Well, I'm almost eleven months old by now, so the picture on the left is pretty old showing me at the age of nine months.
Trouble is, we've been busy enjoying life and the best summer that I can remember. Thinking about this, there weren't too many I've seen yet. But Gene says it was the best summer in a very long time whatever a very long time may be.
As you might notice in the picture, I'm sitting in my garden and that is exactly the spot where I spent most of my days unless it was too hot then I stroled off to the cellar for a lie-in on cool tiles.
Actually the summer was so good that Monika and Gene preferred staying in their house and enjoying their own garden and going for walks in the surrounding woods on a daily base rather than travelling to exotic countries where they don't allow dogs into restaurants or have similarly outragious ideas.
On Sundays we did go to the training ground for Hovawarts. Up to then they had treated me the puppy. They would fool around with me, let me do whatever I wanted, and always told Gene that I was still too young to be doing what I was doing, i.e. listen to commands AND obbey them (occasionally). They allowed me to participate in group work, but would not let me work with Gene on a one-to-one. Then suddenly they found I should have started training as a sniffer dog months ago. Why the hell didn't they tell us in time? We'd been there every blooming Sunday morning. Then they decided I was old enough to start the serious work with Gene which quickly turned into training Gene. He had taught me to listen to commands even when he whispered them, but now he had to shout out loud each and every command. And -because dogs can't learn unless you hurt them a little- he had to accompany each shout with a neck-breaking pull on my leach.
Gene grumbled a lot, I didn't care too much and so we went back the following Sunday when we encountered the other trainer. Now he wouldn't allow me to sit on my own while Gene would be taking a couple of steps before returning to me. Neither would he allow me to lie down and wait for Gene's command to come to him. Although we had been doing these exercises for months now, we were told that we couldn't do them for at least another year. Now, you figure that. To cut a not so very long story even shorter, that was that.
We've decided that we will go on exercising the way we prefer to do it, in the garden, in the wood, in the street, whenever we want, with whoever we want, and as quietly as we want.-
People might think, I miss the company of the other Hovawarts, but to tell you the truth, since they considered me old enough, life at the training grounds consisted of waiting in a box for one to two hours, then have a ten-minute-go at the basics with Gene alone, then back to the box, and finally group therapy -sorry- exercise, which meant: do not even show that you notice any other dog.- Now meeting dogs in the park means ten-minute-play at least and that is GREAT!!! Normally, I like testing Monika a bit, I mean if she says come, I do look whether Gene wants me to come, too. If she says, give me this or that, I try a little growl to defend my toy. Never anything serious. As I say, just testing. But when Gene disappeared to Italy for ten days, everything was pretty different. I was the best behaved guard dog a nice lady like Monika could wish for. I'm still not the bravest I have to admit, a really big thunder might send me flying from the garden into the living room and a gun shot can still make me look around a little nervously.
But whoever tries to get into our house has it coming! If it is a person I like, especially my folks, I will immediately lick them to death, anyone else I can only tell: Do try to ignore my bark and the warning sign and you might find out what the old German word Hovawart really means.