|Jake wanted a German Shepherd ever since he was a boy when he met his neighbor's dog, Maverick. "Some of his favorite childhood memories were of watching Maverick dive into Lake Superior to bring back rocks that barely fit in his mouth!" explains his fellow pet parent, Amanda.
"We waited very patiently through a year of apartment living," she continues, "until we found our first house and our very own 20 acres of hardwood forest-the perfect jungle gym for a German Shepherd."
Hans Wins Their Hearts
Jake and Amanda didn't waste any time. "Within two months of buying the house," Amanda says, "we'd located a German Shepherd breeder with a litter due. The first time we met Hans it was love at first kiss! The breeder handed Hans over to us and he tucked right in for a big hug and kissed my chin and I knew he was our little boy. He started talking to us right away, such a Shepherd!"
"It was love at first kiss!"
Five months later, Hans still isn't shy about expressing himself. "He likes to talk to his mom and dad," Amanda says. "He tells us when he's very happy and when he feels like he needs more attention. He has us trained very well! If he wants to go for a walk he'll paw at a door or even shove the laundry room door open to get his leash out to bring it to us. If he finishes his dinner and he's still hungry, he's not afraid to carry his food bowl all around the house to put it in front of you!"
Training the Vet
"When he had to stay overnight at the vet's office after his neuter," Amanda remembers, "he had to eat frequent, very small meals, and he was not happy with the limited food, so he picked the food bowl up and crashed it all around his crate so that someone would feed him. He had the whole vet's office trained well by the time we picked him up the next day!"
Hans's expressiveness makes him lots of friends. "Hans is probably the best ambassador for the German Shepherd breed that I've ever seen," says Amanda.
"I think the only time his tail
stops wagging is when he's asleep."
"We've met so many people who are afraid of Shepherds because they only ever see them as police dogs, doing schutzhund bite work," - a sport that started as a test for working dogs - "or as unhappy, unsocialized, aggressive dogs. Every single one of them is blown away the moment they meet Hans. He wants to be everyone's best friend! Human, dog, cat, squirrel, he just wants to love them! I think the only time his tail stops wagging is when he's asleep."
He Grows On You
"Hans has never met another dog that he hasn't loved," says Amanda. "He wants all of them to be his new best friend! Hanser LOVES to go visit Jake's brother and sister in law. He just loves getting to spend time with their dogs James and Tyla.
"He was right there trying to steal
toys from the dogs who were more
than double his size!"
Hans met them for the first time when he was 12 weeks old, and they were happy to boss around the 25-pound little guy. It didn't bother him for a second, he was right there trying to steal toys from the dogs who were more than double his size! It was five or six weeks later the next time they saw Hans, and he was already over 40 pounds. They didn't know what to think! He was already almost their size, and he had double the energy! He was still smaller than they were, but now he was chasing the big dogs around. We can't wait to get the dogs all together again.
Hans is six and a half months old now and weighs 70 pounds. He's already bigger than James and Tyla. He can't wait to be the big dog at the family gatherings. No one is taking his rope toy now!"
Hans Hits a Wall
Hans may be getting bigger, but he's not necessarily becoming more coordinated-
at least, not in Jake's and Amanda's house.
"He winds up a couple times before
he gets going, and then forgets that
he's going to have to stop."
"He's still trying to figure out how to run and how to stop on wood floors," says Amanda. "Our whole house has them. He looks EXACTLY like the Roadrunner cartoon, winding up before he takes off! He winds up a couple times before he gets going, and then forgets that he's going to have to stop and BOOM! right into a wall. He gets right up and shakes it off every time, and then does it again right away! We're hoping someday he learns, or at least slows down!"
He's All Ears
When Jake and Amanda come home, they can always count on an enthusiastic welcome from Hans. "He can hear us driving up the driveway, because all of a sudden his ears will pop into view," says Amanda. "It's a great sight to come home to! When we get inside he gets so excited he stands up and starts turning circles in his crate - he's just got so much of that puppy energy and excitement. And when he gets out of his crate he tells us how much he's missed us and is usually on his back for a belly rub within seconds!"
Hans and BLUE
"We knew before we even brought Hans home that we wanted to switch him to BLUE," says Amanda. "Hans is our child, as far as we're concerned, and we wanted to make sure we gave him every opportunity to be a healthy, happy boy for as long as possible. We're doing that by feeding him the best possible food, BLUE."
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