The Capt's Thoughts on Temperament
In fact, I cannot remember a single Shepherd Dog that was not in love with children...
They are always conscious of their power & of their duty to protect them (children), and even in their squabbles with them, will take care to never draw blood.
The characteristics of the shepherd dog, home protection dog (hovawart) and police dog are the same: i.e. joy in work, devotion to duty, and to master, mistrust and sharpness against strange & irregular things, docility & obedience, teachableness & quickness to understand, and in addition, immunity to weather, uncommonly acute senses with gifts for retrieving & seeking, assisted by his special gait by which he leaves nothing unnoticed & unsought.
...his (the shepherd dog) the natural qualities of watchfulness and of entire and self-sacrificing devotion to his master...
The driving & tending dog, however, must be silent, so barks do not disturb the sheep...only under specific circumstances is he required to "speak-up"...
The only way to understand & estimate the nature of the dog is to study his whole development. Such a task requires a sympathetic, dog-loving observer, who tries as far as possible to enter into the innermost mind of the dog, and who will know how to short-circuit all his purely human points of view.
Whoever will only draw conclusions from the eminence of his own particular point of view, will obtain a distorted picture.
Our shepherd dog must be no disorderly swashbuckler, no senseless brawler, which stupidly rushes forward and immediately bites and holds on like some races do...
The dog essentially thinks through his nose...
Play is a preparation for the work of life: it is a picture of reality without its extreme consequences.
It is often the inherent tending instinct (of a dog) who cannot tend sheep (for a living), that makes the shepherd dog take care of other living beings...to gather them together and to fend for them, although often according to his own private interpretation!
The dog is a reflection of his master.
All the wonderful qualities of character possessed by a good shepherd dog will only be brought to light when he remains in the same hands for a very long time, preferably from puppyhood, where he shares the joys & sorrows of the family, their work & duties. Here then is formed the intimate relationship of confidence which so often makes us see human features of high quality in the actions of the dog.
Our shepherd dog is a peculiar fellow, and a genuine German withal.
We must understand how to guide the active instinct of this vivacious animal into the right path...our vivacious shepherd dog longs for work: he is grateful for all kinds of work, and, if unoccupied, will find a field of activity for himself...often very disagreeable....
Unfortunately the harmful consequences of kennel life do not show themself all at once,
otherwise they would be easily recognised & remedied.
The most noble profession for a shepherd dog is that of tending sheep, though it goes without saying that the exact method will vary with the need of the area.
The shepherd has no use for "molly-coddles", the dog must not only take on a single sheep, but he must hold his own against the entire flock.
The dog must immediately let go his grip (on sheep), indiscriminate biting and seizing can do great harm...great stress must be laid on teaching the correct way of gripping.
What our peasant requires is a sharp reliable watchdog who is never in the way, but always at hand, who will cause him no anxieties in keeping and who will not be too dainty in his food.
Our shepherd dog is a born Police dog, for when he is with the flocks and the herds he is also "policeman".
We describe a dog that is "gun-sure" when he does not shrink nor run when a gun is fired, but stands still. A sudden shot can startle any dog. To run & look for the reason for this row is not "gun-shy".
The further exercises in "gun-sureness" for the protecting dog is regulated by "who shot?" If the master, he must hold himself in readiness at the side of his master, if a hunter, he holds him harmless, if at his master he "feels it in his bones" & the dog must storm to the front, engage the assailant and disable him. He must not run in line to the shot, but must get to the side, so to seize the hand.