Thursday, July 9, 2009

Right Livelihood

Bear with me for a moment while I show off about my dog Wolfie.

As I mentioned here before, I took him for a herding instinct evaluation last month and he was found to have all the right stuff. This is unusual for German Shepherds outside Germany, but Wolfie's papa is from Germany, and there's quite a bit of Teutonic blood on his mother's side. Still, none of Wolfie's relatives has ever done any herding.

Three lessons later, his trainer is amazed by Wolfie's talents. The most impressive thing to date is that she can call him off a fleeing goat and he'll come right to her—this makes him, in herding-speak, a “biddable” dog. And there are other, subtler things he does that she raves about, such as the way he approaches the livestock, that I'm too inexperienced to notice.

The thing that I love to see is the look of utter seriousness that comes over him when he's around goats or sheep—this in a dog who was compliant but distracted in agility and obedience classes. Around livestock, he's intense in a controlled, thoughtful way. He is content. He is in flow. And when the lesson is over, he is blissfully exhausted.

Wolfie has found the work of his life.

Lucky, lucky dog.

3 comments :

  1. The real gift is that you are his owner and found his talent. Most people, even GS folks, would have just been frustrated with his attraction to sheep and goats.

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  2. mrb, it was kind of hard to ignore! But yes, I've always been aware that GSDs need work, of one kind or another. I have signed up my dogs for more obedience classes than I can count, but that never seemed to do it. They were bored, or distracted. Not so with herding.

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