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Discussion Starter #1
I wasn't sure where to put this post and settled for here. I hope people new to the breed read this and then research...research....research before adding a GSD to their household.

One of my co-workers cousin has recently purchased a GSD. She lives with him at the moment, has a 4 year old son and works long hours that include several different shifts. Now this isn't neccessarily a recipe for disaster if your a dedicated dog owner. I usually try not to interfere with discussions about dogs at work as I have found most people do not understand the importance of finding a responsible breeder and with that comes money. They want the cheap dog that looks nice and hope for the best. I get too frustrated so I don't take part in "dog" discussions. Until now...........

Co-workers cousin lives with him as she can't afford a place for her son and her on their own. Bought this GSD puppy (very pretty pup I might add) as a "house dog and companion" for her 4 year old son. I asked for the breeders name........checked out the website. I was impressed by the website and wouldn't hesitate to inquire and research more if I was looking to add another GSD to my home but what screamed out the most was the breeder breeds a working line. Seems to be very accomplished in Shutzhund which to me indicates high drive dogs. The cousin has no idea what this means, knows nothing about GSD's, has no plans to work this dog....no time but instead wants a calm quiet dog to hang out with her son. She says she has time to do a daily walk most days. I was horrified....then scared for her and her son, then terrified about what will come of this poor dog in the future.

What reputable breeder would sell such high driven GSD's to someone like this? This is a recipe for disaster. I told my co-worker to get his cousin to research the breed and the characteristics that go with it. I pray she will either change her mind about how much time she is willing to invest in this puppy or take the puppy back and get herself a lapdog that is not so labour intensive but would still be a good companion for her son.

Not so sure I would recommend this breeder if they don't also research their buyers.

Please please research before you buy!!!

Cathy
 

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I'm not sure if it is a recipe for disaster. This woman surely though shouldn't be buying a puppy if she can't afford shelter, but other than that working line dogs can and do work out fabulously in a family atmosphere. She may anticipate only giving a morning walk, but this pup may very well train her otherwise. Her son may also prove a great source for exercise- I know my two kids love playing fetch with the dogs and do so daily. Another thing is not all working line dogs are high drive....maybe the breeder sold them a lower drive dog knowing it wasn't suited for work. Other than running them training is great mental stimulation and even a novice dog owner is going to do some basic training with their dog.
 

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if you mean "work" as in train and socialize this person shouldn't
have a dog. all dogs need training, socializing and care.

Seems to be very accomplished in Shutzhund which to me indicates high drive dogs. The cousin has no idea what this means, knows nothing about GSD's, has no plans to work this dog....
Cathy
 

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Discussion Starter #4
When I say work yes I mean at a minimum basic training, socializing and keeping this dog mentally and physically healthy. I dont believe a working line GSD will thrive in a home where they "might" get one walk a day and the rest of the stimulation comes from a 4 year old child. I don't believe a responsible breeder would sell one of their puppies to a home with limited time, money with no interest in working or training.
 

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Everyone insists that working line dogs can make great pets. I have not owned a working line dog. I had two with some working lines in them. Frodo was insane and would not have been a good candidate for home with small children. Rushie on the other hand, was calm and quiet, and would have been fine in that role.

A breeder matches the pups in the litter to the buyers. A breeder will listen to the buyer and then make a decision as to which pups they will show the person. It their best schutzhund competition prospect walks up and grabs the persons pant leg, they are not going to say -- there, he has chosen you.

They will take between 1 and 3 pups and let the people choose between them. I am sure that mistakes can be made. Eight week old puppies can be evaluated, but I am not sure that if the evalutaion happened when the puppy was not at its best, it might test differently. I will say, that the pups out of Jenna's first litter, did match their personailities pretty close -- they were tested at seven weeks.

I would probably suggest German Showline for this situation. But then I would suggest German Showline probably 95% of the time. (A bit biased.)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I too like the German showlines which is what best suited our house when we were looking. Our breeder was very good about explaining the different lines and listening to what would fit with our home. She was hesitant about putting a working line dog into a home with a first time GSD owner. I am glad I listened to her and have a well adjusted GSD that fits perfectly with us. Having said that.........my dog needs more than one walk a day to be happy.
 

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I breed working lines, and yes most are high drive. I've placed many in companion homes, including homes with kids, with no problem at all. BUT, those were people who understood the nature of the GSD and it's needs for exercise, mental stimulation, structure and training, and quality time spent doing something with it's people, not just hanging about with them. And they had the time, money and most importantly *desire* to do something with the dog. That something wasn't necessarily SchH or SAR or agility or anything serious or competitive... might just be basic obedience and amusing pet tricks and tracking the kids around the trees in the yard... but the dog's needs were met and everyone was happy.

Can a working line dog do well in a non-working pet home with kids that has no plans for serious training or "working" the dog? Absolutely.

But NO GSD, regardless of line, is suitable for any home that can't or won't put the time and energy into meeting it's needs. It does sound like this particular person is questionable in that regard, and probably shouldn't have a GSD at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am hoping for the best and have been encouraging my co-worker to pick up the slack and get this puppy out and about as its not left the house for any socializing yet. I think and hope what will happen is the work my co-worker puts in will be what has HIM keeping the dog and not her. She so far does not seem to be putting any effort into anything but cuddling this puppy.

Thanks for your input Chris.....gives me confidence that one day down the road I can handle the responsibility of a working line GSD. I crave and so desparately want to participate in agility, search and rescue or possibly schutzhund one day.
 

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I agree with others that any owner of a GSD should be willing to put in basic training and socializing however, I think it's also important to remember that there are different drive levels...even in working litters.

My Tag would not have done well in a non-working home with inexperienced owners. His prey drive is very high and very easily activated, his nerves are a little closer to the surface. He can be a jerk and has a strong possessive streak. However his litter brother was a more moderate drive dog, with moderate energy, calm nerves, social, and biddable as can be. A SchH superstar he is not. His family has started his training as a service dog and he is showing a lot of promise.

So despite both being from strong working lines- there are variations in what is produced. One not suited as a pet, and one who would be just fine.

Also I agree that buyers are always excited about the new puppy, and maybe they don't think they're lying...but they usually are- to the breeder and to themselves. It's a pretty rare buyer that says "Hello. I would like to purchase your puppy. I do not plan to properly exercise it. It might get out once a day to play...but probably not if it's raining. I have a 4 year old son that I plan to leave unattended with the puppy. I've seen Rintintin and I'm pretty sure that by raising them together the puppy will soon learn how to monitor my son and become the babysitter I had always hoped for. I of course have heard how smart German Shepherds are and therefore expect this puppy to do this instinctually...so there's really no need for training is there?"
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I appreciate the different opinions.......opens my eyes and I no longer necessarily hold the breeder as responsible for this as I originally did.

Can you possibly be accurate with assessing puppies at 8 weeks old and predict drive?
 

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I appreciate the different opinions.......opens my eyes and I no longer necessarily hold the breeder as responsible for this as I originally did.

Can you possibly be accurate with assessing puppies at 8 weeks old and predict drive?

Yes. Especially if the breeder is familiar with their lines and what is produced. I have always picked my own puppies using various working puppy tests and certain characteristics that were apparent in the 7 week old puppies were consistent traits throughout their lives. Cade had excellent natural focus at 7 weeks and already showed a natural prance for a food lure. He engaged different objects readily and showed commitment to chase. That carried through to adulthood. Tag's brother only showed moderate commitment to chase toys and would stop to explore his environment or go back and visit people. So far that tendency has held true.

Now there are occasionally sleepers...whose drives wake up later on down the road...but I also do not think you can overlook the environment the puppy is raised in. For example if toy/play/prey drive is not encouraged in a puppy it is certainly possible to suppress it to a degree. In much the same way that it is possible to bring it out to a degree. I think you can look at drive more as a range of potential rather than in a specific category. What we might classify as a high prey drive pup can be suppressed to where it looks more moderate...but on the other hand it can also be brought up to the point where it looks like a crazy out of control dog.
 

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There can be variation in the litters and just because a dog is from an accomplished working line breeder does not mean the dog *needs* a high level working home. Same reasons that not *every* dog in a show line litter ends up winning shows and getting V-ratings.

In Pan's litter, I believe three were sold as Schutzhund prospects (him included). A few were sold for competitive obedience and agility, a few as pets. Pan, having been selected for me because of the drives he showed early on, has so far been my easiest puppy/dog as far as being a "house dog". He's well behaved in the house, he has not ever been mouthy, he is not neurotically hyper, he gets along well with all other dogs and people. He has an ability to "settle" himself and has self-control that some other dogs do not. When I got him I was told that he would be slower to mature. I did not want a dog that has neurotically high prey drive and a low threshold. I like a dog that is a "thinking" dog with a moderate threshold level and works from a different place in the mind than prey prey prey. So far I am convinced the dog is everything I asked for and will be a fabulous Schutzhund dog, even if he's not jumping on everyone, biting and nipping at everything that moves, and running around acting crazy all the time. Just today I was watching him during his "free time" in the house and thinking to myself about how well behaved he is. My dogs are my pets as much as they are working dogs and I will not own a dog that I can't actually live with. I don't let my dogs get away with murder just because they are a working line dog or a Schutzhund dog. Either they have the drive or they don't, there are easy ways of raising a puppy to have self-control and household manners without squashing the dog's natural drives.

Also my adult female is pure working lines and has always first and foremost been a house dog. She is so well behaved that when she stays with my parents and sister my mom is always bragging about her manners, and my mom is indifferent towards dogs at best. When she compliments a dog it means something.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Just to be clear I have never doubted that a high drive GSD can live in a house peacefully. I questioned whether a high drive GSD can live in a house where it might get 1 walk daily and playtime with a 4 year old. I just can't imagine most dogs doing well in that environment nevermind a dog who's breeding has competitive working line dogs.
 

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If this lady really isn't going to run that dog well at least once a day she may very soon see she can not handle the repercussions. Too much energy=destruction, chewing, zoomies, and more destruction,lol

Zoe is from working lines and I have 2 kids. She is walked 3x a day off leash and goes with me to the store, to pick up the kids, and out with us to friends homes. She did beginner and intermediate training, is trained also in the home, and loves to play hide and seek knowing the names of more than 20 objects now. My kids play with her constantly and she is a happy girl. She has an off switch inside, but the minute we are outdoors she is go go go. However, when I stop play she is willing to key back down.

Hopefully this woman will see this dog needs more exercise and provides it:)
 

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As I have watched litters, there have been a couple of puppies that made me stand back and say whoa! One I put a bone with a rope in there, and the little girl was the first to get it to herself and run off through the tunnel. Two boys tried to relieve her of it and she pulled and pulled and was holding her own against two larger males. 45 minutes later, she was STILL going.

Hmmmm. The family wanted a female and I had three. Two were very outgoing and I suggested Bear to the family. But they liked Dolly's coloring. Against my better judgement, and because they had a song and dance about other dogs, I went ahead and sold them Dolly. I have Dolly back, and other than my Brother giving me a dog back, this is my only return, and I will not get into the injury they caused her, but she has been recovering at my place for about three months now, and physically is doing great.

The other pup, I took outside for the first time around three or four weeks old. And all the other pups were huddled together, kind of examining the funny green stuff they were walking on. Rush was on the other side of the yard, checking out the weak point in my fence.

Just things that make you go Hmmmm.

I think temperament testing is important, but you can also get snowed by people. Matching people to the dog really makes a huge difference. And this is why I really do not like the idea of using an application to weed through people. I am resigned to spend hours on the phone talking to potential customers, or rather listening to potential customers. This is one of those things where experience is all important, and mistakes can be huge.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I saw my co-worker today for the first time in 2 weeks and was really hoping things were going well. He is frustrated as its not his dog but he is the one doing the housebreaking as its his house she lives in. The puppy is 16 weeks old now and has left the house 2 times in the 4 weeks she has been in her new home. She is not being socialized or exercised. He is doing what he can but also works long hours and doesn't feel it's his dog to care for.
She paid $1500 which is what I paid for my pup and yet shows no interest in being an actual dog owner. I asked my partner if he would like me to attempt to talk to her and try to point out what could happen down the road if she doesn't take her job seriously. I have no problem being blunt and having her hate me rather than him as he is family. In the end I think this puppy will end up with issues and either returned to the breeder or worse.
I think what may have helped the breeder make a decision to sell to this lady is that she is a police officer.
 
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