Don’t Own a German Shepherd…Definitely Not Two

We are graced with the presence of two long-hair German Shepherds. They are a rambunctious set, ages 5 and 7 from the same parents. Shelby is highly intelligent but neurotic as hell and not very affectionate. Connor is sweet and loving, but not as well trained and especially aggressive with other dogs. We knew from the beginning this was going to be the case when all 12 fluffy pounds of him barked and growled at Shelby the first time they met. He was 8 weeks old.

If you want an exciting life, get a German Shepherd. If you prefer a predictable and stress-free domicile, I highly discourage you from owning German Shepherds. They are too smart for their own damn good and frequently find trouble to get in to.

I know everyone thinks their dog is the most intelligent. Less frequently there is the argument that their dog is the biggest pain in the ass. I offer for you today a story demonstrating that our dogs may very well be high in intelligence and pain-in-the-assiness.

Connor has a destructive streak as wide as the day is long. Over the years he has destroyed a beaver pelt hat, leather chinks (short chaps for the non-horsey people), a pair of leather boots, faux wood blinds, a 3 foot section of carpet and several baseball hats. (The blinds and carpet are a story for another day.) The cost of Connor’s companionship is high. For that reason we leave our bedroom door shut when we are gone.

One of these things is a toy. One is not. He chewed both.
One of these things is a toy. One is not. He chewed both. Oh Connor.
She's very ambitious, just like her mom.
Shelby girl is very ambitious, just like her mom.









Recently the bedroom door was mysteriously open when we would get home. At first we thought it was operator error. We became more vigilant. The door was still open when we came home . A box of tissues shredded to confetti provided evidence of their roaming. Last week the door was open every single day of the week, even though it was firmly shut in the morning. We decided one of them figured out how to open the door using the handle and we would have to change to a door knob. We left home for a little excursion and thought nothing more of the door handle.

Damned door handle.

We rented a cabin in Eastern Oregon. We explored the wilderness area, hung out with our friends and kept the dogs with us. We hiked them over 5 miles in the morning. At lunch we decided to leave them in the cabin while we went and ate lunch with our friends at a campsite a quarter mile away. We tucked them in their beds and closed the door. The handle made a satisfying click. Locked.

Sitting with our friends, eating lunch, they asked us if the dogs were tired from all the activity that morning.

“Oh yes.” We agreed. “I’m sure they’re passed out. Dog tired.” Yuk yuk yuk

Now here’s where you need to know that I am not taking any creative liberty when telling this story.

No sooner had the words left our mouths than the dogs rounded a bend, bounding toward us, tongues hanging out, faces split with joy.

“WE FOUND YOU! WE’RE HERE!” We’re sure they were thinking.

My husband could not believe his eyes. “Are you kidding me?” I think he swore. Yes, he definitely was swearing.

The dogs used the skills they honed at home to open the door to the cabin and set off searching for their surely endangered owners. When the shock wore off, we thanked our lucky stars they didn’t run off in the wilds, chasing after deer. We said a prayer, so thankful no animals were harmed in the making of this adventure, courtesy of Connor.

Like I said, if you like a peaceful, stress-free life, do not get a German Shepherd.

But if you love a little spice, if you like an animal that thinks for itself and readily shares his opinion (sometimes by destroying a pair of beloved boots) then get that German Shepherd. He or she will definitely eat something you love, and will at some point challenge your patience, but they will leave you so in awe of the intelligent and loving mind they possess. As loyal and honest as they are persistent and naughty.

 By the way, not too long after our little trip, we stood in our bedroom with Shelby and locked Connor out. We called to him, beckoned him. Within 30 seconds he had that door handle pushed up, unlatched and the door open. To think we used to say he was the slow one.

For the faint of heart, they are not.

Connor & Shelby
Connor & Shelby & the infamous cabin

Anyone out there have memorable items that were sacrificed to your precious dog’s chewing desires?


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Theresa Rice

Writing a modern day western and telling my daily stories of humor, sadness or inspiration. Depending on the day, it might be all three.

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