German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone.
I'm very keen to get a GSD pup. I've been raised with dogs all my life and I've always longed for a German Sheppard as I think they're wonderful and the neatest dogs - smart, loyal, protective, challenging, beautiful etc etc etc.
However, I'm nervous about a couple of things. If there are any GSD owners out there, I'm wondering if they've ever had negative experiences with them? For example, do they intimidate people, especially children? They are big dogs and can appear intimidating, and not everyone is naturally comfortable with that. Is that an issue? If so, how do you handle it?
We have a ferret how they coexist who know.
Also, my partner and I are thinking seriously about starting a family. Although I read almost nothing but good things about GSDs and kids, I can't shake the worry about how serious it would be if our dog were to have a bad day and bite. I, of course, understand that a working dog like a German Sheppard requires a lot of socialization, training, plenty of exercise, and attention, but assuming one does that correctly and diligently, would the chance of that happening be very minimal?
I'd love to hear any thoughts, stories, experiences, or warnings. I really hope to one day have the best buddy, for me and my family. Thank you, everyone!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,694 Posts
Yes GSDs are naturally intimidating. I wouldn't recommend acquiring a puppy for a first time owner,especially with infants and small furry animals about. GSDs are wonderful companions but tend to be too much to handle for inexperienced owners.Perhaps think about calmer breeds with low prey and chase drives for the time being:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,133 Posts
German Shepherd can be safe, wonderful family members, but it takes a lot of time and training to get from a puppy to that point. I suggest if you really want one to find a very good rescue, get approved and then foster an older, trained, well behaved adult, middle aged or senior. Learn how to handle a GSD with that dog and then consider if you want to start from the puppy stage with the next one. If you aren’t in a rush, eventually you will find a foster you want to adopt, who is good around babies and children.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
GSDs are great but aren't for everyone. I see a lot being rehomed(mostly young, 8-16mo, up most often)most common reasons being that they are chewers, barkers, and/or too hyper around kids.

I don't have kids, but family members do and brought them over starting the first few weeks after I got my pup. My dog is great around children. If you do everything correctly and get a well-bred dog I would say the chances of them aggressing a kid are very, very low. However, they can hurt kids just with their size. A family members 2yo is constantly getting knocked over and tail wacked by my boy, and if he is playing with the older kids he will sometimes get too into his playing and get their hands(not on purpose) if they can't get the ball out quick enough.

People are intimidated. I would say that is where most of their protection comes from. They are a great deterrent and prevent things from possibly happening which is protection(as in "a person or thing that prevents someone or something from suffering harm or injury") If people weren't intimidated they wouldn't be as good as protectors as they are. They also have a pretty scary bark that friends or visitors can be scared of. You may have fewer people wanting to visit your house if they are scared of dogs.

As for little animals. My dog grew up in a house full. Ferrets, cats, rats, snakes, birds of all kinds, rabbits, hedgehogs, as well as livestock. He is fine with all of them but I would never leave him unattended with anything. His prey drive sometimes will just seem to kick in and while he wouldn't really hurt them on purpose(As in biting) he could harm them if stepped on them in his chase. If your ferrets are anything like mine they would be able to find ways to escape eventually and then run around doing their crazy runny jumping which I think will turn on almost any dogs prey drive. So they would need to be separated constantly unless you are watching.

If you can get through all their needs, and the fur, and everything else. They truly are the most amazing breed, dog, companion, and best friend you will ever have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
A GSD is not for a first time dog owner. You say you've been raised with dogs all your life, but did you participate in caring for and training them? If not, you might want to start with an easier breed. There are several that are known to be good with children, such as collies, labs, spaniels, etc. These are great family dogs that are not as challenging as a GSD.

Another option is to get an older GSD from a rescue organization. These dogs need a good home and will be less work than a puppy. However, even an older dog will need a decent amount of exercise. A short walk twice a day won't cut it. A GSD is a high energy breed.

I recently got a GSD puppy. I love him but he's a handful! You need to consistently and firmly train him. The first few months can be exhausting while they are teething and have all that mad puppy energy.

Before getting a dog, realistically ask yourself how much time you'll have to spend training, exercising, etc. That can help you decide what breed makes sense for you.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
397 Posts
“A GSD is not for a first time dog owner”. Completely disagree.

“Before getting a dog, realistically ask yourself how much time you'll have to spend training, exercising, etc”.
Ah. Completely agree.

So, it’s really not about the dog, it’s about your education and dedication to it. Of course there’s variables, but there’s variables all over life.

I’d surely study and investigate the breed, for A WHILE! But do not shy away from it being your first breed of choice.

Best of luck in whatever you decide.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
As a first time dog owner next year and having 2 young kids (3 and 7) it is doable. My son also went to a small daycare where the owner had a GSD and it was great around random kids. I'll have a better idea once I have the dog how things go.

I'd say research the breed and based on your life see if you have time to train the dog. It takes time, effort and dedication. If you plan on having kids I'd say make sure the dog by then is a bit older and well trained. There's plenty of GSDs that are great around infants.

Also be in charge don't let the dog be in charge of you. I know some people are against bonkers and prongs but I plan to use those tools to help train the dog. Have set rules and stick with them otherwise you're going to confuse the animal. You and your partner should take the dog for hikes and stuff along with kids since you're planning on having them. I'd say don't get a working line if you're a couch potato. Not to say you need to go on hikes everyday since we have busy days but the dog will require time for it too. As for barking indoors and such it's trainable. Correct behavior you don't want. Don't want the dog on you're couch or bed? Then set the rules as you'd do the same with kids such as not drawing on the walls.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,133 Posts
Bonkers aren’t the best use or tools or time. They don’t teach the dog what behavior you want, they just make them cringe and pull away from you. If you develop a bond with your dog, you should not need them. Prongs are a last resort, not a first choice. I use one with one dog occasionally, but not often, and then only very briefly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
“A GSD is not for a first time dog owner”. Completely disagree.

“Before getting a dog, realistically ask yourself how much time you'll have to spend training, exercising, etc”.
Ah. Completely agree.

So, it’s really not about the dog, it’s about your education and dedication to it. Of course there’s variables, but there’s variables all over life.

I’d surely study and investigate the breed, for A WHILE! But do not shy away from it being your first breed of choice.

Best of luck in whatever you decide.
So, I'm not saying I'm right - I could be wrong, but... I've talked to people in German Shepherd rescue in my area and, at least in my area, many GSD get dumped by first time dog owners. One of the questions the people who work at the rescue ask before they will allow you to adopt a GSD is - have you ever owned a dog before? And if the person has never owned a dog before, they will generally steer the person away from a GSD UNLESS the person convinces them they've thoroughly researched the breed and know what owning one entails.

This is also true with Border Collie rescue organizations in my area as so many Border collies are also dumped by inexperienced and ignorant people. Same is also happening with Belgian Malinois.

I was taking a dog class with a guy who bought a Belgian Malinois because he was impressed that this breed was part of Seal Team 6. He was a couch potato. His dog, at 6 months, was out of control. I could see the writing on the wall... in a few more months, that dog was probably going to get dumped. I hope I am wrong.

I have also chatted with a few people in my area who have gotten GSDs as their first dog and they ended up spending upwards of $2000 to pay someone to train their dog because they couldn't handle it. And in some cases, they are still having problems with their dog - in one case, the dog is quite destructive. The problem is that the owner does not show firm leadership with the dog. The dog respects the trainer and is well behaved with him, but not with the owner.

Again, I could be wrong but I think with a breed like a GSD, the owner needs to be a confident leader. And a lot of people might think they are, but in reality - they're not.

Given how strongly a GSD bonds with its owner, rehoming this dog once it gets dumped can be a real issue. This is the situation that people at the GSD rescue, at the animal shelters, etc., are dealing with.

Again, I could be totally wrong, there are people who get GSD as their first dog and they do great. But I think maybe if you've never had a dog before and you want one of the more challenging dogs (like a GSD, Malinois, border collie, rottweiler, etc.), then at least spend some time with the breed and do some research. Again, JMHO, but I HATE to see perfectly good dogs get dumped and perhaps destroyed because of incompetent owners.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
397 Posts
Got it. Agree w everything you say. It’s just not breed specific.

Hang in. It does get so much better.

My Sable male at one, is NOT close to the same Sable male who just turned two. He’s just a different dog.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shefali

·
Registered
Joined
·
616 Posts
Training a dog is not about what tools you use. It's about the training itself and how you interact with your dog, your approach and your timing.

We have had several GSD'S over many, many years and have never owned or needed a prong collar. Not against using them correctly if necessary, just have never felt that need.

Don't get caught up with tools or gimmicks. Get good knowledgeable help with training your dog, especially if this is your first dog or first GSD and learn proper training techniques.

No tool can be a substitute for a good trainer who can see what you and your dog are doing, right and wrong, and steer both of you in the right direction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
I agree with rescuing an older GSD instead of getting a puppy for your first GSD.

I’m 59 and have had all kinds of dogs my entire life. Our first GSD was an adult rescue, he was with us for 8 years before he passed. After that I really wanted a GSD puppy but knew I had to wait until I could spend hours a day, bonding, playing, training, grooming for the next 10 to 14 years. I retired this years in Jan and we got our pup in Aug.

Find GSD specific rescue and work with them to find the right dog, don’t rush it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Agree don't get a GSD if you're a softy and not firm. These dogs will easily become the master if you're not. I've heard about people being stuck in their own bathrooms in fear of the dog. These people watch stuff on tv and think they'll get a dog that will magically act the same. Or the dog intimitates one partner over another cause that person isn't firm. Just like anything in life if you wanna see good results then put the work and effort.

Also I plan on using a bonker and prong as a last resort. If the dog after several attempts is still pulling rather than walking with me then a prong may be used to correct this. There's several YouTube videos that show how to do this properly. Plus I don't want the dog to bark at other dogs when I'm walking. There's a few in my area who bark so I don't want mine to act the same. But once again if leash training isn't working well as the puppy grows I may use the prong method prior to even hiring a trainer. And some trainers will advise on a prong. It really depends on each individual and what they prefer for their dog. I'd make several attempts to achieve what I want before a tool is used.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
616 Posts
There are plenty of other ways to teach a dog not to pull on a leash without using a prong.

And please, don't use one without having an in person trainer to advise you.

You remind me of someone who has never had children giving parents advice on how to raise a child.

Each dog is different and needs a different approach. There is no one solution for any problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
It doesn't take a rocket scientist after watching several YouTube videos that show you how to do things properly to achieve if it you're not an incompetent individual. If you're against prongs that's fine. That's your opinion. I'm not here to argue about tools to folks that are against it. You post like I'm some 18 year old kid who has watched 2 or 3 videos and will act like uneducated on the matter. I'd be more than happy to post the prong videos I watched but I don't have time for people like you who are clearly against it regardless. And as I said it would be used as a last resort. Don't like it? Too bad it'll be my dog not yours.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,694 Posts
There's no need to attack or be sarcastic when you have a difference of opinion. Let's remain polite or don't respond if that's not possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,726 Posts
It doesn't take a rocket scientist after watching several YouTube videos that show you how to do things properly to achieve if it you're not an incompetent individual. If you're against prongs that's fine. That's your opinion. I'm not here to argue about tools to folks that are against it. You post like I'm some 18 year old kid who has watched 2 or 3 videos and will act like uneducated on the matter. I'd be more than happy to post the prong videos I watched but I don't have time for people like you who are clearly against it regardless. And as I said it would be used as a last resort. Don't like it? Too bad it'll be my dog not yours.
I just turned 50. I have lost count of the dogs that have wandered through my life. The only dog I ever used a prong on is the softest dog I have ever owned.
You are very excited to get your dog and very open to using what works. That's great. But maybe you should work on your people approach.
Part of the issue most folks have with tools like the prong is that they fix the issue by becoming permanent fixtures rather then training tools. So yes, they get used incorrectly which a video cannot address.
A bonker, well that's another story.
My first patrol dog had a reputation for schooling green handlers. My boss thought I needed a down and dirty lesson on dogs. I was told to leash him and heel down the gym. I said heel, started walking and the dog came up the leash at me. I dropped my fist right between his eyes, as I had seen my boss do, and kept walking. Issue solved. We were partners for two years.
There was a better way. But in that moment I used what I had. In hindsight? My boss pulled a jerk move that was designed to make me go away and forced me to play the only card I had.
Bud was 10 times harder and more dangerous and at no point did I need to resort to hitting him. When a dog lives with violence that is what it learns. You will always accomplish more with a bond then with brute force.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Hi, first time dog owner here, who has a GSD. I adopted a 3-year-old from a craigslist ad. If you scan through my older posts on here....it was a struggle. Things are much better now; Willow has some temperament issues (highly untrusting of strangers, a bit on the nervy side, and very sensitive to correction).

I tried to raise a puppy a couple years previously and it lasted a week. However, it was a backyard bred puppy that had serious issues I won't get into. I gave her to someone who had a ton of experience with GSDs.

However, I know many people who have raised, successfully, well-bred shepherds who have better temperaments. One thing I've learned from having these backyard bred dogs (Willow is most likely backyard bred too, based on her appearance/temperament) that good breeding makes a HUGE difference. You might get lucky with a backyard bred dog, but in general you get what you pay for. There's a reason papered, well-bred shepherds cost $1000 or more (not just temperament, but health issues as well). From what I've read on here, a good breeder can match a puppy with your living/family situation.

So I guess my advice to you would be, if you want a GSD, go for it, but consider adopting an older dog whose issues are known, or buying a (likely expensive) well-bred puppy with a calm, stable temperament.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Also agree with what others have said above: a GSD puppy, of any breeding/temperament, will need training, boundaries, and lots of time. I worked with a trainer for about 6 months when I got Willow, and it made a world of difference (I was thinking seriously about rehoming her, then my friend--whose wife happens to be a trainer who specializes in GSDs--told me his wife would give me a free session, and afterwards I realized that keeping Willow would be possible). Our training focused on engagement, recall, leash training. My trainer does use prong collars, e-collars, and leash corrections.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
616 Posts
If you reread my posts, you will see that I'm not opposed to prongs. I have just never needed them. Some dogs do, but I haven't owned one that did and I've owned many dogs. I have always found other approaches that worked for me and my dogs.

I don't own high level competitive dogs. But my dogs are well trained for what I need them to be and are well behaved in any situation that they will be subjected to with my lifestyle.

I'm just trying to convey that you don't need to be totally focused on one tool or one method.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top