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Behavior & Training > Tell me about your heart dog
Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 9:48pm PST 
Always will be Pogo. I don't think about replicating it. I have had awesome relationships with many dogs, and I am sure I could come up with another were it not for him. But it will always be Pogo.

I suppose part of it is that he was a second. Not the "dog I wanted" in any specific way. I had spent all my teen years waiting on my Dobermans, and when I had them, it wasn't quite what I envisioned. And then came Flo, my very high end dog, who was and trained very well for me, but socially was my husband's dog because that was what she said. So I wanted my own bond. I knew it wasn't going to be a Doberman. Had no clue what it should be. That would take years of migration. Everyone told me to get a GSD, due to my training background. They were so common, though. I saw no hook in them. Great dogs, I knew that. So I half heartedly put them on my list. I had three or four inquiries out on other breeds.

Just because I don't love or own a breed doesn't mean I am unaware of it or don't follow it. I knew GSD pedigrees very well. I am a von Stephanitz fan. And when through my grapevine I was contacted, and heard of this puppy with this pedigree that was off the charts. I mean OFF the charts. A dream pedigree. From a border patrol guard son of Held, imported right off the field from Belgium, and was cranking huge scores in Sch, which was newer back then. And man was he stunning...looked like a bear. And from a Kirschental bitch whose female family I was very impressed by, and by Lasso, who I thought was the greatest GSD on the planet at that time. How could I say no? Ok....what color is he? If they had said black-and-tan, maybe Pogo never would have come here. They said sable. They said he was their hold back for competition, but they were overstocked and needed to place him. Sable. Hmmmm. Well that and the pedigree? Ok. Ok, I guess so.

So he comes. Not well, either. Sort of catatonic at the airport, and then after bond exercises for a day stuck to me like a magnet. Flo, my Doberman, was furious, snooting in the corner. Good! laugh out loud I had taken two weeks off. Then I went back to work, and all hell broke loose, and hell it would be for quite some time. I was called home multiple times by neighbors who thought he was dying. He wasn't barking, he was screaming. Desperately trying to break out of his crate. My vet said he scratched his cornea. Yet was fine with the crate when I was at home...or pretending not to be. So no crate. After a week of destruction, we got a baby gate. After two days, we got another, to stack on top of it. After two days more, a third....one stacked atop another. VICTORY! Well, no. He learned to pop open the fridge. And then he decimated all my husband's vintage guitar effects. Every day, the sheer creativity of his destruction was mind numbing.

Once, he drank a bottle of oil, and in the middle of the night starting firing poop bombs. So lubraicated, the things were shooting out like torpedoes. We had to replace the carpet due to the heavily oil content coating them....greased messed, beyond salvage.

Ok, so these issues are workable, and in time he got better. Then he tried to bite my friends face off. And was totally ignoring me in training. Reinforcers? Eh. Corrections? Eh. Didn't play. Didn't like toys. Didn't like the ball. REALLY did not like food....wouldn't even finish his supper, and I could leave a steak on the counter, on the FLOOR, and he wouldn't have touched it. He liked sour cream. You couldn't get him to wag his tail. He wagged it when he wanted to. Loved me though. Followed me around, was always within three feet.

I love my mentor, who chewed me out a new arse. My dog thought I was utterly incompetent, and he was right, and I am a waste of that dog and whatever else. So we worked on this very complicated training approach....show him what to do laugh out loud That was it. Just show him, and he'll do it. And he did.

My husband loathed him. We had fights. He was destructive, he was stubborn, he was weird, he was aggressive, he was UGH! I told him to wait and have patience. That this would be the best dog he'd ever known. Because he was so beyond me. So more in the know. And through it all, I never doubted his devotion. I was finally catching up to him.

Today, my husband cannot mention his name without crying. The amount of awe he came to have for Pogo is immeasurable.

He was as hard as a block of cement. He had no drive save for fight, and there he was TREMENDOUS. He was always serious, save for that he loved to greet us and "melt" after we came home, leaping up and then collapsing in our arms as we scritched him. He had the heart of a lion. And the soul of a lamb. When a foster cat had kittens and proved an awful mother, he was distressed. He been raised (at his breeders) alongside a cat momma, and with "his" kittens was constantly picking up the kittens screaming for their momma and wandering, blind and flat bellied, in his mouth. The site of a kitten's head disappeared into his mouth....and he'd truck them back into their box and sentry that. Same dog who in his protection had such mind numbing authority. He never even barked. He just DID, as if he was a lion dispatching a scarecrow. When my Dachshund puppy came, although Pogo was no player, he relented and did so because he was a good Shepherd.

He never had a leash by the time he was two. He ignored everyone who was not my family. People would come over with their "project Pogo" to get him to come, and he would just stare. Totally reliable, but he had his circle, and that was his world. One of the kittens he helped raise, Soda, was attached to his hip....I have a picture on his page of those two. Any dog who aggressed, he would stare and they would cower away. He was a VAT....a maned lion, but his perception and gentleness, layered against his steelyness, would awe you beyond measure.

I had him for eight years. He was never healthy. He was not expected to live that long, but my husband and I both believe he held in until he was confident I could tolerate life without him. And then two days of what I did not know was him saying goodbye. Unusually emotive. I wondered what was up with the oddness of him then, but it was his parting glance and one last chance to awe me at his amazing majesty.

"We shall never see the likes of him again." They said that about Man O'War. And for me, that is Pogo. Never again, and that is ok. For me to have been graced in my one lifetime I know is more than most get.

There are dogs that I have loved especially dearly. Onion I loved especially dearly....from the pits of my heart, the amount of joy and adventure he put in my life and what a good friend to me he was has no measure. I am nothing but goo about Onion, what a spectacular dog! We were exceptionally close. And for Chester....I live in abject terror at the thought of losinghim. Not sure how I'll deal. But Pogo was awe striking, as some living legend you were fortunate enough to rub elbows with. I don't even think of him as friend, but something beyond me, spending a lifetime to attain a fifth of what he was. I was graced by his presence, and today and graced by his memory.
» There has since been 19 posts. Last posting by , Dec 2 12:56 pm

Puppy Place > Pick your puppy vs. breeder picks it for you.
Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Fri Dec 31, '10 12:41am PST 
Yah....I don't think anyone is picking on the OP. We are only trying to be helpful. I will switch dogs and be Pogo for now smile

It's not the best idea to reach a conclusion in too knee jerk a way. You know what you want, and now need to figure out what suits. The concern is that there is nothing a working line GSD offers you beyond the strong drive, hardness and intense drive to work. Now if you LIKE that, I don't know where else you'd go. But if that is not what you are looking for, I can say there is no reason to go there. If what you want is a nice OB dog and family companion, that is not a "go to" type of GSD.

It's smartest not to define a breed or type by one dog you meet. Certainly, if OB is an ambition, the Am shep has a very strong reputation. If the type offends, there ARE options. Here are dogs who are neither extreme or low stationed, who are really BIG, and bred for temperament. They also have well over 100 finished champions, underscoring that what people assume is the show GSD may have a wider interpretation than one might imagine on the surface. Or here is a kennel that focuses on OB, with many high achievers.

Thanks for the description, Mulder....that was excellent! applause You are becoming an excellent spokesperson for your obsession....err....heart breed smile

Working line dogs are meant to thrive under pressure....these situations of conflict or testing build the bond, the character of the dog and his respect for the handler and their decision. Willing to partner more than willing to please.

And so it is that you can have an Am line dog and tell him to sit for the 798th time, simply because you told him to and it makes you proud, and he is like "'kay!" laugh out loud Whereas a working bred dog needs more. OB for a working line dog is not, not, NOT *work*....it is a lot more about behavioral management....those uppity times and the OB drill that regains their focus. They also more about directing their training, that this is what they "need," whereas an Am will say "who would you like me to be today?" A lot more giving for giving's sake, whereas a working line dog needs a focus and a reason. They are more independent, more shrewd and assessing....and a lot more demanding of the experience.

When you want an easygoing family dog to work in OB, some tracking and light agility, that is often not enough to satiate a drivey dog bred to work. Their drives, in addition, are nothing short of explosive in comparison to an Am, who do not have the traditional drives in any considerable measure. They are there enough for employment, but the "thirst" is not there in a dynamic way. They are more just there enough to give you what you want. They have a LOT of heart, as much as a working line for it is a hallmark of the breed....equally incorruptible, but they are lover boys, rather than hoping for trouble wink

Here is an article on a dominant force in performance achievements on the show shep. To the OP, you will note her dogs get advanced OB degrees....OTCHs and UDs....as well as advanced agility and tracking titles. And critical to the point....these are dogs who love what they do. Tighter bred dogs often need more.

There is so much available in the GSD breed, and so very many concerns with all their health woes and challenges, research and careful consideration becomes key. There are so many flashy websites....it is just scary. And with all the mud slinging from this GSD faction and that, the amount of misinformation is just scary. If you do your homework, you'll make a sound choice.
» There has since been 17 posts. Last posting by , Jan 1 9:15 pm

Puppy Place > Puppy Socialization Battles..

Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Tue Sep 14, '10 2:05pm PST 
It's me, Tiller....but here is a page on my Pogo. He was a grandson of Held v Ritterberg, if you know pedigree, and poppa was a border patrol guard, straight out of the old country, and was then imported here and earned massive Sch scores. Pogo was amazing. Almost achingly serious....I couldn't even get him to wag his tailwink.....but beyond amazing. Raising him was so NOT easy, but by age two he was an off lead dog and I never looked back.

Puppy matches are great stuff smile She's a little young for it now, but it really is a great exposure. Gives a good foundation for actually attending Schutzhund competitions in the future, if that's the way you'd like to go.
» There has since been 16 posts. Last posting by , Sep 24 9:52 am

Choosing the Right Dog > Alsatian Shepalute- don\'t fall for it

Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Thu Apr 8, '10 9:05pm PST 
Well I am a Troll descendant, and I think this breeding is bunk.
» There has since been 6 posts. Last posting by , Apr 8 10:35 pm

Behavior & Training > Dogs for whom 'work' is the only motivator

Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Sun Mar 7, '10 7:08pm PST 
Epiphany? Of COURSE it's the bond!!!!! After all these years.....gee, you're not too bright. For a scientist, I mean laugh out loud big laugh

I know with Pogo, well I was way in over my head. And what has always stayed with me was the contrasts. The "before"....you would have thought he was the most obstinate s.o.b. I know I did at the time. It's not like I was a greenhorn....well versed in German dogs by then. Everything I tried to get him to do, a frustration, and given that he was a mega serious dog, that was a big concern. But then I started to get wiser, and realized that although he....unlike Cain, I am sure....followed me around like a velcro dog all the time, that our bond was underdeveloped. He was probably following me around because I seemed so inept to him and needful of his constant sentry.

I look back on the whole affair with degrees of awe and humor. One of the reasons I say....this is a breed that will forgive training mistakes. Once I started to act like I was part of the team....that I knew what I was doing, where I was going, would stand up to some threat that hid around the corner, then that was it. He was less my part protective shadow/part obstinate s.o.b., and more part of my team. I said earlier, trail walks can be helpful. Just having the dog go with you on a journey, having you navigate, letting it be fun, rather than being in some neatly arranged training circle, getting a heel he'll give you (maybe out of pity? laugh out loud), but then out on the street, he's chugging in front because he finds me so needing of watching over. So that was helpful, just engaging in things in a general sense, and letting him get a sense of ME. More than me of him. I was barely training then. In the MOMENT, I thought I was trying to elicit his interest, but now I can see I was developing in him an awareness that I was a competent person.

Did want to correct, too, that at least with the German dog thing, it is not that they have to think it was there idea. They'll gladly do what you ask them, if they view you on par. Terriers....now THEY need a reason. laugh out loud

I learned on Pogo a great deal. I use that basis for training all my German dogs now in foundational work. Just trying to get a good bond going, because if they think you need their sentry, if they are enough dog for it, they are just too responsible to listen to you. It's once they see you as tight on your own that they'll tilt an ear in your direction and give you what you want, for this breed, and some select others, were bred to be working partners. That is their heart.
» There has since been 7 posts. Last posting by , Mar 8 4:17 pm

Behavior & Training > someone tried to Cesar my dog...
Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Sun Oct 18, '09 2:28pm PST 


From the king of the noble, who did nothing for anything other than the heart of duty and love of the family that was inherent to his his GSD soul.
» There has since been -1 posts. Last posting by , Oct 19 1:08 pm

Behavior & Training > Breed traits

Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Tue Oct 6, '09 9:57am PST 
Wow.....that was fascinating. Pogo had two people in his life he decided to accept, other than that, me and me only. And also spot on, never got riled on small furries. How von Stephanitz can you get. Evolved drive past that simplistic prey mode, play drive et al. Depressing, too, as to what is going on with the breed now.....GSD cat killers disturb me. von Stephanitz' dogs were smarter and had more duty filled hearts than to unleash their power on a hapless kitty cat. THANKS for the trip down memory lane, Cain!
» There has since been 19 posts. Last posting by , Oct 8 9:47 am

Behavior & Training > Getting Aggressive.

Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Sat Sep 12, '09 12:04pm PST 
....Or convey there is a time to voice it and a time to clam up. wink Pogo's initial idea was that three feet within the master meant death to target. That's just not on, and he did fine with the revisions to his blueprint.
» There has since been 26 posts. Last posting by , Sep 15 5:14 am

Behavior & Training > Dogs Who Love "Violence" - Protection Dogs in Action

Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Sun Aug 2, '09 9:06pm PST 
From my special hero, vanguard of innocence, dog of valor, to you cloud 9
» There has since been 38 posts. Last posting by , Aug 4 1:51 pm

Choosing the Right Dog > Brag about your breed
Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute

The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
Barked: Thu Jul 9, '09 4:23pm PST 
What you like about your breed?

Simply put, the greatest dog on the planet. You don't need to make excuses for a GSD, there is nothing they cannot do. They are the superior working breed, but they also are clever, naughty, sort of rude and playful, making them a dog you can train to anything, work hard, and ALSO enjoy. Their adaptability upends most breeds of their working capacity by a country mile, as does their social stability.
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What you don't like about your breed?

Loathe being shallow, but their shedding is INSANE shock You just have to surrender to it - hair everywhere, change in the bathroom and climb out the window if you are to be pristine. Their teenage stage can be a bit much. Far more serious, the state of the breed is disastrous, and in some views the state of their character isn't doing so hot either. What I do not like MOST about this breed are the people who continue to damage it out of lust for titles and greed of money.
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What most people don't know about your breed/what you wish you'd known before getting your dog?

The GSD nowadays is split into several factions. Everyone slings hash at everyone else, NONE are without their problems, and the dogs differ from each other more and more all the while. IF you get this breed, figuring out which faction suits you and acquainting yourself with its pitfalls is mandatory. You no longer can say "a" German Shepherd or that American breeders are ruining this dog. Nowadays, it is a group effort frown
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How is your dog different from most dogs of its breed?

Again, I have yet to have a dog that wasn't breed typical. All breeds have their different character shadings, but there are core motivators and perspectives for the dog. Philo was outlandishly friendly....I called him my Golden Retriever and he seemed hopelessly naive socially, but at age eight made a threatening person turn and run. Pogo, plain and simple, was the dog von Stephanitz drafted in his head - Rin Tin Tin come to life.
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Do you have any specific caveats for potential buyers (other than make sure to get a CERF/OFA screening on both parents)?

Oh geez.....do you have like seventeen hours? HD everyone knows, degenerative spinal myleopathy has run absolutely rampant, and there are a spooky number of conditions towards which this breed is prone, from the common to obscure. Many American breeders do not focus on working character, but even that is a sight better than the inferior, weak nerved imports that continue to flock into this country. My strongest advice for this breed is to focus on breeders who will talk forthrightly about the breed's health challenges, give full disclosure as to what they see in their dogs, and, critically, who have bred their OWN female lines for many generations. That sort of familiarity can spin a huge difference.
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What activities do you and your dog enjoy together?

Love of training, love of play. GSDs are always game to go. Their adaptability lends itself to a wide menu.
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Do you have a breeder to recommend?

I always have a list, but I revere Valiantdale. Tracy Bullinger is also a mentor to many and her bar is far higher than most.....she is in this for the right reasons and always will be.
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What else would you like to share?

The GSD is in a huge state of crisis, but this is so much a breed worth fighting for. They are such a fantastic dog to train....a little bratty to keep it fresh, but they LOVE to work for you and make YOU feel good about working them. Their ability to adapt to any situation is priceless....they know when they can play hard and when to go soft, they know who they should greet and who is trouble, they are socially very together, they can take your mistakes and wait for you to catch up. Just an amazing animal.
» There has since been 32 posts. Last posting by , Aug 3 12:25 pm

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