Friday, December 16, 2011


I found this description of the Frankish herding dog Berger Picard’s temperament on Wikipedia and thought how perfectly it describes the seemingly close relative, the German shepherd dog:

The Berger Picard's attributes include a lively, intelligent personality and a sensitive and assertive disposition that responds quickly to obedience training. By and large, Picards are laid back and mellow but they are known for having a stubborn streak and being reserved towards strangers. They require a lot of socialization during the first two years of their lives.  Picards are energetic and hard working, alert, loyal and sweet-tempered with children. They are happiest when they have a job to do. They also have a protective nature, making them good guard dogs. However, they are not excessive barkers (at least should not be)
…the breed also has a well-developed sense of humor, making them an endearing companion, and they continue to be used very effectively as both sheep and cattle herder in their native land and elsewhere.   Like many herding breeds, Picards require human companionship and lots of it. Since they can be demonstrative to their owners and enthusiastic friends towards other animals, formal obedience training and plenty of positive socialization is a must. Athletic, loyal and filled with a desire to work a long day, the breed excels in any "job" as long as enthusiasm and praise is a part of the task.

Continued and varied positive socialization for a puppy is vitally important to his future stability.  Dogs that are separated from new experiences and environments in their youth tend to be “wild”.  The task of polishing a dog’s behavior by involving him in as much of your life (in and out of the home) as possible can seem trying, but the work you put in now will pay-off.
The goal is to increase your puppy’s confidence so that he faces life with assurance, instead of timidity, which may result in a fear-based aggressive dog.
Although I don’t feel a German shepherd should be described as “happy-go-lucky”, he should be relaxed in truly non-threatening circumstances.  

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