Having a german shepherd is one of the toughest and best things I have committed to. I remember when I got Frodo. I wasn’t too happy when he grew up so much in size in just a few days, or so it seemed. I didn’t like it when I had to deal with his frustrations and anger issues. I had put all the blame on Frodo and moved on in my life.
But in past few months, I have been doing a lot of rethinking. Self-realization hit me like a slap on my face. Was it really my dog’s fault? Aren’t german shepherds supposed to be the best dog breeds? They’re supposed to be intelligent, kind and understanding. Then, what went wrong? Was having a german shepherd a mistake?
Not at all. How else would I have learned so precious lessons. What lessons?
Calmness Conquers All
You can’t overpower your dog by being angry. You can’t make him obey you by shouting at him. You can’t make him do things if you’re frustrated.
I stand in the huge ground we play in every morning, yawning and half asleep, and suddenly, Frodo starts chasing a stray dog. My usual reaction – shout my lungs out until the dog stops and gets back. Did it help? No.
My current reaction – I just stay calm, let him get into the moment and then, give a calm and assertive call. And just like that, my dog snaps out of the moment, and runs back to me.
I think I am wise enough to know that being calm is one of the best personality traits one can have but I wouldn’t have learned that if it were not for Frodo. He taught me how to be calm in the most stressful situations. I’m a work in progress but I wouldn’t have learnt that much if I hadn’t decided on having a german shepherd in my life.
2. Don’t Rush Things and Let People Trust You
Sometimes, we want somebody to do something for us. We’re in a hurry, while that somebody is still reluctant about the task in hand. What happens? The task never gets finished or it doesn’t happen according to the way we want.
Had you given that person some time to soak in the situation, had you built a relationship of trust and understanding with that person, the results would be different.
Take Frodo’s case. For two months, I ran behind the dog in the same dusty ground trying to tell him that it’s time to go back home. He loves playing and I blamed him for loving it so much that he disobeyed me every time.
I don’t know what got into my mind but one day, when it was time for us to go back, I took out his leash from my pocket, held it in one hand where it was clearly visible to him and then commanded him, “Come.” I waited. I stood there while Frodo still kept moving around, sniffing and trying to get me to play with him. I stood there in same pose for minutes, oblivious to all the people staring at me and thinking how stupid I am to do something like that. I said again, in the same calm voice, “Come.” And just like that, he came and stood near me , waiting for me to put on the leash.
Since that day, I never have to chase my dog to get work done. He did it for me. That was a first. Do you know what else happened?
Earlier, a typical playdate in the morning looked like Frodo trying to stay as far away from me as possible. He feared that I would catch him and take him back home. Now? He walks beside me, lets me pet him while we’re playing, with no worries and insecurities. He trusts me now.
3. Practice Makes You Perfect
Just like you, I have heard the phrase way too many times. Just like you, I agree that it’s true. But who the hell is going to really practice until you get perfect? – says a person who struggles to go to gym even after writing fitness posts and making fitness related videos.
Bringing this phrase to actual use is way too tough. It just doesn’t happen; until and unless you see what a drastic change such a phrase can bring in your life.
How? I needed to teach Frodo some commands. It wasn’t that fun command that makes the dog Instagram-worthy. Those were the commands I really needed him to understand – come, fetch, and fridge (okay, I probably don’t need my dog to open the fridge but then, I am lazy. Don’t you know it?).
Mind you that this is the time when I hadn’t taught any dog anything. All the other commands Frodo knew were taught by other people, not me. I didn’t know how to teach a dog any command. Ultimately, one thing got into my mind. I have to make him practice doing things until he learned to do them himself. And so I did. He knows all these commands and combined with calmness and assertiveness, he obeys them like the best dog in the world.
Here’s the thing. The moment this happened, something in my mind switched. I truly understood the meaning of “practice makes you perfect.” I truly started believing in the effectiveness and the truth of the phrase.
That’s what having a german shepherd did to me. It taught me some really valuable life lessons, that I wouldn’t have learnt otherwise or would have to learn at a great price, whereas this was easy. I got to play with my dog and learn such precious things.
Having a german shepherd is the best thing ever. Do you agree now?