Because of Otello’s injury I spent the last two years mostly close to home. I would gladly do it all over again, but being able to hike around the mountains fishing and photographing is something I have missed.
Garm is still young and I can’t push him to hard but every trip gets a little longer and more challenging. This summer has been a wonderful mix between warm, sunny days and heavy rain. A german shepard easily gets overheated, and we (by we I mean him) have spent a lot of time playing in the water.
Spending a lot of time in the water increases the chance of getting water eczema so I constantly have to check his skin for any symptoms. So far so good.
He is not to fond of swimming but loves running around in shallow water playing like crazy. To get him on deeper water I have to risk some of his most loved toys hoping he will rescue them before they drift too far away. As you can see from the picture he takes his time evaluating the situation thoroughly before deciding if the toy is worth the effort.
The training has started and Garms personality reveals itself more and more. As I suspected his confidence will be a challenge in some aspects of the training while very helpful when meeting people, other dogs or changing locations.
The first few days Garm spent most of the time exploring home while I followed him trying to figure out which situations triggered behaviors that I later on can use in my training.
“Sit” and “come here” are the easy ones. Everytime I stop walking he automaticly sits down to assess the situation. All I had to do was to give the “sit” command a second before stopping and then give him a treat with a lot of praise. This way he could connect the command “sit” with an specific action without putting any pressure on him since he already had decided to sit down. If it worked it would make the actual training so much easier later on. After two days I decided to test the command in other situations to see whether he understood or I had to change tactics. I gave the command sit, and waited. You could almost see his head spinning trying to figure out the meaning of this and after a few seconds he sat down and looked at me like a big question mark. Success at first attempt! I continued to test him in different locations, at a variety of distances to see if it was just a lucky shot or if he really did comprehend the meaning of the word. He nailed it every time.
During training you shouldn’t give the dog a command if you know he most likely will ignore it. Then you only accentuate misbehavior and all is lost. Be sure you get the response you are looking for. Train in short periodes when the dog is truly motivated, and in a location where he is focused on you only.
Finally the puppies have been divided amongst their new families and I can for the first time identify my new dog. It’s a good feeling and things now seem a bit more real.
Say hello to Garm(According to norse mythology Garm is the dog that guards the dead at Hel. He is to signal Ragnarok by barking loud three times, break loose from his chain and fight the warrior god Tyr. It is also believed that Garm and Fenris is the same creature.)
In about three weeks I’m going to Bergen to pick him up. By then the house needs to be prepared and his playground outside must be finished.