|Goliath came to live with Marc and I here at Highlander Shepherds Kennel as a re-home in 1997. He came with quite a reputation, not all good. He was known to have an aggressive nature, also a “Houdini” of sorts, a very macho “ladies” man and an icon for the Shiloh Shepherd breed. What were we thinking?
I met Goliath while attending a training class. I saw this white dog in a kennel run and asked who he was. Then asked why he was there. When told that his owner could not keep Goliath any longer and he was destined to be “put down” – my mind went into “high” gear. How bad was he, really?? All I could remember was the stories I use to hear about him being so over protective of his owner and was unapproachable and he could not be kept in a kennel as he would find a way of escaping and he was dog aggressive. But at the same time, I knew he meant so much to the Shiloh world. He was one of the first original Shilohs. He had brawn, brains and beauty – well very handsome. How could anyone just let him go? So, before making a hasty decision, I had to approach Marc about Goliath’s predicament. Then of course Marc had to see him for himself. Next question, how “bad” was this “bad” boy anyway. Well, Goliath was very cordial. I could walk him around without a lead. All I had to do was lightly hold his collar and he went wherever I went. He obeyed every command I gave. Couldn’t be the same dog that we had heard so much about! Oh, by the way, he was the same way with Marc, just so you understand that it wasn’t just the “woman’s touch”.
We made up our minds to take him and provide a good home for him. Marc made sure that his kennel run was escape proof, even had chain link over the top and built a surrounding enclosure so that our other dogs could not get close to him. Then we brought him home. Okay! There you go Goliath! Welcome home! We went to the house and watched from the kitchen window to make sure that he adapted to his new kennel situation. Since none of our other dogs were kenneled, he looked pretty lonesome out there and of course he just stood there looking at the house. About ten minutes later, I heard – “ He is not staying out there like that – he is coming in the house with everyone else!”
Goliath settled in very nicely. We never saw his aggressive nature, I really don’t think he had one and, of course, we didn’t expect him to show it anyway. He did manage to escape our fenced in yard once and went racing down the middle of the road to our distant neighbors – that was such fun (NOT) and a story all of it’s own. Thank goodness we live in the country and there was no traffic at that particular point in time. Marc went after him, finally got him in the truck and the two of them had a “bit” of a talk. Goliath never did that again.
One day, not long after he arrived, he was loose in the backyard and we had a stranger approach our backyard to speak to us over the fence. Goliath just watched from about 50 feet away. He just stood there calmly and of course Marc is at the fence and I am on the back deck watching, not knowing what was really going to take place. Goliath would glance at me every once in a while and then look back at the stranger. And this stranger was well aware of Goliath’s presence because he kept glancing over at him also. The conversation ended and the stranger went on his way and Goliath casually came up on the deck for his well earned “good boy” and pat on the head. He reacted just the way I wanted him to react. He was watchful and intimidating without being aggressive and obnoxious.
Some years later we met Goliath’s trainer and learned about Goliath’s extensive training experience. Also realized that his former owner missused those training skills. He thought it was a “fun” thing to have Goliath “perform” and scare people. Not us! We just loved the dog!
Goliath was always a “perfect gentleman”! Children could visit us and he was ever so gentle and kind with them, would even let them in his crate with him in it and always had gentle kisses for them. He was always socialable with our other dogs. Kind to puppies and yes, just loved the “girls” when they were in heat. He never misbehaved in any way. We just allowed him to be himself. We accepted him and he accepted us – there was always a mutual respect. I truly believe that is all he ever really wanted. He and Goldie became good friends and they shared yard time together. He was a TRUE Shiloh and we were always thankful that we had the opportunity to share part of his life. He did live a good and peaceful life here!
We always regretted not being able to produce a Goliath son. Not that we didn’t try. Inspite of his reputation, he didn’t always like the “girls” we picked for him, he always seemed to want the ones that were not compatible. He and his littermates are in many pedigrees.