German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Trying to get some information from owners and breeders on German Shepherds with children. We have four children (ages 10, 9, 5, and 1) and our oldest son has High Functioning Autism. He gets very loud as he can’t control the volume of his voice, jumps and flaps his arms when excited, and when he talks to you (or our Boston Terrier) it’s normally 2 inches from your face. Our 4 year old Boston is really great with him, and just licks his face when he gets close. Wasn’t sure how a German Shepherd might take all of this. He is very respectful of dogs, as are all of the kids, but enjoys giving our dog hugs and talks to him a lot. Does this sound like it might be a receipe for disaster with this breed? We really don’t want to get a Lab or a Golden Retriever, as we would like a dog that is protective of our family, farm and home. Plus I’ve always just loved this breed.

Also, if we did decide to get a puppy, should we look into a breeder who has pups from show lines? I have heard they are a little more laid back. (Any great breeders that I could talk to in Michigan would be helpful)

Thanks in advance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,423 Posts
My neighbors son is severely autistic, my shepherd does not do well with him. This is a dog that is usually very calm, relaxed, approachable to everybody else. When the boy approaches my dog loses it, he can definetly sense something is "off" he becomes tense, hyper, and difficult to control unlike any behavior I've ever seen him exhibit with any other person or animal. I actually avoid walking past 8 pm because I know the boy is in the street at that time and I don't want to walk my dog by him... he is also scared of my dog but feels he must approach us every time. I think if you work closely with a breeder to find a good match and the pup is raised with the things perhaps there would be a better outcome , im just not sure. I would probably get a golden retriever instead to be honest in that situation. Definetly avoid a high drive shepherd, I could see that kind of frantic behavior getting micromanaged and herded. Might just become a fun active squeaky chew toy for a land shark GSD puppy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
855 Posts
It would depend. It’s possible to look for a breeder who commonly places and successfully has dogs working in therapy or service work, but it will likely be a harder search. It’s not about show line or working line, it’s about the dog as a whole. Lots of skittish show lines, lots of high prey working lines that might not do well. So don’t let line determine your search, base it on what the breeder produces. A balanced, calm, confident dog would be best. You can certainly find one, but it may take awhile.

Be honest about your son’s behaviour on a day to day basis, and be realistic about what you expect from the dog when discussing things with a breeder. A good breeder will either tell you whether or not their dogs produce something that will be a good fit, or perhaps lead you in the right direction. Another option is getting in touch with legitimate trainers who work with and place service and/or therapy dogs. They may have good contacts for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,902 Posts
A stable, well bred puppy will learn your sons habits. Could be a working line or a show line. It's all about stability.
The breed was bred to be loyal. What's not the normal for my dogs, will be the normal for your dog. If your son is around the puppy, itll be learned.
Now the key is stable.

It seems there are so many issues in the breed, yet majority of the issues are from dogs that were overtly purpose bred or byb dogs.
So do your research well for a breeder. Remember, they are interviewing you, and you are interviewing them
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,010 Posts
I would think if you got the right dog, there would be no problem between the child and your dog. I think a softer or more submissive dog may over time become overwhelmed. I would opt for a stronger temperament that would not give your child's behavior a second thought.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
Like the others said, its all about finding the right breeder.

I'm with Gandalf on this one - my boy wouldn't be able to handle this. He is super sensitive to everyone's moods and a high level of excitement is too much for him... he needs to go outside if the kids are mucking about and squealing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thank you everyone. I’ve looked up a few breeders that have therapy dogs. I will give them a call and see what information they have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,902 Posts
My neighbors son is severely autistic, my shepherd does not do well with him. This is a dog that is usually very calm, relaxed, approachable to everybody else. When the boy approaches my dog loses it, he can definetly sense something is "off" he becomes tense, hyper, and difficult to control unlike any behavior I've ever seen him exhibit with any other person or animal. I actually avoid walking past 8 pm because I know the boy is in the street at that time and I don't want to walk my dog by him... he is also scared of my dog but feels he must approach us every time. I think if you work closely with a breeder to find a good match and the pup is raised with the things perhaps there would be a better outcome , im just not sure. I would probably get a golden retriever instead to be honest in that situation. Definetly avoid a high drive shepherd, I could see that kind of frantic behavior getting micromanaged and herded. Might just become a fun active squeaky chew toy for a land shark GSD puppy.
Isnt your dog, your service dog or emotional support? How is he out in the community? There are a lot of autistic, mentally ill, and developmentally delayed people out there.
I work with mentally disabled people, and when we go out, if a service dog was spooked by one of my guys and reacted, I'd have a duty to report.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,839 Posts
I have a hand flapping hooting hopping scripting highly intelligent autistic 10 year old, and a non verbal 6 year old with CP who has a stiff gait and is constantly babbling mostly vowel sounds.

I also have a WGWL X Czech GSD who just turned 1.

Everything is great. I got Valor when he was 5 months old. He had been raised in a puppy raising home with 5 kids ages 5 to 16 and he gravitated to the children. The breeder made a careful choice for me. He has a great off switch too.

It was a bumpy start. Even though Valor had spent his formative months with kids, they were typical kids. The first week he was here, if my son, the one with CP who walks like Frankenstein was coming into the room, Valor would run up to him and bark. I almost gave him back, I am very glad I didn't. He just never saw something like my son before. It took 2 or 3 days of very careful supervision and bonding. They are very bonded now. When my son gets up in the a.m, Valor gets his sippy cup out of bed and follows him around with it until I get my son his morning glass of milk lol. I was a brand new handler to Valor, he was stressed over leaving the home he had known, and I had some very different creatures in my home. He had to figure it out. He is 1 now, my GSD, and I trust him explicitly with my children.

My hand flapping older son, he had no real reaction to. he was like A boy! You got me a boy! He just had to figure out the younger one was a boy too lol

Point is, if you go with something somewhat established and not a new puppy, either breeder or foster, research and prepare for the "3 week shut down period" and understand it applies to all people, but especially to your household with your different type of kids in it.

If you get a new puppy, it shouldn't matter what your kids are compared to other kids. You and yours will be his normal from the get go. Just be absolutely clear with the breeder, let the breeder meet your family. Let the breeder pick the puppy for you. This is a hallmark of a good breeder, and in your case that could not be more important. Do not go with a breeder that approves you sight unseen. Go with the breeder that interviews YOU and wants to meet your family before approval. This will ensure they are putting thought into the approval. Breeders like that know their dogs and will not place them in a less than ideal situation.

I was turned down by a lot of rescues by the way. Due to my son's mannerisms. I don't fault them...they are fosters and it hurts them when they have to take them back. But, if you go the rescue route, be prepared for that possibility. As much as it is understandable, it puts a big punctuation mark on how society views your kid. It is hard not to feel it.

Here is my dog and son chewing math together. Valor what is one plus one? What is 2 plus 2? Valor was concerned my son was in the pool and he could not watch him. So he stuck by him for quite a while after he got out of the pool lol My son has a lot of sensory needs and he looks when Valor gently chews his fingers. Valor always happily obliges. Almost gave him back when he was 5 months. So glad I didn't.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,005 Posts
For me it would be too many variables needed to be successful when you go at this alone without knowing the lines, breeds etc. Talk to the service dog people (the real 'service dog' people) at legitimate organizations. See what they recommend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,423 Posts
Isnt your dog, your service dog or emotional support? How is he out in the community? There are a lot of autistic, mentally ill, and developmentally delayed people out there.
I work with mentally disabled people, and when we go out, if a service dog was spooked by one of my guys and reacted, I'd have a duty to report.

He was a puppy when this occurred going through a fear stage, and still in training on top of first time meeting an autistic kid who was very in his face. His parents apologized for his behavior. He's great in our community and since have worked on the issue with the autistic kid in our neighborhood. He is much better with the boy but The kid will still sneak up on my dog hiding in the dark and try to freak him out, he is severely autistic and I'd rather not interact. Yes my dog is supposed to be at a higher standard but he is also still a GSD and I expect him to defend me from an attacker. I really would recommend a retriever for mental disabilities over a shepherd. But overall get with a program and a reputable breeder. Maybe comet dog can point OP in the right direction since their dog seems to have bonded really well with their kid?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
410 Posts
My neighbors son is severely autistic, my shepherd does not do well with him. This is a dog that is usually very calm, relaxed, approachable to everybody else. When the boy approaches my dog loses it, he can definetly sense something is "off" he becomes tense, hyper, and difficult to control unlike any behavior I've ever seen him exhibit with any other person or animal. I actually avoid walking past 8 pm because I know the boy is in the street at that time and I don't want to walk my dog by him... he is also scared of my dog but feels he must approach us every time. I think if you work closely with a breeder to find a good match and the pup is raised with the things perhaps there would be a better outcome , im just not sure. I would probably get a golden retriever instead to be honest in that situation. Definetly avoid a high drive shepherd, I could see that kind of frantic behavior getting micromanaged and herded. Might just become a fun active squeaky chew toy for a land shark GSD puppy.
More or less what I was gonna post. Our neighbors just moved but their boy was high functioning.

It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as what Gandalf is describing (they actually liked each other a lot) but the part of her post I bolded is exactly what I expect to happen at a minimum with your son. But she was over the biting and didn’t live with him.

Get a Bernese Mountain Dog or something. Big loveable fluffy guys with big hearts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GandalfTheShepherd

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
410 Posts
Missed the farm part first read. Yeah you can make it work on a farm. I’d personally get an outside kennel though, so your dog has a safe place he/she can go relax away from all the stimulation.

Let me ask a question though, what do you mean by “protective of family, home and farm”?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,902 Posts
Its interesting how so many people love the breed, yet dont understand the versatility of it....
Most gsds are thinkers. They will figure things out, who's who and what is what.
We arent talking about a high drive dog who is going to be competing in a sport.
In fact, I helped my cousin find a companion dog. He has a wife with ms, and two children. 0 issues of landsharking, 0 issues of the puppy being out of control. The key was going to an experienced breeder. Who chose their puppy.
Only on this forum can you come on and hear how awful the breed is....:|
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
Any dog from any breed may be right or may not be the right fit... its all about finding the one that works with your family.

GSDs are sensitive, which can make them perfectly suited to helping an autistic child, or it might just be the thing that makes them not suited.

Research and finding the right dog is the key... not the breed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,409 Posts
Its interesting how so many people love the breed, yet dont understand the versatility of it....
Most gsds are thinkers. They will figure things out, who's who and what is what.
We arent talking about a high drive dog who is going to be competing in a sport.
In fact, I helped my cousin find a companion dog. He has a wife with ms, and two children. 0 issues of landsharking, 0 issues of the puppy being out of control. The key was going to an experienced breeder. Who chose their puppy.
Only on this forum can you come on and hear how awful the breed is....:|
My first German Shepherd with children around was a very stable, balanced Showline who could handle anything. We had an autistic boy in our home at least once a week. She was fine with him. She was also around hyperactive children, went to my children’s school, to sporting events, everywhere my children went and we never had a single problem with a child. We also had a teenager around with cerebral palsy, who was my occasional dog sitter. There were two factors, one was taking a year to find the right dog. I got recommendations, went to a show and watched the breeder’s dogs working in trials and then visited the kennel with many children who were going to be around the dog. The other was starting her off around a variety of children with different behaviors.

As to not understanding the breed, I was not paying attention to who said what but in general, it’s either limited experience with many different GSDs or with different children. I would not have know if I had not experienced it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,877 Posts
A good puppy raised within a family of whatever kind of people ought to be good with all of them.

I was showing my litter a few years back to a gal who brought her part-time son with her. The boy was running back and forth in the pen with the puppies their mother who is AWESOME with my nieces was getting annoyed. He wasn't family and those were her babies. A couple of times I tried to get him to sit down or get out of the pen.

I sold them a puppy. They wanted two and I wouldn't budge, but two months later I did sell them a second from the litter. The dogs do great with the part time kid. They are 4 now, I think or will be in September.

Others have gone to adults with special needs, and some work with people with developmental challenges.

I don't think that my dogs are out of the ordinary. It is like Cloudbump said, this is a versatile breed. If a pup is reacting to a neighbor kid that his people have some reservations about, that isn't the same as being raised in a family with a kid or adult who had some odd mannerisms. That does becomes the puppy's normal. And dogs are non-judgemental. Often times, kids with serious disabilities can find a special relationship with a dog who sees them as perfect and special.

Going with other breeds, like Goldens, well, you have to be just as careful about getting one from bad breeders. Bite statistics with Goldens are on the rise because of their popularity and that is far worse than GSDs biting as the GR should have no aggression like that, so it is always a sign of poor temperament. A dog with poor temperament may have trouble with one or more people in their own household. Unpredictability in a child of special needs can be a recipe for disaster with a dog of poor temeprament.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,450 Posts
Its interesting how so many people love the breed, yet dont understand the versatility of it....
Most gsds are thinkers. They will figure things out, who's who and what is what.
We arent talking about a high drive dog who is going to be competing in a sport.
In fact, I helped my cousin find a companion dog. He has a wife with ms, and two children. 0 issues of landsharking, 0 issues of the puppy being out of control. The key was going to an experienced breeder. Who chose their puppy.
Only on this forum can you come on and hear how awful the breed is....:|
We don't get along much, but I gotta say good on ya for this post! GSDs are IMHO THE MOST VERSITILE BREED ON THE PLANET! Sorry for yelling there LOL! It is, as you say, astounding that people expect a GSD to be one thing or another - out of the box, so to speak - but then when faced with this or that puppy behavior to throw in the towel, saying this pup is this way or that way and can't be changed. It frustrates me no end!

Weak nerves is a common theme, when in fact more often it's the handler/owner who's at fault (innocently or at least without knowing). The thing, at least for me is, I've seen many dogs who present initially as weak nerved that are not. It can be a learned or conditioned reaction. But either way, OP, I've had several (ok, only 2) that could very well have served as service or therapy dogs. My current pup shows both an aptitude for protection stuff, and a very loving and gentle nature toward kids. As others have said, find a breeder who has specific experience with placing dogs for this type of work and trust that the right dog will easily adapt to your situation!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,497 Posts
Selzer’s quote - “I don't think that my dogs are out of the ordinary. It is like Cloudbump said, this is a versatile breed. If a pup is reacting to a neighbor kid that his people have some reservations about, that isn't the same as being raised in a family with a kid or adult who had some odd mannerisms. That does becomes the puppy's normal. And dogs are non-judgemental. Often times, kids with serious disabilities can find a special relationship with a dog who sees them as perfect and special.” Liking this.

I do not and did not see any difference in searching for a pup with a family who has a special needs children or who does not have special needs children. The same requirements needs to be met with all children of all ages -stability. Now I’m not talking about therapy dogs but owning and growing up with animals are thereputic for all. They are a breath of fresh air from all the ignorance and judgment of people. One can not underestimate this breeds loyalty to its family.

I do not know any breeders in Michigan but I have heard Alta tollhaus who is located in Michigan is a very reputable breeder. If you do not get any referrals for breeders in Michigan you may want to post the question again. There are breeders that ship but if you want to visit the kennel Alta tollhaus is worth looking into. I have an asl and a wgsl who are incredible with my kids and a nephew who is 7 who is autistic and visits often. The dogs are incredible with my nephew except when max occasionally steals his Super hero toys. They help keep all the kids together when one of them veer off they cut them off lol it’s when I find best use of their herding instincts lol! My breeders are located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Im sure you can private message comet to see if her breeder is local to you.
http://24kgsd.com/
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top