The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-19-2007, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

As the original thread was many, many pages long, I locked it and sent it to the archives. As it is such a popular topic, we'll go ahead and continue it.

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Quote: This weeks discussion is on the reputation of the German Shepherd Dog. Let's here some personal experiences from members about reactions, good and bad, you've had towards your dog(s) from the general non-GSD public? I personally have gotten a real mix of emotions displayed towards my dogs over the years but, and I'll have to be honest here, I think most people out there are afraid of them or don’t trust them, except the puppies of course . Some may pretend not to be but it's been apparent to me that they are not comfortable. How about you? What has your experience been? What can we do to improve the reputation of our breed and let others see the beauty that we see?

rhaya

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post #2 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-20-2007, 01:36 AM
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Re: The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

Hi!
My GSD is only 8.5 months old, but I still get some pretty weird comments about him. The one that irritated me the most was from a creepy looking man that was literally STARING at my dog. I was taking my dog out for a potty break while we were at work and this man walks by eye f****** my dog. Of course, my dog stares right back at him. Hello?! Has anyone ever taught you how NOT to piss off a strange dog, Mr.?!

The man asks, "He's not friendly?!" I'm thinking..NO.. you creep, he's thinking you are challenging him with your 5 minute staring contest! I refrained from making such a comment and got Isaac's attention onto the business at hand..going potty

My dog IS friendly. He absolutely LOVES children, and is very outgoing. But he is no Golden Retriever, you have to be proven safe before he will trust you. I don't think that makes him unfriendly, just cautious.

I am constantly suprised at how some people think that every dog should WANT attention from random strangers. They act offended if a dog that they don't even know, doesn't jump to their side for a good rub-down just because it was offered. I feel like I have to explain that they are coming on too strong.

p.s. I feel like It is OK for me to make that comment about the friendly Golden Retriever, because I had two of them. and yes they were extremely friendly to everyone

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post #3 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-20-2007, 08:53 AM
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Re: The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

My GSD actually acts like the Goldens, as he LOVES all people, to him people mean food and treats. He seems to ignore dogs, unless they get to close to us when he is on leash, then he more or less gives a warning growl to the dog, I think he just doesn't want to share what ever treats I have in my pockets.
He is beautiful, but still with ears down, smiling, and tail wagging crazily, I have had people walk around warily. It just doesn't seem fair!

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post #4 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-20-2007, 09:23 AM
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Re: The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

in my so far limited time w/luc (3 weeks today!!!), i've found it's mixed. some people are scared of him when he's behaving like an angel, b/c of how he looks (especially people with small dogs straining at the leash and growling; luc generally seems to find those dogs beneath his notice). when i first got him he nervous strained on the leash a lot - he barely does it now unless there's something unusual or 20 trucks and a couple of buses pass at once, and even there there is improvement - and when he strained he definitely made some people nervous, but i find there's little difference in people's reactions whether he was straining or now when he's not. it seems to be largely who he is, not what he's doing.

but some people really like GSDs. i do get lots of "nice dog!"s.

my mom was quite funny - i told her i was looking at getting a dog, and when i met luc and said 'i'm going to adopt him, he's a GSD X' - well - she'd been a little disinterested in me getting a dog, but a GSD - my mom LOOOOVES GSDs, it's a little scary LOL (in the conversation i had with her yesterday, she said "you know, i can retire, and i could luc for hikes during the day, and i'd feel comfortable being alone on the trails with him (she's been hiking with him twice so far), and i could take him to do training stuff, i was thinking schutzhund might be something that he'd be good at (b/c he's showing some instinctive protective behaviours, and i want them correctly harnessed), and YOU don't have a car, but I do, and I could take him and do the training with him". while i actually like the idea of schutzhund he needs stronger basic obedience and i think he'd need to be a lot more settled/stable - i'm not sure he'd be a good dog for it, but it's something as he settles in i will look at - i thought it was really sweet/funny that my mom is planning all this stuff for him!

i think the reason why my mom loves GSDs is a really cute story though. when she was a little girl, about 5, some neighbours down the street had a large GSD that my mother was just terrified of - it was a big dog! - but it was also a very well-trained dog, and the neighbours realized how scared my mom was, so they invited her to watch the dog show off it's latest trick - blowing bubbles out a clay pipe! my mom was SO impressed, and the neighbours said "well, he really likes ice cream as a treat. would you be able to help us and take him to the store for an ice cream?" and gave her money for two ice creams - one for her, one for the dog. and they told the dog (no leash) to go with my mother down to the corner store, and it walked her there, happily ate the ice cream she got it, and walked her back. they did this every week, so of course the dog thought my mom was amazing, b/c she gave it ice cream every week, and my mom got to be comfortable with the dog, who would faithfully escort her to and from the store and blow bubbles on the pipe for her.

Teagan RIP
Luc 15.5 yo GSD
Neb, husky/terrier/lab? X, DOB 18.4.2008
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post #5 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-20-2007, 11:08 AM
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Re: The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

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Originally Posted By: jarni think the reason why my mom loves GSDs is a really cute story though. when she was a little girl, about 5, some neighbours down the street had a large GSD that my mother was just terrified of - it was a big dog! - but it was also a very well-trained dog, and the neighbours realized how scared my mom was, so they invited her to watch the dog show off it's latest trick - blowing bubbles out a clay pipe! my mom was SO impressed, and the neighbours said "well, he really likes ice cream as a treat. would you be able to help us and take him to the store for an ice cream?" and gave her money for two ice creams - one for her, one for the dog. and they told the dog (no leash) to go with my mother down to the corner store, and it walked her there, happily ate the ice cream she got it, and walked her back. they did this every week, so of course the dog thought my mom was amazing, b/c she gave it ice cream every week, and my mom got to be comfortable with the dog, who would faithfully escort her to and from the store and blow bubbles on the pipe for her.
This is the sweetest story! I just love it! What a nice owner to take the time with your mom. Trip to the store for ice cream, what a wonderful idea and memory for your mom! Thanks for sharing that

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post #6 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-20-2007, 01:44 PM
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Re: The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

The following paragraph really hit the nail on the head.

"My dog IS friendly. He absolutely LOVES children, and is very outgoing. But he is no Golden Retriever, you have to be proven safe before he will trust you. I don't think that makes him unfriendly, just cautious."

This afore-mentioned sounds like Timber. You have to be proven safe and you cannot exhibit fear. However, I will add that if you like German Shepherds they recognize this and will like you.

My ex, who couldn't even take charge of a goldfish loves dogs. And, darn they know it. She adopted a Chow, who the humane society said should have been killed, and the dog has been perfect. My GSD, is also great around the ex, so it does make me wonder about this Alpha stuff.

Nonetheless, I do think that to some extent the reputation of the dog is deserved. By reputation, I mean loyal, intelligent and protective.
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post #7 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-20-2007, 02:06 PM
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Re: The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

even when luc meets someone, he will not warm up to them for a while. the people who won't/don't listen to my 'just let him sniff you' (and even then he usually will observe the person afterwards) comment that he's 'not friendly' or 'skittish' (b/c he jerks his head back when they try to pet him). i always wonder - would those people be comfortable with a stranger coming up and pawing/touching them? probably not.

people who let luc sniff them, and then leave luc to come them - he's great with, but so far i wouldn't call him an outgoing dog by nature anyways. i would agree that he assesses people first.

Teagan RIP
Luc 15.5 yo GSD
Neb, husky/terrier/lab? X, DOB 18.4.2008
Xerxes, beagle, ~3yo
Cats Mitch RIP; Lear RIP; Esme RIP; Timothy and Cordelia
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post #8 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-20-2007, 02:57 PM
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Re: The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

Jarn, I have the same personality type in Morgan and have gotten the 'unfriendly' + 'skittish' comments. It's annoying, especially if I JUST TOLD someone that she's a very aloof dog. LOL, sometimes I feel like saying 'Well EXCUUUUUSSSEEEE ME that my dog isn't bouncing around trying to make friends with someone she'll probably never meet again!'

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post #9 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-20-2007, 09:51 PM
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Re: The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

The last three posts are perfect examples of what I experience with my dog. Dog etiquette (sp?) isn't rocket science. You don't pet dogs on top of their heads right off the bat! My dog will duck and quickly move out the way if a stranger attempts to pet him on top of his head. He doesn't snarl or snap, he just gets out of the way.

On the other hand, once you've been accepted into his "circle of trust" he will bounce around, beside himself, with excitement when you visit with him! He is a complete luv bug and extremely social, but only with his friends, one can become his friend but it takes a little time. Except when it comes to children, he instantly accepts and seeks out children, the younger they are the gentler he becomes. It's wonderful and I'm so proud of him for that trait!

You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar!
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post #10 of 168 (permalink) Old 07-20-2007, 10:34 PM
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Re: The Reputation of the German Shepherd Dog

As was said a couple of posts up-it's not fair-is it. When Kayla was a baby everyone wanted to come and see/pet the puppy. She loved to meet people. Then she got bigger and next thing you knew people were crossing to walk on the other side of the street to avoid her. Poor baby-she didn't understand why people weren't saying hi to her. She'd sit on the curb and watch them go by, waiting to see if they'd come over. Not everyone passes by though, we get the odd person willing to stop and meet her. Around the neighbourhood we have people who've known her since she was a baby and they always like to come over and see and talk to her still-thank goodness.

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