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Discussion Starter #1
The idea for our new weekly discussion topic was a recommendation from Vinnie (thanks, Vin
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I think a big part of the reason we all love this board is the collective knowledge and advice to be found. I can think of few better resources for information on the German Shepherd Dog anywhere. That said... What's the best, most useful advice you've ever read or received regarding the GSD? This can come from anyone and anywhere.
 

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the advice that changed my skittish dog's life "don't coddle your dog for fears or say it's ok or it's alright because they think your saying it's ok to be scared" natural human response to try and sooth your dog for fears but it increases the fear.
 

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When mine was a wild pup, Val told me to put him on a lead in the house to help calm and teach manners. Best advice I got. Thanks Val!
 

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After having some concers about my dog being to aggressive I hired a GSD behavior specialist. Her advicefollows:

"You have a German Shepherd Dog bred along European lines, not a lab. Timber is defensive, not aggressive, and will always be like that. He is not a welcoming committee like some dogs are. German Shepherds do not like everyone, especially strangers."
 

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The best advice set me up with the right expectations: The GSD is not going to be bubbly and welcoming of strangers. It should NOT be overly defensive, shy, or too leery, but for someone used to labs your dog will seem quite indifferent at first. She will not approach strangers but there is NO reason they should not be able to approach her. The GSD is also a velcro dog!

Both of these have proven to be true to the millionth degree!! I grew up around labs so I'm glad I got this warning on what to expect. When I take my dog to the ice cream window, she just sits there very still and lets people pet her, but she's not jumping all over everyone and panting excitedly at their presence like the dogs I'm used to. Also, I cannot so much as go to the bathroom without her feeling "separated", lying outside the door until I'm done. She won't even sniff the ground without my approval first.
 

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After my first GSD died I started my search for another one. She had been a rescue and I really didn't know anything about her background. She had bad hips so I wanted to stack the odds in my favor and go with a breeder.

Anyhow, I went on one of the boards and at that point didn't know anything about the different lines, etc.... After reading a bit I was a little nervous about the workinglines as I had read how they have so much energy, etc....I posted a general question about looking for breeders in my area and not being certain about what type I wanted but was leaning toward a W. German showline.

One of the board members pm'd me and said that maybe I should rethink looking at the workinglines and gave me a little education. That is what I did and now have 2 workingline females and am so pleased with their temps and drives and willingness to work. They are wonderful family companions as well.

That was the most valuable advice I have been given to date in regards to the GSD.
 

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Chruby, same here. A board member here suggested Czech lines, even though I imagined workinglines to all be too drivey, aggressive, etc etc. My calm, bold-but-gentle, clearheaded 9 month old Czech puppy is sleeping next to me as I type this.

Lovely temperament, easy to live with for an active, involved, committed owner. Yes!
Great advice to look within these lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I can sum it up with one word..er..acronym...NILIF.
 

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Socialize him lots and lots - take him to Starbucks, to parks, in the car, etc.

I am still soooo learning about this breed and had to chuckle re Liesje's comments - I don't get a moment alone either - bathroom or otherwise (and wouldn't have it any other way!).
 

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The best advice I found too was NILF - Nothing in Life is Free.
Since my dog is a dominant/confident pup this has been invaluable in making life smoother for me and ensuring that she knows who is alpha (cause she wants to be!). As a result of nilf, she waits to go out the door and doesn't push me aside, she waits for me to leash her and to say okay before exiting the car (so I don't have to worry about her taking off and getting hit by a car or something), she waits for me to say okay it is time to eat (so there is no snatching and no tipped bowls from her jumping for the dish) and she waits at the top of the stairs for me to go down and when I am carrying the vacuum cleaner downstairs or have my hands full going out a door then this is just so much easier. And these all came about from NILF exercises to let her know that I am alpha - so the benefits have been two fold.

 

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This is a great topic!!

Nilif, when I first heard of it, was a great piece of advice, so too was maximising socialisation when it was expanded to include more types than I had thought of; then, "a tired dog is a good dog" was well and truly proved to be very true. But when I posted a topic "who would your dog protect?" and Historian emphasised that I should be protecting my dog (which is what I have always believed) that it made me choose to change some of my behaviour. I was (on occasion but not always) too polite to protect my previous dog's rights, but that is certainly not the case now.

Thanks Historian (Chris)!!
 

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I'd have to say NILIF, which teaches impulse control, and and the power of ignore. Cassidy was a little hellion of a puppy, and our attention was the most important thing in the world to her. When nothing else worked, removal of attention and ignoring her was like the magic bullet to turn her attitude around, and also making her work for what she wanted.
 

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In 1974 when a cowboy friend gave us our very first German Shepherd Dog his advice to us was to "keep this dog around people, people and then some more people and he'll never give you a minute of trouble". Today of course we would say socialize, socialize, socialize.

The only trouble was that when he was about 2 1/2 years old, he was so friendly, that one day when we were off the property someone stole right from our barnyard!

 

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My parents both loved dogs. I grew up hearing the phrase, "An untrained dog is an unloved dog."

Bless their hearts, Mom and Dad were absolutely right!
 

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Hi everybody, great topic! I would like to add that I get <span style="color: #FF6666">[/color]excellent [color:#000000]</span> GSD advice every day from Wolf
my GSD. He really does his best to communicate, he is almost always kind and fair-as another dog discussion group says. When he balks at doing something, it's usually because he has a good reason. When he wants to do something, he asks courteously, something we could do well to emulate. Mary Jane
 

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Completely agree w/NILF. The other advice I got from this board was about the martingale collar, I love it!
 
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Well my father was a trainer before me and his days with GSDs started as a Marine on Guadalcanal during WWII. He bought his first GSD in 1948 and bred and trained them for the next 36 years. He gave me my first advice and the best advice I've ever had. I was very, very young when I got my first GSD. My siblings had been 9 or 10 when they got their's. I was just 5 years old, but dad said I had "the gift" as he called it and I was his only child who did. I had shown an innate ability to understand and work with animals just as he had. So he started me early. I remember the day I was given Kaiser as if it was yesterday, but it was April 1967. Dad said, "Tommy you must lead this dog. Lead your dog now and you will always be able to and one day you will be able to lead men too." And so dad was as always right. I lead my dog and in time I lead men too.
 
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