After five weeks of missing Shabah, we gave in and bought another German Shepherd. Sergeant Fur-face Rivers, “Sarge”, is now asleep under my desk, worn out from his first obedience and socialization class at the local university campus. I am just beginning to realize what a job is ahead of me if I want a well- manner, well-adjusted, friendly canine.
We’ve had three German Shepherds, each with distinct personalities.
Hercules (named for the C-130 aircraft) was all Alpha. People moved to the other side of the street when I walked him around the neighborhood. He was one hundred and twenty pounds of muscle and attitude. One large black dog made the mistake of charging across the street. Hercules stood at my side quietly waiting. When the dog lunged, Hercules went over the top of him and nailed him on the back of the neck. If I hadn’t had one of those inside spike collars, he would have held on. Thankfully, he bit the attacker once and let him go yipping, tail between his legs back into his owner’s garage.
Shabah was Beta or Omega. All loving buddy to family, but not comfortable with other people or animals. This was our fault. We didn’t socialize him. He went from home to warehouse and home again. We were his pack. When we traveled, he spent time in a kennel and grieved until we retrieved him – until we found Camp Bow Wow and he partied with other furry friends. His loss broke our hearts – again.
This little scamp is a mix of Herk and Shabah. He’s only eleven weeks old and went nose to nose with a German Shepherd that outweighed him by eighty pounds. I was intimidated. Sarge stood firm and gave a sharp bark that seemed to say, “Sniff someone else’s behind, you big oaf!” Gloria, the kennel mistress and class instructor, said, “You’re going to have to let him know who is boss.” I meekly said, “Okay.”
I am the one in training. I have no difficulty with the loving part – petting and giving treats to our little sergeant (major). It’s the discipline that’s always been difficult for me. “Be consistent,” Gloria said. “Use short commands: Stop! Wait. Sit. Down. Heel.”
I should have taken this class years ago , but it’s never too late to learn.