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A Well-balanced Dog

long-haired German shepherd

Every so often, I get hooked on the idea of getting a second dog. Lately I've been obsessed with German shepherds, love their looks, respect their versatility and intelligence.

That said, I'm always surprised that I don't see more of them around. This is baffling considering that according to the AKC, the German shepherd was the 2nd most popular dog last year and is consistently ranked in the Top 10.

In any case, I had the pleasure of meeting (and feeding) what I would consider to be the ideal German shepherd as a family pet, Leah, a one-year-old plush-coated beauty and at 60 lbs, a very manageable size.

But aside from her flashy looks and wonderful structure, it was Leah's lovely temperament that impressed me the most. Playful and energetic, yet sweet, patient and calm, she had a wonderful time playing with DJ, who, to say the least, is as rambunctious as terriers get. With Leah, however, my little terror behaved himself and actually played like a British gentleman.

I observed their interaction with great interest and it confirmed a few things I've always maintained:

1) Well-balanced dogs get along well together, old or young, fixed or intact, small or large.

2) There is a natural order among dogs when it comes to figuring each other out. In Leah and DJ's case, there was some rough play, a few snaps and growls, but that just set the game rules between them. Leah made it clear to DJ that she wouldn't tolerate any of his enthusiastic mounting, (Both dogs are intact).

3) Relaxed confident owners create well-balanced dogs.

4) And from a personal viewpoint, it confirmed what I've always hypothesized about my dog, DJ. That while he doesn't need any encouragement to engage in exuberant, if not rowdy behavior, DJ is submissive and will mirror the behavior of his playmate.

All to say that nothing delights me more than to find a well-balanced and behaved playmate for DJ. Hoping that we will have the pleasure of many more visits from Leah for a long time to come!

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