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So last time I was at my vets office with my pup, the vet techs said to me, “Your puppy and his sister are the only non-aggressive GSDs we see.” That really struck me.. I know GSDs can tend to be dog aggressive, but they said people and dog reactive. They noticed it was a lot of inexperienced owners getting a shepherd without knowing the breed well. Not the first time I had heard a comment like this…but it is a multi-faceted issue. Just thought I’d share. As proud as I was of my little guy for his good behaviour I was taken aback by what they said.
 

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I didn't quite believe the vet techs when they took Lucky in the back for an x-ray. He came walking out I was surprised they hadn't knocked him out for it. No, he was his usual sweet self, let them pick him up and position him for a couple xrays. Another time he let the vet roll him around on the floor demonstrating to a couple students how to examine a large dog. Some dogs are just easy going. Elke, however, is a screaming basket case from the moment we turn the corner and there is the Dreaded Vet Office.
 

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Fraserglens Ellie of Carmspack 16/12/2021
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The clinic I took Ellie to for her surgery said ’ellie was a very sweet affection patient while under our care’. In all reality most dogs should never be crazy reactive or aggressive to anything that moves, it’s likely a breed flaw, like @Bearshandler said, it’s breeding ethics and owners that cause these stigmas.
 

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It’s sad that so many people are afraid of GSD’s
I have brought Theo when I take and pick up my grandkids to school since he was 3 months and all the kids and parents loved the cute puppy. Now that he is 6 months and lost most of the puppy look they still know him and because he had such a good nature they still come up to greet him.
but many people that didn’t meet him at the puppy are intimidated because of bad experiences
 

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Been taking GSDs to the vet for nearly 20 years, and so far, knock on wood, none of them has bitten the vet. In fact, the dog that came closest to taking a chunk out of my vet was my parents' English Setter AKA Marshmallow Dog. There are a lot of good GSDs out there.
 

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Fern GSD 5yrs, Chloe the Cat
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I usually walk around other dogs, especially GSD types. Not willing to bet on a stranger to keep me and my dog safe. I’ve seen two GSD owners that also take this approach, their dogs are very well trained. But the county I live in is riddled with byb gsds, mals, GSD/mals, mal/dutchies. On Craigslist I saw 8 litters on sale from different people.
 

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Nova actually does great at the vet despite hating it there. I have only been inside with her once because of COVID so I never got to turn it into a good experience for her, but my vet has told me she's played with her son and liked the clinic cat lol. I finally got to go in with her and was impressed with how tolerant she was of everyone touching her.

We have a lot of very nervy shepherds in my area. My worst fear was ending up with a dog like that, I did so much research on breeders before I got Nova. I'm sure vets deal with a lot of these 😔
 

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I was very open about the fact that mine is a pain in the neck for things like nails and blood drawing, had been since day one of me doing her nails and desensitization improved it, but she's just calmer with a muzzle on and enjoys being the drama without it. They seem to like the fact that I was open about it and had no problem with her being muzzled if needed, and after her spay surgery when I picked her up they said she was the sweetest dog. Like three techs told me that on my way back 😆 I was shocked because I was expecting her to flip out with me not there, but I guess she did pretty well. I've worked with her a lot in that kind of stuff so I was happy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes the regional differences are very interesting to note. I see a lot of labs/GRs, BMDs, toy breeds, and the odd shepherd here and there. My old girl was dog reactive as she got older, and most of the shepherds we ran into were pretty neutral, so maybe the comment from my vets is a result of the “covid” puppy wave.

I also got the same remark before, “Oh a shepherd..I / friend / relative got bit/scared by one”…Personally I have seen people aggression with labs, retrievers, terriers, and rotties, but again lots of nature vs nurture going on there in my examples.

I think, as mentioned above, the GSD is a breed that even when well-bred can become reactive in the hands of a novice owner. They are smart, powerful, but sensitive. Mix in a tendency for nervy dogs and you have a recipe for some form of aggression.
 

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I was very open about the fact that mine is a pain in the neck for things like nails and blood drawing, had been since day one of me doing her nails and desensitization improved it, but she's just calmer with a muzzle on and enjoys being the drama without it. They seem to like the fact that I was open about it and had no problem with her being muzzled if needed, and after her spay surgery when I picked her up they said she was the sweetest dog. Like three techs told me that on my way back 😆 I was shocked because I was expecting her to flip out with me not there, but I guess she did pretty well. I've worked with her a lot in that kind of stuff so I was happy!
This is actually huge. As someone who has helped out with dog grooming (AKA they called me in when they had one that wanted to eat them, I was the extra hands to hold them), owners who understand and are open about their dogs issues make all the difference. I don't know how many owners insisted their pets would never bite and the first thing it does is lunge at us. And muzzling is just common sense, it's safety for all involved. I'm sure the vets probably feel the same way!

Actually most of the dogs I had to help with were smaller. I only remember one shepherd I had to help hold and he was definitely a nervy dog.
 

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I took both the boys for a walk down past the pond and through some houses and waited where it exited at a 4 lane neighborhood street while my wife went to buy something at a bakery, half a block up. Both dogs were leashed in this case (a rarity for me).

A middle aged Indian man came walking towards us and went wide eyed and crossed to the middle median of the four lanes for 50 yards and crossed back over onto our sidewalk.

Is it me or the dogs? :unsure:
 
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