Tag Archives: GSD

Charlie’s Progress – Part VI

The left doggie dish is Abby’s and the right one is Charlie’s

All dogs, just like us people, have quirks and issues, and our Charlie is not the exception. Early on, we figured out that Charlie disliked having his paws handled so we try to handle his paws, gently, every single day. Some pet parents would say to let it be, but if the time comes when I have to get something out of his paw; trim his nails, clean his feet, etc., he would lose it because he is not used to it therefore we’re working on desensitizing him and this is where we are so far:

  • Wiping his paws every time he goes out for a walk and to do his business. Keep in mind that he goes out at least 6 times a day. When we are about to pick up his paw, we touch it so he knows that we are about to pick it up and he could switch his weight. He is about 71lbs. so he is a big boy. By his body language, he is getting more comfortable when we handle his paws.
  • Trimming his nails is a huge endeavor that takes two (2) people, yes you read it right, to accomplish. One of us does the trimming while the other one is brushing and massaging him, and making sure that he is not able to see this horrible nail cutter. On this one, we still got a long way to go.
  • Food is what we are using to help us desensitize Charlie to handling his paw therefore right before we put his dish down we ask him to give us his paw. This way he connects food, something he enjoys and loves, with having his paw handled.

Dogs hate having their paws handled as many of you pet parents know so if you have a Charlie of your own, I would suggest for you to work with an experienced trainer to avoid hurting your dog or yourself. Keep working with your dog and stay safe!

Do You Speak Dog?

Roxie, Abby, yours truly, and Charlie (from left to right) taking our morning walk and avoiding the paparazzi:)

I believe that all pet parents speak dog-some are quite fluent while others are just learning-even if you think otherwise. Once we have lived with a dog for a while, we figure out her likes, dislikes, and quirks. In the above picture, all of them are in the traveling mode. Easy to see and figure out.

Roxie and Charlie (from left to right) wearing a Gentle Leader or Halti.

What do you think about the above picture? Come on, give it a try! They are both alert and relaxed. This is the body language and state of mind that you want to see in your dog. Anyway, dogs do not come with a manual, and even if they did, dogs are individuals so that manual will only get you so far. My advice to you is to enjoy your dog. Celebrate the little victories when you can, and don’t be too hard on her and yourself when she is not at her best behavior. And when you really don’t know what to do with her, hire professional help. Stay safe.

Charlie’s Weekend Outing

Charlie, “Wow! What is that?”

Let me start this post by saying that there is no such thing as a perfect dog.  I could see pet parents red with anger, but allow me to explain.  Just like humans, dogs are a work in progress, and that’s ok.  But I believe that there is such a thing as the perfect dog for you, the pet parent, and that is a completely other post for the future.   

I decided to post about Charlie’s progress, but it dawned on me that I should also post about Charlie’s antics.  Why?  I want pet parents to know that they are not the only ones feeling lost, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc. 

This past weekend we took Abby and Charlie to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD for a nice long walk, and well this is where our odyssey started.

Abby, Charlie, and Cynthia (L to R) showing how to properly walk 2 dogs.

During our walk, we introduced Charlie to water, and being the Sheprador that he is he seemed to enjoy it.  We continued our walk, and brace yourself, he saw a squirrel, and although he is doing better when seeing squirrels, he lost it. He barked, pulled, whined, etc.  In other words, he put a whole Broadway production for us.  I had to hold on to that leash for dear life.  Then, after a short period of walking nicely, he saw a bird and wanted to go after it, but with less intensity than with the squirrel.  We finished our walk, almost an hour long, gave them water, and put them in the car.

Charlie is a little over 2 years old, and there are times when he walks beautifully even if a bird-he ignores birds for the most part-or squirrel show up, and there are other times like our outing this past weekend when he just goes bananas.  What I am trying to say is that your dog will drive you nuts and he will certainly keep your life interesting and unpredictable, but take my word for it when I tell you that this too shall pass.  One day, your crazy dog will be a well-behaved dog, and you would say to many people, “My Charlie is the perfect dog for me.”  Yes, you will!  When?  It depends on the dog.  Our Abby calmed down around 4-5 years old.  I’d say Charlie has another 1-2 more years of craziness in him. 

Dogs are not perfect, but who would want a perfect dog?  It would be boring.  Until your dog matures, he will-many times-misbehave and surprise you.  You are just going to have to have patience, be consistent, and remember that life is full of surprises, and so is your dog! 

Charlie’s Behavior Rehabilitation And Training -Part IV

Charlie to Abby, “Who is that? Got the license plate number? Well, did you?”

Charlie is doing better every day, so much so that I was able to take him out to the deck-no leash or collar-and let him hang out with Abby while I had some work done outside the house.

By the way, at the beginning he didn’t know how to stay in bed while I was in the kitchen doing dishes, or in the living room watching TV, but lately he has been able to fall asleep and has allowed me to do my chores while he snores. Yes, you read it right, allowed me.

Seriously speaking, sometimes we think that we train our dogs, but I am starting to think that they train us. Oh well! You know what? It’s never a dull moment when you share your life with a dog, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Take care.

Revisiting Dogs And Separation Anxiety

Abby and Charlie, “We have to defend our garbage from all critters, humans and intruders!”

As you can see in the above picture, Abby and Charlie take their job seriously. Our routine is to drop off the garbage, sometimes we have to do 2 trips, and pick up our mail.

Charlie’s separation anxiety is slowly starting to disappear. He no longer screams murder when left in a room alone. We’ve been able to go shopping without a problem. Also, Charlie no longer goes bananas when we put Abby in the car first. He gets excited, which is normal, but even that is manageable.

I realized very early on that Charlie needed to get exposed to everything and that’s exactly what we’re doing with him. It helps that Abby is there to lend a paw to her younger brother. To those pet parents out there dealing with a variety of issues, we all have issues by the way, don’t give up and work hard. Our dogs are worth it. Enjoy your weekend!

Happy 6th Birthday To Our Abby

Birthday cupcakes for our birthday girl, Abby, and her brother, Charlie.

The mess behind the cupcakes and flowers happen to be because those cupcakes were made by one of Abby’s moms, Cynthia, from scratch. Between you and me, I wanted to buy some from a store already made, but that’s just me.

Abby, “Mom, are you going to let me eat my cupcakes now or when? I am about to lose it mom!”

We are usually so busy during Abby’s birthday every year, but not this one. Abby’s birthday was on Saturday, 4/3/21, so that day we went for a long walk; Abby and Charlie both had some tacos for lunch; and for dinner they had chicken. Then, to continue the festivities, on Sunday after our usual walk, we just relaxed on our back porch. All in all, I’d venture to say that Abby had a pretty nice birthday weekend, don’t you think so?

CEFNI by Sara Jane

I usually don’t collaborate with other bloggers when it comes to writing a post because what I write is based on my experiences, education, and point of view, but this time I made an exception because this has to do with rescuing dogs, so here it goes:

My names is Sara Jane, I volunteer for a wonderful German Shepherd rescue charity called Cefni and Alex has been kind enough to let me tell her followers a little bit about our charity. We aim to prevent dogs from being taken to pounds where they face being put to sleep within seven days of entry. We work with a range of animal shelters to allow us to help dogs throughout the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland, but we need you.

To enable us to help as many dogs as possible we need dog lovers everywhere to spread the word. This is why I have started to write a blog for Cefni.  The page is in its early stages but will include top tips about keeping your dog happy and healthy, interesting snippets of information for fact junkies and most importantly regular updates on dogs that are currently look for homes. All we need you to do is follow the blog and share it with as many people as you can; post it on facebook, email it to all your friends or like Alex, ping me a comment and give me a chance to reach your blog readers with posts like this.

If you are really passionate about joining our ranks there are many ways you can get involved from fostering a dog while we look for its forever home, to designing products and merchandise we can sell to raise charity funds.

For more information please visit my blog:

 http://cefnigermanshepherdrescue.wordpress.com/how-can-you-get-involved/

To finish I’d like to tell you a few of our success stories. Duke’s pet parent, contacted Cefni because she was having major issues with him and was looking for Duke to be rehomed. German Shepherds are amazing creatures but without the correct guidance they are very often misunderstood. Duke’s owner agreed to join Cefni training classes with Duke while we looked for a new home for him, after some months training she decided to keep Duke at her home forever. This story illustrates one of the many ways Cefni can help German Shepherds stay in happy family homes.

Max came to us at just three years old, he was very adorable and hug, a big baby, everyone who came into contact with him instantly fell in love. However months later he was still in our care, this can happen when a dog is very large. Sometimes, like Max, dogs stay with us for many months out of no fault of their own. For this reason we try to put dogs in foster homes while we look for their permanent home, even the best kennels can be very stressful, if prolonged this can physiologically damage even the calmest dog. In the end Max charmed his way into the heart of his forever owner who now believes bigger is always better even when you’re talking about a large breed like German Shepherds.

Luca Passed His Canine Good Citizen Exam

I met Luca, a tall and handsome GSD mix, a little over a year ago, and he was a very challenging dog because he seemed to be afraid of so many things.  His pet parents worked with him under the guidance of a trainer, and the “new” Luca is so different from the dog I met a year ago.

20131004_113437Isn’t he handsome?  I took this picture during one of our many walks in Crofton.  Luca’s pet parents put a lot of work with him, along with patience, consistency, and money, of course, but I do believe it paid off.

20131103_124753Today, Sunday, Luca and his mom Holly took and passed the Canine Good Citizen exam, and I was able to see them in action and provide moral support, although between you and me I don’t think they needed it, but I went anyway.  I was so proud of him, of his mom too, let me not forget that, that I think I squeezed her arm a little too tight.  Sorry about that Holly, but I was just so happy to see them work together so well.

20131103_133606After I congratulated both Holly and Luca for passing the CGC exam, I went home and took out my girl, Alex, to stretch her legs for a while.  By the way, I think, I might be wrong, but I doubt it, that the sweater that she is wearing is the first one that she actually likes.

Whatever you decide to do with your dog regarding, training, exercise, behavior, etc., make sure that you set up your dog for success.  Work with reputable trainers, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Have a great Sunday.