Are aggression issues common? Are GSDs very hard to train? Newbie questions. - Page 3 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-03-2012, 03:12 PM
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I would suggest you google the breed standard for both breeds.
This will give you a very general idea of what they are supposed to be.

Individual dogs of either breed can vary greatly. Which is why it is so important to take time to find the right dog for you and your life style.

You can find a great dog in either breed or even other breeds or you can have problems.

Do a lot of homework beforehand. Best wishes.
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post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 12:54 PM
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I am a first time dog owner. Let me say that so far I think I've done great. However, I think this is for every dog, but for sure it applies for GSD you need to have TONS of patience. Training is easy just mix it up a little at time because they do tend to get bored easily. If you are planning on getting a GSD make sure you are prepared to live with a LAND SHARK. I don't know how golden retrievers are when they are teething, but I know that my GSD was a handful and still is at times. Up to know she sometimes tries to grab my hand Nevertheless, a GSD is an amazing dog. You will have aggression issues with any dog you get if you don't train them and socialize them properly.

I missed the "socialization period" with Schatzi and I am working with her. She is not aggressive towards people but she does still tend to get a little too excited at times which can be pretty annoying. That being said it's a work in progress and the socialization period in a dog never ends.

Good Luck
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post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 01:14 PM
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I had a lot of the same fears as the OP and I'm with my first GSD and she's a working line.

I think the fact that the OP is worried about these things goes a long way into helping prevent them!

The key is to have the money saved up to do puppy classes and make sure you have a great training place lined up before you go. SOCIALIZE SOCIALIZE SOCIALIZE. It is NEVER ENDING socialization, especially with a young pup. try to do stuff iwth your pup almost every day, I'm not kidding. Training, training and then more training!

I also love checking out dog sports with my pup. She's too young to do much (6 months), but I can at least bring her along to socialize and hang out, other dog people are very understanding if she starts to bark etc., not like the looks you get if you're out around town. You get the training and socializing right and you'll have a dog that's better than you ever thought possible.

They can make you want to pull your hair out. I swear my pup's personality changed every other week! They go through fear stages, get these funny quirks, then lose them as fast as they came. I had no idea how strong a bond we'd have right from the first day, I won't lie, I was completely overwhelmed by it.

The first few weeks were really hard. There were tears. There were worried phone calls to the breeder - just another reason to make sure you find a really great breeder. Don't underestimate how important a good breeder is. She was there for me when I needed her and let me know all the things we were going through were normal, and gave me a lot of help in how to work through problems.

I can't imagine not having her in my life. Even when I roll over at 4:00am and I hear her tail wag a few times in hopes that I'm getting up (keep dreaming!), I smile. She's my best friend, and now that the hardest part of puppyhood is behind us, I already want to get another! GSD's are addictive! Something I never would have believed the first month I had her. lol

Do your homework on what lines you're interested in. WL are high energy and will sometimes challenge their handlers a bit more, but IMHO, they are sounder and have better nerves. I love that drive they have.

Just be prepared to work your butt off with your new pup, and it will turn out just fine.

I found this was a good explanation of some of the differences in the types of GSD's out there:

Von hmke - German Shepherd Dogs
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post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 06:06 PM
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I don't think in general that German Shepherds have aggression issues. I think you just hear about the ones that do because their owners are trying to resolve them and because the sheer size and determination of the breed is a bad mix with aggression. Two of the three GSD I've had were family oriented and very trainable. The first one had to be taught when not to defend, but listened. The second one loves everyone and everything. The third one is nuts, but I should have known better when I got her, as the story was a bit strange (returned more than once, other little indicators that should have been red flags). So do your choosing well and research. If you get a German Shepherd, like most working breeds, they are highly intelligent and MUST be trained consistently or they will take it upon themselves to make decisions that you may not want them to. If you have never trained a working dog, get at least basic training help with someone who has.
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post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:05 PM
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I second the advice to volunteer with a breed rescue, or with any sort of rescue, really. Or volunteer to walk dogs at your local shelter. You'll get a good idea of the different personality types of dogs out there, and you might be surprised at the type you "click" with.

In my own experience, my family had a golden retriever mix when I was a kid, so I was pretty sure if I were to ever get my own dog I would default to a Golden or a Lab. Much to my surprise, I ended up rescuing an adult GSD whom I bonded with almost instantly. Seriously, I can't believe the connection these dogs want to make! Yeah, I have to work to keep him busy, and he is happiest when he is with his humans, but I find him super easy to deal with.

Are you dead set on raising a puppy? If not, I'd recommend an adult GSD rehome or rescue for you. You know what kind of personality they have, they are usually housebroken, and often have basic obedience installed. Definitely makes your first dog owning experience a lot simpler!
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post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 05:34 PM
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Yes GSDs have a certain level of active aggression. They are suppose to. They were originally designed to be tending dogs. Essentially a fence with teeth. This requires a certain level of aggression. However, nerve strength is the key. Many are bred with week nerves and when coupled with aggression they can be hard to manage. If you do your home work and buy a well bred dog from a knowledgeable breeder you should not have any problems (provided you spend the time and properly train the dog).
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post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Zeeva View Post
Have you considered fostering either type of dog? I'm a first time doggie owner too. I didn't know if I could handle taking care of a dog so I decided to foster first. After a few weeks I realized I COULD do it and foster failed/rescued my current husky--THE best failure of my life. Fostering is a noble cause and it'll allow to realize how much effort, dedication and time a doggie requires.
This, as another poster also mentioned, is excellent advice. Contact local all-breed or breed-specific rescues and foster.

When my last dog passed at 14, I decided to foster for an all-breed rescue until I found the dog that was a good fit for me... and, to be honest, until I knew I was ready to give my heart to another dog as the passing of my last dog was really hard on me.

I should let you know that I knew, no matter what, I would adopt a young adult or adult dog. Fostering is a great way to guarantee a young adult or adult dog's temperament is a good match to your family.

Since adopting my dog - who is another amazing dog - I have also fostered many others (mostly GSD) and am continually impressed by how many quality young adult and adult dogs are out there just waiting for a family to love them!

In the end, I really think, given that you are still trying to better understand the breeds, fostering would really be an excellent choice. Remember that when you foster there is no obligation to adopt any given dog that you are fostering. See it as an excellent learning opportunity for you to become more familiar with GSDs and Goldens.

Whatever direction you choose, I wish you the best of luck in finding your companion.
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post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 10:00 PM
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make sure you have the time and the money for a dog.
find a reputable breeder. decide if you want a working line
or show line. find a puppy class. after puppy class decide
on what you want to do with your dog. train and socialize
everyday. i like training in short sessions (5 to 10 minutes)
but i conduct many sessions during the course of a day.
good luck with the new pup.
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post #29 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 10:45 PM
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When I got my girl, I was looking for an adult dog to adopt off of craigslist, and was looking for one of 4 breeds. A GSD, Golden Retriever, lab, or rottie. All dogs that I had experience with in the past, and thought I could give a descent home to. The only people that actually put a phone number in their add were the family that had my girl, and I was the first of 3 people who were going to show up that day to adopt

And I do agree, it is amazing the bond that these dogs can make. I guess thats a hard judgement to make, most dogs seem to bond with me.
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