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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just wondering what mistakes you made with your first dog(s) that you have since learned from. Looking back, I can't believe some of the things I did with my first dogs. It's no wonder they weren't well behaved. Here's a list of things I did that I have since learned from

-Fed pedigree thinking because it had a husky on the bag, it must be a premium food designed specifically for huskies. I now feed Orijen

-I didn't socialize my dogs at all. Both turned out to be dog aggressive. I now socialize the heck out of my dog and it's paying off.

-Didn't take my dogs to puppy classes, or any classes of any kind. As a result, they didn't listen to the recall command, didn't listen to stay and didn't listen to many other commands. I did try to teach them, I just now realize I went about everything the wrong way. All they knew was tricks that resulted in them getting treats, they didn't know important commands and didn't listen to me when treats weren't present.

-I didn't use crates. Instead I would leave them free to roam the house. Needless to say that the destruction they did was equivalent to a tornado. They ate a leather couch, ate the corner of one of the walls, as well as many, many other things.

-I didn't exercise my dogs nearly enough as I should have. They weren't locked up all day every day or anything like that, but they didn't get the exercise they should have.

In the end I loved my two huskies and they had long, happy lives, but I look back and now realize I made so many mistakes. Anyone else feel the same about their first dog(s)?
 

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I did research on the GSD breed before I bought my first GSD but I didn't research good breeders and bought from a byb.

So my mistake was buying a dog from a byb and helping them make more money.
 

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I am on my first dog (she's only 9 months) and I already have a list of things to do differently next time LOL.

Stand up for him when people want to pet him on the head, or chase him to pet him. if my he's scared of someone, we walk away!!

Be WAY more relaxed when socializing, so he doesn't pick up on my anxiety and react.

Start puppy classes and obedience as soon as I possibly can! We started skylar's obedience when she was 4 months, which was what we were supposed to do- but we never did a puppy class.

Socialize MORE!!! Skylar was socialized multiple times per week, but I could never socialize too much, right!?

AND figure out what my training goals are before I get the dog! With Skylar, I didn't think I would want to do any competing of any type, so we didn't train early on- So now at 9 months, we're just starting to train for rally-o, and i'm trying to un-do all of my negative reactions to people approaching her so we can get a CGN.

Also, I need remember there is no such thing as a perfect dog, they all have flaws. Skylar gets overwhelmed easily, so i've had to adjust what I want to do to make her happy.

Despite all of this, I still have an amazing, young, friendly dog. (i got lucky lol!) :eek:
 

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I have learned a lot since then as well.

For one thing, I am very adamant about obedience, something I did do in the past but solely practice at home, not in any real life situations. I know, looking back, that my previous shepherd Champ was not truly trained, since he would not listen to all of my commands on cue. He was a great dog, nonethless, but just free willed.

I used to feed pedigree as well. I never knew what to look for on the ingredient list and now that is something I do every single time I go shopping for Texas's food or treats.

I interact with my dogs a lot more than I used to. My pets were all outdoors, primarily since my mom did not like dogs to be inside (though little dogs were ok, the big dogs were not). Now, all my pets live indoors with me; cats and dog. It is a lot better to literally live with your dog than just leave them outdoors.

I am now motivated to attend trials. Something I wanted to do when I was younger, but I never got around to it. Champ would have been great for agility had I put more time. This time around, I will not let it pass and encourage Texas to try things and allow her to be social with other dogs.
 

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My mistake was getting the puppy who clung to the breeder's side and sat on his lap the majority of the time we were looking at the pups. I thought it may be a sign of an up and coming "loyal" dog out of the litter, when in fact the dog is extremley "soft" and not at all confident and shuts down very, very easily. It's extremley hard for him to function under stress or if he senses tension in the house.

I have learned that this type of "soft" personality in a dog IS NOT any where near a good match for me, and I never would have known that otherwise. Good thing my husband loves him to pieces and my husband is a "softer personalitied" type of person, cause I can't stand the dog, but they are good for eachother.
 

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My mistake was getting the puppy who clung to the breeder's side and sat on his lap the majority of the time we were looking at the pups. I thought it may be a sign of an up and coming "loyal" dog out of the litter, when in fact the dog is extremley "soft" and not at all confident and shuts down very, very easily. It's extremley hard for him to function under stress or if he senses tension in the house.

I have learned that this type of "soft" personality in a dog IS NOT any where near a good match for me, and I never would have known that otherwise. Good thing my husband loves him to pieces and my husband is a "softer personalitied" type of person, cause I can't stand the dog, but they are good for eachother.
:eek:
 

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I think with each dog I have owned I have gotten progressively better as an owner, however, this also equates to the fact that as I have gotten older I now make more money!
First dog: Kinsey was an apartment dog, no formal obedience training. I used a flexi leash and she never learned to properly walk on a leash. This became a hassle as she got older and I moved from an apartment to a house.
Second dog: Dallas went to one obedience class. I learned the basics with her. The best thing I did with her was teach her proper leash manners! She became my walking buddy! As Kinsey got older I introduced her to the gentle leader and I was able to walk with both dogs and had no issues.
Third dog: Willow was in a puppy class 3 weeks after she came home. She also attended a basic and advanced class. We are now taking a CGC class which she will hopefully pass this spring.
 

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YEAH. It's getting worse and worse. This is the Lab I'm talking about....he pees and poops in the house, he pees (lifts his leg) on me, and on people who come over. And in the process is in "shut down" mode because he knows what he is doing is wrong but does it anyway. So I get frustrated, so it's a never-ending cycle. This morning I took him out to go potty, and he refused to go. So we went back in, and before we made it to his crate he peed all over the floor....***sigh*** he's retaliating for some reason and I am becoming VERY frustrated with him. This has been going on since last spring....
 

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Millie is currently 2.5 years old. Our first mistake was paying someone we thought had a good reputation to do some "advanced training" with her at 6 months of age. The trainer worked with the breeder which was just a couple miles away from my in-laws. Unfortunatley at the time we lived 6 hours away and had no opportunity to drop by and check on what they were telling us. When we picked Millie up after a month worth of training we thought she was initially okay. We learned she was not okay from someone who is now a great friend of ours. OUr friend had never melt us or millie but had heard from a mutual friend that we had just brought her back from training. When she gave her a few simple commands in German Millie shut down and actually ran and hid under our vehicle. Millie was scared of a choke collar and leash. Thanks to our friend finding the issue quickly with her help we were able to reverse the horrible training she had recieved. Long story short I've learned I will take class with my dogs in the future and learn how to train them. If I ever send a dog off for training again I will do so much more research to include suprise visit etc to see how they react when they think no one is watching.
 

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I didn't bother to ask anything about the sire/dam(temperment,health). Never saw them, never met them. My experience with Victor taught me that bloodlines matter. You don't just get a GSD and hope it turns out ok.
Believe me now if I went to meet the sire/dam and either of them were trying to tear me apart/aggressive that would be a dog I would pass on. I think Victor came into our lives for a reason. It was a big slap in the face to have such an extremely people aggressive dog. Do your research learn the bloodline, meet the sire/dam. Don't just get a GSD to be a guard dog you might get more than you bargained for. I will never again get a GSD for protection/guarding it will be because I love the breed and want an excellent companion. I will never expect he/she to protect me(Victor took protecting to a whole new level-too much). My job as a GSD owner is to raise a properly balanced, LOVING family member not Cujo.

Education was Victor's biggest gift to me. Thank you sweet boy!
 

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This is a good thread for people who are getting a puppy. There are so many places to get puppies from, and so many different situations as far as breeders. Especially if you are allowed to "choose" the puppy yourself, there are a million things you should be looking for, and alot of that isn't learned until there is some sort of mishap. Great thread!
 

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Lucy wasn't my first dog, rather she was the first dog I owned on my own. Here are my mistakes:

-Had her as an outside dog
-Didn't do enough research on food. Fed her Blue Buffalo puppy when should have fed a large breed puppy food.
-Got her from a BYB
-Didn't take her to puppy classes. Had leash pulling and mouthing problems from her

So if I could do it over again and I was in the right situation, she'd be inside with me, fed Orijen or raw, bought from a good breeder, and I'd enroll her in puppy classes and potty train her. I'd also supply her with more toys.

The first puppy or dog teaches a lot.
 

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Don't let them get away with something that is cute when they are a puppy that will be a horrible behavior when they are full grown.

Case in point - it started out with Remo guarding the area beside the bed from other dogs. Then he started guarding the whole bedroom, which then led to guarding the hall leading to the bedroom. It eventually pretty much turned into guarding the entire upper floor of the house from the foster dogs. It was cute when he was little, but when he turned into a huge dog, who launched a pretty scary assault, not so funny. Nip it in the bud when they are still little and cute!!!!!
 

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Spend less time on the internet reading about training and more time outside training. Also, not get ahead of myself....a 3 month old dog that can sit but won't pay any attention to you is not an accomplishment.
 

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I will be more patient with my next puppy. I will keep things more positive those first few weeks and not stress over the things the puppy hasn't learned yet. I will focus on creating a strong bond and make new experiences fun and happy instead of scary. I will stand up for my puppy when he is uncomfortable instead of letting others decide what's best for my puppy.
 

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Great thread!

I am thankful for getting a great dog out of a rescue situation. Thankful for the amount of research I did before I actually went to pick him up. (still not always enough, you cant research specifics until you know what personality you're dealing with)

I would not have gotten another dog after only 3 months. Sometimes I think I baby him a little too much, causing a small amount of seperation anxiety. I would have started timed feeding from the beginning.

Overall, I have been very lucky with this being my first GSD.
 

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I'm still on my first dog, so I'm still making mistakes:

-Got him from a BYB.
-Got him as an older puppy that had never been inside of a house before. Potty training and crating were a very difficult process, and he had separation anxiety, leash frustration, and resource guarding from the moment we brought him home.
-Taking him to petsmart training classes. The trainer mistook his leash frustration for dog aggression, and wouldn't let him socialize. The whole thing just made him more frustrated. That took a while to train out of him.
-Not following through with all commands. Now he's very testy.

I don't think I did too horrible of a job really. He's well socialized(although overly friendly with people), very confident and curious, and has a solid temperament. He came with a lot of problems and issues that I fixed, and non-existent drives that I developed.

The biggest mistake was definitely the breeder. Just because a breeder says the dogs are OFA'd, doesn't mean that they actually are.
 

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A few other things I learned, just like others tried to tell me, is that you can't be exact on what a dog will turn out to be like if you are getting it as a puppy. I would LOVE to rescue my next dog. My next dog won't be for probably another 8 years, or until the kids are more grown up at least. But I would love to try to rescue an adult with a proven personality!!!
 

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To not buy from a pet store, went to a breeder after a ton of research. Saw both parents and touched them and interacted with them.
To not feed Science Diet now feed Acana and raw
Since this was 13 years ago the training method was choke collar, I now use a clicker.
More socializing than with my first. All pups since then have gone to doggie daycare and we visited the pet store often.
I have more patience now as well!

There is more I just can not think of it right now.
 

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I love Rocky with all my heart, but I wish I hadn't gone with a $300 dog out of the newspaper from a byb.

I tried to make him an outside dog at first. Ha! He was having no part of that. I wish I had crated indoors from the very beginning.

I wish I hadn't forced him to go through experiences he was afraid of in the name of "socialization."

I wish I had used more positive training.

I wish I hadn't fed him Purina Puppy Chow.
 
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