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Like I've mentioned on another thread, I took my boy out swimming in Big Bear Lake. I wanted him to be able to swim and enjoy it (because I personally spend a lot of time the ocean and do a lot of water sports). Initially took him to dog beaches, he was always filled with hesitation just 'touching' the water because of the waves. He always ran happily around the beach though. But soon as I throw a ball a little bit into the water, he didn't have the confidence to retrieve it.

So I drove 3 hours from LA to stay a couple days in Big Bear. Mostly because I wanted to take him hiking, biking and swimming (which we all did and had tons of fun). The lake has fake beach with sand on it, but the water was quiet. When I got there there was only 1 other group of people. He just ran and ran and ran he looked so happy and free.

Then I started throwing a ball and sticks to the water, each time a little bit further. I even took him into the water with his harness on. Praised him like CRAZY everytime he goes into the water and retrieves it.

By the end of our 2-3 hours of swimming session, his hesitation became less and less and he began to swim into the middle without being scared at all!

AND... HERE'S THE HIGHLIGHT... I swam just a little far from the shore and started to pretend I was drowning (to test him out). I kept on calling his name and yelled out 'Help! Help!' as I started doing it he started pacing around and barking (because I had taught 'Help' means distress), it took 1 minute until he was brave enough to swim out to me. Then he pulled me back to shore safely. I COULDN'T BE MORE PROUD OF MY BOY. HE COULDN'T BE PROUDER OF HIMSELF!

And this wasn't the 1st time he bends over backwards to make sure I was safe! One night when he was this small in the photo (barely 3 months), I got completely hammered. I arrived at my apartment from the club, took him downstairs to go potty. I hit the jackpot on the side of the road. I was so drunk I kept on walking and falling on the floor, couldn't make my way back home throught the lifts and labyrinth of halls. I remember only bits and pieces, that he GUIDED me back to my apartment; he kept on barking, nudging me, and LITERALLY led the way, turning his back multiple times making sure I was following him, trying relentlessly to keep me standing up and walking towards home. I don't remember what happened next, but that morning I found myself waking up on the sofa safe and sound.

A friend I met a the park, told me his GSD really saved his life once. He had a stroke, past out for about 45 minutes, his GSD licked him and barked non-stop until he was awake and able to make a phone call. Wow.

I've had multiple dogs before. I have never had one like this. I'm grateful EVERYDAY for him. I'm the luckiest gal in the world.

Thanks for reading I appreciate it. I just really wanted to share my experience/perspective on how extraordinary German Shepherds are.

Here's some picture of him when he was almost 3 months. And the videos in Big Bear. And him wearing a tutu for St Patrick's.

Share your moments too! DSC_2497_1530685634454.jpg
 

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I kept on calling his name and yelled out 'Help! Help!' as I started doing it he started pacing around and barking (because I had taught 'Help' means distress), it took 1 minute until he was brave enough to swim out to me. Then he pulled me back to shore safely. I COULDN'T BE MORE PROUD OF MY BOY. HE COULDN'T BE PROUDER OF HIMSELF!
Congratulations on this, what a good boy! I found the club story a bit troubling on several levels, but hopefully you both learned something good from the experience. I know my dogs, all of them, have saved me on one occasion or another, and yes, GSDs are the most loyal, protective, and intelligent companions you'll ever find!

One time my truck broke down, and the door lock didn't work on one of the doors, so I left my dog with it and hiked out to get a tow truck (way way before cell phones were a thing, not that I'd have had reception way out there anyway!). I didn't get back until the next day at almost noon, and of course, there was my dog faithfully gaurding the truck! They truly are amazing animals!
 

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Good boy!

Mine on the other hand turns every casual swim into drowning situation. It's impossible to swim with my girl. Whenever I go in to water, she will jump after me and starts o herding me to the shore. By swimming around me and directing me. If it doesn't work, she will go more aggresive. Either touching me, climbing on me or even bitting me (which she would never do!) in order to herd me to the shore. With fully grown GSD on my back and her teeth on my hand I'm much closer to drowning than I was before her "help". :laugh2:

Every. Single. Time.

On her defense - it's somehow working. I'm really less likely to go anywhere near water when she's around.
 

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I, too, owned a dog that would rescue me. He himself was a rescue, from an owner that said he was going to shoot him if no one else would give him a home.

I adopted him shortly after my husband died, and trained him to be my hearing ear dog. I was amazed by how smart he was - I only had to show him something 2 or 3 times, and he'd 'get' it!

I took him to a conference with me, and as the night was winding down, we went out for a walk so he could relieve himself before bedtime. The footing was really icy, so when we came to a small grove of trees, I decided to take him into the trees, because there was snow on the ground that gave a better footing.

As I was stepping off the sidewalk, I didn't see the fence post hole that was hidden by the snow. My right leg plunged into it, and I fell. My left leg doubled underneath me, and the right leg went into the hole right up to the top of my thigh. I was up to my elbows in soft snow, and quickly realized there was nothing I could grab hold of to pull my leg out of the hole. It was after midnight, and below freezing, and there was a very good chance no one was going to find me before morning, when I might possibly be dead from hypothermia.

Ranger came over to me, and pressed himself against me. I am sure he sensed my distress and pain - I'd knocked myself very hard in the breast with my elbow when I fell, and was gasping for air. When I recovered enough to think straight, I realized that maybe if he'd let me lean my weight on his back, he'd give me the height I needed to pull my leg free from the hole.

Slowly, I began to lean on his back. He stood like a rock, as I braced against him, and pulled myself free. When I was up on my feet, and realized everything was still in working order, I bent over and gave him a big hug!
I doubt he was aware of what he'd done for me, but I DO know of handicapped people who have trained their dogs to do exactly what he did to help them up after a fall.

There was another time when Ranger 'saved' me, or thought he needed to. He was scared of water, because he'd been knocked off the dock into the lake by another dog as a small pup. Since my mom lived on a lake, I wanted to try to get him over his fear.

I took him out into the lake just far enough that he had to swim a short distance. As soon as he reached the deep water, he totally panicked, thrashing the water with his front paws. He was so distressed, I only did it twice, then took the leash off and let him go.

I then waded out into the water, and began swimming myself. I didn't want to get too far away, because I knew he'd get anxious if he lost sight of me. When I turned around to swim back towards the dock, I saw my previously panic-stricken dog swimming towards me, doing a normal relaxed dog paddle! :eek: I swam towards him, and the two of us swam back to shore together. I then took him back up to the cottage, and gave him a piece of steak as a reward! I think he must have been worried about me drowning, and his love for me helped him to overcome his own fear. Okay, maybe I'm anthropomorphizing, but my previous dog also got very upset if I went into the water, and always had to swim out to me and make sure I was okay. After that, she'd settle on the shore and relax.

He got over his fear enough to play in the shallow water with my other dog. He'd even retrieve a toy off the bottom of the lake, ducking his whole head under water to get it. But if the ball or stick went out far enough that he had to swim to get it, it was always Star who'd retrieve it!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I, too, owned a dog that would rescue me. He himself was a rescue, from an owner that said he was going to shoot him if no one else would give him a home.

I adopted him shortly after my husband died, and trained him to be my hearing ear dog. I was amazed by how smart he was - I only had to show him something 2 or 3 times, and he'd 'get' it!

I took him to a conference with me, and as the night was winding down, we went out for a walk so he could relieve himself before bedtime. The footing was really icy, so when we came to a small grove of trees, I decided to take him into the trees, because there was snow on the ground that gave a better footing.

As I was stepping off the sidewalk, I didn't see the fence post hole that was hidden by the snow. My right leg plunged into it, and I fell. My left leg doubled underneath me, and the right leg went into the hole right up to the top of my thigh. I was up to my elbows in soft snow, and quickly realized there was nothing I could grab hold of to pull my leg out of the hole. It was after midnight, and below freezing, and there was a very good chance no one was going to find me before morning, when I might possibly be dead from hypothermia.

Ranger came over to me, and pressed himself against me. I am sure he sensed my distress and pain - I'd knocked myself very hard in the breast with my elbow when I fell, and was gasping for air. When I recovered enough to think straight, I realized that maybe if he'd let me lean my weight on his back, he'd give me the height I needed to pull my leg free from the hole.

Slowly, I began to lean on his back. He stood like a rock, as I braced against him, and pulled myself free. When I was up on my feet, and realized everything was still in working order, I bent over and gave him a big hug!
I doubt he was aware of what he'd done for me, but I DO know of handicapped people who have trained their dogs to do exactly what he did to help them up after a fall.

There was another time when Ranger 'saved' me, or thought he needed to. He was scared of water, because he'd been knocked off the dock into the lake by another dog as a small pup. Since my mom lived on a lake, I wanted to try to get him over his fear.

I took him out into the lake just far enough that he had to swim a short distance. As soon as he reached the deep water, he totally panicked, thrashing the water with his front paws. He was so distressed, I only did it twice, then took the leash off and let him go.

I then waded out into the water, and began swimming myself. I didn't want to get too far away, because I knew he'd get anxious if he lost sight of me. When I turned around to swim back towards the dock, I saw my previously panic-stricken dog swimming towards me, doing a normal relaxed dog paddle! /forum/images/smilies/redface.gif I swam towards him, and the two of us swam back to shore together. I then took him back up to the cottage, and gave him a piece of steak as a reward! I think he must have been worried about me drowning, and his love for me helped him to overcome his own fear. Okay, maybe I'm anthropomorphizing, but my previous dog also got very upset if I went into the water, and always had to swim out to me and make sure I was okay. After that, she'd settle on the shore and relax.

He got over his fear enough to play in the shallow water with my other dog. He'd even retrieve a toy off the bottom of the lake, ducking his whole head under water to get it. But if the ball or stick went out far enough that he had to swim to get it, it was always Star who'd retrieve it!
I loooove this! Reading this kinda stuff, it really bothers me there R a lot of screwed up people in the world that 'will shoot their dogs' like that. What a loser. You're a very lucky person! How old's your boy now??
 

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Good boy!

With fully grown GSD on my back and her teeth on my hand I'm much closer to drowning than I was before her "help". /forum/images/Germanshepherds_2016/smilies/tango_face_smile_big.png

Every. Single. Time.

On her defense - it's somehow working. I'm really less likely to go anywhere near water when she's around.
Different dog different owner but somehow if it clicks, it clicks. You must be very proud of your pupper everytime. What a good dog. Thanks for sharing!
 

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Good boy! GSD are amazing. So how did you teach him that "Help!" means distress??
Thanks! Hmmmm... He has always looked out for me, like naturally. I don't know if it's just him or because of his breed. Perhaps both? Don't know. That being said, ever since he was little, I would say 'Heeeeelp' for example when I'm sitting down funny or whatever, and if he comes right away to check on me, I praise praise praise. And in public places, sometimes when a dog jumps on me I jokingly say heeeelp and then he just comes over and get rid of the dog by barking and letting them know not to 'distress his owner.' and then I praise praise praise prrrraise. And I can see everytime he 'helped' me, then I praise, he would look super proud and then he'd just relax again, as if he's saying 'Oh yeah, I'm a good boy' lol.

There was one time at the dog park when I was squatting down, and then this dog came RUNNING so fast and knocked me down, my glasses were knocked off, I couldn't see and I was falling down, when I got my glasses on again, my boy was barking at that dog who ran into me and telling him off. He was in rage, but not aggressive. Right when I said to him 'I'm ok. Look at me. Thanks boy.' he stopped, looked at me, and then went to relax again.

That's how I taught him 'help' means distress. I'm sure your pupper is more than capable too.
 

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Inga, AKA Canis Aquaticus, first ocean visit age 4 months.


Does this picture show? Its a picture of Inga swimming in the surf. This web site has not been working right lately.
 

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I loooove this! Reading this kinda stuff, it really bothers me there R a lot of screwed up people in the world that 'will shoot their dogs' like that. What a loser. You're a very lucky person! How old's your boy now??
McGloomy, I had to say 'goodbye' to him a couple of years ago. He made it to age 14, then his rear end gave out on him. :crying:

And as I got to know his former owner, I began to realize he was making empty threats, in order to get the dog lovers in the area up in arms, so they'd give him a home.

After I adopted Ranger, when my mom was dropping by for a visit, he'd tell her to 'take lots of pictures', and it wasn't pictures of ME he was wanting!! :grin2:

I will never forget the support he and his wife gave me during the time my mother was dying in hospital. I will be forever grateful to them.

It taught me a very important lesson: NEVER be too quick to judge anyone!
 

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Inga, AKA Canis Aquaticus, first ocean visit age 4 months.


Does this picture show? Its a picture of Inga swimming in the surf. This web site has not been working right lately.
It's not showing! Technical issues are really common on these forums.
 

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I loooove this! Reading this kinda stuff, it really bothers me there R a lot of screwed up people in the world that 'will shoot their dogs' like that. What a loser. You're a very lucky person! How old's your boy now??
McGloomy, I had to say 'goodbye' to him a couple of years ago. He made it to age 14, then his rear end gave out on him. /forum/images/Germanshepherds_2016/smilies/tango_face_crying.png

And as I got to know his former owner, I began to realize he was making empty threats, in order to get the dog lovers in the area up in arms, so they'd give him a home.

After I adopted Ranger, when my mom was dropping by for a visit, he'd tell her to 'take lots of pictures', and it wasn't pictures of ME he was wanting!! /forum/images/Germanshepherds_2016/smilies/tango_face_grin.png

I will never forget the support he and his wife gave me during the time my mother was dying in hospital. I will be forever grateful to them.

It taught me a very important lesson: NEVER be too quick to judge anyone!
I'm sorry to hear that Sunsilver! Thank you for sharing. We know that dog lived a full life.
 

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Good boy!!! now you know you have four legged life guard at the beach!!! They can sense if your in distress or if your adrenaline is pumping out of fear or excitement with no words.

Enjoying all the heroic stories!!!

My first german Shepherd Karat- would swim out into the ocean every time I went under a wave. Then we would swim to shore together. He was fine and watched me swim but when a big wave came he would swim out to check on me.

Max let’s me swim in the ocean but does occasional swim out to check on me. There was a day the ocean was so rough -I would not swim in it but stood knee deep in water to cool off. Max stood right next to me. A huge wave came to close and fast knocking us both down and tumbled and rolled as the we were dragged to the shore by the wAve . we both looked like a wet mess. Lol. I went back in just a little to get all the sand off me and max was in the wAter right next to by my side unphased.

Two years ago I got my leg stuck thigh deep in a small sandy sink hole off shore. I called max came he stood still so I can brace myself getting out. Super cool!

In max’s younger years he took off and chased a deer. I was running and fell hard on the ground feeling defeated and like an idiot. I was in tears and crazy upset. Max stopped the chase and came bounding over to me licking my tears. I made sure I grabbed his collar lol!!!

Luna will lie on the blanket and watch me in the ocean and she will not move who ever passes unable to be distracted - she will stay in her spot not keeping her eyes off me.
 
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