The Zoe story
One day we had a friend of ours, who knew I loved Rottweiler dogs, come into our store with a pup that could fit in my hand. The woman's daughter's boyfriend had given it to her and mom said she was not allowed to keep it and thought of me. That was eleven years ago and I've been grateful every day since.
Zoe's a Rottweiler mix and was pretty aggressive when her paws smaller than the size of my fingers. She'd growl and attack your bracelet if you had her in your hand. We had the retail store where people came and went. It occurred to me that maybe I should get her trained so I wouldn't have to worry about her being around customers. At this point I had visions of her being a 100 pound attack dog. When she was old enough I sent her to a two week camp to work with an ex-police dog trainer. His methods were a little alpha for me in retrospect but he turned her over to me and ever since she will respond immediately to my voice no matter what is going on. It was the best money I ever spent. She had the full run of the store which included our home in the other half (3600 sqft building). People came and went and she'd say hello to some and ignore the rest. People would bring dogs and she'd just say hi and leave the area. She would lie down by the front counter to get them to pet her sometimes, lie by the front door to watch the squirrels at others, and go in and out of the dog door to run around outside during the day when she felt like it.
She and I can read each other's minds. She has ways to tell me what she wants and I usually get it right. When it is cool enough she rides with me in the car. When it is too hot she stresses at the separation. We've been together all day (and night... yeah, she sleeps at the end of the bed) every day but for a few times when I was out of town.
So when we walk, she can read my mind and tell me what she sees. Ultimately she is right much of a chicken and will run at the sign of anything vaguely threatening. So much for the Rottweiler blood. She mostly ignores other people, minds her own business, and pays little attention to most dogs.
She makes me walk nearly every day, got me through hip and knee replacement. I read recently that the type of walking we do is nearly optimal for heart and brain, for both of us. So, Zoe is my physician trainer. She hardly ever allows me to miss a day.