My instructor Mary was telling me something particularly interesting today. I always believed that the dog aged 7 dog years for every human one. However, current research suggests that how the dog ages, changes throughout its life. For example, a dogs' first year is equivalent to 16 of ours. By the time the dog is 2, that drops to 8 dog years for the second human year. So, this means Renton, at the dog age of 2 is equivalent to 24 year old human. For the rest of a dogs life, it works out roughly at five years to every one of ours.
So what does that tell me about Renton? He can show people that he is not happy and that is exactly what Renton was displaying last weekend. Labradors are a bit more robust and can transfer from one handler to the next as long as they are being fed they are generally happy, but for German Shepherd’s this is a little more complex. They are not so fixated on food and can be utterly devoted to their trainer. Although Renton appeared to be happy with me at the beginning, he is showing signs of being a little under pressure by being in this small hotel room with someone who he really doesn’t know. This week we are going to get him home early to get him settled in to a home environment, to help ease this transfer.
He was showing classic Shepherd signs of not settling; hiding his big head in tiny corners, taking himself away to a different room, in this case the hotel bathroom and finally refusing to obey any commands. I heard it described as being like a stroppy teenager throwing their weight around.
Plus as everything is new all his senses are heightened; noises appear louder, moving objects are more attractive for chasing and new people appear more daunting. Although he does come out for hugs.
I’m pleased to say he’s a lot better today and is being a bit more like his laid back self.
The good thing is I know what a good worker he is and I also know that his behaviour is normal for a Shepherd at this stage of his training. He will get over it and settle down with a lot of TLC once he gets back home and gets a bit more space.
Nevertheless I’ve ordered a psychiatric couch. Hang on a minute, he’s not allowed on the couch. I expect by then I’ll need it myself!