future dog prospects - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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future dog prospects

Hello...

So everyone, I am a first time GSD owner and my GSD, handsome boy that he is, is from the pound. I don't do sporting with him, or working, just regular pet stuff, although he does get a lot (average 2 hrs) of exercise per day. He loves to chase the chuck-it ball and frisbee, even jumps in the air for them. (He is on my bed chewing the heck out of his Kong ball right now--if we let him keep it, he would be chasing it around the house for hours).

We got him Oct 14, 2013. I love him so much that I can't believe how lucky I am...and as I look to the future, all I can think about is how am I going to ever find another dog as good as he is? Of course, he's not sick or anything, but I already know that I'm going to want another one just like him. Obviously, I can't "count" on going back to the pound to find another dog just like him, or similar to him even.

I have met other GSDs in the area, whose owners got them from breeders, and many of these dogs are shy and nervous or unfriendly--I don't mean aloof, I mean unfriendly.

The two things I want are that the next dog be attractive, as attractive as my Ben, and have a GREAT temperament just like Ben does--he's good about meeting people, new dogs of all sizes, kids, doesn't crack up around sirens or fireworks or thunder. [His Achilles' heel is car barking. ****, he's a heck of a barker in the car, esp. when we're parking.] Of course, it will be a different dog with different a personality and quirks, but still, needs to have both of those qualities.

I've seen a lot of good looking dogs for sure, but lots of the ones I've seen around town, reportedly from breeders, are so nervous and flighty. My vet told me when we went to get his hips checked that Ben is unusual in her experience bc the GSDs that come in are usually nervous and kind of bitey.

I have no idea where my dog came from, but I want another one in the future; specifically a good-natured dog who can be confident/neutral with strangers/dogs/kids.

Is it true that GSDs are nervous/flighty a lot of the time? Do I have a weirdo dog, or are there breeders out there who are more dedicated to temperament than maybe the ones responsible for the half dozen to ten dogs I've met in my own experience?

Everywhere I read has said that genetics are more dominant than socialization, and a shy nervous pup can be managed, but not turned into a confident animal.

I've met a few also with gastric issues too; I'd be willing to deal with that (Ben has apparently a cast iron gullet, but we don't push it too much anyway), as long as I could get a nice confident animal.

I live in the southeast and maybe will be looking in a couple of years. I'm just that person who starts researching this early, yes.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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I should also say, I'm willing to pay for a good quality dog and I've looked at some local breeders' websites. I'm worried that i) even if it's a reputable breeder, what are the chances of a shy/nervous dog and ii) maybe since I don't have a lot of GSD experience--just one dog so far-- and I don't do sports or working, these reputable breeders may not want to place a dog with my family.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 10:00 PM
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I would suggest you contact an IPO/Schutzhund/working dog club and ask for breeder recommendations - much better chance of finding what you are looking for from breeders who actually do put solid nerves, temperament, and health as a priority, rather than breeders who say they do, but in reality the priority is breeding to make cute puppies for sale.

Even in a litter bred for work, there will be some puppies that are lower drive, and lower energy and will make great pets in an active home like yours where the dog gets a couple of hours of exercise a day.

I would also ask the owners of the shy/timid dogs where they got them from so you can avoid those breeders.

If you do a search for "Texas Breeders", there should be a few threads already that might give you an idea of which breeders to look at.

Lucia


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, Castlemaid! I don't want anyone to think I am against sports or working, or even showing (although I doubt I would ever have the $$$ for that last one). I'm not. It's just I'm very new to the breed, basically a shmo who picked a 9 month old dog out of a cage full of dogs.

I will definitely check out some of the IPO groups, although I'm a little nervous. I don't want to walk up and just say "Hey guys, can you tell me where I can get a puppy?" I'll definitely at least attend some events or something before I start asking. Like I said, I worry that because I'm a pet owner, someone will think I'm not good enough to get a nice, solid temperament GSD. I will definitely be looking for a lower energy dog if two hours of exercise is considered low. Good to know! Our vet says he's got a bum knee from an old injury, possibly hit by a car, so he tires out quickly, but he definitely needs that game time and running EVERY DAY.

Anyway, I've been really convinced lately that if I want another even keel animal, I'm going to have to spend on a really good dog, because it's chancy otherwise. I guess it could still be chancy, but it seems LESS likely from a stellar breeder. I don't know the breeders of the dogs I met, but though they were pretty, they were awfully nervous.

I would consider rescue also, though it seems that it's harder to get all the things you want from a rescue dog, unless again, you are lucky with the availability and criteria, etc.

We're going to wait until Ben is out of his adolescence and until we get a bigger place before getting another dog. But we're already thinking about what we want and how to get it. He's such a lovely, intelligent animal--I'm just besotted with the breed now.

Thanks for the advice!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 11:08 PM
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Well since the majority of dogs you saw were probably American show line then of course the chances of finding a good one is a dime a dozen.

Btw when you ask people where they got their dog, do you think they know what a reputable breeder even means? You ask someone and they either say they got it from the pound or a breeder. Breeder to them is most likely a back yard breeder. Those same dogs are the ones that end up in the pound because of bad temperament.

I agree go to a Schutzhund club if you want to see the demeanor, temperament, and drives of a real gsd.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 11:09 PM
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I wouldn't say that needing two hours of exercise is low energy - I meant it would be just the right amount of exercise for a GSD. I think a lot of people are intimidated in contacting good breeders, because often good breeders do focus on maintaining working ability (as they should), and will want to place their pups in working homes, mostly because people who do things with their dogs are more likely to be motivated and committed to understanding the dogs' needs and taking the steps necessary to meet them in terms of exercise, training, and leadership. However, a pet home can be just as knowledgeable and committed and understanding. Especially someone like yourself who has the experience and has demonstrated your ability and commitment to your dog. An active pet home can meet those criteria just as well as a working home.

Breeders will be looking to place their dogs in families where the dog is part of the family and are a priority - not the average type family where the dog is taken to maybe one puppy class, and spend most of its life hanging out in the backyard with the occasional game of fetch.

Lucia


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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I really do appreciate your encouragement, Castlemaid. It is intimidating, especially because I don't really know what level or types of drives or activity we currently have versus your average dog park dog or a "real GSD." He's our first family dog, so not much to compare with. I feel like I would not even know what to ask for as far as levels/drives. But I'm working on getting more knowledge.

I just this weekend found that "Elements of Temperament" article by Joy Tiz, and that was a SUPER help. It is actually the thing that made me connect some of my interactions with purchased GSDs versus my own pound pup.

Gib, I'm sure you know a lot more about the breed than I do. I was just saying that the dog I got from the pound is the one who seems to have an unfailingly steady temperament. He's not perfect, but he's a solid guy.

I don't know how he got there, maybe he got lost? Or maybe he just lucked into having good nerves? My husband and I have spent a lot of time looking at photos of GSDs on the internet, trying to figure out what "kind" of GSD our dog is (for whatever that is worth). Our Ben is a red and black saddle coat, with a large wedge head. We think he looks most like the West German Show Lines; I mean other than his soft ear, he's like a cookie cutter of that look.

We live in Atlanta and someone even asked us one time if he was from a specific breeder. Of course he couldn't be--he didn't have any tattoos or microchips when we got him; but when I looked at the breeder's website it seems like she does breed WGSL dogs.

I don't intend to get into which type of GSD is the best. I know from countless hours of reading on here and at pedigree database that there are huge battles raging about all these different kinds. All I know is I love this ONE dog, MY dog, and I'd like another dog like him in the future.

While I cannot say it is not important to me to have a beautiful pet (now that I have had the experience of having one), the most important thing is that our next dog is just as trustworthy as our current one. I can take my dog to downtown Atlanta (and I do, a lot) and he will not turn a hair at traffic, pedestrians, the guy jackhammering the street, police sirens, etc. He still hates being left at home, but he is a dream on restaurant patios and in stores like Petco and Lowes. He's polite with human admirers and fellow dogs when we're out, good with my son, and on guard when he is at home.

I cannot understand why this wonderful boy was in the pound. But I probably won't find a treasure like that in the pound again, which is why I'm on here asking advice.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Also, I do not know dogs from that specific breeder I got asked about, though I have met, in passing, ONE dog from that breeder. That was not a shy dog at all either--seemed very calm and good, although I probably only spent like 10 minutes around it. We met it in passing at a local dog park. Again though, I didn't really talk too much to the owner about the breeder as I felt shy about asking.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 12:25 AM
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When you get into working dogs you may find yourself reevaluating what you consider to be good/bad nerves.
What you thought was good may only be just passable or poor once you start comparing previously seen or owned dogs with a good working line dog.

The bottom line is find a breeder that has a reputation for producing strong dogs.

# 1: Ensure they are working their dogs not just saying they are there should be video at the minimum

# 2: Check their reputation and talk to a few people with the dogs that are actually WORKING them, not just have them as pets

# 3: If possible drive down and check out the pup that has been selected. Ask the breeder to pick one for you.
Take the dog he has selected away from the rest of the litter preferably somewhere it has ever been. Then put it down and see what it does. Drop something noisey on the ground, pick up/put down the puppy see what his reactions are.
You dont have to be an expert to see if the dog is afraid/unsure or not.
If you see any sign of fear or insecurity ask to see another pup.

DONT compromise on nerves, dont be afraid to walk away or wait for the next litter. If the breeder wont let you do this simple test walk.

Even good breeders produce nervy or low drive duds whatever people want to tell you over the internet. Going to a good breeder with proven dogs just stacks the odds in your favor.

Ofcourse what a sport enthusiest considers low drive or nervy may be just what your looking for, depends what you want and what you can handle.

Bastian the Beast


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Last edited by Blitzkrieg1; 08-11-2014 at 12:27 AM.
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