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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know that everyone is going to have their opinions on how certain breeds of dogs are, even if they are sitting right in front of one who is well behaved. I just wanted to know how important changing the perception of the GSD is to some of you? Do you go out of your way to educate people who think GSD's are a 'bad breed' or do you let people think what they are going to think? I wouldn't say that I go out of my way, but most individuals that I run across in my area seem to appreciate the fact that I spend so much time with the dogs to make sure that they are well behaved. Our rescue does visit schools to teach kids about responsible dog ownership, but we aren't focused on any one breed. We usually bring a random dog who would be suitable for that situation, and have brought several 'dangerous breeds' with us, including German Shepherds. Sometimes parents will be there when we are talking to the kids and a few have said that they see different breeds in a little more of a positive way, so I guess that is something.
 

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It's very important to me, but I don't "bible thump" when it comes to it. I like to let Finn's actions and behavior do the talking. As a GSD owner, I feel as if it's my responsibility to make sure my dog is the best breed ambassador he could possibly be especially in public. I'd rather have someone go back to their family and friends and say, "I met the I most well behaved GSD ever!" versus, "I met a GSD today that was more proof that GSDs are bad dogs."

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The vast majority of comments I get about GSDs when out and about is positive.

Some people are a little fearful. A couple have said they are 'mean'.

Depending on my time limit and mood I may stop to chat and other times I just shrug it off.

Really, I almost think it's better that they aren't a super popular breed. Right now they rank #2 on the AKC list but I'd be fine with them staying a little bit lower then that. Usually it's better to be a little be less popular so I don't go out of my way to tell people what a great dog they truly are.

So if someone is convinced they are a 'mean' dog I've said it depends on the breeding and training but that overall they aren't for everyone. That usually suffices IMHO.

Now Aussies, when I've got our little Autumn out and about I'm a little more enthusiastic :) still they do tend to need more exercise and training then some are willing to commit to, but IMHO overall great family dogs that are easy to train.
 

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My best experience ever, as far as sharing my GSD goes, was last year when a young man wanted to let my puppy lick his face. I had been trying to discourage people from doing this. But this one guy I just had to allow - he wanted my puppy to lick his face because he'd been attacked by a GSD and he wanted to get over his fear. Good for him!

Then there's the other side of things: yup, my dog is a killing machine so don't bother breaking into my home or he'll eat you alive. LOL!!!
 

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Breed perception where? ;)

I don't really care what the general public's perception is, tbh. It's just not my area of interest anymore. As long as my dog is reasonably well-behaved in public and not creating a bad perception, I don't worry about it.

I do care what the perception is in dog sports, particularly sports where I don't see a lot of GSDs competing. Then it would be important to me to show that these dogs can still be contenders.

But at this point these concerns are purely theoretical for me. In a couple of years I might have a more informed answer!
 

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It's somewhat important to me.

The majority of what I've experienced is positive, but on occasion I hear a few negative comments about the breed when I have my GSD out. Never negative comments about my DOG, just comments about the BREED. So what that says to me is...even though I have a well behaved, social, incredibly handsome ;-) dog being an amazing ambassador for his breed, people will still have their opinions based on their experiences etc. All I want Vasso to do is surprise the people that don't like the breed - he doesn't need to make them fall in love or forget all of the experiences they've had. He just needs to make them think "gosh, there's a GSD walking around and he's not being a complete moe - that's really great"

If someone is very convinced that the breed is mean or aggressive, I'm not going to argue with them when there's a GSD sitting by my side proving the person wrong. Make sense?

So I'm not sure my one GSD will change the opinions of people in my community, but for the people that actually come over and meet him, he leaves a good impression and that's all that matters to me. There are some people that don't like the breed...that's okay. I'm not going to be the type of person to push my dog on anyone.
 

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So far everyone has been positive upon meeting WD. To my delight no one has been afraid of him either. That is beyond my expectations.
 

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I can't count the number of times I was walking Kaos on the bikepath and people would say what a beautiful dog he was. Or people would yell that out a car window. There had to be a million stares and points from cars. I have also had people wanting to mate their GSD with him. Now the same things are happening with Havoc.....

The only stereotype I would get is some people asking if he was a "police dog" (and the negative of what goes along with that to some). I would explain he's a German Shepherd. Any dog used by the police is a police dog. K9 is just an abbreviation for Canine a "dog". Stuff like that. But I would say he's friendly. Not high strung and he's not gonna chase you....

Even though Kaos was real friendly there were some people fearful of him just because he was big. Or you would get cat people that just don't like dogs...

The best thing is someone coming to my door. Hearing an earth-shaking bark. Me opening the door holding him. A look of panic on some of their faces. Only to see it change 180 degrees when I would say he's friendly. Then you would get some saying I knew that. Well no you didn't from your expression....
 

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Here in St. Louis the majority of people think that because I have a german shepherd that my dog bites. Crime is high in the area and so yes, there are a lot of active k9 units down in the city, perhaps that's why there is such a fear. Some people have asked to pet her and then pulled their hand back and tentatively said "wait, does she bite?". I explain all the time that she doesn't bite, she's a puppy, but some people just say "those police dogs always bite" and I just shake my head and let them believe what they want, it's one less person I have to worry about approaching me if I don't want to be approached.
 

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The closest I've come to something like that is someone asking me if 'my big dog is nice'. But other than that I've never had any negative experiences concerning people and my dog...

I think though that it helps that he is a long coat, I think they 'appear' less threatening and my dog is a big waggy lover. In the same breath that they're asking if he's friendly he's on them wagging and licking and being a ham. A few weeks ago I got stopped by a little boy maybe four or five years old along with his parents... They asked if he was friendly and if the little boy could pet him, well before I could answer Ollie play bowed at the little boy, wiggled up to him playfully and gave him a big sloppy kiss. I was like, well I guess that answers your question! :)

I might have the odd non aloof super friendly GSD but it doesn't bother me if it gives people a positive association with the breed. To answer your question, no I haven't but that's because I haven't needed to, lol.
 

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I have not yet had any negative reactions from people with having Lucca out & about.

I have run into a lot of people with very strong positive reactions, which has been a bit bewildering to me because I have never owned a dog that got so much attention.

Socializing for him has been socializing for me too. Everywhere we go people stop me and want to meet him, talk about how much they want a shepherd, or tell me stories about a shepherd they used to have or know. I have had people break down in tears because their shepherd passed away months or years ago and Lucca reminds them of their old friend. I have had completely random strangers want to take his picture on their phone (this actually happens a lot!!). Lucca's really great with strangers/new people, never jumps up or chews, which I am very happy about. I get many comments on how calm & mellow he is (Yeah, sure, try taking him home for the night! LOL)
 

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70 percent of human population regardless of the country they have come from do not think for themselves, don't have their own opinion and afraid to express it if it differs from common. What if I say "It is wrong for GSD to be non-agressive"? GSDs are a breed of agressive dogs, it is funny even to doubt it. GSD is not a dog for everybody, those who keep them should recognize full responsibility for their dog training. The strangers should keep their hands off until your dog would be trained well enough to tolerate their touch, I do not take the puppies into account because they will change entirely when grown up. Of course, there are non-agressive individuals, but we do not judge the breed by some individuals. Public tendency to have only "humane" dogs" in public places led to drastic results in GSD breeding. I saw, not in US, but in Germany these "offsprings of non-agressive parents", I was horrified every time I met one. They appeared to me having lost their GSD intellect completely. But, though stupid, they were friendly! Somehow it happens, that with the loss of their agression GSD loses his intellect. Maybe it is what the public wants - to see around amiable stupid pets ready to lick everyone who stretches his hand?
 

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I think it really depends on where i'm at. Out here, GSDs seem to have a very positive reputation thankfully but at the same time, I'm not always thrilled with that positive rep because I'm not a fan of people as a whole and there are days I don't like to be approached.

Back home, it's a mixed bag. I've had one woman literally start screaming and freaking out IN A PET STORE about my dog and I who were nowhere near her. it was pretty ridiculous.

If my dog is behaving herself and not causing any problems, honestly, that's all I'm interested in. Yes, there are those who say they're all bad while my dog is sitting calming and proving the idiot wrong. I will try to educate those who are open to it but otherwise, you cant fix stupid. So to speak. The perception of the breed, I think is really based more on where you are and that also helps determine if I'm going to make the attempt to change someone's perception of the breed.
 

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My perception of the perception of the people we encounter is neither positive or negative - they think the dog is a working breed. They ask if my dog is a police dog or is she related to a police dog, or a working (as in service dog), most people expect her to be protective, a guard dog and intelligent. The only slightly negative thing is that people are worried about her hips.
 

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I guess for me it is somewhat important. I, so far, have never gotten any rude comments, but a few of the "they can turn on you" and "they like to bite" comments have ben said. I don't like -or want- people approaching me on walks- in fact that is one of the reasons I have a GSD. I like the deterrence factor. I want a friendly dog, a social dog, but not a dog who is all cutsey, fluffy like a Golden Retriever that everyone wants to pet. It is important to me that when I walk past people on the street, that my dog is calm and well behaved portraying an intelligent and obedient GSD who doesn't pay strangers much mind. That is what is most important to me.

Whenever I do sense tension when talking about my German Shepherd, I like to add how WONDERFUL he is with my children and how much my friends and family love him before the comments start to fly!
 

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when a person owns a well trained, highly socialized dog
(any breed), the owner and the dog take on ambassadorial
roles.
 
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