Life With Canines

| 1/12/2018 9:24:00 AM

Tags: dog behavior, canine virtues for homesteaders, Bruce McElmurray, Colorado,

Two of our German Shepherds

In many of my blogs for Mother Earth News over the years I have mentioned life with our canine family members. This blog is about some specifics of that life with our canine family members and what we have learned about and from them. Life in a small cabin can be confining but our three German Shepherd Dogs have adjusted well and do not cramp our freedom of movement in any way. Our dogs are all inside dogs and it is rare that we get in each other's way.  

Not Professional - Just An Observing Parent

I am not a dog trainer, dog psychologist or canine behavior expert in any respect; however by living in such intimate proximity with our dogs I have observed them carefully over the years and arrived at insights into their behavior. What I have observed may not be consistent with other canine behavior or with other breeds; however, our dogs have provided me a definable insight into their behavior and needs.  

Drawing Conclusions From Careful Observation

Having been long time canine custodial parents who very carefully observe those in our care we have been able to draw certain conclusions from those observations. How many dog parents have their dogs around seeing them everyday and fail to carefully observe them with the intent of determining their individual characteristics and habits? When we identify why they act and behave as they do we are then in a better position to be a better custodial parent that meets their needs more fully.  

Dogs - Vital Part Of Homesteading 

I simply can’t fathom living remotely as we do without having dogs as an integral part of our family. Beyond using their superior sense of smell and hearing to alert us about what may be lurking around outside they are excellent companions inside. We chose the German Shepherd breed for their intelligence and ability to solve problems as well as their numerous other traits. When on leash outside and confronted with a predator they will hold their ground but not charge or have a barking fit which can quickly escalate into a serious situation.  

Canine Virtues

I have observed that our dogs are patient, loyal, constantly trying to please, considerate, respectful, protective, intelligent and entertaining.  Another virtue is that our canine friends have unprecedented love for their pack members. They love us and each other more than they love themselves and if necessary would sacrifice themselves for us. In the encounters we have had with bears, mountain lions and coyotes they have stood their ground while silently evaluating the situation and waiting for instructions from us.  

Gregg L Friedman MD
1/14/2018 9:03:23 PM

A wonderful article. I love your dogs. Thanks for sharing your story. By Gregg L. Friedman MD

G. Carlisle
1/13/2018 6:36:32 PM

What a wonderful article, so well articulated! The love for your canine family is immeasurable. I have followed your journey with these great family members, some now gone and those still with you. I can attest to the care and compassion shown them. One day, I hope to meet them (you as well, of course). I do believe that I will pass the sniff test, as they will soon realize that Love them as well!

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