For many of us, love for creation deepens through the relationships we form with our pets, particularly our dogs. By their very nature and need, dogs draw us out of ourselves: they root us in nature, making us more conscious of the mystery of God inherent in all things. We cannot but delight in recognizing God’s mystery in the length and breadth of our daily life. In our particular monastic context of New Skete, we have been privileged to share this in a special way with our German Shepherds, who in an entirely natural way have taught us many important lessons about life and about ourselves.
Our relationship with the German Shepherd breed began when we were given our first dog, Kir, in the early days of our monastery. Kir was a beloved pet to all of us and our relationship with him led us to adopt more German Shepherd dogs and eventually, at the request of friends, to begin breeding these intelligent and beautiful animals.
For over 40 years, we have worked hard to make our German Shepherd Dog breeding program produce the best possible companion dog for individuals and families. We strive for excellence in temperament, personality and physical structure by carefully researching select bloodlines. Together with the early handling and socialization we give our developing pups, we believe this strategy creates the best possible outcomes for our 8-10 week old pups and their new owners as they get to know one another.
Our breeding dogs live in a family environment, each with a monk or a nun who is responsible for the dog's training and care. Some of our breeding dogs live with local families who are in close contact with the monastery.
Dogs are essentially social creatures who thrive when directed positively. For this reason, our approach emphasizes the social relationship as the single most important factor in your life with your dog. Developing a healthy relationship with your dog depends foremost on establishing a climate of mutual trust and respect. This begins at adoption and continues throughout your life with your dog.
Our aim is to make it possible for owners to include their dogs fully in their lives, to help them realize the dream of what such a relationship can be.
Our methods, described at length our books, How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend, The Art of Raising a Puppy, Divine Canine, and most recently, Let Dogs be Dogs, employs a philosophy of praise, fairness, and discipline, set against a background of patience, repetition and dedication.
Additionally, we have stayed current with the latest advances in training methodology, and have incorporated the gentle use of remote collars. We use them on very low levels (usually lower than a human can feel in their own hand) as a way to communicate with the dog.
Here at New Skete we offer a course in AKC (American Kennel Club) type obedience, incorporating the values of our monastic environment with the teaching of standard excercises both on and off leash. We also help owners with any behavioral difficulities they may mention to us.