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Damon is a young 14-month-old, long-coat Heidelberg German shepherd that has almost completed his first level of Rally.Damon and his owner went out to the barn to feed their horses . Damon is still on leash while feeding because he likes to chase the neighbor’s cats (he mainly wants to play) and he wants to herd the horses at inappropriate times.The owner had experienced some health problems and has been falling a lot, and this time she fell at the barn and badly twisted her leg.She screamed and dropped the leash.
Once she had dropped the leash she thought ‘oh no Damon is going to chase the horses and I am hurt too bad to stop him.However to her surprise Damon straddled her while she was lying down and stood over her until she was able to stand.Damon stood there on alert guarding her and trying to figure out what happened and why did his owner fall.She said, ‘it was so obvious he was guarding me’.Damon completely ignored the neighbor’s cats and horses and focused completely on protecting his owner.Once Damon realized there was no real threat he got behind his owner and started pushing on her back with his head to help nudge her up.
I have experienced similar behavior with our Heidelberg German shepherd while falling in the show ring.I have taken some hard falls over the years while running around the ring and each time our shepherds have immediately come up to me and start licking my face.Whereas, I have seen other shepherds being shown where the handler has fallen and let go off the leash and these shepherds that are not Heidelberg’s have taken off running away out of the ring and if they didn’t have a leash where somebody was able to grab them, they would probably still be running today.
This is a quick post today to remind and encourage everyone about the start of our new Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Basic Obedience Class at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 10:30 am. There is no charge for this class and all breeds and ages are invited.The only requirement is that your dogs must be up to date on all their vaccinations.
We concluded our summer training session in August with several owners and dogs passing the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Class.Since the conclusion of that class AKC has announced a new advanced level for Canine Good Citizen. With the introduction of AKC Community Canine, the AKC’s CGC program now provides a comprehensive three- level training program for dogs and their owners. Beginning with AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, progressing to Canine Good Citizen and now to AKC Community Canine, the CGC program trains dogs through all stages of life to be well behaved in society.We are excited about the new program and will match our training class exercises to meet the qualifications of this advanced level of training.
We look forwards to seeing new faces and old friends.Please make it out for our free training.The more participants that we have makes for a better class and training opportunities for all.
AKC Community Canine expands on CGC skills and lays the beginning foundation for obedience, rally and therapy dog work.Many of you with young dogs are planning on moving through to bigger and better things for your puppy, and we thank you for allowing us to be a part of this journey.
Please continue to check out our web page as we post updates on available litters: http://www.keystonegermanshepherds.com/PuppiesForSale.htm. We have several wonderful puppies that we are accepting deposits on, and these puppies will be ready to go to their new homes on September 9, 2011.
Tomorrow, I will return to discussing our young German Shepherd Dogs and the future of Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels, but for today I cannot allow the month of August to pass without discussing a small miracle on our behalf and a horrible tragedy to over 400 families in the Mannford, Oklahoma area.
Last year on Thursday August 2, 2012 a fire was started nine miles South of Mannford, OK when Billy Cloud threw his lit cigarette down on the ground just outside his trailer.The summer of 2012 brought most of the Midwest including Oklahoma a continuation of severe drought that started in 2011 with record high temperatures of 110 degrees to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
The lit cigarette ignited a wildfire that burnt over 90 square miles and burned down over 400 homes. Throughout August 2 and 3, 2012 the wildfires raged several miles from us at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels.On August 4, 2012 my wife and I had lunch in Mannford and had a false since of safety against the fires since they raged so far away.Upon returning to home and the kennels, the wind shifted and the fires started burning straight toward us. Late that afternoon we lost electric and could see the fires approaching us.Roads in and out of our area had been closed, and while we had several wonderful clients and friends offer to come out to pick up our dogs and then drive them to safety, they were not allowed in.We were ordered to evacuate, but we would not leave our dogs so we stayed to fight the fires.We thought that we could save our kennels and house by manning several water hoses around our property.However, as the fire approach, we lost all water pressure.The Creek County Rural Water District water well pumps went out just as the fires approached our property.Without water we became very concerned for our own safety as well as the safety of our dogs.
At the time that we had lost water pressure a small fire truck came roaring up our driveway and told us that they only had 5-minutes of water and that they would not be able to save our house.He pointed to the woodlot that was 100-yards away from our house and said once the fire gets into the canopy of the trees the heat would be so intense that our house would just explode into flames.The firemen yelled for us to let loose the dogs from their kennels and to get ready to jump in the pond to save our lives.The fireman said they would be in the pond right behind us.
I was never so proud of my German Shepherd Dogs, as we let them out of their kennels, they remained calm and none of their normal squabbles or barking took place.They all knew that the situation was serious and they all stayed around but out-of-our-way. With the gates open they would be able to escape and return after the fire had passed.
At this time the smoke had grown thick with very little visibility.While only about 5:30 PM, it appeared to be twilight just after sunset.After burning down our neighbors’ houses, the fires jumped Highway 48 and started raging up our property.I will never forget standing in the driveway watching the fireman raise his helmet and start scratching his head.The fires had hit our forest and then began to die down and go out.The fireman was befuddled because for three days he had watch these fires hit woodlots and then just roar out-of-control.
I yelled down to the fireman that I had burnt my property earlier that year in March, burning all the leaves and fallen branches on our twenty-acres.He said that controlled burn had saved our home and kennels because the fires did not have the fuel to reach the forest canopy.We returned the dogs to their kennels, and watched the fires burn around while burning more of our neighbors’ homes.
We were saved from the fires, but due to loss of power, we did lose over 2,000 pounds of frozen venison meat for our dogs, most of the contents of our refrigerators, all four-corner fence posts, and suffered two-weeks without power with record high temperatures of 110 degrees and above.The Water District did restore water service on the 5th of August so we only had to haul potable water one day.
We were spared by providence because I was led to burn my property, which I had not done in about three years. Due to the senseless act of a drunk thousands of people suffered the loss of everything that they owned, and while no human life was lost several animals and even a customers Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog perished in the fires of 2012. Even though I am an experienced ecologist and have been trained in fire management and prescribed burning methods, I learned given the severe environmental conditions that we experienced in 2012 that wildfires can become extremely dangerous and unpredictable. I would most likely move our dogs much sooner and not stay if ordered to evacuate if ever faced with similar circumstances.
Please continue to check out our web page as we post updates on this litter and future available litters: http://www.keystonegermanshepherds.com/PuppiesForSale.htm. We currently have Walker, a male puppy left.Walker is a wonderful highly intelligent and a very quick learner.Walker will be perfect for a family looking for an obedient and loyal companion that will provide home protection.Families with existing pets such as dogs and cats will be a good fit for Walker.Walker is very sociable.Remember that we do ship puppies.
I have not posted in almost a month.I am hoping to be able to post on more frequent basis.Well, we returned and have recovered from our fabulous Yellowstone trip.Were we did nine hikes out of 11 days in Yellowstone.Our shortest hike was 3.5 miles and our longest 7.5 miles with most in the 5 mile range.These were not flat strolls, but up and down the mountain hikes at approximately 7,500 to 8,500 feet elevation.We returned very fit and very tired!
Upon our return, I had grass two to three feet high, which took me a week to mow because both mowers decided to repeatedly breakdown.This week, the start of July, we will be spending time grooming and heart worming all our dogs. Being the July 4 weekend we are also filled with boards, which are customer’s dogs that we are kenneling while customers are on vacation.These are some of my excuses for not posting, but as promised, I will post more frequently.
We did miss our dogs in Yellowstone and many times while hiking, we wished that Grand Champion Kodi could have been with us.However, given that there are wolves and grizzly bears in Yellowstone, it is far too dangerous for the wildlife and dogs to have them come into contact. Even Service dogs in Yellowstone are limited to parking lots and hotels.
We have a wonderful new litter that will be ready to go home July 13, 2013.This is both young parents first litter, but they have produced solid temperaments and big healthy puppies.The dam Heidelberg’s Carlie is from Champion Oliver and the Sire Heidelberg’s Texoma is from Grand Champion Heidelberg’s Kodi.Crossing Grand Champion Kodi with Champion Oliver lines has proved to be a good breeding and match. Look for these puppies to be posted with pricing on our web page sometime after July 6, 20013.We are currently accepting deposits on this litter.
Introducing two or more dogs to a new German Shepherd Dog puppy can be an anxious experience because you will be worried that the older or larger dogs could potentially hurt the puppy.The first thing you must remember to do is present a relaxed mental attitude so that your existing dog(s) does not become anxious or nervous at the time of the introduction.So take a deep breath and carry your new puppy into the house and allow your other dog(s) to come up and sniff the new puppy while you sit on the couch loving the new German Shepherd Dog puppy.Once the existing dog(s) lose interest in the new puppy allow the puppy to roam around the house and approach the existing dog(s).If the existing dogs do not lose interest in the new puppy, after several minutes in your lap place the new puppy on the floor and allow the dogs to meet each other.This should be closely monitored by you until you are absolutely sure the older dog(s) will not harm the new puppy.If you have outside dogs then the same exercise can be done in your backyard.
You should have a fair idea about the tolerance level and aggressiveness of the older and larger dog(s); therefore, if a possibility exists for the existing dog to snap at the new German Shepherd Dog puppy, you should do the introduction while the existing dog(s) are on leash, which may require the help of family members.Even if you have an older dog with a solid temperament if it is a shepherd or larger size dog, I would be hesitant to leave the new German Shepherd Dog puppy under 16 weeks-of-age alone with the existing dog without a couple of days of close supervision. One single act of aggression from the older dog intended only to teach the new puppy manners can severely injure the puppy if you are not there to prevent or intervene.After a couple of days of close supervision, you should know if it is safe to leave the dogs together unattended.
If you have friends with dogs then you can do the introduction in the same manner at your friend’s house.The process should be the same if your friend brings their dog(s) to your house.If you are introducing new puppies to each other there is no reason to go through any pretense, just introduce them and enjoy the show as they discover each other.
As always with all puppies, any dogs that the puppy comes into contact with should be up to date on all vaccinations.There is little worse than losing a new puppy to parvo or distemper because they came into contact with an unvaccinated dog that was shedding viruses.
The best way to retrain your German Shepherd Dog not to be dog aggressive is to expose them to a lot of strange dogs while walking on lead while healing, and when the opportunity arises refocus their attention from the aggressive actions to that of a calm and relaxed mindset. To get your German Shepherd Dog to refocus while it is being aggressive requires a firm action from you that must be robust enough that it will distract them from the object of their aggression and refocus their attention back onto you. For those that are physically able a Kung Fu type grip and a sharp poke into the rib cage of your German Shepherd Dog is usually enough to get them to refocus back onto you. This is not to be done hard enough to physically hurt the shepherd, but hard enough that they will be unable to ignore it and that they have no doubts that you disapprove of their behavior.
In the wild, the pack leader would harshly bite a subordinate if they were showing undue aggression to other pack members or a perceived threat. By poking your shepherd in the ribs, you are assuming the role of pack leader and biting a subordinate dog that is misbehaving, and this is how your dog will perceive this correction. If done properly, the dog will turn in your direction and look at you, and at this time you should provide a sharp verbal command of “Leave it”. Throughout this retraining exercise, you cannot become anxious or excited, you must remain calm and exude confidence or your dog will pick up on your negative energy and remain aggressive towards strange dogs.
When the correction is repeated and done correctly over several days your German Shepherd Dog will begin to relax around strange dogs and remain calm while you are walking. Once this begins you can start trying to work this exercise with long leads and allow your German Shepherd Dog to actually interact with strange dogs. You must continue to use a lead so that you can separate your shepherd from the strange dog if either dog begins to show aggression. Only when you are fully confident that your shepherd is retrained can you allow your shepherd untethered access to strange dogs.
For those people that are not physically able to perform the above exercise, electric shock training collars work well to replace the hand as the pseudo bite to your dog. In addition, if your German Shepherd Dog shows unwarranted aggression in the backyard by barking and charging the fence every time a strange dog walks by, the use of a shock collar will place an end to this unwanted behavior quickly.
If the shepherd that demonstrates this behavior towards strange dogs has subordinate dogs in the yard with them, they may lash out at the subordinate when the shock is applied. This is because they believe that the dog closes to them applied the shock (pseudo-bite) and since they are subordinate, they had no right to correct the dominant shepherd. This is a simple problem to fix, just put up subordinate dogs when using the shock collar. You may want to create the corrective situation by having friends or neighbors walk their dogs by your yard until your aggressive German Shepherd Dog ignores the strange dogs after a few corrections from the shock collar.
If you hire a professional trainer to retrain your German Shepherd Dog not to be aggressive towards strange dogs, they will basically be doing a derivative form of the above training exercise. Once they retrain your dog, they will want to retrain you. If you do not follow their instructions you will likely be right back at the starting point with a dog aggressive German shepherd.
First, I would like to apologize for not posting daily, which was my original plan for this blog.However, as we have moved into spring, mowing and maintenance work has dominated my time.I see now that I will not be able to always post every day.However, I will post as much as possible and after I get caught up with all my work, I will post on a more regular basis.Please continue to check our blog for new posts, and look in the archives for post that may be germane to your current situation or questions regarding German Shepherd Dogs.
Retraining your German shepherd dog not to be dog aggressive is not an easy task and will take a concerted effort and time to correct.Retrain rather than train is because your shepherd was not always dog aggressive, and likely you had a large part in the development of this behavior as your puppy grew up.Either you did not socialize the German Shepherd Dog enough as a puppy by exposing them to strange dogs and people or when you came into contact with a strange dog while walking your shepherd you gave the wrong signals, which encouraged the aggressive behavior.
German Shepherd Dogs that are bred correctly will have the propensity to be protective of their owners and their owner’s property including the owner’s other animals.If not nurtured and developed correctly this predisposition to be protective can be demonstrated in aggressive behavior to strange dogs that come to close to the owners or owner’s property or even while on a walk.
Because your German Shepherd Dog is aggressive towards other dogs does not mean that your shepherd is evil or a killer. If this is your thought process then you need to understand that your shepherd is just doing what they were bred to do and because of your lack of training experience it is your fault not your dog’s fault. In your German Shepherd Dog’s mind they are protecting you from attack from strange dogs when they show this aggravating behavior of charging at strange dogs while you are walking with them.From this perspective, while frustrating, it is a little harder to be angry at your dog now that you know they are willing to risk injury and even death to protect you from what they see as a perceived threat.
If your German Shepherd Dog is dog aggressive then it is imperative and solely your responsibility to keep your shepherd from contacting a strange dog outside of your property until they are retrained.If your German Shepherd Dog hurts another dog outside of your property get your checkbook out and start writing a check.While you are writing a check, then write another one out to a professional trainer to retrain your German shepherd Dog.
Basically if your German Shepherd dog is dog aggressive, you have four choices: 1) return the dog to breeder or get rid of the shepherd and the problem then get a poodle because you do not understand dog psychology well in enough to own a German Shepherd Dog; 2) ignore the problem and keep your shepherd on your property away from strange dogs; 3) retrain your German Shepherd Dog yourself; and 4) hire a professional trainer to retrain your dog not to be dog aggressive.Tomorrow, I will continue this blog by focusing on option 3 and 4.