The Good ShepherdI really miss having a dog. Not just any dog, but a German Shepherd. They are wonderful dogs, if you train them properly. A big dog can be like a loaded gun - an untrained one has the safety off.
In Danmark, the best way to train are with Dansk Politihunde forening (I trained with Næstved Politihundeforening) OR Dansk Schæferhunde Klub (Kreds 82 - Karlebo). As you may have guessed, I have trained with both. They don't mix too well, as they require different styles, wich will confuse the dog. My personal preference is the former, as they let dog and man work together as a team and focuses on results, while, with the latter, the dog should perform like a machine and is judged mainly on style.
I had the privilege of knowing my last dog for ten years and ten days. His name was Troelstrups Xaver and he was the son of Dingo v. Haus Gero (V1, 1981). Best dog I ever had. Extremely easy to train and with just the right temper.
I never had to teach him how to jump. One day he had been watching the other dogs being trained in jumping. When they had finished, he walked up to the board and executed a perfect jump - much to the astonishment of those present.
The 'stop' was very much the same. On with the protective sleeve, run and, wham, there he was. Damn good bite too - very firm and steady. Some of the helpers did get quite a surprise when they met him for the first time.
I did manage to mess up his tracking, but then I got an idea. I bought a smoked mackarel, put a leash on it and went for a walk dragging the fish after me. You should have seen the faces of the people I met - utter disbelief at the sight of a man walking a dead fish. It was well worth it. Xaver practically inhaled the track and soon became one of the best trackers in the club.
Xaver was quite tolerant with other dogs (and cats) until provoked - then hell broke loose for the unfortunate bugger. I remember once my brother came grinning home from a walk with him. Somewhere along the route, they'd met a guy with two dobermanns that evidently were used to teaming up against other dogs and mauling them - well, they learned a lesson that day.
Xaver had the ability to charm anyone. Even those who normally were afraid of dogs, had to surrender - normally within 15 to 30 minutes. He would eat just about anything edible. I couldn't have my strawberries in peace, as he would pick the ripe ones right of the plants, and the apples on the lower branches went the same way. One amusing incident was when our neighbour's new pear tree had its first pear. It looked large and juicy and he was looking forward to tasting it. He didn't, because when it was ripe, Xaver caught the scent of it and ate it right in front of him.
Most of all, he was a faithful companion through some rough times, where he at times was the only stable element in my existence. I miss him !