So it's that time of year...shedding time. The time when all German Shepherds slough off their winter coats of fur. Murphy, being a German Shepherd, has an undercoat of thick winter fur that would make a sheep turn green with envy.
So yesterday, I sat Murphy down on the deck and began to brush him. And it quickly became apparent that Murphy has probably never been brushed before. Let us just say that he did not take it well.
First, he tried to pull away from me. I had a good hold on him, but he was really putting the wiggle on, trying to keep me from brushing him. I managed to get him to lay down, though, and then it was a bit easier...until he decided to pretend to bite my hand. He kept reaching back for my brush-holding hand like he was going to bite, but then he always stopped short. Murphy knows who the Alpha is here, and he won't actually lay teeth on me. And I knew that he wouldn't bite me, so I called his bluff and kept brushing.
So when neither of those things worked, and the brushing continued, he resorted to sympathy ploy #3: he began to cry. And he didn't just cry--he shrieked, he wailed, he screamed. Only thing was, I wasn't actually touching him with the brush when he started in, but only with my hand.
Nice try, buddy. The Oscar for best dramatic dog performance is all yours. However you need to realize that, while this is the first time that you've been brushed by me, I've been brushing other dogs for decades, and I know that you're not in any pain.
So now we're working on brush tolerance, a little at a time, and more each time. And Murphy my friend, we're going to get through this. Because the alternative--a house full of loose dog hair twice a year--is worse for me than the brushing is for you.