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Shepherd Guide, Issue #022 -- Feb 2015
February 03, 2015

Welcome to another issue of the Shepherd Guide!

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

February 2015

In this Issue:

  1. In the News - K9s for Warriors
  2. GSD Hero of the Month - GSD alerts family to raging fire
  3. Training - ThunderLeash
  4. Health Issue - Beware the Furminator
  5. What's On Your Mind?

1. In The News

K9s for WarriorsJason Haag is undergoing a miraculous recovery from PTSD thanks to Axel, a German Shepherd from K9's for Warriors. After serving three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, former Marine Haag received a medical discharge for severe PTSD. He often became violent. Drinking heavily and on two dozen medications, he would scream at his kids, throw things and once choked his wife.

Haag spent a year and a half holed up in his basement. Suffering from panic attacks and nightmares, he'd text his wife when he needed something. His wife finally threw in the towel, telling him that he had to find something that works.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that if it wasn’t for Axel, I’d be six feet underground now,” said Haag, who lives with his wife, Elizabeth, and three children in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “I’d have become a PTSD statistic.”

Out of desperation, Haag turned to K9s for Warriors. This nonprofit based in Florida, trains rescued dogs from local shelters to serve veterans with PTSD. After a three week program at the group's headquarters, the veterans learn to handle the dogs and "break the pattern of fear" visiting public places where they'd never go on their own.

In addition to providing companionship and security, these canines perform "block and cover" moves which can provide a sense of protection to veterans in public. Sensing impending anxiety, these dogs often prevent their master from a full blown panic attack.

Axel effectively helped Haag save his marriage and get his life back.

More about Axel, K9s for Warriors and Haag's story.

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

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Read more stories about German Shepherds in the news.

2. GSD Hero of the Month

GSD Hero Captain JackDrew Walter calls Jack the "laziest dog in the world." So when Captain Jack woke him up around 1:30 am, Walter got up and heard an explosion.

“I looked out and saw the garage completely engulfed.”

The detached garage is about 150 feet away from the house, but the heat was so intense, Walter could feel it from the window and door. He quickly got his daughters out of the house and called 911.

The fire destroyed the garage and everything inside, but thanks to Captain Jack, no lives were lost.

More about Captain Jack's heroics

3. Training

Ever since I saw the calming effect of the ThunderShirt on Ryder's canine anxiety, I have been a fan of the company.

The other day, I saw a commercial for the ThunderLeash and my ears perked up.

It can be used as a regular leash or a "no pull" harness. The harness set up places gentle pressure on your dog's torso when they pull, which causes them to stop pulling.

It is so much fun to walk Ryder now that he's not constantly pulling. Over the weekend, I ran into a woman trying to walk her 1 year old GSD into the local pet store. She had such a hard time guiding him into the store (he was pulling and jumping out of control), I mentioned the ThunderLeash to her. Luckily, the store we were at did sell the ThunderLeash. I certainly hope she got it as it looked like she and her dog could really use it.

4. Health Issue

German Shepherd Grooming Bathing

While attending puppy class with a friend's GSD puppy, the trainer went over basic grooming tips. Luckily, our German Shepherds are low maintenance and only need annual or bi-annual baths. I felt a bit sorry for the owners of an adorable Malti-Poo (I'll take coat-blowing twice a year over frequent grooming/bathing requirements). I got to hold her during the "Pass the Puppy" game which helps socialize the pups and get them used to being handled by strangers (makes things easier at the vet or the groomer).

BTW, have you heard of a Shepadoodle - (German Shepherd / Standard Poodle mix)? I have never seen one, but it is on my list of pages to write.

Anyway, so we were told to avoid the Furminator. The trainer had taken her dog to an expo where the Furminator was being demonstrated. The area on her dog where it was demonstrated has never grown back. After further research, she discovered that the Furminator may harm the fur at its most vulnerable growth period and can thin out the coat if used too frequently. While it was intended for the under coat, it also cuts the outer coat, and can leave a fuzzy appearance.

Another tip I learned is to use a rubber grooming brush on them while you are bathing them. It really works the soap through the fur and on the skin.

I've used the Furminator a few times on Schatzi, and noticed some of the "fuzziness" myself. She was recently professionally groomed and looks amazing. She even has the "new puppy smell" :)

Using the right tools makes a world of difference.

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 time,

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