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Monday, 22 August 2011

My Dogs & Kids

I'm often asked how my dogs are with kids.  In a nutshell, they're great!  They are also great with little furry animals, reptiles and birds.  However, they must be taught at an early age that these kids and critters are there to protect, not to be used as play toys.  My dogs are bred with high prey drives.  That means they have been bred, generation after generation, to chase things.  We've been breeding that into European German Shepherds since  Captain Max von Stephanitz registered the first German Shepherd in 1899.  "Shepherds"... "German Shepherds".  Literally. 

It is very simple to teach a young GSD that children and small animals are part of the family, or pack.  Consistent rules, along with love and affection is all that's needed.  With an older German Shepherd, it is a little more complicated but certainly doable. 

I've posted a short video of Mystique to show how wonderful Guardian Angel Shepherds are.  Mystique is approximately 18 months old.  She had the unfortunate circumstance of being born shortly after I got sick.  I was unable to leave the couch, let alone socialize her as I normally would.  She has seen my Grandchildren occasionally, from a distance, but never up close and personal.  Until a few days ago.  Here is how she reacted to the strange noises and movements a 3 year old can make.

I'm so proud of her.  She followed him everywhere.  When he ran, she followed, but did not chase.  When he screamed in delight, she looked at him quizzically.  When he hugged her, she stood like a trooper.  I'm proud of her, and all my dogs.

Friday, 19 August 2011

My "Other" Life

First time driving! (No woman driver jokes pls!)

This was at a friends place last weekend.  As some of you know, my "other" life is filled with horses.  I ride, train, and give Natural Horsemanship lessons.  I've been doing Natural Horsemanship long before it was the "cool" thing to do.  I'm proud to say that Pat Parelli is a friend of mine.  My late husband's artwork graced many of Pat's early magazines.  Since 1992, my relationship with horses has been nothing short of miraculous.  I'm finally feeling well enough to get back to at least doing groundwork.  I'm not sure if I'll ever have enough balance back to ride again so I was thinking... driving!  I'm always up to learn something new!

As for the dogs, we're waiting (unpatiently) to confirm Isis' pregnancy.  She has a habit of showing very late in her gestation so all we can do is keep our fingers crossed.  Merlin is doing awesome at tracking.  He's graduated from a straight line, very short track (25 metres) to a little longer (45 metres) with a gentle curve.  It's a long process, that's for sure.  To obtain the first tracking title, you need to track at least 450 metres, have up to 5-90 degree turns and the track can age up to an hour before you put your dog on it.  So when I look at that, it will probably take a year before we are ready to try for a title. 

Cruise is on "leave" at the moment.  She is in heat.  She doesn't like it much when I load up the Jeep and she'gets left behind.  She does have her playmate Mystique with her though, so she's not lonely.

Cruise waiting her turn to track.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Learning this thing they call "tracking"

I took Cruise and Merlin tracking again yesterday.  Merlin's tracks continue to get better on a weekly basis.  Cruise, however, is having a harder time of it.  I'm having a hard time getting her motivated.  She is unlike any Guardian Angel Shepherd I've had before.  Her laid back "come what may" attitude towards life makes her extremely easy to handle and to live with in general.  But, that's also what is giving me a hard time in trying to get her excited about tracking.  Merlin will eat just about anything you give him.  I've used hot dogs, rollover, cheese, meat, chicken jerky, etc.  All were gobbled up during Merlin's track.  Well Cruise, she's a different dog altogether.  She wanders around the track, sometimes going the right way, sometimes going the opposite.  She just can't figure out what the excitement is!  She's a wonderful dog, don't get me wrong!  I love her to pieces!  I'll just have to keep trying new ways to get her motivated!  So what kind of treats do you use for your dog?  Have any good ideas?  My friend that I track with said his dog loved dried liver.  He said "It's like crack for dogs!"  Unfortunately not my dog 8-(  So?  Any good treat ideas out there?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Puppies Are Coming!

It is with great excitement that I say "PUPPIES ARE COMING!"

Finally Isis and Merlin have been bred!  Yippee!  This has been the strangest year ever as far as breeding goes.  It must be due to the colder weather but the girls aren't coming into heat like they should.  Indy must have had a silent heat sometime in the spring because we've seen absolutely no sign of her coming in at all this year.  Ebony came into heat but it was for only a few days and it generally lasts for 3 weeks.  It's just been a super strange year as far as breeding is concerned. 

Even Isis' heat wasn't exactly normal.  She started standing to be bred much earlier than usual.  Generally they stand for 3-6 days but she stood for 8 days.  Poor Merlin is exhausted! 

I've been tracking a few times since we last chatted but Merlin had other duties at home so he missed out.  Although he, wouldn't say he missed out! 




Merlin on the run!

Puppies are due October 2nd!!  Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Hello Everyone!  I'm new to blogging and just tried to put up a short video of the dogs playing in the water.  After watching things download for a 1/2 hour, it came up as an error.  So instead, here's a link to see the same video on youtube.  I'll get better at this as I go (I hope).  Enjoy!

Playing With The Boys!