Saturday, July 11, 2015

Shepherd on the Horizon

I am an ardent fan of the German Shepherd breed of dog.  I have always loved the look of this breed, their courage, and their intelligence.  I had a Big Boy many years ago, in my previous life.  I have wanted to get another one "some day".  But I have been well aware that a puppy takes time and work, and the way my career path has taken me has placed me firmly in a situation that keeps me away from my home for long hours.  However, this previous May I was fortunate to be able to accept a new job at Saint Mary's Hospital in Rochester.  Much of the world knows this place as "Mayo".  I am employed on the night shift, and this change in my life has now made it possible for me to consider bringing a new dog into my life.  Enter my friend, Brandon.

I made the acquaintance of Brandon several years ago, when I first returned to the Upper Midwest.  He has an interest in Falconry, which he may pursue some day, however now in his life he is a father to four girls, and actively putting into place the details of his future career.  He has been training to become a police officer, and hopes to combine that with his other passion . . . dog training.  Brandon owns and works with high drive dogs, Malinois and German Shepherds, for police work.  He knows people, and has good connections in the reputable dog breeding communities.  He contacted me a little while ago with information about a litter of puppies he would acquire through a training arrangement with another breeder.  He wanted to know if I was interested.  The pieces of the puzzle seemed to be falling into place.  "Some Day" had arrived!

This previous week I went to visit to see the puppies.  They are about four and a half weeks old.  There are seven in the litter, three boys, and four girls.  The males are spoken for, and frankly, I'm not interested.  I've had enough of boy dogs to suit me for a long time, with all their leg hiking and peeing all over everything.  I'm ready for a girl dog again.  Of the four girls, there is one that is top pup of the litter.  She is also spoken for, as she is showing the courage and drive to be a strong working dog.  Of the three remaining, one is more shy and submissive.  In the middle are these two girls above.  One of them will most likely be my new pup.  Brandon will continue to assess their personalities and drive, and help me to select between them when the time comes.  They still have a good month left in their natal pack.  The next few weeks have many important socialization milestones they need to experience to grow into healthy, well-adjusted dogs.  Sometime in August I will bring home a new baby. 

This is their mother, Carter.  She has a very pleasant temperament, and did not show any nervousness towards strangers near her pups.  In fact, Brandon said she is already weaning them, as she's probably tired of being nipped by all those mouths with sprouting teeth.  Brandon's children spend a lot of time in with the pups, holding them, picking them up, and touching and talking to them, so they are getting good experience of people, especially "little" people.  It will be up to me to continue those lessons once my pup comes to live with me, and to continue to give her opportunities to experience things, and to learn to not be afraid.

I am seeking out training resources as well, so I will have a well adjusted and mannerly dog.  Ultimately, it would be nice if I could get the new addition to the family to also become a falconry dog.  Monty failed at this, because Sassy hates him, and Monty doesn't respect Sassy's authority.  Sassy does seem to be better accepting of bigger dogs.  We'll see.

Here is a video of the pups.  Watch it in full screen for best viewing of the video.

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