I far as I can remember my grandfather always had a GSD on his estate, and he made for a great companion and playmate. One of the fondest memories I have is my little brother who was still a toddler being guarded by it. Unfortunately my grandfather could no longer take care of his estate and he moved to a small apartment in a flat in the center of town. The dog didn't thrive that well there and soon passed away, with my grandad a few years after.
My family had a brief experiment with a dog as a pet, but at the time we didn't realize that me and my mother were allergic nor how much of a handful a male beagle pup is. I'm ashamed to say he was not a good fit for our family at the time and we said goodbye to him when he was adopted by another family with more space for him.
Flash forward to the present. I just finished building my new house on a pretty big plot, and me and my wife are now moved in with our dog George, a small 5 year old Yorkshire Terrier. We decided now that we had the room, no kids (yet) and I have time before I get back to being a wage slave, we could look for a outside dog. Since I always talked fondly about my gramp's it would be a GSD since I know their demeanor some. We inquired around and pretty soon we had a few calls from the local humane society.
They said they had a few mixes available around a year old so me, my wife and two nephews decided to take a look. There were indeed two who fit the bill, but unfortunately one had behavior issues I did not feel comfortable with. The other just didn't click.
But when we came by the lab kennel, we saw a pair of ears perk up. Inside was a trio paying us attention, two 3 month old labs and what looked to be a 4 month old shepherd mix. We asked the attendant if we could meet them and shortly after we were surrounded by a few very happy and lively pups. The society lady told us they've been working with the shepherd mix and she was already good at a few basic commands I gave her! We were instantly drawn to her and she seemed very pleased to meet us. I wasn't expecting to adopt so soon, but I signed the papers anyway. I was very excited!
Now it's been a week since we picked her up from the vet and we decided to name her Beatrix. She's really fond of me and loves to play and go outside to walk around the neighborhood. I live on a gravel road in a rural area with a few other houses of which most have a dog as well. They all just wander around to socialize and I hope to let Beatrix do the same one she get's used to things around here. For now I have her leashed when we go further than my lot.
She's very good at sitting, will generally come when called and is starting to tone down jumping on people (jumping = no attention. Sitting = attention). My nephews have been good at helping with that. I also got her to respond to "leash up" and "leash off". She will sit and wait patiently until I'm done hooking on or off. The harness however she's more fussy about. I also have gotten her to be patient for feeding time.
I have limited the time between George and her since she's unfortunately caught a case of Kennel Cough. The vet says she should be fine and it's gotten a lot better. The stitches from her spaying give little trouble, but it does make her urinate very very frequently and this is a problem to potty-train her. Her and george seem to get along OK, although George has let her know that he will not tolerate any roughhousing with a few vicious snarls. He's also very familiar with the sound the treat bag makes I have in my pocket, so that makes it hard to reward her since he'll be begging for attention as soon as I reach into it.
Me, George and Beatrix
I have an outdoor kennel for her but I still have to build her an insulated dog house for shelter. In the mean time I keep her in the garage during the night or bad weather.
I'm really enjoying my time with her and she's been really sweet, but there are things I need some advice on. This is the reason why I came looking here!
The biggest problem I have is that she barks at my neighbour's horses when off leash. Once we go for a walk and she notices them she'll trot off to bark at them and it's hard to get attention to get her distracted enough onto something else. The funny thing is that she will not do this when on the leash. She'll look, gruff and be interested, but will follow most directions I give her. Does anyone have tip to stop her from doing this? I really don't want her to go into the corral and chase the horses either as there's a colt the mare is protective over. I'm afraid that meeting will end poorly.
She also does not seem interested in any of the toys I've gotten her except the tennis ball. She's doing OK at fetching although she sometimes forgets the ball in the excitement. Her squeaky toy has been unused as has the tug rope. I hope to get her interested in those later as it's hard to put a consequence on poor behavior this way.
Anyway, thanks for your time and I'll be around looking for tips and advice! I look forward to the responses.
L3 & Beatrix