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Discussion Starter #41
Ha, no... thats the reason I made it a point to reference sf dog culture. I don’t trust the majority of other people’s assessments of their own dogs unfortunately. As a general rule, I don’t allow my dog to interact with any dog I’m not familiar with.... the exception is off leash hikes but those interactions are brief because I call him and keep things moving (we’re able to keep things moving because he has a foundation in me being more interesting and rewarding than other dogs). Fortunately Keystone is a very tolerant and relatively neutral dog - his tolerance and neutrality didn’t come from play dates or dog parks or greeting strange dogs on walks.

But you got the first part right! I think it helps if people replace the word socialization with exposure or acclimate.... because the idea is teaching a dog to be confident and behave appropriately in a social setting. Basically meaning society. For example, I don’t have be outgoing and friendly in order to know that I shouldn’t scream at, spit on, inappropriately touch or run towards/away from others people (normal circumstances). I can also confidently walk down the street unfazed by children at play, cars driving by, lawns being mowed or uneven surfaces. I sit in chairs at restaurants, I don’t stand on tables. And so on and so one. You’re basically introducing your puppy to various real life situations but also remaining age appropriate and understanding early signs of stress. There is valuing in being able to just watch the world and not always feel like you have to engage in it.

I could talk about this all day... seems like,
  • Most don't take their dog out & about until 4months, before that it's only to potty
  • 6-12months is outside, exposing to sights and sounds.. if they're interested in the environment do you just ignore and keep moving?
  • Exposure to adult dogs you know the temperament of, only. I'd love to take my (future) dog to the dog park - would love for him to be social however respond and bring it back to 1:1 him and I when asked... So, never dog parks? Or only after 1 year with training/focus on reeling back it and focusing on command?
 

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I added a note about dog parks to my last post. Your answers to the above questions will vary largely. Too many factors at play.
 

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The exposure / socialization window closes @ 4 months. After that, it can still be done but not without a lot more work and with inferior results.
 

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I could talk about this all day... seems like,
  • Most don't take their dog out & about until 4months, before that it's only to potty
  • 6-12months is outside, exposing to sights and sounds.. if they're interested in the environment do you just ignore and keep moving?
  • Exposure to adult dogs you know the temperament of, only. I'd love to take my (future) dog to the dog park - would love for him to be social however respond and bring it back to 1:1 him and I when asked... So, never dog parks? Or only after 1 year with training/focus on reeling back it and focusing on command?
I have dragged mature dogs out of puppy farms that have never been outside their cages and they just take to life like it's nothing. No issues with dogs, noise, people, traffic, just all good. I have had others that hid under furniture for weeks. My current dog was a bottle baby and out of necessity went everywhere with me and met dozens of people, some of whom needed to handle feedings for me. She displayed largely feral behavior right from the outset and to this day is wary of people. Some dogs are by nature more socially stable and need minimal work to socialize, others would prefer to stay largely in their own turf and need much more exposure. Few German Shepherds are social butterflies although it happens. Most fall somewhere in the middle in that they are fine with people but really would keep to their own if given the option. Some just flat out don't want strangers approaching them.
Whatever a dogs nature is you are always safer to respect it.
Socialization is a misnomer, it's all about exposure nothing to do with letting people maul your dog.
I don't expose pups to dogs I don't know period. Owners are clueless. Dog parks are a whole argument unto themselves. It's a hard no for me, others swear by them.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
I have dragged mature dogs out of puppy farms that have never been outside their cages and they just take to life like it's nothing. No issues with dogs, noise, people, traffic, just all good. I have had others that hid under furniture for weeks. My current dog was a bottle baby and out of necessity went everywhere with me and met dozens of people, some of whom needed to handle feedings for me. She displayed largely feral behavior right from the outset and to this day is wary of people. Some dogs are by nature more socially stable and need minimal work to socialize, others would prefer to stay largely in their own turf and need much more exposure. Few German Shepherds are social butterflies although it happens. Most fall somewhere in the middle in that they are fine with people but really would keep to their own if given the option. Some just flat out don't want strangers approaching them.
Whatever a dogs nature is you are always safer to respect it.
Socialization is a misnomer, it's all about exposure nothing to do with letting people maul your dog.
I don't expose pups to dogs I don't know period. Owners are clueless. Dog parks are a whole argument unto themselves. It's a hard no for me, others swear by them.
You mention “pups” not being exposed to dogs you don’t know. What age do you expose them to other dogs when, let’s say walking down the street?
 

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Walking down the street? I am really not ok with any interaction. I don't know the person, I don't know the dog. I believe in setting dogs up to succeed not fail and the bottom line for me is that most dog owners are clueless.
Example: Shadow has been attacked several times. I don't like her near other dogs. I normal either give them space and keep walking or sit her a safe distance away and have her focus on me. I cannot count the number of times owners have watched me pull Shadow aside and sit her and promptly let their dogs rush her with a wave and "he's friendly".
My dogs interact with dogs I know, whose owners I know.
 

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My dogs are never allowed to meet strange dogs. When we’re on a walk, I do what Sabi’s Mom does and step way off to let the other dog pass. Or I’ll change my route if possible. Lately though, since I’m working on Archer’s heel and reactivity, I put him in a heel and walk past the other dog far enough away that neither dog can reach, even if they both go to the end of their leashes. I heavily reward him.

Because Archer was charged and attacked so many times by out of control dogs with idiot owners, his response now is to immediately attack any dog that runs up to him. That is a direct result of people that don’t know their dogs and let their mutts ruin mine. They always tell me their dogs are friendly. My response is, “Mine is not, and I will not be paying a single medical bill. Get your dog.”

I suggest you don’t let your dog, no matter his age, interact with dogs you don’t know because, well, you know don’t what will happen. Not worth it. And why would you want your dog to think that walks are for greeting other dogs and ignoring you? I want my walk with my boy to be about us bonding, not him dragging me over to visit every other dog that exists.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Thanks @Sabis mom and @Pytheis, appreciate the context here.

Raising our family White GSD, we lived in a suburban neighborhood and rarely did we run into others walking on sidewalks let alone dogs. Parks were large.. and had two or three kids running around at most.

In that situation, it was much easier to avoid others. In the city, we'd be constantly passing by others, there are dogs everywhere (SF is extremely dog-friendly).. if you're walking in these conditions, you continue to stay focused with your dog and ignore others?
 

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Yes. And I have gotten fairly rude about it over the years. Lol. Any part of you that touches me you don't get back now extends to my dog. I have zero issues telling people where to go and how to get there, with some colorful suggestions on mode of transport.
 

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I think one of the cool things that will likely come from this conversation is the shift in your lens now as you observe other dogs and their owners while you’re out....start thinking about how you’d handle or fit into those situations.

a couple days ago I picked up coffee and pulled over near a walking/bike path for a bit while I drank it. I watched a woman with a husky puppy (10ish weeks) and another with a shiba inu... both dogs were pulling and straining towards each other, both women paused, I couldn’t hear the conversation but there were smiles and nods (I’m sure determining that the dogs were both “friendly”) and it was clear that letting the dogs meet (rewarding their inappropriate behavior) was “easier” than managing them or giving each other space.... they get closer and immediately the shiba went after the puppy. The women pulled their dogs apart but remained in conversation, I rolled the window down and could hear the shiba owner explain that her dog had been attacked several times and is now insecure around other dogs... more smiling and nods, some nervous laughter while the shiba is still keyed on the puppy. To my surprise, they try again, a repeat of before, only now the leashes were tangled and the altercation lasted longer... in the end, the shiba was picked up but continuing to bark, the husky owner, visibly upset, is looking over her puppy then takes its harness off I presume to check for injuries and the puppy (terrified) bolts... thankfully she was able to catch him and at this point I’m out of my car - I asked why they’d do this (any of it) to their dogs... the shiba owner thought that because it was a puppy her dog would be fine and it’d help rebuild her dogs confidence.... the husky owner thought it’d just be an adult dog “teaching” the puppy some manners.

Poor judgement and flawed thinking on both sides....and potentially a set back for both dogs. A mature dog with a solid temperament would likely not be phased... but it’ll take awhile to get there, not to mention, it could have all be avoided by the dogs having proper leash manners to begin with.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
I've narrowed it down to a handful of breeders and want to move forward and narrow it down. I'm receiving a lot of responses requesting deposits as litters are filling up. To avoid multiple deposits across a handful of breeders, it would be helpful if you could see if I'm missing anything below:
  • Temperament seems to be most important. Looking for American show-line as a pet. Nothing military/police caliber/working line
  • Important to vet the type of dog that I'm looking for, eg: relaxed at home, not vocal/city/apt living, activity level of multiple walks per day + mental stimulation, companion and not search and rescue - to compare if parents have produced similar litters aligning with needs in the past
  • Breeder must show proof of eldows/hip/DM/eye health scans of parents
  • Puppies brought home around the 9 week mark with shots, will need rabies within the first month after. Careful to socialize/expose, limit to clean areas of the cities, no cats, rats, sketchy areas of town, other dogs, etc
  • Since i'm interested in the light/silver/gray sable or gold/tan sable (both as light as possible, not the darker black sables) as long as pictures of both parents are similar to what I'm interested in, i'm doing the best I can. no coat colors are guaranteed here, its about maximizing chances.. litter could have some black, some darker/lighter, etc.. its really a mixed bag from my understanding?

    Is there anything else that I'm missing? I appreciate everyone here that has provided helpful input!!
 

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8 weeks is standard... sometimes circumstances can result in a pup going home at 7 weeks... 9-12 weeks is great if some sort of foundation training / socialization is happening.

As far as color... sable pups will generally end up resembling one of their parents, give for take a shade. Have not seen two lighter color sables produce a dark or “black” sable... so I think you’re safe there.
 

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The women pulled their dogs apart but remained in conversation, I rolled the window down and could hear the shiba owner explain that her dog had been attacked several times and is now insecure around other dogs... more smiling and nods, some nervous laughter while the shiba is still keyed on the puppy.
Oh man - Neb got attacked by a Golden Retriever off-leash (on a path that is off-leash, but it's not like you HAVE to have your dog off-leash). The owner was like 'Oh wow, he's only done that a few times before'. Did I ever have some choice words for her! Neb doesn't take lip though, the Golden very quickly backed away.

Agis is mixed. I find he tends to get dogs reacting to him (well, little ones generally) but it clearly upsets him (and we may be across the street) so I find I have to be careful with HIS reactions now. He's generally friendly, of course, but I know when he's been reacted to a bunch I need to keep an eye on him. He's both bull-headed and sensitive.

We live in an apartment, so there's a certain amount of closeness that happens (say the lobby). Not to mention the busyness outside, which is worse with COVID because people are sick of being indoors, AND are home and deciding to explore the world (which generally they wouldn't do). But it's perfectly possible to raise a pup in a city, just be aware.

If it helps in terms of temperament - Neb has always been calm (unless attacked; he may not start fights, but he finishes them) and it's helped because while he has had dogs go after him he still isn't reactive. A stable dog will go a long way to ensuring that despite interactions, the dog remains happy/neutral.
 
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I live in downtown. There are other dogs everywhere. My dogs aren’t allowed to interact with unknown dogs from strangers. I limit the people who are allowed to interact with them too, especially the puppy. There are people who get offended or try to insist. That typically ends if my temper comes out, but I prefer to avoid that because it also affects the dogs mood. Most people ask and are understanding. Keeping the puppy away is more restrain and redirect from other dogs. The adult would receive a correction for trying to meet another dog without permission. My walks are about two blocks to a decent sized park wit plenty of space, though the dogs still stay on leash over there. The biggest concern for me is avoiding off leash dogs. Those I would actively try to move away from. The other day I had my adult dog in a down while the puppy circled to poop. A guy with a Golden who was straining to come see the puppy started walking towards us. After I told him no, he dropped the leash and said”oops, he got loose.” The Golden cane dashing over to the puppy. Bear can be reactive on his own, with the puppy there he charged the golden and tried to kill him. I could still hold him back with the leash, but if he had actually been able to grab the other dog, I would have had to make some tough choices. The rabies shot typically happens at 16 weeks. The biggest worry for having a puppy in the city is parvo. When you talk to your breeder, you should ask the feasibility of the puppy staying that extra month to ensure it’s fully vaccinated. They may want more, but it will help you avoid losing your dog the way I lost my first puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
I live in downtown. There are other dogs everywhere. My dogs aren’t allowed to interact with unknown dogs from strangers. I limit the people who are allowed to interact with them too, especially the puppy. There are people who get offended or try to insist. That typically ends if my temper comes out, but I prefer to avoid that because it also affects the dogs mood. Most people ask and are understanding. Keeping the puppy away is more restrain and redirect from other dogs. The adult would receive a correction for trying to meet another dog without permission. My walks are about two blocks to a decent sized park wit plenty of space, though the dogs still stay on leash over there. The biggest concern for me is avoiding off leash dogs. Those I would actively try to move away from. The other day I had my adult dog in a down while the puppy circled to poop. A guy with a Golden who was straining to come see the puppy started walking towards us. After I told him no, he dropped the leash and said”oops, he got loose.” The Golden cane dashing over to the puppy. Bear can be reactive on his own, with the puppy there he charged the golden and tried to kill him. I could still hold him back with the leash, but if he had actually been able to grab the other dog, I would have had to make some tough choices. The rabies shot typically happens at 16 weeks. The biggest worry for having a puppy in the city is parvo. When you talk to your breeder, you should ask the feasibility of the puppy staying that extra month to ensure it’s fully vaccinated. They may want more, but it will help you avoid losing your dog the way I lost my first puppy.
super helpful, appreciate you being so transparent here as some of these incidents don't sound that fun.. if you don't mind me asking, are you in a smaller unit in the city as well? 600-750 sq ft kind of ordeal?
 

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Discussion Starter #58
Oh man - Neb got attacked by a Golden Retriever off-leash (on a path that is off-leash, but it's not like you HAVE to have your dog off-leash). The owner was like 'Oh wow, he's only done that a few times before'. Did I ever have some choice words for her! Neb doesn't take lip though, the Golden very quickly backed away.

Agis is mixed. I find he tends to get dogs reacting to him (well, little ones generally) but it clearly upsets him (and we may be across the street) so I find I have to be careful with HIS reactions now. He's generally friendly, of course, but I know when he's been reacted to a bunch I need to keep an eye on him. He's both bull-headed and sensitive.

We live in an apartment, so there's a certain amount of closeness that happens (say the lobby). Not to mention the busyness outside, which is worse with COVID because people are sick of being indoors, AND are home and deciding to explore the world (which generally they wouldn't do). But it's perfectly possible to raise a pup in a city, just be aware.

If it helps in terms of temperament - Neb has always been calm (unless attacked; he may not start fights, but he finishes them) and it's helped because while he has had dogs go after him he still isn't reactive. A stable dog will go a long way to ensuring that despite interactions, the dog remains happy/neutral.
im totally fine with walking my dog and having it just be us.. rewarding for good behavior, training, eye to eye contact.. ignoring while exposing to others..

glad you brought up the element of common areas as it was a huge question-mark for me. assuming you just ignore as best as you can? a brief greet here or there and then its on to the next?
 

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Indoor space has never been a huge issue for me... I got my first GSD while living in a 350sq ft efficiency apt. My current house is 700sq ft and until recently I had 2 GSD here. It’s a nice size for us.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Looks like a good list.
You might also want to consider asking the breeder if they have successfully placed dogs in similar situations to yours: big city, apartment life.

I've had 2+ hours worth of conversations via phone with the handful that I'm narrowing it down to. Most are so passionate about GSDs.. (bless their souls) that they ramble on and on and I get a ton of different answers during storytime.

"I raise perfect temperament! oh there was that one time one from the litter was raised and brought back and snapped at the other one.. only happens once in a while though"
"All of my dogs are show-line. oh a few litters down the road they went to the police unit"

etc etc.

are there any open-ended questions that have helped others search receive the deeper level of insight? a better way to ask this might be, if you could only ask 5-8 questions from your breeder, which ones would they be?
 
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