Big, brave and a bit silly

For eight years Otello and I stayed toghether every day, except three, and the house now feels empty and cold.

My mind constantly drift back in time remembering all the little quirks that made him so special while wondering what my next dog is going to be like. How much of his behavior was genetically provided, and how much was influenced by me.

German shepards are normally considered being big, brave dogs. Otello was a big dog… He loved everyone and everything around him and would defend me by all means necessary if needed, but the strangest things could scare him.

Otello snow

Three years ago I woke up in the middle of the night. Otello was running circles in the room, stressed and scared. I had no idea what had happened and looked around trying to see if mabye an animal had jumped through the bedroom window and inside, it wouldn’t be the first time. Nothing! By now Otello had noticed I was awake and jumped up in the bed giving it his best effort to hide his 40 kilo big body in my sternal notch. I jumped out of bed, prepared to meet everything from burgulars to badgers, searching everywhere and finding nothing. Just when I was giving up I noticed Otello was freaking out again. Still I couldn’t see anything, but there was a sound. A bearly noticeable, but very familiar sound caught my ear. One single mosquito had managed to get in and scare my big german shepard stupid.

It’s not like he was running around scared all the time, not at all. He was a very happy and content dog, but some situations needed a cautious approach. People never scared him, but if something was out of place in a familiar surrounding it would trigger his nerves a bit.

Is this a result of me being to controlling and over protecting? I hardly ever used a leash, he could always run around “unrestricted”. Even going shopping he would stay by my side with no leash, walking among all the other locals. To be able to do this we had to train constantly on all the little do’s and don’ts. Do not touch that, do not go there, stay close. Could this be the reason for his behavior in some situations. Had I taken away some of his abilities to react more secure and handle new situations on his own?

Will my next dog react the same way given the same training or was this a behavior due to genetic conditions?