Friday, October 21, 2011

Sherri must be laughing! (ohhhh, Marco!)

Sherri must be laughing!  Up to now, I have had medium sized dogs that I could, if necessary, pick up and carry.  None of them dragged me around.  Then came Marco.  At one year of age, he is over 80 lbs of lean weight.  Just walking him from house to kennel run keeps my chiropractor in business.  Marco is a German Shepherd Dog, so I am also reminded that I have breed, trained and competed with Dutch Shepherds and Malinois for a very long time and there are breed differences.  He lacks the body awareness of the dutchies and mals and throws himself at obstacles in his path.  If the door is closed when he runs to it, he jumps up and crashes his front feet into it because sometimes it opens!  He is an optimistic dog and since I don't always shut the door tightly behind me, he figures the odds are in his favor that he can force entry and make a lap or two before going to his crate.  Just last night, as he was happily leaping around, waiting for me to catch up and go inside to feed him, he ran over my brand new solar light next to the sidewalk... and broke it. There was shattered glass everywhere. 

Last week he chased my chickens.  I forgot that they were loose when I let Marco out,and he found those feathered critters far too tempting to ignore.  I ran after him yelling "no! no! no!"   Marco ran after the chickens, not entirely sure what to do about them.  The chickens ran because a monster was chasing them!  Luckily for them, there really was no malice in his heart, just curiousity, and apart from a nip of feathers, they were none the worse for wear.   Chickens are actually very smart, as they have no fear of Roya, who forages among them, particularly when she thinks what I am tossing to them may be dog-edible.  They also figure that Cooper looks and acts relatively the same, and don't scatter from him, either.  But let Marco appear and they cluck and flee!

For the past 5 weeks I have been teaching a patrol dog course and both Marco and Cooper have gotten to ride along every day.  Some days are too busy for me to fit in training for them, but usually there is something for them to do such as tracking, obedience or protection work.  In the morning when I leave for my work day, Marco has eyes only for the van, and finding his place inside.  Now when he hears the K9 warnings called out, he adds his voice!  "Posting" takes all my strength, but he is coming to understand the "revier" and to move forward, barking, and find a nice rhythm.  And it feels sooo good when he isn't pulling my arms from the socket!

So here I am, a previously self-proclaimed "DS/mali person"... with a gigantic sable German Shepherd at the end of my leash.   It drives me crazy sometimes when he is running in circles around me, spinning me around as a human pivot point, or taking the food in obedience so aggressively that I must wear gloves, but he is so HAPPY it's difficult to be upset with him.  Adapt, adapt.  

 I swear I hear Sherri laughing!!