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Old 01-07-2014, 03:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 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?

Thanks!
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi there,

sounds like got a nice dog, hope he will fit in with your pack - no fun having dogs that don't get along. Make sure that your older dogs know that they are not being displaced by the newcomer - treat them with the status that is theirs, let Rocky know that he has not status in your house. He gets fed last, gets attention last, and so on. He isn't challenging you at seven months, just testing the water and trying to see what gets him attention.

Your dog is only worth 5,000 dollars because someone was willing to pay that amount for it - there is no intrinsic quality or lineage that he comes from that would make him worth several times the going price for well-bred working lines.

Did you not get papers with him? The only DNA test that you can do to my understanding, is one for parentage, and for that, he would have to be registered with AKC. So get his registration papers, post his pedigree, and there may be some experienced pedigree people here that could tell you more about him. Or just post his full registered name, he may have his pedigree available on-line.

The one thing I would suggest is to stop messing with him when he eats - great that he is easy going enough that you can poke and prod while he is eating, and get no reaction, so leave it at that. Constant interference during meals can create food aggression, instead of preventing it. Dog matures, has had enough of bone-headed owner hovering and taking food away, and bugging him on a daily basis, and will at one point let you know.

Leave him be, actually, when he eats, bring him extra treats and throw it in his bowy - this will condition him to having a positive association with you approaching and reaching towards him during meals.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Did you not get papers with him?
Yes, got papers. Rocky isn't AKC registered yet. Here's are the AKC numbers for his parents. Not sure where to go on the AKC site to learn more.

Sire: DN13596709
Dam: DN34250202

AKC litter number: DN365689

I have pedigree charts for both parents.


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The one thing I would suggest is to stop messing with him when he eats
Yes. Yes. I understand. These were preliminary test just to get a sense of where he is now. The primary motivator for this is that kids will do things when you are not watching. In a busy house you just can't be on top of everything that happens. I just wanted to know if I had a loaded gun or not. I am giving him a two week evaluation to decide whether we keep him or not. So far he is passing with flying colors.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I found the Dad on the pedigree database:

SG Oruger the Boom II v Kraftwerk
(Drop-dead Gorgeous dog!)

But not the Dam. Do you have the registered name? (or Rocky's registered name).
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Old 01-07-2014, 07:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would do a NILIF type protocol and a bit of the two week shutdown with any new dog brought in(not a baby pup, though) You need to set up the structure early on and let the dog know you are in control so the dog doesn't need to be 'on'. It gives the dog confidence yet also respect with the handler.
I agree with Lucia, sounds like you've got a great pup, but he will need to be kept busy with training to stay happy and balanced. As far as the breeder is concerned...the lines of your dogs play into what he is way more than who bred him.
I'm not a fan of the big commercial kennels/but good dogs can come from anywhere... the crapshoot buzzword is a biggie with them.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castlemaid View Post
I found the Dad on the pedigree database
That's a great resource. Thanks.

Yup, that's what Rocky look like.

He's all black right now. Hard to take a good picture. I'll post one as soon as I get something that doesn't look like a black mass with legs.

Quote:
But not the Dam. Do you have the registered name? (or Rocky's registered name).
Rocky isn't registered. His original name was Shadow but we switched him to Rocky.

Just went on a couple mile walk with him. I can't imagine no keeping him. He's a really nice dog. Once the decision is made I'll go ahead and register him with the AKC.

Mom: Leika zur Krombach

Seems to be from Germany. Breeder listed on AKC registration certificate as Anke Baldus. Born April 15th., 2008.

Oruger's (Rocky's Dad) parents are both from Germany according to the AKC registration cert:
Sire: Don von der Monchhof-Kapelle, SchH 3
Dam: Roxy vom Stadtfeld, SchH 2
Bred in the US, it looks like.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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castle is right, one good looking gsd.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I would do a NILIF type protocol and a bit of the two week shutdown with any new dog brought in(not a baby pup, though) You need to set up the structure early on
Ah, NILIF. I didn't know there was a name for what I've been doing.

Short story: I bought my first two GSD's back about sixteen years ago or so. Not knowing anything about dealing with these dogs --as a kid we had toy poodles-- I got a trainer.

My first trainer was a lovely woman recommended by the local pet store. She took us through the early stuff and the usual cadre of pet dog commands.

When the dogs turned approximately six or seven months old it was painfully obvious she was way past her depth. The issues were particularly salient when she had to deal with them together. They pretty much walked all over her.

I had a couple of incidents of the dogs going off while walking them at the local promenade when coming across other dogs. As little puppies nobody cared. At seven months it must have looked like a nasty scary scene with teeth and barking everywhere. Few pet owners really understand dogs.

That's when I got someone to help. I didn't know myself. I thought I had a real problem in my hands. Someone recommended this guy who made it his business to tame aggressive dogs. He literally had a cage in his back yard. He'd put on a motorcycle helmet, heavy padded suit and fight the dog to submission. Brutal. Maybe some dogs need such an approach, I don't know. Thankfully I had the good sense to fire him before he took mine to that level. I felt he was just too rough in the four or five sessions we did just walking the dogs around.

I went out to find a trainer who knew GSD's. That's how I found this wonderful woman (she was early 20's at the time) who had grown-up training and competing Schuthund dogs.

I have to say that the approach and the results were incredible to me and to anyone who saw what the dogs became. We went to electric collars relatively soon (for communication, not punishment).

Anyhow, the lessons stayed with me. As per the NILIF approach, everything my dogs do is controlled. We have strict protocols about going through doors, entering and leaving the house, and car, etc. The kids learned these and apply them reliably. It works very well.

Of course, people who don't know dogs think you are being an absolute dominant jerk. I'd like to see them handle three GSD's.


Quote:
the lines of your dogs play into what he is way more than who bred him.
I spoke with the breeder today to get a sense of the parent's temperaments. Nothing came up that would lead me to take pause. I was told his father, Oruger, doesn't like to let go of toys but isn't aggressive. That's probably a learned trait but I'll work towards a reliable release with Rocky anyway.

Thanks for the feedback. The only thing I didn't do is to remove the food. My older GSD's were treated to full control for the first six to nine months. After that the food bowl is always available. I completely forgot to take it back when Rocky was introduced. I'll do it now and control food for the next three months or so.

Not sure what to say about the no-walks idea. I took him on a relaxed two mile walk today and he did great. It was just him and me. Very basic obedience stuff. He doesn't pull on the leash so no real corrections there. I wasn't going to enforce a heel anyway. We just stopped at crossings until he sat down on his own and then crossed. I realize he has to learn about me as much as I have to learn about him, so I am being gentle yet firm and consistent with him.

Any other pointers would be appreciated. Thanks again.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Curious to know who you trained with?
Quote:
I went out to find a trainer who knew GSD's. That's how I found this wonderful woman (she was early 20's at the time) who had grown-up training and competing Schuthund dogs.

I have to say that the approach and the results were incredible to me and to anyone who saw what the dogs became. We went to electric collars relatively soon (for communication, not punishment).
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Curious to know who you trained with?
Her name was Dana Miller. At the time she lived in Los Angeles, where I live. I believe this is her Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/dana.miller.96

Also this:

http://goo.gl/dBBXch

Not sure what she is doing now.

Last edited by martincho; 01-08-2014 at 01:32 AM.
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