All of my reading plans went up in smoke when this little bundle of joy came into my life. The picture below is her enjoying her first soccer game :)
I'm so smitten I don't even begin to know what to do with myself. :)
I put aside even the new Anita Blake book, which was auto-shipped from Amazon on its release date, in order to spend some time with the following books:
Laugh if you will but Cesar Milan, aka the Dog Whisperer, uses behavioral psychology in order to train humans how to interact with their dogs...yes, I said "train humans." The Head of My Household and I learned the hard way with a Rottweiler how very important it is to understand your dog completely...when the owner is able to work with how the dog thinks, the dog responds not only with obedience but with respect.
The Monks of New Skeet follow the same philosophy as Cesar...with full attention to the dog's pack mentality. The "pack" includes all of the people/other animals within the home the dog resides. The dog's instinct tells it to follow an established leader. If no leader presents itself, the dog will take that spot. Really, it's like raising a child. Children actually need structure and need to know somebody is in charge...so do dogs. How convenient for me that the Monks of New Skeet have been training German Shepherds for years :)
Then, of course there are the standard breed books...I've looked through them all...the biggest difference I can see is that some of them are actually written with the specific breed in mind all the way throughout the book, no matter how many sections might overlap with other breeds. Others have one little introductory section on the specific breed and then the rest of the chapters are generic material that supposedly you could apply to any dog. The one above by the publishers of Dog Fancy is one of the best I've found in the standard variety with very specific information whether on potty training, the basic commands, etc. with a German Shepherd's temperament, instincts, history in mind.
This MagBook is also published by Dog Fancy; I read it cover to cover along with another MagBook specifically focused on German Shepherd puppies published by the DogChannel folks. I found both of these publications at Pet Smart the day we brought our Layla home.
The German Shepherd has a long history of being a loyal, intelligent and hard working dog...specifically in the military as "trackers." I've found a few books and DVD's about these working GSD's (German Shepherd Dogs) and have added them to my WishList; however, I'm a little nervous about reading these because I know just as with humans in war, there will be death and grievous injury for the dogs as well. One particular book is called None Came Home...it's about dogs in Vietnam who were left behind even after the American troops pulled out :( I haven't exactly made up my mind about that one.
We have always been animal people...cats, dogs, squirrels...you name it, we just feel a sense of responsibility to the creatures that are sharing our world. There is also nothing, and I mean nothing like a good dog. Our first child was a Chow. The Head of My Household and I got her right around our 1st anniversary. We trained her and treated her as if she was our child...a part of our family. She was with us through the birth of our two older daughters and loved them as if they were her own pups. She was very protective of all of us but she never, ever showed any kind of aggression towards any of us or anyone we were around. We lost her after 13 years to breast cancer...and yes, she had been spayed. I vividly remember the day the vet told us the best thing to do was to let her go...she was suffering. And, I vividly remember the man I love burying our beloved dog with tears in his eyes as rain poured down around him.
I have high hopes for our Layla :)