||07-03-2014 12:08 AM
Well, it is a GSD forum afterall.
My male, Cable comes from a sketchy past. Bad eye, possible rear-end trauma and a few stays at a shelter(Tarheel Moms shelter in fact). All that is to say i don't know what happened to the fella prior to living with me.
Cable has issues with his front paws. Structurally they are fine and dandy, he is the epitome of health. The issue is he is very jumpy about things touching his front paws. Like conditioned jumpy, it's not a conscious thought for him to jerk his paw away from tactile feedback. Like poking someone in the side sort of reaction, but with Cable it's even the slightest graze will cause him to jerk his paw away. I'm careful to tap near his paw to let him know I'm going to inspect and he allows, not happily but he's in control of his paw and all is fine. Eh, all I need there, no point in pushing the matter.
Now what is very special and shows just how dang smart these dogs are is how he sees the handling of his paws. If he wants loving or just attention in general he presents me with his front paw(s). He'll walk up to me, and very pointedly put his paw in my hand and stare at me. I can rub or gently massage his paw at this point, but that's not what he is asking for. He is giving me control in return for something. I ask "what? what ya need bud?" and I generally get a pretty good indication of what the need is(rubs, play, bite of my food...etc). I don't think I'm reading anything overly human or emotional into the gesture either. The dog is saying in essence "here is something of value/importance, now compensate".
It works out very well with Cable as he is not a needy dog by any stretch. He's as happy by side as he is curled up in my arms. As long as I'm in sight all is well in his world. My female Allie? Whooo. Her creator dialed up her cuddle to eleven. I could stuff her in my shirt and she'd still not be close enough. Great on chilly winter nights, not so good during the summer.