Originally Posted by Romy
As far as wanting to "be" you, one thing I've noticed about GSDs I've had and worked around is they are soooo into you, their emotions are literally tied to your emotional state. They don't seem to have emotions independent of yours. And they work really hard to keep it that way.
That's why trying to have one be my PTSD service dog was a complete fail.
Both Tengu (amline/west german blend) and Anko (DDR) were like that. They'd staaaaarre, and stare some more. And then some more. If I got anxious, they'd instantly leap to their feet making anxious wookie noises and begin hunting for the source of my anxiety. Anko was a lot more balanced and had a more solid head on her shoulders (she was also a mature female), Tengu became extremely reactive to various random things that she decided were making me anxious, and therefore were Teh Debil and needed to be driven away. If I was happy, they were ecstatic. It's not like with my hounds where Strider will be sad, because he's sad and it has nothing to do with me. Or Kaia leaping into the air with joy even if I'm a bit down. There's nothing wrong with shepherds being that way, I just prefer my dogs to be more independent and not constantly study me so that the know how they should feel at any given moment.
Maybe it's a bitch thing? Come to think of it, all of the GSDs I've lived/worked with were female and they all did it.
I often say that I wish my dog were more handler sensitive, but sensitivity to such extremes would wear me down. The German Shepherd should not be needy nor clingy, but rather self assured and confident. Trent is aware of my emotions and does often adjust his behavior accordingly, but as someone who met him had once stopped to comment, "he looks like a dog that could take care of himself".
I'll freely admit that I am a jumpy person. During the Fourth of July I probably was scared half to death about 5 or 6 times, considering we live right next to a huge, wildly popular fireworks display. Every single time I freaked out, Trent simply glanced in my direction and then we kept on going our merry way. If we are walking out at night, and someone in our vicinity is making me nervous by simply being there, there will be no reaction from Trent. If the person would start to approach us and make me feel genuinely threatened or scared - that's an entirely different story. But I'm not nearly as balanced as my dog is, I can be on edge, recover poorly from being frightened, feel extremely anxious about the smallest things, etc. If he reacted to my every change in emotion, we'd both be a complete mess.
At home, he does not choose to be right up against me constantly, either. As long as he knows where I am in the house, he is happy sleeping in a few of his favorite spots. Sometimes he will come into a room to "check up" on me if he has not seen or heard me in a while, but then he'll usually leave the room again and lay down in front of the door, or go to another part of the house entirely. If he is sleeping, which he often is, and I walk past him, it's not surprising for him to barely lift an eyelid to look in my direction. And when he does look my way, he is always watching, never staring, and definitely not for prolonged periods of time.
Originally Posted by release the hounds
It's not my description either. Either I have vastly different definitions or much different dogs. Mine are competition dogs as well though. The two I have now, one is what I consider to have very high drive, but only a mid level sport temperament. The other one has no limits other than I am her helper and handler and makes things difficult to do the training I want to and she's just coming off an ACL injury and 8 weeks of rest
first round of light jumping last week and all is well so far.
While they certainly don't come out of the box so to speak knowing everything, i don't find them terribly difficult to live with or leave somewhere. It's one of the things I really love about them, they are able to go a thousand miles an hour and go till they drop, but also STOP when it's time to stop.
These aren't the first two i've had and won't be the last. Either i'm extremely lucky or something different is at work. I don't think my dogs fit the descriptions being left here either at all. Is it because I would describe things differently? or because my dogs behave differently?
what's pushy? can they be? YES, are they? NO They don't hump anything, none of them have. They don't throw fits. They do have energy, they are very driven and they can just chill out.
Absolutely and 110% agree. These dogs should be able to understand when enough is enough, what behaviors are appropriate in what contexts, etc.
I hear the breed described as being pushy a lot, and yes, my dog could be exceptionally pushy if someone lets him push them around. But I don't, and there is a very firm understanding of what is and is not allowed... and before anyone thinks I'm implementing all sorts of Alpha of the Pack ideas in the house, that's not the case at all. If I had to force behaviors out of my dog through physical means, boy, I'd be at a severe disadvantage. With his temperament and the relationship we have built, it comes very naturally.
Sometimes I chalk it up to luck, too, but honestly I didn't do nearly the amount of research I should have done when I first got this dog. I barely scraped the surface of understanding what I'd be getting into, and well, he turned out alright. Once we had been out for a good 7-8 hours (about 2 hours running/walking, 2 hours of off leash running/playing catch, and 3-4 hours off leash at the beach) plus some training/mental stimulation games, and he was still ready to go out for our nightly run and showed no signs of tiring out. Yet, that same dog rested inside the house for up to 2 weeks when he was injured, with only short, low key walks around the block, and he was perfectly well behaved and content to be lazing around.
Now 8 weeks of rest would positively kill some dogs - and their owners, too
When I hear friends tell me about their dogs' ACL injuries, I can always count on solemn oaths to throttle their Crazy Dog about a few weeks later. And they really do try everything in the book to keep their dogs occupied. I am always impressed by my dog's ability to settle down well, but I do hope we never have to deal with that for multiple reasons!
Also agree on the different descriptions front... I used to call my dog vocal, a "velcro dog", pushy, etc. but now I realize I should use a lot of descriptive terms sparingly. But then again in some cases there is only so much room for flexible interpretation - by no stretch of imagination would I ever describe my dog as needy or nervy.