to pull me on the leash. Tyler was "walking" me. He just decided to
take control by leading me around ---expecting me to heel to him.
It was very amusing, and he did it in a joyful, playful manner. That
is a GSD!
Exercise is essential
Watching Animal Planet "Its me or the dog" (Series) Tyler
started barking at the TV at the episode regarding a problem boxer.
She said the problems with that over active boxer dog was lack of
stimulation-- he was simply left in a back yard; the owners only
walked him short distances 3 times a week. She chastised the couple,
saying a boxer needs 2 hours a day of exercise. Two hours! No
wonder Tyler laughs at a 3 mile evening trot.
|A german shepherd dog has one of the most powerful bites
of all dogs, second to the Rottweiler.
Tied his tug toy on a 15' rope so it could be swung around
my head and thrown. He runs for it as I pull the rope back
in. Well that lasted 5 minutes till he figured out that if
Rusty wanted it back why not just return it to him each time
its thrown? Oh. That is called Fetch. Tyler invented fetch.
To get him to let go of it all I do is look over his
shoulder and say "Hi Bobcat!" - as he looks away he
drops the toy.
Falls for it every time. Tyler likes Bobcat, likes
him a lot. They are going to be good friends.
Sit, stay, come
We're practicing sit, stay, come. He's good at this! Donna Soderstrom (dog
trainer in Modesto, CA) told me Tyler has to sit & stay to get food. So I
make him sit-stay for a chew stick, a pigs ear (treat), etc.
Our special trick is when I put my head under his body, when he's standing
on the grooming table, lifting him up across my shoulders. Then I walk
around with him in a "fireman's carry" like I learned in Boy Scouts
Lifesaving class. I walked him over to the wading pool and teased I'd drop
him in. But I could never do that to my pal. Then I walk back and set him
down on the table.
Learning from Cesar Millan-- I massage Tyler's neck muscles, back muscles, pat
his rear -- instead of just head petting all the time. It really does calm
him down. To keep Tyler calm I have to be calm. If he gets hyper I
stop talking, stop moving. If he jumps up I block it by moving forward into
him - but don't kick a dog or put a knee to his chest. My bond of love &
trust with Tyler is paramount. All I have to do is redirect his dog brain by
saying "Sit!". If he doesn't I can do a Cesar Millan manuveur ("SSSTTT!" and
quickly jab at the dog's head with two fingers).
Redirecting the dog mind
In fact, recently I had Tyler leashed on his regular collar. I was in a
mobility cart in a Raley's store, late at night. Tyler was over excited and
pulling on the collar. All I had to do was say "SSSTTT!" and make a slight
jerk on the leash. He stopped straining and heeled back to me. He'd do it
again and I'd "SSTTT" at him again so he'd stop. It was almost funny that
his dog brain would obey for a moment, then forget. He'd get excited with
all the amazing scents everywhere in that store. But a simple "SSSTTT!" and
he snapped out of it.
I don't yell, I don't repeat a command over and over with different tones
of voice. I don't use "NO!" all the time. Instead I calmly say "Unh
unh" and Tyler knows to stop that behavior. It snaps his dog mind back
to me. Redirection the dog trainers call it. Believe me it works
Tyler is a beautiful, wonderful canine. It was fortunate that I
watched Cesar Millan on National Geographic Channel for 2 years
before I got Tyler. His show helped me to understand the essentials—
• Rules, Boundaries, and limitations (RUBL)
• Discipline, exercise, and affection (DEA)
So far I think I'm doing a good job. Cesar is right when he says "you
can't love bad behavior" -- it won't work. A dog requires
discipline and rules.
If I didn't read dog training books, take dog classes, watch the TV
dog shows, and just plain work so hard building my GSD a yard,
walking him for miles every evening, etc. -- Tyler would be an out
of control nightmare like you see on TV shows.
Raising a big, powerful dog is a commitment to satisfying his needs.
I understand why that jerk who wrote Marley & Me had so many
problems. He created those problems. Locking up a big breed dog in a laundry room while one
goes to work is just asking for trouble. Poor Marley had an idiot
for an owner. His book was so offensive I stopped reading several
times in anger. Anyone who misunderstands dogs to that degree is not
amusing. He's a jerk of a dog owner.
Tyler will never be mistreated the way Marley was. He will always
get the exercise, stimulation, and attention he needs to be healthy
& happy. The investment of my time is paid back many times
over with the love I receive from my dog.
More adventures of Tyler the Wonder Dog...