Monday, July 16, 2018

Parenting German Shepherds With Children... Or Something Like That!

This Picture Sums Up Life With Our German Shepherds
Life with German Shepherds has taught us as much about ourselves as it has about the nature of this wonderful breed. Having Leo (eight years old) and Rosie (five months old) has been a deeply rewarding and wonderful experience for the entire family. So much so that we couldn't possibly imagine life without them. Whilst there will always be the ignorant out there who see the breed and judge negatively, the truth is, I have met Chihuahuas with more behavioural problems than any medium or large breed dog. That is not to say that our dogs are above reproach, they have their quirks and issues. However, I am a firm believer that their are breeds of dogs best suited for family personality types. GSD's happen to be the perfect fit for us as a family. At least, Leo and Rosie are!

Two Peas In A Pod - Leo and Rosie
These two have been pretty much inseparable since we adopted Leo just over a month ago. Whilst the first two weeks were especially filled with tornado like play activities around the house, they have started to calm and are mellowing out more when together. As I type this, Rosie herself chose to come downstairs and lay beside me, a big difference from when we first brought Leo home. They are habituating and in doing so have become an integral part of our family.

Rosie When She Was Still Small Enough To Hold In One Hand!
Rosie continues to dominate in many areas of life and is normal considering she will only be six months old very soon. She has been such an amazing puppy and as you can see, our children have showered her with the kind of love that any dog (or human) could hope for. She can be fiercely independent but equally, has a soft side to her that makes your hear melt. The latter is especially useful for getting out of naughty situations. Clever girl.

Leo Has Completely Adapted To Life With The Corbin's
Leo has adjusted brilliantly to his new life in our otherwise crazy household. Pictures speak louder than words and he has made certain to wrap us all around his furry little toes. He has a keen sense of family and again, we can't believe how lucky we got with not one but both of our german shepherds. They have really enriched our lives even though they can drive us equally as crazy at times.

At the risk of anthropomorphizing our dogs, I think what has surprised us the most is how similar Rosie's development in particular has been to that of our three children. Whilst Leo has certainly adapted much quicker and has thrived because of Rosie, equally if not more so Rosie has learned so much in the past month from her time with Leo. The two of them has taught us much about unconditional love as they have showered our children with such tenderness and warmth.

Leo Has Helped Rosie With Her Confidence
If you are looking for the perfect family pet I cannot recommend highly enough a german shepherd. Their energy levels are in line with our family's. If they are feeling restless, 20 to 40 minutes of swimming will tire them out. We actually took our dogs camping for the very first time a week ago and the experience had them lethargic and exhausted for 48 hours afterwards. Their expressive faces and playful nature will have you chuckling to yourself. This is not to say that they don't have their quirks. Both egg each other on at times and bark incessantly at other dogs, squirrels, cats and even acorns. But they are intelligent enough to learn and learn quickly at that. Both dogs live in our home with three cats. Whilst the cats are not necessarily their biggest fans, they are not afraid of them either and the dogs have learned to ignore them for the most part (Rosie doesn't understand sometimes why Wulfric, our Siamese cat, no longer wants to play with her in lieu of the sudden size difference). The point is, they aren't out of control and have a healthy desire to listen to commands unlike some breeds.

We Can't Imagine Life Without Our German Shepherds!
All in all, I think the experience has been an important one but for reasons that I fail to find the words for just now. They have opened our eyes at the connections that can be made with animals other than human beings. It's the kind of connection that I haven't felt with an animal since I was a young boy when I had my black Labrador retriever mix named Sunshine. They bring out our inner child at times and remind us that there is always time to play. They are also the type of dog that highlights your inadequacies as a parent, both for humans and dogs at times and forces you to be better at both. All in all, an experience of a life time.

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