Monday, August 25, 2008

Ready to Take on the World
...or at least One Intruding Repairman!

This post copied from the Spokeswoman's blog and written by the Spokeswoman:

Well, she is DEFINITELY Gus' girl! Her father, Gus, makes Kujo look rational when it comes down to fending off potential intruders. Ransom is an apple that hasn't fallen far from the tree. She looks so sweet and innocent and cuddly...especially now with her oversized ears that are trying stand-up wolf-fashion, but just haven't quite made it yet. However, SHE doesn't KNOW she is sweet and cuddly. SHE thinks she is already a full grown German Shepherd ready to take full responsibility for the safety of our household! She is ten weeks and one day old. Today she was quite offended when the contractor came to remove the dehumidifier from our utility room. She thrust herself between me and the contractor and launched into a some serious guard dogging. She was giving him the evil eye and barking furiously at him. (Never mind she still only has a puppy bark!) It took THREE TIMES trying to call her off the attack before she relented (finally I just swatted her aside...that is when she finally realized I wasn't intending on allowing her to eat the poor fellow alive). Even then, she made a point of keeping herself positioned between him and me the entire time he was in our home...and she kept on eyeing him intently, though no longer barking or trying to advance upon him.

Today, I decided that from now on, on the rare occasions that the kids are home alone, Ransom is going to be indoors with them. We live in a really safe town, but a guard dog is always a nice thing to have, any way. With her puppy size and puppy bark, it is hilarious right now when she tries to ward off an intruder...but four or five months from now, it won't be the least bit will be downright intimidating.

(Don't misunderstand...I don't take her lightly. I have socialized her like crazy since bringing her home--taking her all sorts of places and having her interact with many, many strangers so that she won't be universally agressive to all strangers. And, her reaction today was the first time I have seen her act aggressively towards a stranger...but, then, after it happened, it dawned on me that this is the first time she has had a total stranger enter her HOME. I will continue to work with her and train her with the expectation that she follow OUR lead, not her own natural inclinations when it comes to judging the seriousness of a potential threat...but, I am pleased with the fact that she has such a strong protective drive...we will just need to make sure it is well-controlled and channeled appropriately. I need to invite more strange people into our house now, while she is little, to teach her to follow our lead. She is always going to have that willingness to attack just under the surface, which is fine, just so long as she understands from a very early age that we, not she, decides when or if showing that aggression is appropriate. Tomorrow evening, Darcy and I will begin dog training classes. Darcy is going to take our two and a half year old, sharp as a whip, border collie Rivendell and I am going to take Ransom. Ransom is too young to do any serious training...I am bringing her for the socialization benefit. I want her to be used to people outside of our family and other dogs outside of our family and be accepting of them, so intensive socialization is important. Ransom already follows a lot of the commands that will be covered in the course of the "sit", "down", "come"...and she walks nicely on a leash and has pretty good house manners...but, the class will be a great opportunity for her to learn manners in relation to new dogs and continue working on her manners in relation to new people.)

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