Dog, the movie.


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I went to the cinema today and sat through 'Dog'. By geez, that stirred up some memories. A lot of anthropomorphic nonsense, but otherwise quite alright. Typically, all movies about dogs empty the tear ducts and tug on the heart strings.

Forgive me as I reminisce...

In my time 75 - 2000 we used German Shepherds exclusively, Belgian Shepherds only appeared the same year I was discharged. All my dogs were up around 40 KGs, a good 10 KGs heavier than BS dogs, and they were more than capable of inflicting a lot of damage in a few short bites. A fact my body can attest to. GS dogs suffered a great deal in the tropics due to their size, heavier coats, grass seeds, heat and so on, one of the reasons they included BSs. I remember one fellow, Gunther was his name, he weighed 60 KGs, had to have a special dog box constructed for him, absolutely massive, with a bite to suit.

Not sure on the protocols for police dogs/military working dogs in the US, but here in Oz our dogs were one man dogs, some very difficult to handle if you weren't the handler. Our dogs were prohibited from being handled by anyone not trained as a Police Dog Handler and no dog could be trained or used unless the dog was allocated to him/her.. They never mixed with other dogs and certainly never mixed with the general public. Very few could be patted by anyone but the handler. On the rare occasion when two got together (by accident) it was a fight to the death unless you could get them apart. They weren't all like that of course, but a good percentage.

Incidentally, we were Police Dog Handlers not Police or Military Police until the RAAF amalgamated the two mustering's, Police Dog Handlers and RAAF Police, in 1974. That amalgamation saw a lot of discharges, none of us dog handlers wanted to be police.

We had a bitch in our kennels at one base, Emma. The dog kenneled next to her , Huszan, was overcome with lust when she came on heat, so tore the cyclone wire apart and got into her kennel, and of course, Emma. He was a very happy dog in the morning when we found them both curled up together, ain't love grand. Emma was taken to the Vet to stop the swelling!

Things changed over the years, dogs became more and more mellow and there were fewer and fewer twisties. I must have been odd, I liked the twisties.

My three boys: Dante (Top Dog of the RAAF in 1981), Shinta and Chum were all very different in temperament and disposition:

Dante could be extremely aggressive, didn't like anyone looking at him, talking to him or coming too close to us, but he was very protective of me and didn't mind a bit of a cuddle. He was a terror in muzzle attacks, often inflicting injuries and abrasions from the muzzle, one guy ended up with half a dozen longish welts across his back where Dante tried to bite him through the muzzle - extremely aggressive at times. Never took anyone down on the arm, but had a perfect score on muzzle attacks, taking down everyone.

Shinta was a twisty, nobody trusted him, he had crazy eyes and was hyperactive, but he was the greatest cuddle bum, liked nothing better than sitting on my lap, all 40 KGs of him. Very fast and hard hitting, often spinning the aggressor around, when conducting attack work with Shinta I always instructed the aggressor how to take him on, where to place their feet and where to place their arm, lest he take them down. He only took one down from memory, Shinta could be a very dangerous dog given the opportunity. The chief instructor on our reteam course referred to him as a true 'man stopper'!

And little Chummy, he started off as a great big wimp and was due to be disposed of. I was an instructor at the time and had just lost Shinta. I did a deal with the Boss: If I could make something of him I could reteam with him. I reteamed and we made it to our next posting together, Chum as a training aid, me as SNCOIC training and husbandry. Chum was the fastest dog of all, often referred to as the 'flying rug'. He was also among the top 10 hardest hitters and hardest biters I ever came across in 25 years service, knocking down a fellow instructor, a student and one of my troops up North. But once again, just a big cuddly bear with me. Chum had a very stable temperament and disposition and generally could be handled by anyone, as long as they didn't push his buttons.


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... a somewhat late reply, but a reply nonetheless. Saw "Dog" just recently and did some reminiscing of my own... We have had a succession of German Shepherds, as house pets, rather than guard or police dogs. First was Ramses, a 117 lbs/ 53 kgs long-haired male, mostly black. Then came Jaeger, a 90 lbs/41 kgs male with the very typical black and tan colouration and finally Kona, an 80 lbs./36 kgs female. All three have since gone to the big kennel in the sky. They were all trained and obedient dogs, without any sort of a mean or aggressive streak. Wonderful dogs!