On Memorial Day weekend 2010, we were on our way to our boat for a day of king salmon fishing. Stopped at a traffic light, Kohl was peacefully watching the world from the bed of our truck. A pickup truck rolled up in the next lane and stopped. A moment later there was an explosion of barking. Craning my neck to discern what the fuss was all about, I discovered a feisty GSD barking at Kohl, who in turn was barking back.
The driver rolled down his window and laughed about the intensity coming from the back of our trucks.
The light changed and we were off. We pulled into McDonalds to feed the two grandsons we had in the back seat a nutritious breakfast. After a bit, the other truck with the feisty GSD parked near. We got out of our prospective trucks and introduced ourselves. I met his dog, Kora, and then he met Kohl. We exchanged telephone numbers and were on our way.
That night I took a call from Kora’s owner and was apprised of some details about her. We agreed that we should introduce the dogs in the future to see how they take to one another.
A few weeks later, I received a telephone message from Kora’s breeder in
. I called him back and learned a whole lot more about Kora, her parents and her littermate Jetta that they retained for breeding. We discussed the notion of studding Kohl to Jetta then tabled that for a day when the dogs were of breeding age. Haines, Alaska
That evening I researched Jetta’s pedigree and quickly became intrigued at the idea of a litter.
Fast forward to February 2011 when we received a call from Kora’s owner who suggested we introduce the dogs. So that evening, we did.
Kora’s home was an industrial yard where she was trained to be a watch dog. Introducing a male GSD into a watch dog’s territory is impossible. With both dogs leashed up, Kora exploded with barking, charged Kohl and yanked her owner to the ground. Kohl was no friendlier but I maintained control of him.
I suggesting that we take a walk together away from the yard. We were slowly able to get the dogs together. Guardedly accepting one another, we all strolled back to the yard. In short time there attentions were no longer on each other. Kohl then became interested in the sights and smells of the yard, and Kora became interested in whatever Kohl was investigating.
So far so good.
We switch dogs and I walked Kora around the yard. I was amazed by the feeling of the leash. It felt as though we never exchanged leashes. The dogs behaved identically.
We spent several hours there then decided to move the operation to our house in town.
Over the evening I became more impressed with Kora’s intelligence, structure, and obedience to her owner.
The next day my wife and I discussed breeding the dogs. I called Kora’s owner and proposed a future breeding of the two on the condition that we keep Kora for the breeding and whelping. He was not entirely agreeable to this, so no commitment was made.
One month later, Kora’s owner called and asked if we would like to make Kora ours. His living arraignments were uncertain and he had no solution for his dog’s care. We were certainly agreeable to this, but in the end, he backed out and left us wanting.
I quickly began searching for a quality breedable female adult to purchase. I found no dogs available that satisfied my qualifications. I then searched for puppies.
I decided not to be hasty. We were in no hurry to breed Kohl so we went back to business as usual, until we received a call from Kora’s owner about two months later. He told my wife if we wanted Kora, we needed to get her now.
So we did.
Deprogramming a watch dog for family life is a test in patience. Slowly Kora’s aggression became milder. The sudden conflicts between Kohl and Kora were nearly non-existent and the seemingly arbitrary attacks on our old lab mix waned.
From the beginning she was excellent with the grandchildren. On nice days Kohl, Kora, a 6 year old grandson, a 5 year old grandson, and a 2 year old granddaughter would play in the backyard together for hours.
Aggression toward unfamiliar dogs remained as well as sharpness toward unfamiliar people. And then there’s the cat.
She is absolutely fixated on our 10 year old cat. I believe it has something to do with pack hierarchy because all she wants to do when the cat is present is breath on her face and lick her head, constantly.
The cat tries to ignore her but Kora never relents. She pleads for the cat to move, or bat at her, or anything.
Then in July, she came into heat.
Next: The puppies.