Kimberly Robinson
Gary Jensen and his wife Denise have had Hercules as part of their family for five years. He was trained by people who specialize in German Shepherds and still responds to German language commands.

Pet of the Week: Hercules is a true German

Hercules, now five years old belongs to Gary Jensen and his wife Denise and came from a breeder in Elk Grove, California. He's a pure bred German Shepherd.

"He came up and he's a little guy," said Gary, "he had a little blue ribbon around him and he came right to me and said, 'I'm gonna be your dog.'"

Two weeks later they came to pick him up and he came to him again. "We were bonded pretty early, but my wife has done the primary training so she took him to a trainer that specialized in German Shepherds. One of the things the did with young dogs was they trained him with a ball, and they would speak German. So, my wife will put a ball on her shoulder and walk and he will be fixated on this ball. He will trot and prance and it's incredible to see. She will make a U-Turn and he will follow right around and then she'll stop and say "Zitz!" and he'll sit and she will throw the ball and say 'Luft!' and he just goes for it and brings it back to her."

Hercules was so well trained in this that the trainer got a lot of referrals because of it Gary explained.

Outside on walks Hercules can be, "a little bit skittish," Gary said, "but in the house or the truck, or at home, there's no home invasion if he's there. He barks at everybody that walks by and he has a big deep voice. In my truck I don't have to even lock it. He's very gentle though."

When Hercules was a pup he had a canine friend named Cosmo who was a Corgi, a very short legged breed. "As Hercules grew and got taller he learned to lie down on his stomach so that he could be more face to face with his friend. He still does that with small dogs. He loves to play with little guys."

They feed him a mixture of Royal Canine, a special diet since as Gary explained German Shepherds have sensitive stomachs. "Now that he's five were in the process of changing him to another food and mixing it to a more commercially available food so that it's not $5 per pound for dog food."

Dog bones or rawhide bones top the treat list and he's "chewed up every toy that he's ever had," but he loves squeak toys.

Gary works in the construction industry and Hercules has made the moves along with the couple but, "I think by far, Washington State is his favorite."

"He does all the normal things you'd expect of a German Shepherd...become defensive, seeing someone he doesn't like, but what he likes to do is jump up on the bed when we're not there and sleep with his head on the pillows."

Like many dogs, riding in the truck is a favorite thing to do. Walking is fine but he loves to ride and he responds to the German commands for this too said Jensen.

Gary said of Hercules, "He brings us joy and love. He's part of our family. My daughter's moved here from southern California and he's just happy to have the whole family unit. He's the glue in his own way for our family."

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