Dog trains man

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Band of Equals

More than a decade ago, when I visited Kenzo's breeder for my first Hovawart puppy, Kenzo quickly lost his interest in me during our initial greeting. He just sat down, with his side casually leaning against a fence while looking out over the fields adjacent to the breeder's house. Watching the grass grow seemed a whole lot more interesting than us, he seemed to think.

Therefore it surprised me when the breeder advised us to bring Kenzo home with us, when we asked him what puppy would fit best. "He is mellow," the breeder said, "he will be best considering it will be your first Hovawart." It went against my instinct. His brother was active and interacting with us - or at least with my shoe laces and everything else he could bite in - isn't the general rule of thumb to choose the one that also chooses you?

I am glad I followed the breeders advise. Ten years later, I found myself in a similar situation when I visited Atie, Zerline's breeder. Only this time I knew a lot better what I was looking for. "She" would have to become Tilde's partner. This time mellow would not do. Mellow would get run over before it could spell to T.i.l.d.e.

When I first looked at the puppy box one puppy in particular drew my attention. The litter was starting to wake up, probably responding to the sound of the new visitors who were arriving. But one puppy remained indifferent to all the noise and commotion around her and insisted to finish her beauty sleep. I gently picked her up from the box and caressed her as softly as possible. She woke up and started, as loud as a puppy can, to make clear this wasn't at all what she had in mind.

My second puppy, my second case of standoffish-ness. But this time it wasn't because the puppy had a mellow character. "She has a strong character and a lot of energy," Zerline's breeder Atie said, "she will fit good with Tilde." Again I trusted the breeders judgement. While Zerline grew up with Tilde, you could quickly see Atie was right. Zerline had no respect at all for Tilde literally from day one (more about their first day in Tilde, Meet Zerline. Zerline, Meet The Wild Thing). Already then I thought she was incredibly bold for a puppy. I also noticed how Tilde gave her a lot more room than what I expected.

With Zerline soon to approach her second birthday and coming closer to adulthood we see again how their relationship is changing. In the almost two years they have lived together now they have created a strong bond. But it is no longer a bond between the puppy/youngster and the elder and wiser dog. They truly form a band of equals. They enjoy each other's company that much, that sometimes they don't even think of meeting other dogs, even when it is possible. That much do they go up in their own play together.

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