For a long time, I have wanted a German Shepherd. I think it stemmed from watching the show Run, Joe, Run which aired in the mid-70s.
The show centered on Joe, a German Shepherd dog in the military’s K-9 corps, and his master, Sergeant Will Corey. One day, during training, Joe was falsely accused of attacking his master, a crime for which the dog would be euthanized as punishment. However, he escaped before being killed and a $200 bounty was put on his head.
Sgt. Corey knew Joe was innocent and so pursued him, hoping to find Joe before the authorities did. While on the run, Joe would help people he encountered. Looking back, it was a silly show, but it certainly made me want a German Shepherd.
German Shepherds are probably best known for their heroic work as rescue dogs or as K-9 police or military dogs. However, there is so much more to this great breed. They are big, courageous dogs with a sensitive side.
I got Sophie from a breeder in Fayetteville, North Carolina in May of 2016. She was 6-weeks-old. There were two females left in the litter, Sophie and her sister. Sophie was the smaller of the two but she bravely walked right up to me, sniffed my fingers and then squatted and piddled. It was a done deal! I brought her home that day and named her Gilbert’s Princess Sophia. Of course, that is her official AKC registered name. I call her Sophie for short! Sophie is now almost one year old. Over this past year, I have learned a great deal about German Shepherds. Here are the Top 10 things I have learned:
1. German Shepherds are extremely intelligent. You cannot pull the same trick on Sophie more than maybe twice. It simply will not work on her any more after that because she has figured it out. German Shepherds also have great problem solving skills! Sophie loves solving puzzles.
2. German Shepherds are absolutely fanatic toy hoarders and they really don’t like to share at all. We are working on that one.
3. German Shepherds always happy to see you, whether it’s been all day or 10 minutes … but I guess that can also be said of most dogs. However, Sophie can also be very in tune with my feelings and will definitely act accordingly. She also firmly believes she is a lap-dog and works hard to make me a believer too
4. German Shepherds are working dogs and happiest when they have a job to do. Right now Sophie loves her training and wants to please me. One afternoon, we were working on the “Place” command and she had real trouble getting up on a high narrow brick wall. It was not easy, because it was too high to step up onto and she could not see the top to well. She had to jump up and land on a rather small area. She failed several times and become despondent when she simply could not seem to do it. It was clear we could not leave her like that! So our trainer Taylor, with Off Leash K9 dog training, and I worked maybe another 30 minutes getting her to succeed at that task. She lit up like a little kid when she succeeded … after that, we just couldn’t keep her off that wall. I am going to have to find more work for her. I am looking at agility training and getting her a backpack for hiking. Taylor, by the way, is a great dog trainer!
5. German Shepherds are very communicative. Sophie doesn’t really bark for barking’s sake, but she certainly does talk to me. She tries to tell me what she wants or needs! Sometimes she even smarts off a bit (we are working on that as well).
6. German Shepherds are always ready to accompany you wherever you go. They are truly a companion dog and with training, really know how to be well behaved in public.
7. German Shepherds want to be first in your life and will work hard to make sure you never have a quiet moment to yourself. They want to be where you are at all times. Even while running and playing at the dog park, Sophie will keep tabs on where I am at all times (must be that herding instinct!).
8. German Shepherds really do shed a lot … and, by George, I do mean a lot! However, I soon discovered, upon recommendation by few folks at the local dog park, that the Furminator is a godsend to German Shepherd owners!
9. Yes, German Shepherds can certainly be fierce and protective, but they are also big lovable, fun-loving playmates when it comes to family, friends and even other family pets.
10. German Shepherds love water almost as much as they love their people. Sophie loves swimming in Jordan Lake, splashing in puddles and running around in the rain (not my favorite thing to do … but hey). She even tries to climb into the shower with me (we are also working on that). Sometimes when it gets too quiet and I wonder what she is up to, I find her laying in the bathtub gazing up longingly at the shower nozzle.
That really cracks me up!