Wonderful Wednesday Personal Blog
We had two dogs. Why did we need another?
I didn't have time for a puppy.
I was still grieving the loss of my corgis who had been with me for nearly 14 years.
I couldn't be tempted.
Until I met Rezso.
He didn't get along with Freki and Gunnar. He wanted to be in charge. It would have been laughable, but the big dogs were adamant they didn't want an interloper in their world.
But he somehow managed to win our hearts--and most of the toys.
He was such a beautiful puppy!
And he loved to cuddle! (Still does, actually)
He demanded to sleep with us. Not going to happen, I said. After the first week, he slept with us every night.
Housebreaking-- made it eventually.
Chewing-- still does, and we have the chewed baseboards and window sill to prove it.
Training-- he has earned his Canine Good Citizen award, and a Novice Trick Dog title. But his biggest challenge lies ahead. But more on that later.
If you follow Rezso on Instagram (#adventureswithRezso) or even on my facebook page (Cathy MacRae Author), you'll have seen Rezso grow through his training classes at our local(ish) dog training center. (An hour and a half drive, but worth it)
Rezso's heritage is working dogs. His pedigree is thick with Schutzhund titles, agility, tracking and herding certifications. I thought agility work would be fun, and we still might pursue that route.
But we've been sidetracked.
In December of last year my husband and I made the decision to train Rezso as a service dog. Without going into the 'whys', I'll just state that as time passes, he is becoming more valuable to me in his new role.
(Isn't he adorable in his harness? He's 5 months old here, and it appears he's going to need a bigger harness now)
When I contacted a service dog trainer about furthering Rezso's training, she cautioned me about protective German Shepherds. I have to say that's the only down side about placing Rezso in this role. He IS protective, though he is also thoughtful (which is a word his breeder used to describe him, and very accurate) and doesn't just dive into situations, for which I'm very thankful.
We now meet with the SD trainer twice a month and she helps me teach him new tasks. He's doing so well--I'm afraid I'm his limiting factor. It's humbling to admit the dog may be smarter :-)
Wow! Can you believe he's already 6 months old?
He arrived at our house at 8 weeks old, and fit fairly seamlessly into the family.
Rezso still has a lot of growing to do, and he's working hard at it! He downs 2.5 cups of food twice a day, plus training treats and other goodies in his bowl.
He loves the water--I've never had a dog so happy to take a bath! Of course, after playing in the kiddie pool and rolling in the dirt, he needs a bath often.
He started obedience classes at 10 weeks old, and has been the youngest in his class ever since. In level 2, the trainer mentioned he might not be old enough to do the off-leash recall, and the lady sitting beside me--who had been in Rezso's level 1 class with her dog--leaned over and whispered, "She doesn't know Rezso, does she?" Rezso loves to 'work'.
He's got some big work ahead of him. I'll keep you posted!
After graduating Basic Obedience Level I, we've moved on to Level 2! This is prep work for Rezso's Canine Good Citizenship certification. He's working hard on accepting new situations, and is already a hit at Lowe's and PetCo, and he's even a seasoned traveler with a weekend stay in a hotel.
Not to mention, he's a whiz at his lessons and loves to help with the laundry. (That's his story, and he's sticking to it.) But, seriously, he is learning to pick up things I drop and carry them for me. But more on that on another post.
We also enrolled Freki in a class. She has a difficult time accepting other/strange dogs and we'd all but given up on being able to take her places with us where we knew there were other dogs.. Thanks to a wonderful trainer who took time to work with her and assured us it was a lack of confidence, not aggression, that fueled her bad behavior, we got up the courage to ask the trainers at Canine Sports Academy if we could give class a try.
They were welcoming and helpful, and it has been wonderful to see Freki slowly losing her preoccupation with the other dogs in her class and focusing more on what dad is asking her to do.
Attempting to stand on wobbly discs, rubber 'peanuts' (see the red ball in the background?) or any of the other activities in this class puts her in a somewhat vulnerable position (to her mind). Not to mention there are other dogs happily going about the same stunts only a few feet away. It's a bit noisy and challenging with Rezso just outside the ring shouting encouragement. But Freki is surpassing our expectations!
Way to go, Freki! Can't wait to see where you go from here!
"Rezso" is a Teutonic name meaning "legendary wolf".
Here he is at 9 weeks old.
(Sorry it took a while to get his post up. We're all a bit sleep deprived around here.)
I'll just say we're completely in love with his smart, confident personality. He's also a cuddler! He sees absolutely no reason for him to be away from us and it has taken us nearly 2 weeks to convince him he needs to sleep in his crate at night. (I shudder to imagine the chewed chair legs--and anything the cat decides to knock off a counter or table top, midnight dashes to chase said cat, and endless potty spots to clean if he wasn't in a crate)
Freki likes him some of the time. He's fearless and charges right back into the fray if he gets knocked down, and she probably admires his tenacity. I have to remind her frequently that he is still a baby. One with very sharp teeth and a tough as nails attitude, but a baby nonetheless.
He's already learned to sit, shake hands, down and walk on leash. He started obedience class Monday night, and he was the youngest in the class. Perhaps a bit overwhelming at first with the sounds and bigger dogs, but he took measure of things, squared his shoulders as if to say "I've got this" and seemed to have a great time.
We'll need a 'trick' for graduation. Suggestions, anyone?
Follow #adventureswithRezso on Instagram for more fun photos!
When Freki arrived at our home, we had every intention of beginning SAR (Search & Rescue) with her. Her keen nose and drive seemed perfect for the job.
Several reasons later, Freki is not an SAR dog. We have done some rudimentary training with her and she drops that nose to the ground the instant we say 'track it'!
So, here's the rest of the story.
One of our neighbors stopped by the house, upset that his dogs were missing. These two little dogs delight in tormenting Freki and I'll admit she joins in the fray readily, much to our dismay. (but that's another story)
The point being, I knew if she could put her nose to their scent, she wouldn't miss a chance to chase, er, track them down.
So, I leashed her and we started off.
She took the neighbor's track first, since he was only minutes ahead of us. But, if his dogs had traveled across our front yard (and it was at least a 50/50 proposition), Freki would pick up their track soon enough.
Bingo! About 30 yards or so after tracking the neighbor perfectly, she hesitated, cast out a bit, and took off at nearly a 90 degree tangent from the path I knew he'd taken (I'd seen him, and could hear him in the woods behind our house). Within minutes, Freki led me to the little dogs who were happily ignoring their owner's call, romping in a field nearby.
My other reason for using Freki? I knew they wouldn't pass up an opportunity to bark at her. Sure enough, they came running to us, and their owner arrived soon after to take them home.
What a good girl Freki was! And that nose, which sometimes gets her in trouble when she can't resist sniffing my plate, worked to perfection.
Atta girl, Freki!
Freki had fun.
A good friend lives on several hundred acres and this huge pond is so pretty and clear, that Freki didn't waste any time at all getting her paws wet.
She will bring the stick back, but drops it as she passes me with a glance over her shoulder as if to say, "There it is, toss it again." Retriever, she is not.
My friend also has chickens on her farm that wander loose during the day. Freki was not enchanted with them. In fact, she was certain they were zombie chickens and should be scared away. Unfortunately, they didn't understand dogs are higher up the food chain than they are, and we finally corralled the chickens into a fenced area behind the barn-- with the help of a bit of chicken feed.
Here are some more photos of Freki and her fun-filled day on the farm.
It's the beginning of March, and I pulled the swimming pool out today. Granted, it is a lovely, sunny day, and the high will be around 70, though the dogs were panting when it hit 55 this morning, but it seems odd to have the pool out while the grass hasn't made much of an appearance yet.
But the dogs loved it!
As I watered the plants this morning, Freki kept playing in the water spray. So, she rather talked me into pulling the pool out of storage. I am now responsible for keeping it clean(ish)-- I mean, really, it's muddy 5 seconds after I wash it out-- and filled. Spring is here.
Things have been pretty busy here at the MacRae house. Two books within weeks of each other was a bit presumptuous of me over the holidays, but everything is on schedule, even if there have been a few late nights and at a couple of overflowing laundry baskets.
But, amid it all, we got the Christmas tree up--and have only lost 2 ornaments due to animal shenanigans, and the glittery poodle wasn't a popular ornament, anyway. The nephew and I baked cookies and I managed to send most of them home with him. I even attempted Christmas photos of the dogs, but getting all 4 of them to sit still was beyond my skill set--especially with the Mr. laughing instead of helping.
So, here are a few photos from Christmas 2015 at the MacRae house. Feel free to caption your favorite in the comments.
Blessings from our house to yours this holiday season.
This is Spring Break for us and we've been so busy! Lots of jobs around the house, visitors, and pretty weather (well, until today). And thank goodness the back yard fence is complete! The dogs are over the moon, and so am I!
I thought I'd share a bit of tongue-in-cheek wisdom about German Shepherds and the way they view things. It's actually pretty accurate for our girl, Freki. The following chart is a fair idea of how things are here.
I don't remember who sent me this, but my thanks to the originator, whoever it may be!
'Wilson' is her favorite toy. Unless Ben has something. Notice I did not say 'something more interesting'. Just 'something'. Anything at all. Funny thing is, he knows it and will sometimes grab a toy just to get her to drop the bone she's chewing on. He will act put out for a moment, then go get the bone he wanted all along. End of play.
She has her own bed. It's super big and fluffy and she really likes it. But this is the little dogs' bed (Dixie rarely uses one, and often prefers a folded blanket or the cold floor) and Freki just wanted to remind everyone it should be considered hers. Even if she no longer fits on it.
They have a large basket of toys, more 'on rotation' in the closet, and a pile waiting to be mended. Yet, Freki plays with Wilson (and yes, she knows which toy Wilson is) with another toy in her mouth, and can sleep on top of several at a time. As far as she's concerned, they are all hers. Rule number 4 comes into play a lot around here.
I have to say, rule 10 above is incorrect. It should read, "If it's broken, mom will throw it away and Freki will pine for it."
Until Ben goes and gets another toy. Back to rule 4.
(This cute story is pre-empted by my notes from this morning: how on earth did she pull the hinge pin and door stopper off the bedroom door? How did I not hear it? Fortunately easily fixed, but the teeth marks in the baseboard next to the shower is not. Reminder? Make sure she has a toy while I am in the shower. Back to the regular post-)
OK, so I started off with the serious photo. What you don't see is Freki dancing about the house with that bone in her mouth, batting the ball around with her feet. I posted that photo of her playing 'golf' when she was quite young. She still does it. Only, now, we have a variation on the theme. Rather, several variations.
She loves her tennis ball. She knows where it is pretty much all the time. Outside, the word 'ball' sends her into a frenzy of playing with the basketball, but her inside game involves her beloved tennis ball.
All Adventures With Rezso After Christmas Angus The Cat Basketball Bath Bath Time Ben Best Toys Birthday Chiropractic Treatment Christmas Corgi Dixie Dog Training Flowers Freki Fun On The Farm Gardening German Shepherd Gunnar Happy Birthday Harvest Helper Jolly Ball Life With Dogs Life With Freki New Puppy Ninja Dog Obedience Class Odin's Wolves Pool Time Service Dog Snow Soccer #Sonicdrivein Spring Springtime Square Foot Garden Square-foot Garden Swimming Pool Then And Now Tracking Treats Water Games Winter Fun Wonderful Wednesday