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how can the forum best help these members, these people are obviously looking for help. is there a common link to these dogs or just a random wave of threads?

could not find a sticky on it?

some members give great advice, thank you.
 

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Why do you think that some of us experienced folks constantly stress certain themes are priorities in breeding....so that people WONT continue to have to recieve dogs and pups like that. It starts with breeders breeding sound stock over pretty and drivy stock. You have to go to the beginning to help folks, because if its genetic,(and an overwhelming number are) then it becomes very difficult to fix. Anyway, people acquire this breed with the idea that they are going to get a strong noble courageous dog....after all that is the legacy of the breed. I feel sorry for folks that get these pups and angry at breeder that breed the type of dogs that produce these dogs.
 

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Why do you think that some of us experienced folks constantly stress certain themes are priorities in breeding....so that people WONT continue to have to recieve dogs and pups like that. It starts with breeders breeding sound stock over pretty and drivy stock. You have to go to the beginning to help folks, because if its genetic,(and an overwhelming number are) then it becomes very difficult to fix. Anyway, people acquire this breed with the idea that they are going to get a strong noble courageous dog....after all that is the legacy of the breed. I feel sorry for folks that get these pups and angry at breeder that breed the type of dogs that produce these dogs.
And it starts with 'breeder's' not breeding their pet dogs because it is **the best dog ever** and they want a puppy from it. I hear this over and over and over....then they just randomly choose a mate for that 'best dog ever' and end up with the 'crap'shoots which they will place with whoever clicks their classified.
 

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I do think it's heavily genetic, and unfortunately it seems to be a strong influence even 3-4 generations down from an actual German Shepherd, at least if the mixed-breed dogs I see in rescue are any indication.

One mixed blessing about the growing public awareness of spaying and neutering family pets is that the population of rescue dogs, in a lot of regions, is shrinking down to those dogs owned by remarkably irresponsible people. To the extent that responsible owners are spaying and neutering their stable, sweet-tempered family dogs (which is a lot, at least around here -- I can name two un-fixed male dogs in my neighborhood and that is it, out of a population of hundreds), those dogs are not adding to the shelter population.

But the unsocialized "guard dogs" used to protect drug houses in the city? Those guys mostly aren't fixed. The dogs being bred and sold by unscrupulous and ignorant BYBs for spending money? Also unfixed. And those are the dogs and puppies who wind up in rescue, and some of them are actually being selected for fear aggression because people don't realize that a dog who growls and snaps ferociously at any approaching stranger is not being "protective." That poor dog is terrified for its life. But if all you want is a noisy scary-sounding deterrent because you live in a bad inner city neighborhood, maybe that's exactly the dog you want.

And quite often, because these dogs aren't starting out in the best environments, their genetic instability is compounded by a lack of early socialization.

So I see a lot of shepherd mixes come into rescue with a continuum of fear issues ranging from relatively mild shyness to full-on raging fear aggression. In an earlier age, when family pets were breeding unchecked and shelters were constantly being inundated with full litters of puppies, these dogs would probably have been euthanized on intake or soon after. Another mixed blessing of the modern age is that the pet overpopulation problem has been checked enough that we don't have to do that anymore, and some of these dogs have an opportunity to go up for adoption, and more adopters are willing and able to undertake a certain amount of rehab. The upshot is that, while these dogs have always existed, I think nowadays more of them are getting out alive instead of being sent out the back in black plastic bags.

And, finally, I think people are more willing to work with their problem dogs these days. They can go to a trainer or post on the Internet and ask "what should I do? how can I make this better?" instead of just tossing the dog into the backyard and letting it live out its days in hopeless isolation, or taking it to the pound, or having it put down. Again: it's a mixed blessing. Humane training and socialization techniques have gotten so much better that we can make a lot of progress with these dogs, and regular people are willing to do it, but it does make for a lot more work than starting out with a stable dog.

What I'm seeing is probably at least a couple of generations down the ladder from what cliffson and onyx'girl have mentioned, but I think it all contributes to the apparent prevalence of these issues.
 

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I agree with Cliff, and I think alot of people get a gsd thinking they are all pre trained and will turn out like Rin Tin Tin.
 

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I also agree with Cliff. We get dogs in rescue who have been through awful, awful things, and you would never know, and we also get dogs who have been cared for all their lives, and they are just not right (plus all other ranges of nature/nurture) but it makes it clear the impact of genetics. It makes it easy to support truly thoughtful breeding practices. Because if something, heaven forbid happens, that well thought out balanced dog is going to have an easier time of it.


Sticky: Protective or fearful? (
1 2)
Shadow's mum
04-19-2013 04:16 AM
by Lobobear44
97 15,407
Sticky: What do you tell people? (
1 2)

Two current stickies. I always recommend people go to the yahoo shy K9 group. I am sure with some time to do so I could put a sticky together, as fearful dogs are my "thing."
 

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I, too, have seen a well bred dog raised in a basement in a crate so bad it tooks months to build the muscle up to where it could support the dog's weight. It has never been socialized but had an excellent temperament and drives.

We did everything right with "Toby" and he was scared of his shadow until the day he died. That is when I learned so much about finding a dog with good nerve is #1, even more important than some of the other things people get crazy about (for example hips)
 

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Isn't it possible the socialization of the bitch with the pups is also involved, perhaps in causing expression of the genetics? In other words, it's genetics plus what mama teaches the pups in those first crucial weeks?

Here's why....at the shelter where I volunteer, I've heard that if they leave pups with a fearful mother until normal weaning time, the pups seem to model her behavior and are afraid of everything. It's almost like they get imprinted with fearfulness.

On the other hand, I know of one incredibly scared, withdrawn, timid GSD mother who came into the shelter with a pup with its eyes still closed, and his shy purebred papa was there too. The shelter took the pup from her as soon as he could handle some solid food and sent it to a foster home for intensive care, at around 4 weeks, so that it wouldn't be imprinted by her fear (and she wasn't doing much to care for it anyway). That foster home had a well-socialized, sweet, gentle GSD female who decided to nurture the pup, play with it, and teach it.

By 10 weeks, that pup was a confident, assertive little goofball--into everything, and afraid of nothing. He displayed none of the mother's fearfulness or the father's shyness. We credit the foster's personal GSD for that, as the pup seemed to model her own confidence with the environment and people.

Now of course we don't know what he'll be like when he grows up, but there shelter's experience seems to suggest there is a mared personality difference in a pup who gets socialized by a confident, stable female vs. a fearful, shy one in the first few weeks. Does that make sense?
 

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Those threads are frustrating for anyone who loves GSDs/dogs in general because sometimes there is only so much you can do and no one likes to sit here and say "I told you so" about the dog's genetics. Some dogs just need management and some areas in their lives where they can feel relaxed and be like a dog, I know I've had one myself.

I also think though that a lot of people just aren't the right handler for their dog. I've seen other GSDs in my classes/sports, even one or two at the SchH club where I think "you know that would be a fabulous dog with the right person...." I'm not saying their owners/handlers were terrible at training dogs but maybe just not right for this particular breed or a GSD with that much "presence" in size/strength and temperament.
 

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I've seen other GSDs in my classes/sports, even one or two at the SchH club where I think "you know that would be a fabulous dog with the right person...." I'm not saying their owners/handlers were terrible at training dogs but maybe just not right for this particular breed or a GSD with that much "presence" in size/strength and temperament.
I totally agree with this. We just had a gorgeous, well-bred-looking sable female in the shelter that I'd put money on her having working line dogs in her family tree. She was very anxious and whiny in the shelter. Everything she showed me when I took her out for an evaluation suggested she was a dog with strong drive who had never been given any training, but she settled down and relaxed when offered good leadership.

The shelter (mistakenly, in my view) first tried putting her in a pet home. She promptly attempted to go after their little foo-foo dog due to her prey drive -- and then she was returned. She was finally placed in with an experienced handler who wanted a dog to work and do scent training with...and the dog is flourishing, and the anxiety is gone now that she has a purpose. The dog wasn't "defective"--she was just a high drive dog who had never been given what she needed to thrive and bring out the best in her. I think this dog had the potential to be an anxious, dog-reactive mess in different hands though.
 

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Just look at Gizmo and what a great dog he turned out to be. That dog would have been euthanized for sure.

The rescue who is going to take him talked about a solid black female. Sounds like she's got drive out the wazoo. She was also placed in a foster to adopt home and was back at the rescue within 48 hours. They will bring her along once they pick him up for neutering so I can check her out.

She sounds like a nice, highly driven dog and if she is what I think she is, just from them talking about her, I might take onto her as the next foster dog simply because it'd be a shame if she would just sit in the Rescue and not get a chance to find the right home.

Also, just got TWO 12 week old Boxer puppies in today. The owner first took classes with his Boxer pup and from the beginning I told him that his Boxer is just being a normal puppy and that is what puppies do.

Later he called and said that the pup lunged at his mother, hanging from the pants. They have scratches, bite marks and the pup would always get a couple of minutes where he would attack them and if he said no, the dog would get mean and just had a mean streak....

I've got both pups. His friends pup and his. Both are litter mates. They are absolutely normal pups. People just don't seem to know or recognize puppy behavior any more. To be honest, they are absolutely solid pups. No fear, no shyness, no issues to walk into this house with barking dogs, whatsoever.
 

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And it starts with 'breeder's' not breeding their pet dogs because it is **the best dog ever** and they want a puppy from it. I hear this over and over and over....then they just randomly choose a mate for that 'best dog ever' and end up with the 'crap'shoots which they will place with whoever clicks their classified.
I'm even more angered by the breeders (like my boy's) that truly believe they are doing something wonderful. They have the website, pedigrees, and a nice "kennel." To anyone who doesn't have a mentor or is active on a forum like this, everything appears great! But, come to find out, the "champion" lines they brag about are 3/4 generations back (to the untrained eye that doesn't matter), they only health check their dogs for the bare minimum (most of the "general" population only care for a check on hips), they don't work or "test" any of their dog's temperaments, etc...I got some song and dance and I am an optimistic sap, so I believed every dang word....

Well, even though I lucked out a little...he's a great family dog(so far), not too nervy, very biddable, but very soft. Handles most situations fine...BUT, even though I lucked out temperament wise I am learning my lesson the hardest way possible. My guy has a heart murmur that went from below a 1 to a solid 2.5 in three weeks....We go in this week to check again, but the vet isn't very optimistic. Said he may not see his first birthday. I'm still training him like nothing is happening. He loves training, and until that stops, we'll keep it up. :)

But you know what? I am furious with myself. I should have researched more, should have found a mentor, should have done SOMETHING to NOT support that kind of breeder. I mean, I worked at a vet clinic, rescue centers, I SHOULD have known better!!! I just wasn't really exposed to the world of dog breeding (my vet was mostly a large animal/livestock vet) All I can promise is lesson learned, never.again.

So, some of us make a FIRST bad decision, but it's not on purpose, and the next decision will be different...I promise. :(
 

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Most german shepherds are weak nerved and fearful because most are poorly bred. Simple as that. It's what happens when your breed is the 3rd most popular breed in your country.

Berlin is the ONLY well bred GSD that comes in to my day clinic, and most of my coworkers hate german shepherds because most of our german shepherd patients have fear aggression

The ones that aren't fear aggressive are covered in hot spots, have horrible allergies, and can hardly stand up because of their arthritis and hip dysplasia.
 

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@Anubis.....when I point out these things, people get offended, think its bashing, and try to say every dog can't be policedog:mad:, I'm just saying what I have seen too much of these days....fortunately you are in a position that you see many more of the breed than the average poster....it is what it is:shocked:.
 

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Thank you! Because of your post i had everything checked with Timbre, he is healthy good heart, kidney,hips and disposition! I would have never thought to ask the vet to check for heart murmurs and she said that they usually dont check wich is a pity

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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I guess I got lucky! My pup has been rock solid in every situation I've put him in so far, no fear and/or fear aggression. And he's even half of the dreaded German showline. :p So far so good with allergies and everything else, he gets lots of compliments regarding his temperament at the vets and from some IPO evaluators I ran into at my local GSD club.

Though I did take my time looking for a breeder and talked to people about her and her dogs before I took the plunge. Definitely would never make an impulsive decision when it comes to this breed! And thanks to this board I'm even more prepared for my next one.
 

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I've had gsd's my entire life, grew up with them.

Honestly, it makes me sad to read alot of the postings here about all these wacky problems , behavior and health wise when it comes to the breed I love best:(

I know my vet has also said, that the gsd's I've brought there over the years were ones they never worried about behavior wise, and one of the vets was a gsd owner for years:(

I admit tho, masi is the first dog I've ever had that is totally petrified of my vet in the vet's office:( So scared that I do muzzle her which seems to settle her (like it's taking any decision out of her hands)..

Do I think it's genetic? weak nerves? training?, none of the above, she's all over everyone else in the office, she's all over my vet (whos a friend) if she comes to my house.. I just chalk it up to a "quirk" of hers, because she is rock solid when it comes to any other situation, new/old, people, you name it..

I have been blessed with some incredible dogs over the years, and expect nothing less from ones I get in the future.

I do 'cringe' alot tho when I read some of the posts about issues others have here on this board, and just makes me shake my head:(
 

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Discussion Starter #19
if only there was a way to head people off at the pass and instill a clearer set of expectations on what the traps and pitfalls and joy that can become with 2 minutes pre-thought before deciding on a pup...any breed.
 
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