A hard decision - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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A hard decision

Hi all,

Last friday me and my mum went to pick up our new puppy, a swiss white shepherd, 8 weeks old. We were super excited to pick her up of course, but when we arrived it turned out not to be so exciting. The breeder arrived in her car at the same time we arrived there, she stepped out and said she had very bad news for us. One of her female gsd's who normally always walks in between the puppies had bitten her while her daughter was cleaning the food bowl. The puppy was too close to the bowl and the gsd gave her a correction, thinking she was going to eat her food, but a bit too hard and bit her in her face instead of her neck.
This was a huge shock for us (and for the breeder), this had never happened before. We know she's a reputable breeder, and accidents happen, but we were still very shocked.
We later arrived at the animal hospital, where they did some tests and she ended up just having two puncture wounds and a slightly dislocated jaw because of the swelling.
The breeder said she would understand if we didn't want the puppy anymore, but said that the best thing to do was to at least take her for a week and see how she'll be by the end of the week, and then decide if we want her or bring her back.

This has been eating me alive, I'm still very much in shock and I don't know what to do. We decided to get a swiss shepherd because my mum has had a bad experience with a german shepherd, while I really wanted a gsd. It is going to be my dog, and I'm going to take it with me when I move out. (I'm 16 now. Yes we have thought about the whole "you're in school, you might go to college and live on your own" part.) I have experience with dogs, trained a guide dog (who'll be leaving this september to go to doggie college.) and have always loved dogs. But i just don't know what to do. We're very scared that the puppy would be traumatized by the incident, or that I'll regret getting a swiss shepherd while my heart lays with gsd's. But I think no matter what I'd choose, I am going to have some regrets. It's only been a week and she's been an amazing puppy, walking on the lead, potty outside and very nice to people. She shakes and completely freezes when she sees another dog.

I am completely lost and I just don't know what to do. Everyone around me tells me "you do what you think is best." Well that helps. I have been thinking and thinking and it's making me sick, so I think I need some outside opinions, since everyone who sees the puppy falls in love with the fluffyness and says "She's too cute! You should keep her!" Cuteness is not a reason to keep a dog, but they all say keep her because of that.

Please help, I am really scared of choosing the wrong thing and ugh. Help.
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post #2 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:52 AM
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So is the puppy going to be okay physically? No long-term issues? For me, I would be hesitant about keeping a dog that may have issues with other dogs down the road. You mentioned that she shakes and freezes when she sees other dogs. That may escalate to reactivity or aggression, and I know that I couldn't handle that, especially if I was heading off to college in a few years. You could get some help from a trainer now if you think it will be a problem, and she might be okay!

All puppies are very cute, so you should not let her cuteness sway your decision. Also, you mentioned that you would prefer a GSD? Just my two cents, but you are going to be the one caring for this dog for its whole life. You mom will only need to live with it for (hopefully) 2 years. Of course I understand that your mom's opinion matters and that it is still her home, but I would be inclined to say that you should get the breed that you want. You shouldn't have regrets about your new dog that you will have for 12-15 years.

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post #3 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 11:12 AM
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I would have llet the BREEDER keep her for a week. She was counting on your getting attached TO the puppy so that no matter what you would wind up with her.

The freezing and shaking would be a major issue for me. A pup that could have a lifetime of having to be managed instead of being a great family companion. The fact that she released the puppy to you after this incident speaks volumes. I can't even begin to imagine she would put the injured pup through adapting to a new home.

I would walk. I would feel very bad for the puppy though.

I think a swiss shepherd is merely a white german shepherd. Correct me if I am wrong but I would wonder about the temperament of the dogs given the biting incidents. Young puppies normally get a pass by older dogs. I am not a breeder though.


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post #4 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 11:14 AM
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If it were me, I would ask the breeder to keep the dog until this issue has resolved and the pup is all healed, and re-evaluate then. (Obviously only if the pup is kept safely away from the offending dog!)

For what it's worth, I got my dog as a puppy when I was 20, and took him to college with me. It worked out beautifully. I found a small apartment a couple miles from campus and the landlord is fine with an 85lb GSD. Don't let your life plans get in the way of your life!

Good luck with the pup and let us know how it goes.
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post #5 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 11:17 AM
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Being so severely bitten is going to have long-term effects on this pup. It will take her a VERY long time to get over her fear of other dogs, and she may never fully recover. Do you want to have to deal with this for the rest of her life?

I'd pass, and I agree with what Nancy said about the breeder's ethics!!
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post #6 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 12:42 PM
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Do you have the patients and the time to work with the pup to get over the fear of dogs? At 4 months my pup was afraid of dogs. It took some work but now she loves all dogs.
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post #7 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 12:52 PM
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Use your brain and not rely on emotions right now. You are taking a huge risk by taking in this pup; you could very well end up with a dog aggressive dog, even though it doesn't have to show up until later as a young adult. I know in Europe, the White Shepherds often have nervousness in them. I guess you are from the UK as you are referring to 'my mum'?
The fact that an adult mauls a young pup like that doesn't show strong stable lines, no matter the excuses being used. Why didn't the breeder notify you until you were already there? Hoping you couldn't resist the pup?
I would turn away and not go back.
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post #8 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 03:03 PM
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I can't believe the breeder had the guts to want you to take the puppy in that condition, and needing to go to the vet's right away. She should have taken the puppy herself, to her vet, too care of all treatment and follow-up, and in the meantime called you to let you know what was going on.

To me, that is a huge red flag. She was more concerned about you still taking the puppy, than getting it immediate medical attention. Also, since she has multiple dogs, she would have the chance to work with it and help it to overcome its now extreme fear of other dogs.

Walk away...
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post #9 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your answers and advice.
The pup got bitten 10 minutes before we arrived, and was immediately taken to an animal hospital, so it did have medical attention right after it happened. The breeder arrived at her house at the same time as us to pick us up and tell us the situation, while the vet and her daughter were caring for the puppy.

Now I do realise that it indeed was very irresponsible to have taken her, and we're calling the breeder as soon as possible to bring her back. It really breaks my heart, but I know it's the best for me and the best for the pup. I know that I will be worrying if I'd keep her of her getting aggressive towards dogs, which will be bad for her and only make her more nervous.

I'm from the Netherlands, not the Uk, I do have a british father though, if that explains the "my mum" part

We do still want a puppy though, so after explaining to my mum that gsd's aren't the viscious monsters she thinks they are, she's warming up to it a bit.
My dad and I have been looking into gsd lines and breeders. We're thinking of a working line dog, since the angled backs of the showlines make me feel a little uncomfortable (no offence). And after seeing a guy walking with 5 showline gsd's who were the most anxious dogs I've ever seen. Maybe just a bad breeder/trainer but it still threw me off a bit.

Again, thanks for all your advice, and if you could give me some tips wether to choose show- or workline it would be wonderful.
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post #10 of 117 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 06:45 PM
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You need to understand a couple of things: A Swiss Shepherd, IS a German Shepherd, bred for the white color which is a fault in the SV and the AKC.

As with any breed being bred for a specific color, the gene pool is being limited, and making this a separate breed will mean that out crossing will end, and the dogs will be even more in-bred and that in itself will not hurt individual dogs, but recessive genes will be on both sides of the equation and so, whatever is there, will come out in puppies with a greater frequency, in health, conformation, and temperament.

I've seen white dogs. None that I want to own. Back in the 80s, 90s, there were some that temperamentally were unstable, fear biting dogs. Has it gotten better? I really don't know. Those that bred the white dogs, were those that were ok breeding outside of the standard to meet customer wants, in color alone, which means, not necessarily breeding for structure or health.

More recently, since they can be shown in UKC here in the states, there are some breeders of the white dogs that are, in ways other than color, following the standard, and testing their dogs. Also I've seen a few in obedience classes that were nice dogs. So maybe things are getting a little better.

Evenso, if your mom is afraid that the dog will be dangerous because of the breed, in this instance, she has made it more likely to get a less than stellar dog, by going Swiss instead of German. You are more likely to find a good GSD breeder and a GSD of excellent character than a Swiss Shepherd.

Now for this pup. For the dam to bite the pup so hard as to cause puncture wounds and dislocate the jaw, I think that is all you need to know. The pup gets 50% of its genes (including temperament) from this bitch, but it has also been imprinted (temperament) by this bitch. Double whammy. It has also had a serious injury/incident at a time when learning is concrete. The dog is likely to have lasting issues with dogs, or at least require seriously careful socialization.

I think you should return the puppy as hard as that sounds to the breeder. They are responsible to deal with problems in their breeding stock. And for you to take on that, it just makes it that much easier for them to ignore that they have something seriously wrong with their breeding bitch to do such a thing.

If the bitch that did the biting was not the dam, than they have something seriously wrong with the management of their dogs/kennel. It is there problem, and I am concerned with your mother's overall experience with this dog, if you are to keep it. It will make her impression of the breed that much worse.

And, I agree, bringing the puppy and asking you to try it for a week that was foul. She should have called you on the phone and explained the entire situation and offered to hang onto the puppy until it was healed, and to work with the puppy around other dogs, to ensure he "forget" the negative experience.

I have had 19 litters in 12 years, and I have never had a bitch make a mark on her 8 week old (or younger) puppy. There is something wrong with a bitch that does this, and the puppy, most likely, has that in its genes.
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