Questions about evaluating and introducing a new dog...and more
I was just given a seven month old non-neutered male GSD from Kraftwerk, named Rocky. His prior owner, a friend, paid $5,000 for him. He gave him up due to a combination of life issues, moving to a smaller place and not really being able to handle the dog.
This is my fifth GSD, so not new to me. I have another two (Max and Lady, male and female, siblings, neutered) that I got when they were ten weeks old and are 1.5 years old right now. The two before that passed away about three years ago. Those two had what I would call mid-level Shutzhund training. They never competed. Back then I had time, hired a trainer to teach me and I worked with them every day for at least the first two years of their lives. After that the family (human) grew and I just couldn't devote that kind of time to the dogs. Anyhow, the point is that I am not a newbie GSD owner.
I am a newbie when it comes to introducing a months-old GSD to an existing pack of years-old dogs. I think we are doing OK. The first intro was a little chaotic. He is full of energy and is strong. The other two are far calmer and didn't want to have this teenager come in and cause mayhem. So, they put him in his place very quickly. He is still annoying them. That's natural. All he wants to do is romp around and play.
The female is the most intolerant. My older male is nipping at the youngster here and there but the female will outright attack him if I don't keep her in check. No blood being drawn but lots of teeth flying about. It happened a couple of times and then I set my foot down. I am not letting it get to that stage by controlling her verbally the instant I see that "I'm going to eat you" look.
They'll eat together and lay down and sleep together without any issues.
Rocky is a teenager with all the traits that come with that. If you left him alone he'd be running up the walls and messing around all day. He has been great with my children. I have not seen any issues whatsoever in the way of aggression towards humans in any form. I can stick my hand in his food, pull small lego pieces he is trying to swallow right out of his mouth, pull on his tail while he is eating, choke hold (not really choking) him, roll him on his back, stand on top of him while he is on his back, etc. I am being cautious with my children doing some of these things because, well, he is a big dog --probably 80 lbs-- and you have to be very sure of what you have before a child is allowed to be a child. My kids can lay down on top of our other two GSD's and generally abuse them as children can sometimes an the dogs do absolutely nothing.
Any comments or suggestions on any of the above are welcome. I don't bruise easily. If you have something negative to say feel free to put it out there. I'd rather be called a bonehead and learn something that be treated with kid gloves and remain ignorant. In general terms I think I am doing OK.
When Rocky get frustrated he starts a bark that I interpret as both a complaints or a potential dominance test. Not aggressive but I've heard it before and know that backing away is the wrong thing to do. So I place myself in front of him and walk towards him, making him back up, and the barking stops.
I've also read a bunch of stuff about Kraftwerk. Not sure what to think. It is generally understood that people who are satisfied with whatever they've purchased --a toaster oven-- don't go out of their way to post about their satisfaction online. There's far more motivation to post about bad experiences. And so it is easy for things to get unfairly skewed when one doesn't take into account that for every complaint there might be a hundred success stories that are never heard of.
I am not taking sides. I am simply saying that things I read on the Internet with a grain of salt because the available sample population isn't a random sample as it is likely composed of far more people motivated by a problem than what you would have with a true random sample of customers.
That said and to remain open minded, I wonder if it would be advisable to run this dog through DNA or other testing in order to understand what I have or don't have. It isn't every day that you get a $5,000 dog for free. Genetics being what they are you could certainly end-up with issues no matter which breeder you do business with. Any services you would recommend?