Well, it's a new year ladies and gentlemen, and last night did not disappoint. It was a night of steak, fondue, pirates, Madden 11, a puzzle of the US in license plates and my brother in law and myself finally beating the computer in NHL 11 (scoring in the game is satisfying because it's so hard to do). As any of my readers might guess, my family was probably my favorite part of the evening. I'm so happy that I have such a great family.
My family, like most, is great, but odd. We discussed this yesterday after my sister and her husband told us that they were getting a German Shepherd. What makes our family funny, is that the first reaction we all gave was not, "Oh, great." it was, "Okay, what will you name it and what words are you using for what?" Note that, in the questions, there was an air of excitement that's hard to explain.
Growing up, we had a Black Lab named Bear Dog. He was originally just Bear, but somehow the Dog got added on later. He was a big part of the family, and my dad was his master. My dad, among many other talents, knows how to train dogs. He has the know-how and the personality. Bear didn't know many "tricks," but he did some things that would amaze most people. For Bear, apart from when my dad walked him off, our yard might as well have had a fifty foot brick wall around it, because no matter what was across the street, or even on the sidewalk, Bear didn't go after it, cat or man. Also, my dad taught Bear to bark, so as to scare away intruders, but all he had to do was tell Bear once to stop and Bear was silent. We also trained Bear to only bark twice when he wanted back into the house after being outside. He was an amazing dog and my dad was an amazing trainer.
Along with growing up, my sister and I learned a lot about training dogs. Not so much that I could do it myself, but I know some things that are important, like not to just run at a dog, but to approach it slowly with my fist out so that it can inspect me. We learned that dogs like to be part of a pack with structure. They like to know what rules to follow and what etiquette is appropriate. They like to know where they stand in the pack. The only way to obtain this sort of structure is for EVERYONE to treat it in the same way. Because of this, when my sister told us the good news, we wanted to know how to act immediately. We know that children and dogs are similar, a well behaved dog, like a well behaved child is a pleasure to be around. You can have fun with it without it getting annoying. A poorly behaved dog, like a poorly behaved child gets obnoxious, and no one wants to be around it. For those reasons we also wanted to all help with making the new addition to our pack as pleasant to be around as possible.
Either way, I'm really excited about the German Shepherd, along with a miniature Yorke that my mom is getting in February. I'm always excited when our pack gets a little bigger.