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Old 11-03-2012, 07:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Are aggression issues common? Are GSDs very hard to train? Newbie questions.

Hello, everyone)
I'm trying to decide whether I should buy a german shepherd or a golden retreiver.
I like german shepherds a little bit more, but I've read several topics on their aggressive behavior, so I came here to ask - is it a common problem?
The thing is - I never had a dog, and I have zero experience in training them, so I am worried that if I will buy german shepherd I won't be able to handle it, and that it might grow up aggressive and dangerous.
So - should I buy a golden retreiver(I've read that they're generally considered friendlier and easier to train), or it is not a big deal and these problems are rare?
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have one of each They are alike in lots of ways and different in lots of ways. The golden is a very happy go lucky dog, but he's big, barks, and is not afraid to show it..my son says he thinks he's a rottweiler My GSD does not bark, but watches everything and people in general stay away from her. Its actually funny because she is probably more approachable then the golden in some cases. They both love all other animals, they both love to play, they both follow me everywhere. The golden has a soft bite and has never bit us and hurt us...he prefers not to play this way. The GSD has a strong bite and will play this way and it can hurt. Both of them have gone through lots of school and the way they obey is different. The golden wants to do nothing but please us, when he gets into the training mode I am amazed at everything he has learned and how fast he does commands. The GSD gets bored a little faster, but is very focused. The GSD has more of an independent personality. The golden was 10x easier to potty train and he calmed down at a younger age. The GSD just turned one, she is very good in the house but she loves to chase the cats. The golden stopped doing this when he was about one...I'm still waiting and so are the cats for the GSD to stop. I would get either breed again..I will probably end up getting one of each down the road. They are wonderful together and the best of friends.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think it depends on the dog, and the breeding. I know showline dogs tend to be more docile, but even working line dogs can make great companions.

As to the training, I have found it to be fairly easy. They pick up the lessons pretty quickly. The problem I have come across is that they get bored easily, and the puppies like to yay you. They are very happy to comply, though.

You picked 2 great breeds, though. I so love both!
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I got my first dog ever when I turned 40. I had always wanted a German Shepherd and had the same concerns as you. I spent 6 months researching the breed, going to dog shows, talking to breeders to find out as much as I could before making the decision. I found a breeder that was active in Schutzhund. We hit it off and spent hours talking on the phone. He had a litter with one male puppy not reserved yet. He matched the puppies to the owners and selected the one for me that was appropriate for me. He was the most wonderful dog in the world. If you really want a GSD, spend the time to find a great breeder and you won't be disappointed. There are many great breeders on this forum.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I am a new owner of german shepherd (first dog ever in family). max is 13 months old, and had him since he was 10 weeks old. i was also told by other people that this breed is not for first time owner, but I already decided that if I want a dog it will be GSD. so far, it has been roller coaster ride. I'll tell you they require LOTS of excercise and mine doesnt like being left alone. i bought him as an outside guard dog, but he spend most of his time inside house because he likes to stay with his family. socialize him as much as you can and you'll be fine. i spent lots of time with him to meet new people and let me tell you its worth it. my dog had never barked, growl, or shown teeth to nobody (not even stranger). they arre not aggresive dog, it all depends how you train them and how you take care of them. I love my boy and he's so friendly that any strangers can come and pet him even when i am not with him. Also, i received lots of help from this forum.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Kyleigh is my first GSD, but I've had other dogs, and LOADS of experience being around dogs, working with them, etc. I didn't want my first dog to be a GSD because I knew they were "A LOT" of dog.

I'm in my 40s and I'm glad I waited. I've had ZERO problems with Ky - no aggression, nothing ... BUT she is a lot more dog than most! Smart as a whip, bored easily, very active and demands a lot more time than a "normal" dog. By demanding I mean, training is amped up, hikes are longer, more intense, play times are more involved, etc.

A healthy GSD will not be happy with a 45 minute play time and then sleep on the couch for the rest of the evening (not saying a golden will either) but I find that a GSD is a lot of dog, for a long time!!!

If you've been exposed to dogs a lot and have a sound understanding on how to be with dogs, and have lots of time and energy, sure, they can be amazing dogs ... get one from a reputable breeder ... do NOT get one from any where else.

I think it also depends on your age group ... if you are a teenager, I would say not yet, wait til you're older ... if you're older, then have fun researching!
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think this is one of those things that if you're worried about...it will happen to you!

No, GSDs do not have aggression issues. IF you do your research, find a good breeder, train, train train, train, train, oh and did I mention train.

In my opinion...if you're worried about this stuff already, and its a large reason why you're considering a more "docile" breed, you should probably go with a Golden Retriever. I think a GSD is a huge commitment, and not that a Golden isn't, but chances are you'll have to spend much less time teaching a golden that biting is wrong and other behaviors that could possibly hurt someone are wrong.

I'm on my first dog as well...its a GSD. So don't take this as me pushing you away from the breed or thinking you can't handle one. But when I was researching dogs, I knew I wanted a GSD, I researched just this breed, and aggression issues never even popped into my head. I didn't expect the dog to have aggression issues (and he doesn't) but if he had I would've done everything in my power to deal with them.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Whichever one you choose, make sure you research the breeders. There are dog aggressive golden retrievers due to poor breeding. I have know a few dog aggressive goldens and my gsd pup was attacked by one once.

Have you also considered a Labrador retriever? They are very popular in my neighborhood.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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As other posters say, socialize, socialize and then socialize, exercise, exercise and more exercise and you will have a wonderful companion. GSD's are a very one person dog, they will usually bond with the pack leader and everyone else is noise. Be prepared for a dog that will follow you everywhere and spend long hours lying beside you staring lovingly at you.
Be aware that GSD are "over bred" and many have significant medical, hip, allergy, skin, stomach issues. Seek a reputable breeder and pay the bit extra for a good pup.
Be aware that GSD's need a strong leader and be prepared to put decent effort into properly training your new family member. GSD's are a "strong" breed and if you feel you can't provide the "leadership" this breed requires, you may have issues.
GSDs are very much a "you get out what you put in" breed, if you are not willing/able to put in that effort, the retriever might be a better choice.

Maybe crazy analogy but..
GSD's are like apple products and BMW's, they have a very focussed and proud following and like those companies, the dogs also thrive in that environment.

GSD's are easy to train and thrive in a command structured environment.

Be prepared for a bit of "racism" with a GSD. I have a female GSD and people always assume she is a male and I have seen people cross the street to avoid having to pass close by me (and believe me Maggie is the sweetest dog). Pretty sure that won't happen with a lab.

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Old 11-03-2012, 10:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Both smart breeds.

What do you want in a dog?

A well bred GSD will not be "aggressive," though they are very protective and serious when it come to threats to their people or their home.

Do a bit more research and talk to and visit breeders when you can. Can you visit a Schutzhund club or obedience classes somewhere?

Good luck.
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