Can Olla reach his potential?
Following my departure from the RAF last year, I was looking for a dog to support me and work with me. I had toyed with the idea of obtaining a puppy, but had also given serious consideration to rehoming a young dog from a shelter. Then my wife was made aware of a family who were experiencing trouble with two young German Shepherd Dogs and were looking for a suitable home for one of them. I was open to all possibilities and I’m a huge fan of the breed, so I visited the family and met Olla (formerly known as Ole) for the first time.
Olla shared the family home with his brother from the same litter. Both dogs were strikingly handsome and, on the surface, appeared to be well behaved. However, the truth was that the family had reached the end of the line and felt compelled to release Olla. The dogs were just over two years old and had become extremely difficult to handle during the past 6 months. The problems had developed to such an extent that the owners could no longer exercise the dogs together and were also starting to experience issues in the home.
I spent a few weeks accompanying the owner so that I could observe the dogs’ behaviour in public and decide whether Olla was the dog I was looking for. What I observed was a pair of dogs that shared a very strong bond and enjoyed each other’s company, however their view on the world was somewhat distorted. It was great to see them enjoying play together, but it was uncomfortable watching their inappropriate reactions to the environment around them – largely borne out of fear and uncertainty.
Watching these dogs in action it was evident they should be separated at the earliest opportunity due to their irrational and inappropriate behaviour when together. The fears and anxieties that they shared were perpetually reinforcing. The family were very caring and responsible dog owners with much experience of the breed, however the strong bond formed between the dogs meant they were out of their depth. I decided that I wanted Olla and the family felt that I was the right person to take him on this journey.