Does your dog trust you? REALLY trust you?
I know GSDs are bred (generally) to have a lot of biddability. And I do wonder how much the willingness to please is directly related to trust in the handler. I think, though, that while probably very closely related, trust and biddability are definitely different things. I have two stories:
In agility class some time ago, there was a VERY tight turn directly after a broad jump (a long, extended jump at speed) to a simple bar jump. It was really difficult for the border collies to get even. But me and my foolish self thought, "hey, I have a badass GSD that I think is really agile. We're going for it in spite of the instructors warnings." Well, sure enough there was no way Pimg was going to make it. She jumped the broad jump and tried to turn in the air in order to be facing the direction of the really tight bar jump. She slipped when she landed and rolled over a couple times. My instructor made us stop and gave me a real tongue lashing. Honestly this really was a pivotal moment for me in realizing that I DO need to be conscious of what I ask my dog to do.
She said: "Pimg has absolute 100% trust in you! It is your responsibility to take that seriously and not ask her to do things that are dangerous. She *will* attempt anything you ask. Get your head straight and be conscious of that. You have something very special in her, I don't see that kind of trust often. You really have a lot of responsibility in keeping your dog SAFE." (paraphrase of course)
(Now, I will note- this instructor as much as I liked her and appreciated her great advice and experience- she was always harping on me about how I shouldn't ask a "big GSD" to be doing such demanding agility. Pimg has always run very well and turned on a dime. I never did get why the instructor was so against it. Oh well. My new instructor appreciates Pimg's agility and we are having a great time under such a confident instructor!)
I am taking an online K9 Fitness class right now with a canine physical therapist. Just this week I posted a video for her critique with Pimg up on a FitPaws Peanut. I'm a little behind in the class homework and so I combined two weeks worth of homework into one- doing some drills a bit earlier than I should have. (Note, I was being perfectly safe and the instructor did not think we were being unsafe.) Anyway, after telling me how to better position Pimg in order to more properly work the muscle groups involved, she also commented about how blown away she was with Pimg's trust in me. She said she was beyond impressed that Pimg allowed me to perform the positions and that her trust in me was not commonly seen in many of her clients.
Remember- this is all via videos on youtube. If that instructor can pick up on Pimg's trust via video alone, then there really must be something to it!
So. Are your GSDs similar? Is this a GSD thing bred into them, or is this a special thing with my girl? I suspect it's both. Pimg really is highly bonded to me and really does trust me completely. I'm really just curious if anyone else has similar stories of trust. I'd love to hear them!
C-ATCH Pimg - DOB: 2/06, RATO, UJJ (x2), DJA, HIT, CA, CGC, High in Games, Reserve High in Standard- CPE Nationals 2014
RATCHX High Jinks vom Neuanfang - DOB 9/12 (Gotchya Day: 1/23/2013) CA, agility superstar in training