Letting the Dog decide…

Posted: May 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

     Hans is now 1 year and 7 months old.  He is most decidedly a Working Dog, a member of our family, and my friend and partner.  This last week, he and I had a conversation without spoken words that will change our relationship from this day on.  Maybe the change has to come owing to my inexperience as a Trainer.  Maybe the reason is rooted in his own internal drives, his libido, his abilities as a working dog.  I don’t really know…But as I watch him on our training ground while I formulate this post, I know that he made the right decision.

   Hans was acquired for the purpose of joining a Search & Rescue organization.  We needed a worker, and he perfectly fit that need.  He took to his early training with the gusto that only a young German Shepherd can muster.  My wife and I also took note of a gentle, and nourishing temperament that our new Omorrow puppy possessed, a temperament that lent itself to comforting souls that suffer from the ravages of age, or those coping with other mental or physical impairments.  We began doing EVERYTHING with Hans, earning his Canine Good Citizen award, passing Therapy Dog training a full month before he was eligible to visit due to his age, Tracking, scentwork training, and other canine activities.  He did it ALL, and he did it well…I just held the leash.

   Recently, we have noticed a change if you’ll allow me, in how he relates to people.  At the hospital, he walks thru his visits in a thoroughly professional manner.  Allowing people to pet him, take solace in his welcoming eyes, comfort from his sleek coat.  But we’ve also noticed that putting on his Therapy dog uniform has taken on the drudgery of a child being made to wear dress clothes to his 3rd cousins wedding on a steamy summer day.  His enthusiasm for the quiet jobs has suddenly disappeared.  His patience has waned when children approach him in noisy pods of flailing arms and squealing voices…

As I pull his Rescue harness off the hook on the wall, he is a whirling dervish.  He cannot get enough…When I pull his bite sleeve off the hook, he is mesmerized, awaiting his opportunity to re-awaken the drives of his schutzhund heritage… The training field is now the happiest place in the world for him…I accept these changes as part of the maturity he is gaining , both physical and mental.  My dear wife now misses the puppy that wagged his tail at the school, the hospital, the care facility.  She credits the big, black, German Shepherd with a good deal of her own emotional healing after 6 long years of helping an elderly parent with Alzhiemers…Hans still clings to her side as her protector, but shuns the gentle games of rolling a ball to autistic children with her.  There is a tinge of sadness in this loss…

   Hans has now given us both a vision of What Is Possible.  CarolAnn will enthusiastically take on another puppy, chosen for the work that she has come to love.  That puppy will become the gentle, intuitive, soul that she desires to help people in need.  She now knows that she can meet these goals.  As for Hans and I, we will focus on the work we do, which also helps people.  There is a great need for working dogs today, given the number of disasters that seem to happen everyday.  Hans does this work with enthusiasm and aplomb, and by choice.  My job is to let him fulfill his purpose, and be the magnificent German Shepherd that he was bred to be.  This is the choice that he has made…

  1. […] this idea was first conceived.  I posted a blog entitled “Letting the dog decide”. https://germanshepherdadventures.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/letting-the-dog-decide   We had realized that Hansie was happier doing some types of work than others.  He was simply […]

  2. Tessa99999 says:

    Nicely written! I enjoyed reading this post quite a bit. I have a GSD myself, and although she is not nearly as amazing as Hans, I can somewhat relate to the silent conversations with your dog. They will let you know so much about themselves without ever saying a word. My GSD has a long way to go to become more socialized, but there are times when we’re just working on basic obedience and she is so focused on me and the “job” at hand. It amazes me. I can’t help but feel that this dog needs a job. A real job where she works and focuses on a goal and accomplishes it! I look forward to reading more and more about Hans! =)

  3. Hope Lozzio says:

    Beautifully written… Hans is so blessed to have non-furry parents like you and your wife (although I shed a few tears for her! I know, I’m a sap!)… as you’ve both been blessed to have him!! SO… is there another Omorrow pup in the future? or is she going with a different breed?? Your readers HAVE to know!!