Thursday, December 21, 2006

An Update on Saul

As most of my readers probably know I got a new 'puppy' as a Christmas present on Tuesday of this week. His name is Saul and he is an AKC registered German Shepherd from military police dog stock.

Y'all will probably get tired of hearing about Saul long before I get tired of blogging about him. He is an absolutely fascinating creature. He isn't much of a puppy though and he is so smart it is almost frightening.

At three and a half months old Saul is already around 4 ft. long and 2 ft tall...maybe a little taller. His shoulder blades are massive as is his ribacge, his head and his feet. He doesn't resemble a puppy at all. He looks like an almost fully grown dog...just a little smaller. I can't wait to see how big he will actually get. The picture above does not do justice to his current size....not by a long shot. Let me put it this way....if I were to come across him while out for a walk or in any other scenario....I would be scared and quickly vacate the area. You really can't tell he is a very young dog.

His intelligence is astounding.

Until I bought him he was an outside dog all his life. I brought him home on Tuesday and he is already house broken with zero training. He used the bathroom in my bedroom floor once on his first overnight and once on his first day when the kids came home from school...just a little piddle in the kitchen floor from nervous excitement. But now he makes it very clear when he wants to go outside by going to the door and whining. When we get outside he makes a bee-line for one of the two spots he has chosen and does his business. This is met with heaps of praise and a few IAMS puppy biscuits which he seems to really like.

He already knows how to play fetch and will actually bring you the ball back. My daughter and I went shopping for him yesterday and one of the things he got was a tennis ball. I took him walking in the woods in the afternoon and decided to see if he would play with the ball. I tossed it and said "Go get it Saul...bring me the ball," and he did exactly that. My jaw dropped. I gave him a snack and praise.

I couldn't believe it....thought it must have been a fluke...after all, this is a dog who has lived outside with his litter mates and very little interaction with people in a play-type setting. I am almost certain that he had never had a ball thrown for him before yesterday. I threw it again to see what would happen and again he fetched it and brought it to me. We played like that until I ran out of scooby-snacks. We came back to the house to get more and my daughter decided to join us. I told her about Saul fetching the ball and she wanted to try. Saul refused to fetch for her. He'd sniff it after she threw it but showed no interest beyond that. He did want to be herd her about though. He also shakes hands.

Saul has accepted me as Alpha wolf in this pack. He comes when I call, stops when I say 'no' or 'stay', follows me everywhere I go and will not let me out of his line of sight. He follows me to the bathroom and waits patiently outide the door. He follows me out to smoke, to the refrigerator for a glass of tea, to my computer chair where he promptly stations himself under the table at my feet until I get up again and then he start all over. When I am cooking dinner he sprawls out in the floor behind me and I have to step over and around him. At night when I go to bed he stations himself at the foot of the bed on the floor and stays there all night long. Last night he woke us up twice with some pretty loud munching on an old shoe. When I said, "Quiet Saul" he got quiet.

He rolls over and exposes his belly to me which is a good indicator that he is submissive to my dominance. He has not accepted his spot as Omega wolf though. He thinks he gets to boss the kids and he isn't too sure about Daddy Nall just yet either. We will be working on establishing pack hierarchy over the weekend while everyone is home at the same time.

He is a very alert animal. I mean NOTHING gets by him. No noise goes undetected, no movement unfollowed and no new scent unsniffed. He takes in everything.

He scared me a little....well no A LOT would be much more truthful...earlier this morning. Saul is seriously interested in the cats. He has gotten a little closer to them every chance he's had and yesterday he made a lunge and a growl. I scolded him and he went back to being just very curious. I took him out eariler this morning and over in his spot near a big pine tree was my white kitty 'Frances'. Saul let out a deep bass bark, the hair on the back of his neck stood up like the cats was standing up and he took off before I could get my finger on the button to stop his leash from reeling out. If I had been a little slower I feel pretty sure I would have a dead cat right now.

I finally got him calmed down enough to do his business. When he was done we started walking again. He was walking ahead of me and all of a sudden he went completely APESHIT!! Barking, slobbering, growling, snarling, lunging and leaping into the air. I have no idea what he saw....I didn't see a thing, nor did I hear anything running away...which is what I would most certainly have done if I had been in the woods and heard that beast coming in my general direction. He sounded like the Tasmanian Devil!

It really scared me to see that much strength and aggression being displayed by a three and a half month old dog. I realized how imperative it is that I get him obedience trained by a professional ASAP. If I don't then I won't have any control over him when he is grown. He is almost strong enough now to break my hold on the leash and when grown he could literally kill someone. He has the potential to be an extraordinarily dangerous animal if not trained properly. I have always planned to have him trained but this mornings display really put things into a clearer perspective for me.

I know training him won't be a problem. He is a really brilliant animal that already knows how to do important things that he has never been 'taught' to do.

That's all for today as far as Saul blogging is concerened.


Anonymous said...

Yeah Loretta.

Have a good day
in the U.S.A.

A friend in Canada...

Don said...

Lo, if you value your cats you might consider getting a strong muzzle for Saul until you can convince him that cats shouldn't be on his menu. You could put it on him and try to introduce him to the cats to see if they can, as Rodney King said, all just get along together.

Loretta Nall said...

That is a good idea Don. I'll get him one next time I go out. He strikes me as the kind of dog who will need a muzzle when he goes to the vet and until he gets better socialized. Those damn toofies are sharp as razors as my arms and hands can attest to. And those scratches are from playing fetch and him accidentally bumping me with his teeth when he is dropping the toy.

I have a bunch of cats I would love to find good homes for. If anyone wants any please let me know.