The other day The Boyfriend was running a bath and nearly got knocked over backwards into it when a 50+ pound “puppy” came barreling into the bathroom to try and jump in the tub.
I expect these kinds of hi-jinks from a Labrador, but a German Shepherd? Especially a (generally) well behaved shepherd? Never!
We did a lot of research about the breed before we took the plunge. We recognized that we were taking on a BIG dog (oddly enough it still surprises us on a near daily basis just how big the dog is actually turning out to be) that a lot of people are automatically intimidated by and we wanted to make sure that we socialized him properly and introduced him to all kinds of situations. And in most of the books it said that German Shepherds are not real water dogs. They don't hate it, but they don't search it out either.
We decided that, living in Vancouver, it would just be silly for the dog not to be a water dog since we are so perfectly situated along oceans and inlets. Plus in the summer we see a fair amount of lake time and we wouldn’t want little Hugo Stiglitz to be left out would we? No. So we took baby steps. The first time we bathed him in our own bathtub it sounded like we were murdering him. He screamed and struggled and scratched and screeched and afterwards he looked pathetic and drowned and adorable all at the same time.
We took him to the water’s edge when we went up to the lake and let him get his feet wet just so he could see what it was like. We threw his toy just out of reach to encourage him to go get it. I went in the water to show him that it was ok (and even though it was June at the time, that water was FREEZING).
We set up a little kiddie pool in the backyard when we were up there and encouraged Hugo to play around in it, get his feet wet, splash around.
|Hugo's favourite place: the lake.|
But the real help came when The Boyfriend’s parents’ dog ran straight into the water from the boat launch, so excited for some swim time that she had little regard for the poor little puppy sitting at the water’s edge. The last time we were up there the two of them were swimming circles around me, almost daring each other to jump straight off the dock into the deep water (as it happened, they both fell off the dock anyway and were none the worse for wear. I’m sure next time we will vainly yell at them to stop before the disappear over the edge of the dock into the fresh cold water).
We were so proud of our little water adventurer, bucking the supposed German Shepherd trend.
Now it’s getting out of hand though. We can’t walk past any body of water without Hugo straining at the leash to throw himself in it. He walks through puddles just for the sensation. And hours after we sent him to the puppy spa he was frolicking off leash when he saw the pond at the university and ran for it. He stopped momentarily at the edge in response to our cries to do so, but only for a moment before he gave himself over to the wonderful feeling of being submerged in clear cold water on a hot summer’s day.
I laughed at the time, but this bathtub business is going too far. He’s way too big for my bathtub. I like taking baths and I’m not sharing my bathtub with some giant hairy dog, as much as I love the little bastard.
No, no. We’re going to have to nip that in the bud. What’s that? Close the doors you say? Would be an effective solution, if he didn’t know how to open them.