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Old 01-07-2013, 09:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Trying to make the leap from GSD admirer to owner

I admit it, I'm an over-thinker. For years I have been dying to have a GSD, but then I come to the forums and read about cases of leash reactivity, nipping family members, barking at friendly neighbors, homeowners insurance issues, "crate and rotate" for dogs not getting along... and I get scared off. I know that I'm a good owner and trainer. I care about proper nutrition and appropriate vet care, and after years of working with horses, I can interpret behavior and handle animals well. Even then, I know enough to admit when I need help and I even have a perfectly behaved adult dog for a role model. But I haven't made the leap.

As part of my research, I have gone to meet with breeders of working and show line dogs. I am conflicted because I want a WL for their compact build and I love the dark sables and blacks, but as a "pet person" I feel like I would be better off living with a SL dog. At one point, I met two puppies that were around the same age. The WL puppy came in like a rocket, leapt over the couch, independently sniffed around the room, and didn't seem to want much to do with me. The SL puppy was calmer and mostly interested in attention from me. That SL puppy was not for sale, of course, or I would have had my puppy that day!

Is this experience a fair enough comparison? Are there calmer, more owner-oriented WL puppies that appear in litters, or are breeders that have lower drive WL dogs "wrong"? I need to focus my search, and I have found a breeder that has nice West German showline puppies... but if anyone knows of a really special WL puppy or breeder that I should talk to, I am all ears. I just need a little push! I'm willing to consider any breeders in the eastern half of the US or Canada.


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Old 01-07-2013, 09:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Once you find a breeder, hopefully they can match your lifestyle to a puppy. Not all dogs are reactive, pull on the leash, and all that stuff. Obedience school from the beginning with a combination of a good breeder will give you exactly what your looking for. You can do it
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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you will find off the wall in any line and you can find calmer in any line. Key is finding a breeder who can peg their puppies, know what YOU want and don't want, express your desires to a breeder and allow them to pick one or more from a litter that will suit your needs/lifestyle.

I have always had working lines some x's, The girl I have now, is czech/drr and she is much more energetic then others I've had, but as she matured, settles well and isn't off the wall crazy. She isn't a couch potatoe tho and does require daily "something' to do.

It can be scarey reading about all the behavioral / temperament issues on this board, but again, finding a good breeder is key.

What part of the country are you in, as in state? You may get some referrals if you list the state your in
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Your breeder will be key ... and not all GSDs have "issues". I've had no problems with Kyleigh. I posted a thread on here a while ago asking people who had no issue GSDs, and there were a lot of them!!! Here's the link: No "issues" GSD ... how many of you have them?

This should help ease your fears!
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Some breeders breed specifcally for high drive dogs that will excel in sports, some for show, some for good pets that are kind of what you are talking about...a dog that will be solid with an even temperament....one who will play ball with you but mellow out when he's in the house. I don't think it is as black and white as Show line or working line....You are looking for a good quality Shepherd who comes from parents who have the attributes you desire. You won't get a mellow pup from parents with high drive, or a pup with a straight solid back from American Show lines.....my advice would be to look to the parents for the qualities in the pup.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Do It! Do It! LOL!

I hear ya. I had a GSD for 8 years, before I joined this forum. If I hadn't already owned a GSD, I think many things I read here would have scared me. My GSD was a PB 2 year old shelter dog. She was awesome. Loved people - especially kids. Hated other dogs, but that was OK, because I didn't have another dog. I managed her fine and she never harmed another dog in her 14 years of life.

You have already been given great advice concerning breeders. The right breeder can provide you with the right dog. You can handle a GSD puppy. You have dog experience. You can read dogs and horses. It isn't rocket science. I think it is time for you to get that GSD.

Best of luck in your search!
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!

I have been fortunate to speak to some breeders that have the dogs in their program that can likely provide me with a really solid puppy that will be everything that I am looking for. This dog will come everywhere with me, so I can't take a chance on weak nerves or frantic energy. I know that raising a puppy takes a lot of commitment and time in socializing and training, but I want to be sure that I start on the best foot possible.


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Old 01-22-2013, 02:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snownose View Post
I admit it, I'm an over-thinker. For years I have been dying to have a GSD, but then I come to the forums and read about cases of leash reactivity, nipping family members, barking at friendly neighbors, homeowners insurance issues, "crate and rotate" for dogs not getting along... and I get scared off. I know that I'm a good owner and trainer. I care about proper nutrition and appropriate vet care, and after years of working with horses, I can interpret behavior and handle animals well. Even then, I know enough to admit when I need help and I even have a perfectly behaved adult dog for a role model. But I haven't made the leap.

As part of my research, I have gone to meet with breeders of working and show line dogs. I am conflicted because I want a WL for their compact build and I love the dark sables and blacks, but as a "pet person" I feel like I would be better off living with a SL dog. At one point, I met two puppies that were around the same age. The WL puppy came in like a rocket, leapt over the couch, independently sniffed around the room, and didn't seem to want much to do with me. The SL puppy was calmer and mostly interested in attention from me. That SL puppy was not for sale, of course, or I would have had my puppy that day!

Is this experience a fair enough comparison? Are there calmer, more owner-oriented WL puppies that appear in litters, or are breeders that have lower drive WL dogs "wrong"? I need to focus my search, and I have found a breeder that has nice West German showline puppies... but if anyone knows of a really special WL puppy or breeder that I should talk to, I am all ears. I just need a little push! I'm willing to consider any breeders in the eastern half of the US or Canada.


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Every single dog is different. Lower drive working dogs are DEFINITELY not wrong. Don't feel bad being confused. The most important thing is finding a breeder who certifies hips/elbows, and truly takes an interest in the health and well being of their dogs. There are more independent working lines and show lines, and more dependent working and show lines. Every litter, every puppy, has a separate temperment. If the breeder you found is someone whose opinion you trust, then they will be able to tell you which breeding would have a puppy better suited to you, as well as which puppy from the breeding is less drivey and more people oriented. Do not let the horror stories scare you away! If you find a breeder who breeds for healthy, stable puppies, and take the interest in raising it right as you already have, then you will be just fine!
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You have to also keep in mind that many people find and join this board specifically because they do have an issue they want help with - therefore you may not be getting an accurate sample of GSD owners.

I am a "pet" person, but like you am attracted to the working lines. When researching WL breeders I studied the owner stories for weeks, making sure that their puppies were thriving in homes similar to mine. Once I was convinced I made contact, ultimately purchasing a pup. I know that I will have to exercise my pup both mentally and physically each day but I am looking forward to that part.

You definitely came to the right place!


Quote:
Originally Posted by snownose View Post
I admit it, I'm an over-thinker. For years I have been dying to have a GSD, but then I come to the forums and read about cases of leash reactivity, nipping family members, barking at friendly neighbors, homeowners insurance issues, "crate and rotate" for dogs not getting along... and I get scared off. I know that I'm a good owner and trainer. I care about proper nutrition and appropriate vet care, and after years of working with horses, I can interpret behavior and handle animals well. Even then, I know enough to admit when I need help and I even have a perfectly behaved adult dog for a role model. But I haven't made the leap.

As part of my research, I have gone to meet with breeders of working and show line dogs. I am conflicted because I want a WL for their compact build and I love the dark sables and blacks, but as a "pet person" I feel like I would be better off living with a SL dog. At one point, I met two puppies that were around the same age. The WL puppy came in like a rocket, leapt over the couch, independently sniffed around the room, and didn't seem to want much to do with me. The SL puppy was calmer and mostly interested in attention from me. That SL puppy was not for sale, of course, or I would have had my puppy that day!

Is this experience a fair enough comparison? Are there calmer, more owner-oriented WL puppies that appear in litters, or are breeders that have lower drive WL dogs "wrong"? I need to focus my search, and I have found a breeder that has nice West German showline puppies... but if anyone knows of a really special WL puppy or breeder that I should talk to, I am all ears. I just need a little push! I'm willing to consider any breeders in the eastern half of the US or Canada.


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