Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Colorado Springs
Male or Female, Working or Show Lines ?
apologies in advance for the long post...
A little history behind my previous companion, Ripley, whom passed away 2 months ago now.
Ripley was my first ever dog, I had not had any previous experience with dogs growing up. She was a rescue puppy from my mother-in-law, a boxer/german shepherd little "darling", well, if 75 lbs is little once she was fully grown!
She certainly had both the family and companion dog merits I was looking for in my first dog. She loved to be around people and was especially gentle around young children and our household cats. She showed no food aggression.
She had ball/play/prey drive off the charts – rarely could a “small” critter make it across our back yard intact, Ripley had a special fondness for squirrels, birds and especially rabbits! We had to remove our squirrel and bird feeders as she would lie in wait for her victims to arrive. The mere sight of a ball would drive her crazy and if that ball was “hidden” or “out of sight” she would then search for it constantly.
“Give” was not a word in her vocabulary – “MY” ball. Tug-of-war was another game she loved though I now realize that perhaps that wasn’t the best of pastimes for me to have indulged her with, especially when she was young.
Ripley was “alpha” dog with all dogs in her domain and she could be very aggressive when meeting new dogs. She did have a few regular household doggie visitors she was good with, especially a female lab that stayed over with us often when her owners would go on vacation. She was also hyper territorial of our house and yard. If anyone even came close to our property she would bark though she would stop once we had arrived at the location to “look” at what the cause of the commotion was.
Ripley was food motivated beyond belief and almost the model of doggie obedience so long as there was a “treat” involved. Off leash, she was often uncontrollable and she was also prone to “bolt” – so we always had to be extra vigilant around doorways, exiting the car, etc.
Ironically I used to think she would be a great guard dog for the house (don't many owners?), defending the property against actual intruders. The one time we did have someone enter the house, when we were away, she barked a lot and then went and hid under the maser bed (dog commando crawl extraordinaire) and wouldn't come out. Poor Ripley - all bark and no bite, which as it turned out, was a good thing – our unexpected visitor was a friend who had keys to the house and was stopping by to drop something off unannounced.
I realize, that many of Ripley’s behavioral issues were MY own fault, from a lack of training as a puppy and a lack of socialization. As my wife reminds me, a lack of consistency as well on my behalf. Yes, we went to puppy training classes – I also admit, yes, we got kicked out about 6 lessons in as Ripley was a bit too “boisterous” for them with the other puppies. I should have found another trainer, or even gotten private lessons if need be!
Don’t get me wrong, Ripley was my beloved companion and friend for 12 years. For her last 3+ years we battled with myesthia gravis / megasophagus and spent most of our savings on her treatments and medications.
So, with all that said, what am I looking for now in a prospective new GSD puppy ?
A family dog, companion, friend, protector first. Medium levels of rank, defense, prey drive with a slightly higher, but not extreme, pack drive. Must be clear in the head (certainly come from parents that are), good nerves. As he/she will be spending quite a bit of time outdoors with me, fishing, camping, being safe around nature is a must (somewhat a coin flip with prey drive!) – I realize some of this will come from temperament and lots of obedience training.
I may want to participate in agility trials, maybe fly-ball work (which looks like a lot of fun btw) with my companion once obedience training is up to par. Obedience training will be #1 on my priority list for both new puppy and myself.
It is possible I may consider some protection work down the road if both a prospective trainer, myself, and puppy are suitable for those activities. (for reference, I have been the victim of burglary in the past, sadly, not something you ever seem to get over!). Perhaps a companion dog with reasonable drive, courage, and natural protective instincts would suffice?
I truly believe in research, research and research and as a result have scoured these forums and the web for information in helping with my quest. I am prone to over research things, go figure !
In closing, I am having a hard time trying to determine whether a German working line or show Line, male or female would be the best fit for myself and my family. I have now opened my heart to the possibility or either sex, with the temperament of the puppy being of more importance. I also know that our new GSD puppy must come from a reputable breeder, with parentage that displays the traits and qualities we are looking for, OFA/Hip certified etc.
Once I can nail down the type line and the sex preference, that will greatly assist in my future research and breeder choices.
I appreciate that perhaps the "right" dog from either line could work - but what would "stack" the puppy odds in my favor....?