Play-date with Ozzie

Ozzie relaxes

When we decided that we wanted a German shepherd, I sought out everyone I knew who had one. Marcy was one of those people. She is responsible for bringing young Bo to his lady, Liz, and so she’s a familiar feature in my community dog constellation.

Marcy has had German shepherds for years, and she is currently living with 3-year-old Ozzie, who is just as sweet and majestic as he can be. Many months ago, before I even knew about Pyrrha’s existence, I went to visit Marcy, meet Ozzie, and talk to them about the trials, tribulations, and joys of German shepherd ownership. They were both a great help to me in our journey toward rescuing Pyrrha. (And Ozzie officially solidified my desire for a long-coat GSD…)

On Tuesday night, we thought it might be nice for Pyrrha to finally meet dear Ozzie. Ozzie is one of those rare, lucky dogs who gets to go into the office with his human, and so Marcy brought him by after work.

Play-date with Ozzie

I won’t lie: They had a rough initial greeting. Ozzie was already unleashed in our backyard when I went to let Pyrrha out. He came rushing into the sunroom to see her and she flipped out—hackles, snarling, lunging at him. I was a little concerned, but after we pushed them both into the yard, and Pyrrha got over her initial displays of fear, they were best buds.

Play-date with Ozzie

What I’ve learned from this: Pyrrha does much better meeting a dog in a neutral space, with a very loose leash. She met Zoe in our front yard and there were no fear displays at all, and the pair transitioned very smoothly into the backyard. To date, our most frightening initial encounters have been when Pyrrha was in the backyard and another big dog came in (see: Silas). I will be sure to follow this protocol for all future play-dates at our house.

Sitting for Marcy

It was great to keep the company of another GSD person, however. Marcy is so experienced with the breed that she wasn’t disturbed at all by Pyrrha’s initial “greeting” of Ozzie. She could tell that Pyrrha would be fine in a minute, and she was. Marcy also wasn’t frightened by the way that Pyrrha plays, which is with a lot of flashing teeth, paw smacking, and play growls. “This is just the German shepherd way,” she said, while watching them rough-house. Watching two GSDs play could be a terrifying thing to witness for someone who had only been around gentle hounds, but Marcy thankfully knew what was up. Again, I’m so grateful for other dog people who know how to read Pyrrha and wait her out.

Play-date with Ozzie

These two are such a good example of the big difference between a black-and-tan and a black-and-red GSD. Pyrrha’s coat looks almost white next to Ozzie’s deep tones!

More play photos:

Play-date with Ozzie

Play-date with Ozzie

Play-date with Ozzie

Play-date with Ozzie
And now we’re in love.

Hope we’ll get to do this again soon!

(*Also: Thanks for all of your great advice about how to get Pyrrha more comfortable going outside with Guion. We are going to try some of the things you recommended and I will be sure to keep you posted!)

5 thoughts on “Play-date with Ozzie

  1. Thanks for posting on this topic and linking back to Pyrrah’s play date with Silas (I hadn’t read that one before!). Unfortunately we don’t have many friends or family members that own dogs, so Athena has only had two off-leash play dates with the same dog since we’ve had her (5 weeks). I held my breath the first time that we unclipped their leashes and let them start playing. I was freaking out the whole time though because I don’t really know what appropriate dog play looks like. Athena was chasing the other dog around the yard nipping at his neck. Both dogs were growling and barking at each other and it seemed like rough play to me. But, B and his brother assured me that the play was pretty ‘typical’ dog play. We are still looking for a dog play mate (like Silas) who can be calm around Athena’s super high energy play. Good luck to you and Pyrrah on building her confidence and continuing to have successful play dates!

  2. Great that you’ve now learned that the backyard greeting just doesn’t work for Pyrrha. She’s telling you what she needs and you’re a good listener.

    Looks like they had a great time. And Marcy sounds like a great mentor.

  3. So cute, they make quite the pair!
    I think it is always best to see first-hand the breed from people you know who have them before adopting one of your own.
    And I never knew that the coats could be so different in coloring, you many times see the typical coated GSD , like ones used in police units, in pictures.

  4. They make quite a pair! I remember the first time we had Morgan out and she met another GSD. She was thrilled! She’s happy to play with any other dog, as long as they’re not too rough, but she is over the moon around other Shepherds. It looks like she’s relieved to meet someone who speaks her language! lol

  5. Very typical German Shepherd behavior. Everytime I meet another Shepherd, they have the same reaction as you’ve described. While other non-Shepherd owners fear for the worst, we know its common. Personally, I enjoy the rough housing. Its what we do. 😀

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