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Discussion Starter #1
In the K9 circles I see, a few trends are becoming popular.

1) All people are looking for is over the top drive. Mostly civil and IMO unstable dogs.

2) People are rewarding hectic behaviors and thinking they are great over the top drives. In return getting a less clear headed dog.

3) Crappy nerve getting brushed under the rug because "the dog has over the top drives that will carry him through." Dogs never getting truly tested out of an extreme state of drive.

Number three is the most concerning to me. Handlers with dogs who are displaying fear aggressive behaviors are getting told this is good because the dog is civil and would make a great "police dog" even though it gets washed from sport. In some cases, it seems that the most important part of the dog is who it came from. Not the dog itself. It just seems that all handlers are looking for is over the top drive and a dog that doesn't think and will bite anything. What happens if the dog falls out of drive? These are peoples lives we're talking about. How is this acceptable?

I would love the input of those who have been around much longer than me and have seen the various trends over the years. What do you see in your areas? Where do you think this is headed? Have you noticed the breed of dog having an affect on the "type" of dog PD's are looking for? For example, the introdiction of more and more mals/dutchies making people now want higher drives and less social, stable dogs?
 

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I am just a GSD pet owner but have been around a while. I've always had GSD's but never read or participated in a GSD site. It FLOORS me how "specialized" this breed has become through demand.

In my experience through the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 2000's - yea - there were always lines with good LE prospects, sports, show, etc. But - it was never a primary focus for the masses - only a relative few individuals who really had an ambition and drive to compete or use their dog to assist people in some way - LE, handicapped, S & R etc.

Now, it sounds like people want to order a video game when they select a puppy - I want this, and this and this.....?? and how many of those people really follow through with their "wants when they get a dog"???
 

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I don't really worry a whole lot about the trends. There are people out there breeding for nice balance for any sort of work and this is where you go when you want a dog. It is as simple as that
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I don't really worry a whole lot about the trends. There are people out there breeding for nice balance for any sort of work and this is where you go when you want a dog. It is as simple as that

I understand this. The problem is these dogs ARE getting placed and working on the streets. Yes there are people trying to do it right, but in this world, it's more about who you know than the product you produce. This has just been my experience. I'm also not talking about only GSD's. I'm talking about K9's in general of all breeds and mix of breeds.

I will also add, that I believe these very trends are what drive breeding decisions. Show, sport, work, pet. All driven by trends IMO.
 

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In the K9 circles I see, a few trends are becoming popular.

1) All people are looking for is over the top drive. Mostly civil and IMO unstable dogs.

2) People are rewarding hectic behaviors and thinking they are great over the top drives. In return getting a less clear headed dog.

3) Crappy nerve getting brushed under the rug because "the dog has over the top drives that will carry him through." Dogs never getting truly tested out of an extreme state of drive.

Number three is the most concerning to me. Handlers with dogs who are displaying fear aggressive behaviors are getting told this is good because the dog is civil and would make a great "police dog" even though it gets washed from sport. In some cases, it seems that the most important part of the dog is who it came from. Not the dog itself. It just seems that all handlers are looking for is over the top drive and a dog that doesn't think and will bite anything. What happens if the dog falls out of drive? These are peoples lives we're talking about. How is this acceptable?

I would love the input of those who have been around much longer than me and have seen the various trends over the years. What do you see in your areas? Where do you think this is headed? Have you noticed the breed of dog having an affect on the "type" of dog PD's are looking for? For example, the introdiction of more and more mals/dutchies making people now want higher drives and less social, stable dogs?
Where do you get this from?

The trend I see in PD's is the trend of moving away from GSD's for Police and Military work and going to Malinois and Dutch Shepherds. You talk about over the top drive and that is relative based on experience. What I may consider a medium drive dog some would consider high drive or "over the top." I've owned GSD's for a few years now, I've had AS, GS, GWL, German / Czech dogs over the years. I've raised and trained all my GSD's from pups and HOT titled a few in IPO, and still do that.

When it comes to Patrol Dogs, especially dual purpose dogs, Lassie would be a poor Police dog. I can say from my experience of testing hundreds of dogs for potential LE prospects, selecting dogs for my K-9 unit and others, GSD's are not the dog of choice anymore. I love GSD's and I am a GSD guy, but it is really hard to find GSD's with the drive, nerve, strength and aggression that we need. We have only two GSd's left in our unit once my GSD retires. The rest are Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds and Mali x GSD crosses.

Drive and civil aggression are two traits that are needed for a Patrol Dog. Along with solid nerves, strong temperament and social enough to work around several other cops in a building search. The dog does not have to be super social, just social enough to not bite the guy next to him. Belgian Malinois and DS are different dogs and need to be worked differently, more reactive and can be quicker to bite. We have several BM's and DS's and they are clear headed and driven, stay on task and do a really good job. Please do not confuse higher drive with a dog being less social and less stable. My GSD is very high drive, mali drive, not social at all but very stable. He is now 10 and still working his ass off, but I would have a real hard time finding a GSD like him for my next partner. That is why I decided my next dog would be a DS or Mali X.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Where do you get this from?

The trend I see in PD's is the trend of moving away from GSD's for Police and Military work and going to Malinois and Dutch Shepherds. You talk about over the top drive and that is relative based on experience. What I may consider a medium drive dog some would consider high drive or "over the top." I've owned GSD's for a few years now, I've had AS, GS, GWL, German / Czech dogs over the years. I've raised and trained all my GSD's from pups and HOT titled a few in IPO, and still do that.

When it comes to Patrol Dogs, especially dual purpose dogs, Lassie would be a poor Police dog. I can say from my experience of testing hundreds of dogs for potential LE prospects, selecting dogs for my K-9 unit and others, GSD's are not the dog of choice anymore. I love GSD's and I am a GSD guy, but it is really hard to find GSD's with the drive, nerve, strength and aggression that we need. We have only two GSd's left in our unit once my GSD retires. The rest are Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds and Mali x GSD crosses.

Drive and civil aggression are two traits that are needed for a Patrol Dog. Along with solid nerves, strong temperament and social enough to work around several other cops in a building search. The dog does not have to be super social, just social enough to not bite the guy next to him. Belgian Malinois and DS are different dogs and need to be worked differently, more reactive and can be quicker to bite. We have several BM's and DS's and they are clear headed and driven, stay on task and do a really good job. Please do not confuse higher drive with a dog being less social and less stable. My GSD is very high drive, mali drive, not social at all but very stable. He is now 10 and still working his ass off, but I would have a real hard time finding a GSD like him for my next partner. That is why I decided my next dog would be a DS or Mali X.

Thanks for posting Jim. I was hoping to get your input. I love your picture!!!

I'm not talking specifically about GSD's. Actually less about GSD's in this particular thread and more what I'm seeing in the K9 world with mals and dutchies. Off the top of my head, I can only think of about four GSD's in LE in about 100 miles or so of me. I understand different peoples expectations or thoughts on drive levels. I feel I have a pretty good understanding of it. I'm a certified decoy in multiple venues, national level in one of those, I've worked K9 trials and training days and work with a decent number of them regularly. I'm not saying this as a d!*%$ measuring contest as I'm sure I'd lose. I'm just trying to give a reference to where I'm coming from.

I'm getting this from what I'm actually seeing with my own two eyes. At these trials and training events. I'm not saying the dogs need to be Lassi or jump in the lap of everyone they see and give kisses. I do feel they should be stable enough to walk through a crowded place and not just go off on anyone. It seems that now days the dogs are just in the vehicle unless deployed. No foot patrolling in Street meets, squares, bizzars, or whatever else you want to call them. I've seen these dogs get ran in trials. I'm not going to get into specifics on scenarios on a forum, but it happens. I've also seen these dogs bite "partners" and even go after people in the crowd at these trials. Yes I know handling has a lot to do with some of this but... I'll take the high civil aggression and fight drives. I personally look for it in my dogs. I just think stability and nerve should be just as high of a priority.
 

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Where do you get this from?

The trend I see in PD's is the trend of moving away from GSD's for Police and Military work and going to Malinois and Dutch Shepherds. You talk about over the top drive and that is relative based on experience. What I may consider a medium drive dog some would consider high drive or "over the top." I've owned GSD's for a few years now, I've had AS, GS, GWL, German / Czech dogs over the years. I've raised and trained all my GSD's from pups and HOT titled a few in IPO, and still do that.

When it comes to Patrol Dogs, especially dual purpose dogs, Lassie would be a poor Police dog. I can say from my experience of testing hundreds of dogs for potential LE prospects, selecting dogs for my K-9 unit and others, GSD's are not the dog of choice anymore. I love GSD's and I am a GSD guy, but it is really hard to find GSD's with the drive, nerve, strength and aggression that we need. We have only two GSd's left in our unit once my GSD retires. The rest are Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds and Mali x GSD crosses.

Drive and civil aggression are two traits that are needed for a Patrol Dog. Along with solid nerves, strong temperament and social enough to work around several other cops in a building search. The dog does not have to be super social, just social enough to not bite the guy next to him. Belgian Malinois and DS are different dogs and need to be worked differently, more reactive and can be quicker to bite. We have several BM's and DS's and they are clear headed and driven, stay on task and do a really good job. Please do not confuse higher drive with a dog being less social and less stable. My GSD is very high drive, mali drive, not social at all but very stable. He is now 10 and still working his ass off, but I would have a real hard time finding a GSD like him for my next partner. That is why I decided my next dog would be a DS or Mali X.
I've been put of the K9 Unit for quite a few years now but I concur with what you're saying. I may be an old school guy but I think the GSD is a great all round dog for law enforcement work. My agency has Mals and GSDs and I haven't heard them transitioning away from GSDs although I am not in the planning loop by a long shot.

The County I was living in before I retired they have a couple Mals but the bulk is GSD and they just replaced a couple dogs that retired with more GSDs.

That photo is quite cool! Be safe!
 

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Not a police officer, but train with K9 officers. I see lots of GSD's out there, 4 out of the 6 I train with in Oregon are GSD. There are some really stellar GSD teams in Portland that most patrol guys "hope are on" if they need to call a k9. And I also know several agencies that tried mal's and then decided they weren't doing mal's anymore for some of the reason's Jeremy listed.

There are still vendors and breeders in the US that will give you the kill kill kill dog and agencies that just want a biting machine, but the people I train with put social-ness as the first "test" when getting a dog and then make sure it can "kill kill kill" when turned on (and those dogs are on the streets, with lots of finds and bites and also competing very very well in LE trials).

They also have to consider the handler. Not many first time handlers can handle an out of control or extremely high drive mali, let alone a dog that will re-direct or come up the leash.

Not that this is a debate on whether the GSD is out of LE and working overall, but I think it's a matter of the department/agency and the area you are in.

I was just training in the Netherlands last week with some KNPV clubs, where I was told from the states that GSD's were "unheard of and doomed" and never seen in KNPV. Every club I went to had some stellar GSD's that were certified and breeding. I don't know if you've ever trained with KNPV people before, but the dogs have to be pretty intense. Yet, there were usually 10-15 dogs on the field at a time, several decoys working different dogs on different things, and the dogs never redirected, never went off on other dogs, etc....Dogs that do that aren't trained anymore. Not that they are all perfect by any means, but balance seemed to be an important factor in the genetics....which was cool to see. That and the control was not only expected but seriously enforced. So one could argue that some of that was obedience and not genetics. Ol' nature vs nurture debate there.

Some of the dogs (both gsds, mals, and crosses) we tested for police work crapped out on the environmental nerve test, but you know what? Another US agency was waiting in the wings to buy the same dog we failed for our program....different strokes. The US is so huge with so many agencies that it's so anecdotal what is "seen" and "known."

So I wonder, is it that the dogs are all crap, or is it that the expectations and standards are so vastly different across agencies and the experiences on such a huge spectrum, that what looks "normal" in one area is the exception in the other area?

Jeremy, I don't think I have the experience you are looking for, but I can tell you from what I've seen...yes and no, it seems to depend on where you are looking. I saw people buying dogs from all over the world, US, Israel, UK, Palestine, Egypt, China...their tests and expectations were all over the place. Some wanted killer, some wanted a dog that wasn't strong enough to take a pinch correction because they needed to be able to teach an "out" using only verbal and a leash and flat collar, some wanted the dog that redirected and bit the tester, some wanted a dog that just wanted to eat the handler, some wanted balance...It seemed to be a matter of personal taste, honestly (and of course the standards set forth by their specific govt's and agencies). But every dog from what we considered "not-so-good" to "mediocre" to "stellar" found a job to do and was purchased.

So while I tend to be sickened by the amount of crap GSD's we all see out there, my faith isn't lost, I see nice balanced dogs in agencies, in sport, and in homes. I think there are always breeders breeding what you want, whether that's balance, or more civil, etc...I personally like the balance and can't stand it when I hear people say it doesn't exist (not that anyone here said that), because I see it all the time. In malinois, in GSDs, in DS, I know some pretty awesome specimens that are kickin' it on the streets but can be walked through a mall and pet by children without a muzzle. Like I said....different strokes I guess. ;-)
 

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I'm interested in this topic, so will be following it. I don't have deep experienced input since I have only been involved in protection and detection work for two years now but have had the good fortune of working with LE and military k9 contractors in training and seminars. What slamdunc said is what I have observed -that GSDs are fading out- and I get loads of comments that Frank is a "mal in a gsd suit" and "you just don't see GSDs like him anymore". Frank doesn't have the hectic behavior I've seen in the Mals and dutches though. He's just social, solid, stable and confident with a very full grip and hard bite with a strong work ethic. I always feel bad about the decline of our beloved GSDs and though Mals and Dutches are awesome too, and I have liked learning about them by handling and watching them, I don't feel like I want to own one.
 

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Thanks for your input Danielle.

This thread isn't about Mals taking over GSD roles. That's not a new trend. This thread is about what we see in the K9's of today. As Danielle said, every agency is different. So what the norm is for what I'm seeing may not be the norm for all. I also am not saying every dog is this way.
 

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Mycobraracr,
First off, I know that you are an experienced decoy and work your dogs, I hope you didn't take my post the wrong way. I have watched your videos, seen the pictures and have a great deal of respect for what you do.

A Police K-9 absolutely needs to be stable enough to work in crowds, do foot patrols and even do demos for kids. With that said, the K-9 does not need to be so social that anyone can run up and pet it. I have done hundreds of demos with my dog and I always have to tell "little Johnny" that he can't pet the Police Dog. Heck, I was cursed out by one guy for not allowing him to pet my dog. My dog was calmly laying on a sidewalk at a hotel as I talked to another cop. This guy came up, complimented the dog, asked his name and then proceeded to try to pet the dog. My dog never budged, but does not like strangers touching him. I explained for liability reasons that we do not allow citizens to pet our dogs, that the dog bites and our Policy and Procedure doesn't allow it. I was told that "all dogs love me" and "that dog won't bite me!" Then I was told I should have better control of my dog and all Northerners are a**&@(#@s. Since the dog remained in a down for the entire 10 minute rant, didn't move a muscle and was calm, I felt like I had pretty good control. :)

Patrol dogs need to be clear headed, first and foremost. Dogs that are as driven as I like and with the propensity to bite in prey, fight and defense need to have a strong temperament. You are on the precipice, with a delicate balancing act. Too much drive and aggression without a clear stable mind and you will wind up on the wrong side go the edge. Without the drive, but even with calm nerves you are on the other side, working a bit of a dud. You need the balance and you need both, for sure.

Dogs that can not be around people have limited value and use. I take my dog out of the car on almost every call I go on. he wouldn't be much good if he needed to stay in the car. I also work my current dog on the SWAT team, which really requires a clear headed strong dog. No one wants a dog that will take operators on an op. I have sent my dog upstairs on a covert building clear, had him check rooms and downed him in the hallway to watch a room or downrange. I usually do this from the stair well or even down stairs. The team flows up into the rooms the rooms cleared by the dog. Guys have stepped on my dog going through a door way or down a hall and he doesn't react aggressively if at all.

I do not like Handler Aggressive dogs, I do not like fighting with dogs. Handler aggressive dogs do not run faster, bite harder, search better than any other dog. They are more of a PITA though. I see no advantage to HA dogs and when I test and select dogs I avoid those for out unit.

I'm not sure what trials you were referring too? As far as dogs getting "ran" on the field, it can happen. It can also happen to any dog. If I wanted to run a dog, regardless of how tough and strong he is, it can be done. I don't do it, but the right situation, the right stress and pressure and any dog can be made to bail. We do not do any "trials" with our K-9's, only certification. It might be fun.

"Dogs biting partners," LOL it happens. I've been tagged once or twice on the street. Recently, at the end of a 45 minute two city pursuit at well over a 100 mph. My buddy latched onto my thigh and gave it a good squeeze. It was the other cops that I was worried about. He was pumped and wanted to bite some one, it was a target rich environment for the dog. To Boomer's disappointment the bad guy fell into the thickets bunch of thorns, briars and bramble that I have ever been in. Wrapped up like a briar burrito, the armed robbery suspect gave up.

Any dogs that have weak nerves or temperament issues should not be Patrol dogs. It is easier said then done.

I'm also not saying that GSD's are not good Police K-9's they most certainly can be. But, IMHE it is getting harder and harder to find suitable GSD's that meet my standards. There absolutely are excellent breeders producing very good dogs, but these are not dogs that I see for sale from vendors. I can easily find a super GSD for myself for IPO and a pet, I have one now. But, rarely do I see these dogs offered for sale through vendors.
 

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Not a police officer, but train with K9 officers. I see lots of GSD's out there, 4 out of the 6 I train with in Oregon are GSD. There are some really stellar GSD teams in Portland that most patrol guys "hope are on" if they need to call a k9. And I also know several agencies that tried mal's and then decided they weren't doing mal's anymore for some of the reason's Jeremy listed.

There are still vendors and breeders in the US that will give you the kill kill kill dog and agencies that just want a biting machine, but the people I train with put social-ness as the first "test" when getting a dog and then make sure it can "kill kill kill" when turned on (and those dogs are on the streets, with lots of finds and bites and also competing very very well in LE trials).

They also have to consider the handler. Not many first time handlers can handle an out of control or extremely high drive mali, let alone a dog that will re-direct or come up the leash.

Not that this is a debate on whether the GSD is out of LE and working overall, but I think it's a matter of the department/agency and the area you are in.

I was just training in the Netherlands last week with some KNPV clubs, where I was told from the states that GSD's were "unheard of and doomed" and never seen in KNPV. Every club I went to had some stellar GSD's that were certified and breeding. I don't know if you've ever trained with KNPV people before, but the dogs have to be pretty intense. Yet, there were usually 10-15 dogs on the field at a time, several decoys working different dogs on different things, and the dogs never redirected, never went off on other dogs, etc....Dogs that do that aren't trained anymore. Not that they are all perfect by any means, but balance seemed to be an important factor in the genetics....which was cool to see. That and the control was not only expected but seriously enforced. So one could argue that some of that was obedience and not genetics. Ol' nature vs nurture debate there.

Some of the dogs (both gsds, mals, and crosses) we tested for police work crapped out on the environmental nerve test, but you know what? Another US agency was waiting in the wings to buy the same dog we failed for our program....different strokes. The US is so huge with so many agencies that it's so anecdotal what is "seen" and "known."

So I wonder, is it that the dogs are all crap, or is it that the expectations and standards are so vastly different across agencies and the experiences on such a huge spectrum, that what looks "normal" in one area is the exception in the other area?

Jeremy, I don't think I have the experience you are looking for, but I can tell you from what I've seen...yes and no, it seems to depend on where you are looking. I saw people buying dogs from all over the world, US, Israel, UK, Palestine, Egypt, China...their tests and expectations were all over the place. Some wanted killer, some wanted a dog that wasn't strong enough to take a pinch correction because they needed to be able to teach an "out" using only verbal and a leash and flat collar, some wanted the dog that redirected and bit the tester, some wanted a dog that just wanted to eat the handler, some wanted balance...It seemed to be a matter of personal taste, honestly (and of course the standards set forth by their specific govt's and agencies). But every dog from what we considered "not-so-good" to "mediocre" to "stellar" found a job to do and was purchased.

So while I tend to be sickened by the amount of crap GSD's we all see out there, my faith isn't lost, I see nice balanced dogs in agencies, in sport, and in homes. I think there are always breeders breeding what you want, whether that's balance, or more civil, etc...I personally like the balance and can't stand it when I hear people say it doesn't exist (not that anyone here said that), because I see it all the time. In malinois, in GSDs, in DS, I know some pretty awesome specimens that are kickin' it on the streets but can be walked through a mall and pet by children without a muzzle. Like I said....different strokes I guess. ;-)
That is awesome that you were in the Netherlands training. I have a few friends over there and have brought them here for K-9 seminars. I am going to NJ in May to train again with Hennie Bolster and Ruud Leus, two top KNPV and Police Handlers in Hollland. Thursday afternoon I picked up my new Patrol dog as my current dog is getting ready to retire. "Born" is a 3 year old, KNPV titled Dutch Shepherd X Malinois. Intense is the right word and a good word to describe him. You are correct that there are some very nice GSD's doing KNPV in Holland, I keep tabs on them. I love to see it and am always looking for a great breeders hat produces good dogs.

This thread was about trends and that is the biggest trend that I see out here. Our SF guys have moved to Mali X's, most agencies out here are doing the same. The killer dogs you mention are only good if they can "cap," focus and perform several tasks well. Many of those can not.
 

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Having recently dealt with several agencies in the selling of dogs...there is no norm.

They all have their own idea of what they want. The general trend in these parts is social first then drive and nerves. Many dont have the ability to handle more then a social, forgiving dog with mediocre drives.

My favorite was the test were a stranger removes the dog from his crate...
 

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That is awesome that you were in the Netherlands training. I have a few friends over there and have brought them here for K-9 seminars. I am going to NJ in May to train again with Hennie Bolster and Ruud Leus, two top KNPV and Police Handlers in Hollland. Thursday afternoon I picked up my new Patrol dog as my current dog is getting ready to retire. "Born" is a 3 year old, KNPV titled Dutch Shepherd X Malinois. Intense is the right word and a good word to describe him. You are correct that there are some very nice GSD's doing KNPV in Holland, I keep tabs on them. I love to see it and am always looking for a great breeders hat produces good dogs.

This thread was about trends and that is the biggest trend that I see out here. Our SF guys have moved to Mali X's, most agencies out here are doing the same. The killer dogs you mention are only good if they can "cap," focus and perform several tasks well. Many of those can not.
That's awesome, your new dog sounds great. There was a nice pup out of one of Alaettin Celiker's breedings I liked a lot and would have brought home if I could, mali lol. I know quite a few of the guys that are coming to the states this year. I'm hoping to make it back for the championships in the fall, we'll see. :)

I've also noticed a lot of mali X's going to departments and working the streets.

It's too bad IPO no longer provides agency's dogs. It's neat that since KNPV provides police dogs it can't get watered down, otherwise they would lose the business of selling certified dogs to the dutch police. From what I understand, back in the day loads of police dogs in the US had their SchH 1's. Obviously that is no longer the case. I think that says something, we can say it's about the money......I dunno, though.
 

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Having recently dealt with several agencies in the selling of dogs...there is no norm.

They all have their own idea of what they want. The general trend in these parts is social first then drive and nerves. Many dont have the ability to handle more then a social, forgiving dog with mediocre drives.

My favorite was the test were a stranger removes the dog from his crate...
Lots of dogs are shipped, They have to be removed from the crate on the other end, usually by a stranger. I brought Odessa out of the crate after her trip from Germany. She was 3.5 years old and Schutzhund titled, but certainly not a k9. I know lots of k9s are purchased as young green dogs or already trained, so is there a problem with getting them out of the crates safely?
 
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