Why is the GSD a bad choice for 1st time owners? - Page 5 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #41 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-05-2016, 04:16 PM
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Oh this is such a great place to ask and find answers to questions i'm sure most GSD owners have. They are such a great breed. If you put the time and effort into them. One of the things Sasha does that is so cute and funny and probably why I treat her like a child. When she wants to go outside she will sit in front of me actually staring me down and waits for me to say what do you want, when she wants to go outside she does a combination of things. She gives me her paw (this has a few meanings) will look directly into my eyes then look outside and she does this a couple of times not necessarily in quick succession and then give me her paw again. I think this is one of the rearly special things about GSD's they actually talk to you. In sign language (that you have to learn to pick up) but still, and the tilting of the head. When you put the time in they give you back 3 times as much as you give them.

Enjoy your journey.

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post #42 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-05-2016, 06:46 PM
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Oh this is such a great place to ask and find answers to questions i'm sure most GSD owners have. They are such a great breed. If you put the time and effort into them. One of the things Sasha does that is so cute and funny and probably why I treat her like a child. When she wants to go outside she will sit in front of me actually staring me down and waits for me to say what do you want, when she wants to go outside she does a combination of things. She gives me her paw (this has a few meanings) will look directly into my eyes then look outside and she does this a couple of times not necessarily in quick succession and then give me her paw again. I think this is one of the rearly special things about GSD's they actually talk to you. In sign language (that you have to learn to pick up) but still, and the tilting of the head. When you put the time in they give you back 3 times as much as you give them.

Enjoy your journey.
I really appreciate how members take the time to reply in detail. There are topics here that are covered in more depth than I've read anywhere else. Sasha sounds lovely and so smart. I've heard the same kind of sentiment from another GSD person I met. Miss Chloe was also expressive which is part of the reason I'm interested in GSDs. I'd wondered if that was the lab part of her but Mr B communicates in a different way. Hard to explain but true. It's nice to explore the world of GSDs at a leisurely pace. It's more of a "what if" line of thoughts for now.

Thanks, Cassidy's Mom for sharing what all your GSDs were/are like. It's a good snapshot of the range of personalities within a breed.

rfra, I tend to be optimistic about what I think I'll do with my dogs before I get them. If I aim for 80% of my good intentions, that would be about right.

Last edited by MissChloe; 11-05-2016 at 06:50 PM.
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post #43 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-05-2016, 07:01 PM
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I think the reason why it isn't a good first time dog is that when a GSD is poorly bred, poorly socialized, not trained, the problems have more consequences. The protection breeds were bred to be confident and use their mouths to make things happen. So the risk is increased that if you don't take it seriously you will have a dog that might be dog or human aggressive. If border collie is poorly trained, etc, you will have a dog that doesn't stop moving and probably runs away to find someone more suitable to them. A poorly trained labrador, etc... will run around like a crazy man and swim in every mud puddle within a mile. A poorly trained poodle... you get the point.

The risk and liability is greater I think. I also think training and handling a confident and smart dog takes consistency, clarity and structure that humans, as we project fur baby stuff, are not always that good at. Then we get posts on here that say things like, "he is deliberately defiant."

Morning Blab. Have a good day everyone.
Yes, I agree with much of what you are saying. People tend to anthropormorphize animals. I never think of my dogs as fur babies, just my very best friends and companions.
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post #44 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-05-2016, 07:19 PM
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This is something I do routinely with a new puppy as a preventative, and so far it's always worked for me. Rather than waiting for a potential guarding issue to crop up and have to deal with it later, I do trading games proactively. Of the GSDs we've had, Halo is probably the only one who might have become a resource guarder if left unchecked. But because I did SO much work with her right from the very beginning, including both trading games and tons of impulse control stuff, she's the one dog who will bring me a bone to hold for her while she chews, or she'll come to me with a ball so I can take it away from her and give it back before she goes away and plays with it. Those are little games that she made up and initiates.

I think if you start out with a puppy realizing that you have no idea what problems you may encounter along the way and do what you can to prevent them before they ever begin, it can make a huge difference in the long run. I never take food away from my dogs after I give it to them, but I can give them a pat on the side as I walk by while they're eating, or put my hand in the bowl to drop something yummy in it, and they're totally fine with that because they trust me.
I love the idea of trading up! Would you explain it a bit Further? I have a horrible resource guarding old dog right now.
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post #45 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-05-2016, 08:13 PM
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This is a very helpful thread to read as someone who is researching their first dog as an independent adult.

Thanks to everyone who has written such thought provoking and wise posts. I will be keeping a close eye on this one.
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post #46 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-05-2016, 09:29 PM
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I love the idea of trading up! Would you explain it a bit Further? I have a horrible resource guarding old dog right now.
I think if you already have a guarder you need to be very careful. It's going to be a slow, trust building thing, which can take some time. As I said, once I give my dogs something, it's theirs. They can voluntarily give it back (in a game, for example), but I'm not going to take it by force. Many people think that taking things away from their dogs routinely and then giving them back will help the dog learn that it's okay, and sometimes, with some dogs that works just fine. But the potential for blowback with that method is huge because it can actually trigger the opposite response, where the dog doesn't trust that at any time you may just randomly snatch away something it values!

As I mentioned, I also do impulse control stuff from the beginning. Even a young puppy can hold a sit for a fraction of a second while you put down the food bowl on the floor, and then release it to eat. I started that when my dogs were young puppies, very easy at first and then gradually more challenging. In this photo my husband has put Halo's dinner on the floor and she's sitting and watching him, waiting for the "okay" to eat it:



In the early stages, the puppy is further from me and the bowl, so I can quickly stand back up if puppy breaks the sit and tries to get the food. Once puppy sits, I start to lower the bowl again. I do this as many times as necessary, until the puppy realizes that the way to get meals is to wait until the bowl is on the floor and I release them. Eventually, I can be several feet away with the bowl right next to the pup, and they will not eat until I say so. I own the food until I say it's the dog's.

I spent time with her every day doing this impulse control game by Susan Garrett, a well known agility trainer and competitor:


It's basically a default "leave it" since you never actually tell the dog anything, it learns that the way to get the food is to ignore the food. I add eye contact, the dog has to look at me. These eventually become very strong default behaviors, where my dogs routinely sit and look at me, awaiting permission to proceed, without me having to nag them about it. I own what's in my hand until I say it's the dog's.

Same thing with trading games. If you play with tug toys, you maintain possession of the toy by continuing to hold onto it. Have the dog "out" the toy (I start training this by putting a small piece of yummy, smelly food right at the dog's nose), when the dog drops the tug to each the treat, I mark it ("yes!"), and then we play tug some more. I do this with bones too, and balls, and any other of the dog's toys. Gotta go for now, I can expand more later.
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-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18 *** Keefer 8/25/05
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
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post #47 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 03:44 PM
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our gsd was our first, and we had our daughter with him till she was 8. He passed away right before turinig 11. He was an amazing dog. Its been a few years now since we lost our herc. We are starting to think about another one. It hurts losing these guys... too much..
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post #48 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 09:25 PM
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I think it is more the other way around: First time owners might be a bad choice for a GSD. It sounds like the same thing but it's not. The first way sounds like the breed is somehow defective/unsuitable for new owners. The second method kind of suggests new owners can be unsuited to GSDs. And they can be.

We don't throw a kid into the deep end to learn to swim, or give a kid a 12 speed racing bike for their first bicycle. Others prefer to sink or swim and start out rafting in the rapids.

GSDs are really more of a middle of the road dog. Others would put them higher on the list in requirements for owners. [Think PetsMart fish section: beginner, intermediate, expert, and the like.] But there are dogs that are higher maintenance, or higher energy, or more dangerous, or a lot tougher to train. Evenso, GSDs are formidable dogs. While they tend to be easy to train, they can take advantage of push-overs. And, if they are in the wrong hands, they can develop bad habits, and have serious consequences.

Personally, I think they are a great dog for a beginner, if you have the right beginner. I don't care how many Pippy dogs (English Setters) you have raised, it probably will not make you a better candidate for a GSD.

If you told me you owned a beagle or an Irish Setter before, I'd be more nervous about (ask a lot more questions) your taking on a GSD, than if you said you owned Rottweilers or even border collies.

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