Making the transition from show to working - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Making the transition from show to working

We are an active family. We owned a show line German Shepherd who we put down 6 months ago. I thought I wanted a show but now may be leaning towards a working dog. We really like Wendelinfarms German Shepherds. I have to be honest. I think it would be irresponsible of me to go in thinking raising a working dog would be slightly challenging than my show line.

The reason I am thinking of choosing working over show is health and temperament. I have no interest in doing personal protection. I have no issues putting in more work to raise this dog, but I am not sure if its the right fit or too much dog. Has anyone made this switch, and can make some suggestions to me on their experience?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 05:41 PM
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Yes, two years ago. Spend time around WL dogs before you get one. Decide how much drive you want and then get exactly what you can handle. Understand the difference between drive and energy. My young dog is high drive but medium high energy. That means he doesn’t go go go all day but he is very intense. He races around, gets tired, and then is pretty calm and mellow most of the time, unless his drive kicks in. You might think of it as having an Off Switch, vs the high drive and high energy dogs that can’t turn it off easily.

I had to learn a whole new method of training. My WGSLs and my rescues were all relatively easy to train with patience and repetition. This dog needs more. We started out with basic obedience but it was not enough. My trainer doesn’t call it BH but we are now doing steps toward that. I am learning advanced techniques. My previous dogs could jump. This dog can leap straight up from a standing position and clear a fence (yep, it happened, fortunately I was right there and took over before he could get himself into a mess). I had to learn to train him in drive for maximum attention with distractions. I had to learn capping as well and teach him to calm himself.

He is also the mouthiest dog I have ever owned. He was a landshark for months. He still nibbles on my sleeve to get my attention. He is quieter than my other dogs. He only barks when he has a reason. His training must be reinforced periodically or he “forgets” and entertains himself by doing his own thing.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 05:48 PM
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honestly, if you go with a responsible breeder who is honest about their dogs and what they produce and you are honest about your plans/experience/expectations you won't have any surprises in a working line. They can, in general, be more active than a showline dog. But much more goes by individuals than anything else.
A good working line dog should have an offswitch and settle nicely when not working.

My working line was definitely much more active and mischievous than my show/working cross. But he settles nicely in the house, has his Therapy Dog Novice title, CGCA and CGCU as well as a few others. He's still far from a couch potato at almost 7 years old but with outlets for mental and physical energy he is quiet and happy to laze on the couch for most of his day.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 05:48 PM
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I have hesitated for decades to get a WL as I thought they needed to be worked all day. Deja (3 years old) has a good drive but also a great off button. She easily adjusts to my activity level and proofed it during my sciatic year and healing from surgery. But stable temperament is crucial. I cannot call her hyper, she is super confident and calm but goes into gear whenever I want. Off course she will not be couch potato for hopefully many years. I regret worrying about this for so many years when I could have had at least two generations of these awesome dogs.
If you find a good breeder, go for it.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 05:57 PM
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Any line can be hyper. A wl will be more intense. Mine are no matter what they are doing.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 05:57 PM
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I don't think I've ever met a GSD that learned well with repetition. If anything, repetition has slowed the learning process because the dogs decide "oh you obviously didn't like it that way. how about I do this instead"
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudpump View Post
Any line can be hyper. A wl will be more intense. Mine are no matter what they are doing.
My most hyper dogs were all showlines. My WL is mellow but very intense when he needs to be.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 07:02 PM
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I have always had working lines, in one form or another,,totally depends on the dog, the lines, what you want to do, don't want to do..All of mine have been easy keepers, tho my czech / east female I will admit in the beginning was a wake up call She's been a great dog tho, I"m pretty active, so keeping her amused was / is never a problem..she settles nicely , and has been a joy to live with..I will always have working lines..

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Dainerra View Post
I don't think I've ever met a GSD that learned well with repetition. If anything, repetition has slowed the learning process because the dogs decide "oh you obviously didn't like it that way. how about I do this instead"
Repetition or drudgery? They all need reps, motivated, smart dogs just need them to not be boring.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 09:14 PM
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Repetition or drudgery? They all need reps, motivated, smart dogs just need them to not be boring.
Thank you, yes, this. I meant my SLs learned in a more linear manner. My WL needs to be amped for some tasks, and I need to keep his attention focused much more than with previous dogs.

To a previous poster, he is a great dog to train but the OP asked if there were differences. There are. I also didn’t say one line was better than another. It’s a personal preference.
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