the last child has a fur!
When the kids are out of the house, sometimes it gets lonely...perfect timing for a four-legged friend. Our last child with fur is called FRITZ and is a shaggy Deutsch-Drahthaar, a pointing dog with a hefty 35 kilos.
But from the beginning...
For weeks I buried my nose in dog ads. Not a day went by that I didn't discuss the topic of dogs with my partner. He rightly said that after many years of parental slavery we were finally free and it would be madness to tie a dog to our leg right now. Not to mention all the things a dog can bring with it, such as: hours of walking, bitten chair legs, torn shoes, hysterical barking, chasing bitches in heat, a plowed garden, movie-like dominance fights with conspecifics.
Mit Hund ist prinzipiell alles möglich, dennoch war ich überzeugt, dass ich allen Eventualitäten mit konsequenter Erziehung entgegen wirken konnte. Ich war kein Hunde-Greenhorn. Ich hatte mein Leben lang Vierbeiner an meiner Seite und wusste was auf mich zukommen würde.
In short, I was ready to take on all the restrictions, because I knew what joy and love a furry nose washes into one's heart.
On my 59th birthday the time had come. Fritz, just ten weeks old, became our new family member.
With a small puppy it is in a way like with a baby. You are full of joy and at the same time you suffer from sleepless nights until the little one is clean and sleeps through. But unlike with babies, the issue of "housetraining" with dogs is settled within two to three weeks. Dog babies are much easier to raise and train than human babies ;-).
Still, there are a few key dates, especially in the beginning, that you should be
prepared for, like:
Zombie nights until the little one is housebroken.
Feeding times several times a day.
Walking two to three times a day for the next 10-15 years in snow flurries, steady rain or Sahara heat.
Bagging up bowel movements and throwing them away. (Honestly, who would do that for their loved one? Another indication of the overpowering love you have for your four-legged friend).
Daily, consistent dog training.
Encounters with nice and goofy dog people or even dog haters who like to make your day with rants of "get your fucking dog on a leash".
Aggressive dogs who pounce on their darling. Sometimes the other way around.
Fast shopping so that the dog is not bored at home,
Extra charges for the dog hotel.
Intensive vacuuming and cleaning. Dog hair is really everywhere, not only on the floor, also in the soup, on the couch, the cashmere sweater.
Car travel instead of air travel.
All' these restrictions were clear to me. But for Fritz I gladly hung up my free life. In return, I got a loyal friend, lots to laugh about, and the best fitness trainer in the world.
Fritz knows no mercy. He insists on his extensive walk...Always! Two to three hours a day we plow through the countryside, whether mud, rain or shine.
Of course, the whole thing is only fun with an obedient dog.
As you probably know, the basic obedience includes sit, down, stay and heel and that the recall works reliably. In the beginning, the dog training led not only to some discussions with Fritz, but also with my partner. I was not prepared for this scenario.
I insisted on consistency, my partner saw the then still small Fritz more as a sparring partner for extended scuffles and to make nonsense. But a person who constantly rolls around on the floor with his dog and plays tug-of-war is at best a funny playmate but not a pack leader. With a small Yorkshire Terrier this can still be corrected relatively easily, but with a full-grown 35 kilo Deutsch-Drahthaar this can lead to considerable problems.
Demoralized by different dog-raising styles, many a marriage ends up before the divorce judge when a four-legged friend moves in. Fortunately, it didn't come to that with us. Soon we pulled together, because somehow it is with dogs like with children. If the parents don't have the same rules, the child loses its grip.
Now a year after Fritz moved in, we are both on the same parenting line. Still, I felt like learning more and treated myself to a two-day workshop with German dog trainer Janina Werner of the Dog Psychology Center in Ludwigsburg. She and her husband Thomas are the only Cesar Millan certified trainers in Germany.
I have been a fan of the Mexican for a long time. With him it is much about the inner attitude of the owner. For two days we practiced with Janina - mostly in the pouring rain ;-) - and desensitized Fritz to sheep and goats, at the smell and sight of which he went crazy every time.
With the well-known Cesar hiss "tscht", the touch in the side, like an implied dog nuzzle and the right timing, Fritz quickly learned what we wanted from him. With Janina we met a dog trainer who is there with incredible commitment, heart, intelligence and know-how. She is a clear tumbes up!!!
Timing, Konsequenz und eine innere, entspannte Haltung sind essentiell für eine gelungene Erziehung. Im Umgang mit dem Hund haben Emotionen nichts verloren. Ein Hund ist immer nur ein Hund. Er will uns nicht schaden oder ärgern. Er folgt einfach nur seinem stärksten Trieb und das ist je nach Rasse: jagen, hüten, beschützen, rennen, fressen und spielen. Unsere Aufgabe als Hundeführer ist es, seine Bedürfnisse soweit zu regulieren, dass Mensch und Hund harmonieren, der Hund aber trotzdem noch Hund sein darf.
Timing, consistency and an inner, relaxed attitude are essential for successful training. Emotions have no place in dealing with a dog. A dog is always just a dog. He does not want to harm or annoy us. He just follows his strongest instinct and that is depending on the breed: hunt, herd, protect, run, eat and play. Our task as dog handlers is to regulate his needs so far that man and dog harmonize, but the dog is still allowed to be a dog.
Have fun with your current or future four-legged friend....