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I know in the past when I have been lucky enough to get a new something or another (pet wise horse, dog, cat, cow, etc) after I have had them / lost them or what ever looking back there are things I would of done differently. Being that this is my first GSD as an adult I would love the wisdom of other owners who have had GSD's for years and look back at their first and say, if I would of done....xyz. Or if I could go back I would not of....

For first time GSD owners / handlers I think the knowledge of those more experienced is invaluable. So shoot away... what would you of done differently as a Novice / First time GSD owner?
 

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1. Gone to a reputable breeder
2. Ignored the people who said to alpha-roll, show dominance over a puppy, etc.


Those are my big two. I had the lethal combo of weak nerves/poor breeding and inexperience (listening to people who said a landsharking puppy was being dominant, etc). He's come a long way and will always be my heart dog, but he's been a heck of a lot of work. I'm looking forward to starting over with a dog whose cards are stacked in her favor this time.
 

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The training! Put down those correction collars and learn to motivate your dog to work. Use that drive to teach instead trying to shut it down to force.

I can't wait to get a new puppy so I can do it right from the start!
 

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Trust myself more when it comes to training. It may not be the way "the professionals" do it, but it works. ;)
 

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Honestly? Not much.

I think I got very lucky in having Pongu as my first dog. He was and is a Dog With Issues, that's for sure. But I believe a lot of Dogs With Issues get the best results in life's lottery when they wind up in the hands of first-time owners who are too clueless to realize what they're getting into and too intractably stubborn to give up.

A more experienced dog person would have avoided a puppy with so many obvious trouble signs, and would have "known" that there's only so much you can do with such a puppy and only so far you can go. A clueless newbie like me, well... there's something to be said for being blithely ignorant of limitations.

Pongu taught me a lot and continues to teach me a lot. He's brilliant, crazy, anxious, devoted. I'm immeasurably grateful to have him in my life. I am also pretty sure that my next dog will be considerably easier, and will seem completely miraculous by comparison, and I'm grateful for that too. Much better than having a totally perfect dog the first time and never finding another dog who could possibly stack up, right? ;)

I made mistakes, of course. I made a lot of mistakes, and I'll make more as we go on. I started out listening to the wrong people, training the wrong way for us. It did some damage. But I stopped as soon as it was apparent that these methods were causing him harm, and Pongu soon forgave me, and although I regret what I did, in a way I am glad to have started there and learned firsthand how and why those techniques do not work for us. If I'd started with R+ training I probably would not have fully appreciated just how great the difference is.

So: no more regrets than are necessary to learn from one's mistakes.
 

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1. reputable breeder
2. reputable breeder
3. use more positive/clicker training and less of the old school dominance/force training
4. socialize immediately
 

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This thread made me feel better because my number 1. Would be REPUTABLE BREEDER, do more research. Just because the look good and parents look good and training videos are enticing...doesn't mean it IS good.
2. Start training earlier.
Those are my big 2, Now I know better. I have learned so much about the breed since having Sadie.


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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1. Reputable breeder
2. MORE corrections and more consistency. Those petsmart classes where I was told to just ignore all his bad behavior because it was attention seeking were misguided. It wasn't attention seeking, it was self rewarding. Ignoring self rewarding behaviors creates habits that are really tough to break.
 

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I would not do it differently, nope. Knowing what I know now, even now enjoying and being involved in IPO, if I could do it again I would still get a SL as my first GSD. I love my dog, and I wanted a GSD as a companion first and foremost, and he is the very best companion. We tried the sport together, and while he does potentially have what it takes to go somewhere in IPO, it is just fun to train and learn WITH him, and him being a SL, helps to teach me how to work with dogs, that may not be 'easy' to train. I went with a reputable breeder too, thankfully.
 

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I would not have gotten two pups at the same time. They ended up being best pals (opposite sexes), but I always felt like I shortchanged them in terms of training time.
 

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I find it really interesting that so many of you say that getting a dog from a reputable breeder would be so high on your list. Ranger is from a very reputable breeder, the Seeing Eye, and he is a great dog, but Ranger is my first GSD and prior to him I had several Aussies (mine and fosters) none of which were from reputable breeders. All but one of those dogs were great dogs and " reputable breeder" would not really be on my list for getting another Aussie because I would most likely go though a rescue. Can someone expound on the need for reputable breeders for GSDs? Are there perticular problems that you have seen.
 
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