Tag: German Shepherd Dogs

Let's Talk Turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving

happy thanksgiving

A Tom (male) turkey’s head is normally white or light gray. When his head turns blue, that indicates he’s really excited. This happens during the Spring mating season. I took this photo last April. This Tom was strutting around and courting several hens in the front yard.

As a little side note, a friend commented that he think it’s a pretty darn good thing human male’s heads don’t turn blue when they are excited.


A Little Thanksgiving Humor

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

by Susan Orlean


A Little Rin Tin Tin History

rin tin tin

On Sept. 15, 1918, an American soldier named Lee Duncan discovered a litter of German Shepherd puppies in the wreckage of a recently shelled German WW I encampment. He kept two of the young puppies, naming them Rin Tin Tin and Nanette, and managed to get them onboard when he shipped back to the United States from France at the end of the War.

I felt there was something about their lives that reminded me of my own life,” Duncan later wrote of the puppies. “They had crept right into a lonesome place in my life and had become a part of me.

Lee Duncan

The lonesomeness in Lee Duncan developed because he’d spent part of his young life in an orphanage in Oakland when his father abandoned his mother and his young mother simply could not feed or support Lee and his sister.

Lee loved his dogs and seemed to have quite a knack for training them. The thought entered his mind that perhaps, his dogs could become canine movie stars. He always thought Nanette was the smarter of the two, but there was something about Rin Tin Tin.

After the war, Duncan pursued his dream, taking Rin Tin Tin to California, where the dog got a big Hollywood break when one of his spectacular 12 foot jumps was caught on film at a dog show. Rin Tin Tin’s first part was a small one in a 1922 sled-dog picture. Then in 1923, “Where the North Begins,” based on a story written by Lee Duncan, gained the dog national attention.

rin tin tin

And as they say, the rest is history! I can still remember those Rin Tin Tin TV shows! Much better than Lassie …

Now, about the book …

I must admit, however, I was a little disappointed in Orlean’s book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. Her book actually has very little about the dog, Rin Tin TIn, or the training techniques that produced the original Rin Tin Tin’s amazing skills and feats.

On a side note, as a German Shepherd owner myself, I was not that surprised to learn that the heroic German shepherd who could leap 12 feet, crashing through plate-glass windows was buried with his squeaky doll! That fits the German Shepherd perfectly!

rin tin tin

But Rin Tin Tin is strangely absent from most of his story. Orlean tracks down loyal fans who now own descendants of the original Rin Tin Tin. She talks to many of Lee Duncan’s family members like ex-wives and or his daughter. She writes about business associates and Rin Tin Tin’s co-stars.

Susan Orlean’s story seems to be more about how family members profited by selling off everything related to Lee Duncan’s dream and his dog. She writes about people looking for some way to capture past glory, or perhaps the means to create new value from an old piece of intellectual property.

Susan Orlean also writes about the many tangled legal disputes such as the one between Daphne Hereford and Bert Leonard, the producer of “The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin,” and the confusing story of Lee Aaker, a child actor who played the dog’s TV sidekick, and who might or might not have become a special-needs ski instructor in the Eastern Sierras, but who was once definitely sued for impersonating himself.

You also learn that, since the death of the original Rin Tin Tin, this American canine hero has been played by no less than 20 other dogs.

What became clear to me from reading this book, is that the leap from heroic canine fame to mundane triviality is much shorter than 12 feet.

My thoughts …

rin tin tin

On the whole it is not a bad book, that is … if you want to read about everything surrounding Lee Duncan and his efforts to make a good living with the German Shepherd he trained to do really amazing feats, and how tough that actually was.

Maybe it was naive of me, but I wanted to read about the dog, Rin Tin Tin!

I wanted to read about his movies and his TV shows, and how he was trained, and to have the author paint a picture in my mind of this heroic German Shepherd leaping 12 feat and crashing through a plate-glass window to save the day.

On that, score, I was badly disappointed. And for that reason, I gave this book two stars …

I did love the cover …

5 Rules For Scooping Dog Poop!

Scoop Your Dog’s Poop!

With a very long history of owning dogs, often several at a time, I have cleaned up a lot of dog poop in my life! It is simply what you, as a responsible dog owner, do. So, it is frustrating to me how so many dog owners just can’t seem to be responsible enough to do the same. Do we need to institute dog poop police?  Or, perhaps task the NSA with spying on non-poop-scooping-compliant dog owners? Do we need Big Brother watching us? That’s a bit scary, so I hope it doesn’t come to that. Cleaning up after your pet is part of being a responsible dog owner. Can’t we figure out a way to promote that message without creeping everyone out?

The Five Rules of Scooping Poop!

Always pick it up

This seems obvious enough, and yet we all know dog owners who choose not to exercise this common courtesy.

One important reason to pick it up is simple cleanliness. Then there is also the fact that parasites like giardia, roundworm, hookworm, and all those other intestinal worms can accumulate in areas where dog feces are not picked up. Pet waste also has a nasty effect on groundwater.

But mostly, I say pick it up because dog crap is disgusting. I don’t want to walk down a sidewalk or trail and smell an offending odor, only to realize I’ve stepped in your dog’s poop and will now have a reminder of your lousy dog poop etiquette for the rest of my walk.

Responsibly dispose of poop

poopHonestly, most of us will be very happy if you simply pick it up. Where it goes after that is of little concern to many people. One way to dispose of your dog’s doodoo might be to simply flush it down the toilet. But I’m afraid with the amount of poop some dogs produce, you might need  to have a plumber on speed dial. However, if it is properly bagged and sealed, trash cans work fine. Also, there are poop disposal stations in may parks today.

Deal with diarrhea by preventing it

The best way to deal with loose doggy stool is to prevent it to begin with by keeping your pet on a healthy diet.  However if it is already too late for that, you can certainly sprinkle a little dirt, sand or mulch on it before scooping it up.

Pick up and dispose of poop even in the great outdoors

When you’re out communing with nature, that old adage “if you pack it in, pack it out” still applies … even to pet waste.  And, please don’t just hang the full poop bag on a tree branch like some people do. That’s just plain crude and disgusting.

Continue reading “5 Rules For Scooping Dog Poop!”

So You Think You Want A German Shepherd!

Sophie_10WFor 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.

Sophie_9WI 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

Sophie_10M4. 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!).Sophie_9M

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!