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Shepherd Guide, Issue #012 -- November 10
November 30, 2010

Welcome to another issue of the Shepherd Guide!

Thank you for subscribing. As always, in respect for your time, I will keep these monthly updates short and to the point.

Regular readers of Shepherd Guide will notice that there has been a brief hiatus in publication. During this time, Ryder, a German Shepherd / Belgian Malinois mix was added to our home. I think he may have something else mixed in due to his curly tail, and plan to perform a dog dna test after the holidays to find out.

Several people have asked where to find a dog christmas costume and German Shepherd Christmas cards. You asked, so we delivered.

I hope these resources help you enjoy the holiday season.

November 2010

In this Issue:

  1. In the News - New Life for Dog Abandoned at Kennel
  2. GSD Hero of the Month - GSD Saves Children from House Fire
  3. Training - Dogs Need More than Fences
  4. Health Issue - Sensitive Stomachs and Chocolate
  5. What's On Your Mind?

1. In The News

Nine year old German Shepherd Kona was adandoned at a boarding kennel in Temple City, CA. This senior dog sat for months on a cement floor, exposed to the elements, waiting for an owner that never came back to get her.

Fortunately, her plight caught the attention of a compassionate reader. Kona is now in foster care recovering from what appears to be a pressure wound on her hip, some stiffness (either arthritis or degenerative myelopathy), and some seizures. It is believed those may have been triggered by the stress of her long stay at the boarding facility.

While Kona is enjoying life in her foster home, the challenge is in getting her from California to her forever home in Saskatchewan, Canada.

A Chip-In has been created for donations to help cover some of her medical expenses and to help pay for her transportation to Canada.

If you or someone you know are able to offer alternate transportation options (long-haul truckers, moving, volunteer for Pilots and Paws), please contact Kona's adoption coordinator at

As Kona waits, her future is looking bright for a once forgotten dog. She just needs a bit more help to get to her happy ending.

Please consider circulating Kona's story. You never know who may be able to lend a hand.

Have something incredible to share about your dog? How about telling us what makes your dog unique?

Share your dog stories here.

Read more stories about German Shepherds in the news.

2. GSD Hero of the Month

Sid, a nine year old male German Shepherd in Washington state, is a hero for alerting three children when a fire broke out at their house.

Flames erupted after a kerosene lamp shattered. When the owner turned around to see what had caused the ruckus, the entire wall was already engulfed.

Sid ran upstairs to the children's bedrooms and barked until they were all headed for the front door.

"(Sid was) going from each room, barking, waking the kids, and would not come downstairs until all three of the kids were down," owner Wendy Mudge says.

Though Sid was on fire himself, he would not leave the house until the children were safely outside. Once outside, Sid's owners extinguished his flames. He is currently recovering from some burns and lung damage.

Though he was able to save the children, unfortunately, the blaze killed two other dogs... a female shepherd and a puppy.

Kudos to Sid for showing true courage under fire.

3. Training

I recently read about a 125 pound German Shepherd that has been banished from the living portion of his home. When he's not left out in the backyard, he is segregated to the unfinished basement. Apparently, his claws are marking up the new wood floors in his family's living quarters.

The concerned question came from a friend of the owner who worries that the dog does not have enough interaction with people. He had approached his friend, suggesting maybe he should find a better home for the dog. But the owner says he's fine and it's a non-issue.

John Wade, who helps dog owners through his books, workshops and telephone consultations, weighed in. He states that unsupervised time in a yard is very bad for dogs. And he feels the reason that many dogs spend so much time outside is because of their poor behavior while in the house, which can be solved with proper training and adequate exercise.

If a dog is left outside unsupervised, he can pick up bad habits, such as chewing on yard furniture and bushes, and will dig holes out of boredom. Over time, his territorial instincts will increase when he senses activity outside of the yard.

On that note, Wade is puzzled by rescues who deny granting adoptions to people without fenced in yards. Lifestyle is a much bigger factor when it comes to a dog's well-being.

Exercise, and lots of it, will keep a dog calm in the home. Training can produce manners that can prevent wear and tear on the floor – along with regular nail-trimming. Dog boots are always an option.

Dogs are pack animals and like to be close to their family. With the right care and guidance, you can happily bring your dog back into the fold.

4. Health Issue

Does your GSD have a sensitive stomach? Mine too!

I normally switch between a couple of her favorite natural dog foods, but I have to introduce them slowly, or else I am stuck doing some massive cleaning. Even when she's eating good food, I still have to be vigilant, as she has been known to steal food from the counter.

With the holidays upon us, make sure your dog is not subjected to any poisons, particularly chocolate. Theobromine, a substance in chocolate, is toxic to dogs. Baking chocolate is especially harmful for dogs.

In large amounts, this toxin can affect your dog’s nervous and cardiovascular systems. Even some peripheral nerves. The good news is that the body will identify it as a poison, and she will vomit.

But, if she doesn't vomit quickly enough, it can be very dangerous. If your dog has eaten large amounts of chocolate and does not immediately purge it out of her system, call your vet immediately. You will likely be told to give her hydrogen peroxide to induce her to vomit.

Helpful instructions for this type of situation can be found here.

5. What's On Your Mind?

As a fellow German Shepherd lover, I want to hear what you may have questions or concerns about.

What would you like to read about in future issues? Reply to this email and let me know.

Until next month,

If you like this newsletter, tell a friend.

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