Zimmer, the rescued German Shepherd

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Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 4:58pm PST 
Hi everyone!

A few weeks ago, I adopted a (almost) one year old purebred German Shepherd boy, who I've since named Zimmer. He's a great dog - very mellow, sweet, friendly... This is my first male dog. I've had females all my life, but he and I had an instant connection, which is why I made the decision to adopt him. It's been a learning experience, for both of us. He's got a quirk where, when he gets excited (either when I wake up, or my other dog comes in the room) he humps the air. This is common, I know, and I've even had a few female dogs who humped legs vigorously... But I've never seen a dog just hump the air like that. He's neutered, by the way, which doesn't necessarily mean anything as far as the humping quirk goes, but I've never seen a dog hump the air. Also, he's learned pretty quickly that when I push him away, he needs to stop. So it's definitely not something he does continuously (once, or twice a day at the most). And he's never humped my (spayed) female dog. He just gets excited to see her. I assume this is normal behavior?

Another thing, he's exceptionally lazy, which I've learned from family members (some who have owned Shepherds all their life) isn't particularly a bad thing, but I also feel like he's not being stimulated enough physically. I walk him every morning down (and back) a three mile walking trail, which is sufficient in tiring him out for the rest of the day. He'll play with his toys for, maybe, five to ten minutes before he gets that tired look in his eye and naps. And this is how it is all day; random burst of energy for five-ten minutes, followed by a nap, repeat a few times, and then he sleeps through the night. He's still a puppy, I know, so I'm guessing once he's older he'll probably require more stimulation, but I'm also worried he's sleeping so much out of boredom. I try to engage him with all kinds of toys, but he becomes disinterested pretty quickly and lays down. My vet has checked him out, as well, just as a precaution, but he's in great health. And as I live in San Francisco, where it's continuously cold and/or raining, I have to play with him inside. We're not yet at the point where I feel comfortable taking him to a dog park, either. He needs a bit more training before I feel completely okay with letting him off leash among so many dogs (and it's not because he isn't social - he has yet to meet a dog he doesn't like, I just don't want to rush him as he is still getting acclimated with his new life alongside me).

Maybe I'm just being an overly-worried dog mom...? I don't want him to be unhappy, but maybe I'm just reading too much into it.
Sammi Fulla Grace

Sam-a-lama-ding-- dong
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 3:06pm PST 
Congrats on your new friend! Some quick blurbs for some of your concerns...

Dogs come in four energy levels: Low, medium, high, and very high. Zimmer, like my Sammi, seems somewhere between low and medium. In a pack, there is only one leader, and it is normaly a high, or very high energy level dog. The rest are generally low and medium, so it's not a concern. (In your case, it may be a blessing!)

He is an animal first, then a dog, then a GSD, then Zimmer. The breed is just the outfit they're wearing; it's their job description. So, you can have a low energy dog that happens to be a GSD. By the way, zimmer in German means room. Dogs can only be in one room at a time, and it's generally the one you're in! So don't worry that you have to play indoors most of the time!

The only concern you need have due to his breed is to find mental stimulation consistant with what they have been bred to do. The amount of physical exercise he needs may be less, but you must exercise him mentally, too, to keep him balanced and happy.

Dogs are pack animals, so take him to the dog park and let him be an dog! He will tell you all you need to know about himself if you watch him interact with other dogs. Some will be more dominant, and he will submit. Others will be more submissive, and he will be more assertive with them. (Not nesessarily agressive!)Either way, if he starts doing the humping thing, the others will correct him quickly! Once he has been corrected enough, he will figure it out!

When you get there, walk him along the outside of the fence and see how he reacts, and how the others react. Let them/him adjust; let his nose take over! Then before you let him in without his leash, have him sit outside the inner gate until he is calm, then let him in. when it's time to go, end it on a positive note while he's behaving politely with the other dogs.

The most important thing to remember is that he is not human; he's a dog. Lead him as a pack leader would, and he'll be happy, balanced, and reward you with a dog's version of love and affection: Loyalty and devotion!

Best of luck to you and your Zimmer!wishes

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Thu Jan 10, '13 7:43am PST 
Sammi. Cesar Millan uses outdated methods & his ideas on dominance, pack leadership, indeed the whole pack thing are total hogwash.
Not all dogs are candidates for dog parks. It is irresponsible to turn a dog loose in a dog park & expect him to "figure it out".
Please spend some time looking through the forums here. Responses should be tailored to the original post. So far all your posts have been pushing the worst of Cesar.
Curious if you have seen the Holly video...a classic example of a dog ruined through a Millan intervention.
Dogs are not plotting to take over the world. They don't learn through pokes, tssts, or kicks. Forcing a dog into a submissive posture can create a fearful dog. It is not a natural behavior.
Dogster is loaded with knowledgeable people with plenty to offer. Read through some of the forums and offer advice when you can, but please don't just type mini Cesar sermons.

Sammi Fulla Grace

Sam-a-lama-ding-- dong
Barked: Thu Jan 10, '13 12:11pm PST 
I guess it's hard to embrace what you don't understand.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 3:44pm PST 
Sammi thats a fairly insulting and rude statement.

As for the rest of what you said, my 11 year old female is relatively calm and undisputed top dog, followed by my new rescue a timid and shy 1 year old, while my beserk 2 year old and high drive 10 year old bow to both.
Of all my dogs none enjoy dog parks and the only one I would even attempt it with is my intact high drive male.
I have been around GSD's all my life and they are as varied as snowflakes. But the one thing that I have noted is that they take a while to find their way to a new owner. The trait that makes them so highly prized, unfailing loyalty, works against them when rehoming. If you respect Zimmer for who he is and give him the time to find his way to your heart, he will become the dog he was meant to be.

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 9:52pm PST 
Sabi applause
And it appears that Sammi Fulla *something has deleted their account...less than 24 hours after joining.dog walk I found the comment amusing, since I do defend Cesar when I think he's getting a bum's rush. There are some things about him that I totally respect..like getting people to walk their dogs.
Zimmer...welcome. Sabi has the experience you need, and is very generous with her advice. Please keep us updated on how things are going.