We have a new family member. Her name is Karma and she is an 8 week old German Shepard Dog ( GSD ). I committed to the purchase whilst Karma was still in the womb so it was a long wait and I am just glad our toddler Grace had no concept of what was happening or it would have been ” is it here yet , it is here yet ?”. I have only ever owned Australian working dogs like Cattle Dogs ( ACD ) and Kelpies but I have always admired GSDs – who wouldn’t ! A friend here in Phnom Penh got a GSD pup she called Banjo and I watched this dog grow into a fine specimen over an 18 month period before he flew out with Holly for California recently . Every time Banjo walked into the Bar or what have you I was just in awe of his canine presence and he was lovely around Grace. Very forgiving of her pulling his ears and tail etc . So it got me thinking about owning a GSD but how was I to get a good one here in Phnom Penh ? Eventually a pup came to us by way of Susie and Mike who manage the new Gloria Jean’s coffee shop here in Phnom Penh. Susie knew I was looking for a dog and mentioned she had rescued two GSDs and if they ever bred, she would let me know. Well…..about 2 months later…..she let me know !
I immediately put dibs on one and Susie very kindly said we could have pick of the litter – there were only three pups. Rob (my boss) has taken another and it will be great that the two sisters do not get too separated. Whilst researching all things GSD I came across a group of owners on an internet forum and whilst discussing the dogs, the subject of names came up. I said I wanted to call the dog something distinctly Asian and was about to call the pup Noodles when a nice lady called Lizi in the UK suggested Karma . Leakhana and I loved it straight away so Karma it is .
Karma; A distinctive aura, atmosphere, or feeling: There’s bad / good karma around the house today.
On the allotted pick up day we drove over to Susie’s house with leash and collar on hand and once there I took each pup individually up onto the rooftop to perform the Vollmer aptitude tests. Whilst two of the three were pretty sedentary, Karma responded to all tests well. In fact, she naturally followed me straight off the bat which was a great sign. She was also very happy around Grace and so in the end she was The Chosen One. We took her home and she got a warm welcome from other family members and a bowl of milk and after taking a few pees around the place ( inside and out ! ) Karma was soon fast asleep on the floor. When she woke up we gave her a tour of the house and she confidently followed everywhere.
So for the last few days it has been non-stop potty training which involves watching for Karma’s tell-tale circling and sniffing so I can scoop her up and carry her to the allotted waste disposal spot outside. At the moment she is sleeping right next to our bed and the potty training is a bit harder at night. I am getting some of them but missing others ! This will improve when I start her crate training in earnest. At the moment I have her crating in a small cardboard box which is being moved from living room to bedroom . It is open sided and given puppies inability to control their bowels in the early weeks, I will not enclose her for a few more weeks.She took to it like a duck to water and only needed a simple piece of chewable rope thrown inside to get her to follow.I have also just taken delivery of her custom made Kennel ( effectively her “outside crate” ! ). This was originally destined to be our chicken Coop ( speaking of the chickens – karma is fascinated ! ). Murray welded up a 3m long cage for me and when I saw it I realised it was way to big AND the chickens are roosting in the roof of our garden bungalow so they don’t need it. I had my steel fabricator Chaya cut it down and modify it for me and it has come up really nice. Materials; $50. Labour ;$50. It will stay in the garden and will eventually become her overnight home when I can ween her out of the house. Yesterday she went straight into this larger outside crate with a small raw chicken neck tossed in and I was able to shut the gate for a good 15 mins. Good Karma.
I started her training using food treats ( a new method to me as I have always used praise ) and have ordered some clicker training items off eBay as I am fascinated by this methodology of training animals.Thus far she comes most of the time on the HERE command ( though most puppies do before adolescence ) and does a pretty good SIT. I have also started her leash training as this is a very important thing to learn here in Cambodia what with the traffic the way it is. To start with I let her walk around the house with the leash simply dangling behind her for several 10min sessions and now I can walk her the length of the house and back without too much resistance. A bit of head shaking but otherwise not to bad !. Grace loves getting involved with the training and can already give Karma a very firm “KARMA – NO” ! when she does something undesirable. I really hope these two little girls become the best of friends.
So stay tuned for more Karmic news. Hopefully it will be mostly good Karma and very little bad Karma !