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Discussion Starter #1
It's been a long time since I've posted after a rather traumatic experience with a rescue GSD between 2002-2005. I've since moved on to Labradors but I'm finding that I'm really missing having a GSD because they are just so darned fun to train and work with. Labs are great but mine don't exactly have that "That was fun! What are we learning next?" attitude. One gets bored and the other get so excited she can't think straight. Back to the topic:

I take a LONG time to choose a breeder...about 2 years. Once I find a breeder I'd consider, I start going to activities to meet dogs from their lines. I'm more or less looking for GSD breeders who could provide us with a social adult dog that could be used for therapy work/tracking/possible search and rescue work and calm enough to be taken into large crowds without blinking an eye. I'm looking mainly for a companion GSD, no protection training needed. I'm located in Southern California and am not opposed to traveling to Germany (have family over there) or traveling to other states to get the dog that fits into our family.

Any suggestions for breeders that you think would be able to tolerate someone who makes exceptionally slow decisions would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Sonja
 

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Many,many years ago I bought a trained German Shepherd. These usually come from importers, not breeders. Sorry, I can't recommend anybody.

I assume you have already done a Google search to test the waters.
 

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Google searches pull up the good and the bad and there's no way to sift through it all....lots of people can offer "trained" GSDs online, but are they sound with a rock-solid temperament? Impossible to tell online, so that's when I turn to people who are actively involved with the breed to help push me the direction I need to go. :) There are breeders who are actively involved with importing and could put out feelers to find the trained dog we're looking for. It's just finding a breeder with the ability and patience to make the match that's the tricky part. I don't mind waiting years....eventually, with patience, the one perfect for our lifestyle always comes along.
 

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Is there a reason it must be a trained dog? The reason I ask is because most trained/titled dogs are trained or titled for a very specific purpose, like narcotics, dual purpose, or sport/Schutzhund and sometimes don't make the best dogs for fully integrating with a family. A lot if not most of these dogs are kennel raised and kept. I might be a rare one that is involved in sport *and* keeps all my dogs as house/family pets so I know that the latter involves a lot of training even for a dog that never participates in sport or work, but this is not the type of training you're usually buying. If you are talking training like house training, crate training, travel, obedience...normally someone will buy a puppy or younger dog and have someone else train it for these things. I am doing this right now, "training" a puppy from 8 weeks. However not many people do this and then sell an adolescent or adult dog without a the dog already being owned and boarded for training because there's not really a market for it, if that makes sense? It takes a TON of time and work to raise and training a puppy that's not only a work (SAR) or sport prospect but a clean, well-mannered, and bombproof house dog. You don't really get back, monetarily, the amount of work that goes into it (I know I won't even if I sold my puppy for double!).
 

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Hopefully I can explain myself well without sounding like I have unattainable expectations. I have very high expectations, and I'll put it out there...but I also understand we're talking about living breathing animals with a mind of their own. I'll refine my expectations as I go without compromising the things that are REALLY important (temperament). My rescue GSD was a nutcase who didn't know a single command when he came to us at 18 months old. When I rehomed him (sad for me, happy for him) to a stay-at-home family he knew over 70 commands, three languages, how to open and close a car door and how to open a round door knob (much to the surprise of his new family). To this day they are thrilled with him. I learned from him that you can do all the training in the world, but you CANNOT train out a bad temperament...and if you try to train out a bad temperament than you are not being fair to the dog because you are asking him to be something he's not. He was great in the house, but a bucket of nerves on leash out in public. After three years we rehomed him because we worked all day and needed a dog that we could take out at night and on weekends, we told the rescue this initially and they said he would take "a few weeks" to mellow out. We spent three years (staying home the nights and weekends) and spent a lot of time and $$$ trying to make it work, but he just couldn't be desensitized to the things we needed him to be OK with. The whole rehoming thing bothered me to the point that I don't want a GSD puppy....I want a dog that already has an adult temperament and is developmentally (physically and emotionally) sound. A dog with advanced obedience and a love for tracking, learning, and people is desired. It doesn't have to love people like a Lab, but it would need to be social, especially because I would like to pursue tracking and therapy work. One of our Labs is a hunter....she's super mellow in the house and in public but a workhorse when it comes to fieldwork and retrieving. I'd love a GSD with enough drive to have fun out and about, but can tune it down to be a wonderful house dog, as well. I would LIKE it to be trained because I want solid basic/advanced obedience so I can build up and go the direction I wanted to go with our rescue GSD.
 

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I'd look at rescues again, just because one was a nutcase, I wouldn't discount others. There is a local GSD rescue that has some really nice dogs placed....of course there are the 'special' ones too, but the temperaments are evaluated so placement is successful. https://www.facebook.com/SouthwestMichiganGermanShepherdRescue?fref=ts
Now and then breeders have dogs returned for whatever reason, I've seen a couple posting recently on some facebook pages.
 

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70 commands and 3 languages, wow, that tops all of
the super 8 to 10 week old pups that sit, stay, spin,
down, ring bells to go, scratch to come in, give
a paw, go to their crate on command, etc. 70 commands
and 3 languages, very impressive, very impressive.

Hopefully I can explain myself well without sounding like I have unattainable expectations. I have very high expectations, and I'll put it out there...but I also understand we're talking about living breathing animals with a mind of their own. I'll refine my expectations as I go without compromising the things that are REALLY important (temperament). My rescue GSD was a nutcase who didn't know a single command when he came to us at 18 months old. When I rehomed him (sad for me, happy for him) to a stay-at-home family

>>>>> he knew over 70 commands, three languages,<<<<<


how to open and close a car door and how to open a round door knob (much to the surprise of his new family). To this day they are thrilled with him. I learned from him that you can do all the training in the world, but you CANNOT train out a bad temperament...and if you try to train out a bad temperament than you are not being fair to the dog because you are asking him to be something he's not. He was great in the house, but a bucket of nerves on leash out in public. After three years we rehomed him because we worked all day and needed a dog that we could take out at night and on weekends, we told the rescue this initially and they said he would take "a few weeks" to mellow out. We spent three years (staying home the nights and weekends) and spent a lot of time and $$$ trying to make it work, but he just couldn't be desensitized to the things we needed him to be OK with. The whole rehoming thing bothered me to the point that I don't want a GSD puppy....I want a dog that already has an adult temperament and is developmentally (physically and emotionally) sound. A dog with advanced obedience and a love for tracking, learning, and people is desired. It doesn't have to love people like a Lab, but it would need to be social, especially because I would like to pursue tracking and therapy work. One of our Labs is a hunter....she's super mellow in the house and in public but a workhorse when it comes to fieldwork and retrieving. I'd love a GSD with enough drive to have fun out and about, but can tune it down to be a wonderful house dog, as well. I would LIKE it to be trained because I want solid basic/advanced obedience so I can build up and go the direction I wanted to go with our rescue GSD.
 

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I'm still she'll shocked from our rescue experience....which is funny because I've had rescues my whole life (Dobies and a shep mix as a kid and then the GSD as an adult). Hindsight being 20/20, none of the dogs I has as a kid would have met my expectations that I have now. They were great around the house and on walks, but the early socialization just wasn't there. One hated anyone who wasn't white, one hated met with hats, one lost it every time the UPS truck drove by, and the list goes on and on. Living in So Cal, these are serious liabilities for as often as we drag our dogs around with us. We truly make our dogs a part of our life, in the home, out of the home, and we take them on vacation. We need a dog that can really keep it together. I love the support of a breeder, both of our Lab's breeders have been phenomenal. Truth be told, our rescue GSD was the greatest dog we'll probably ever have...he was a riot and SMART, which is why we taught him so much. I have stories of things he did that most people probably wouldn't believe....his thinking process was waaaay too intricate.
 

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I've adopted and fostered puppies and adults. I've deliberately taken on a couple with behavioral problems but two of the most sound dogs i've ever seen were also rescues. i've got one right now who I adopted at age 1.5 and he is off-the-charts intelligent. He goes everywhere with me. My first rescue was like that too. She travelled all over the country with me, nothing phased her.
 

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Hope I didn't insinuate that all rescue dogs are flawed....that's certainly not the case. I'm just never the lucky one to find a good one, and I would hate to find myself in the same position of having to rehome a dog that already lost a home. I don't believe in rehoming a rescue, but we finally realized the only way to meet Tracker's needs would be for one of us to quit our job, and that wasn't going to happen. At the rescue we used, the volunteers mean well and try to make good matches, but they really don't know the ins and outs of the temperaments, and the REALLY good dogs are the ones that the volunteers usually keep (I would!). Another downside to having rehomed a dog is that rescues look down on us for it. If a reputable trainer who specialized in GSDs could evaluate a rescue for us, that would probably be a route to explore. Thanks to those who sent a pm with info, looks like we've got a long complicated search ahead!
 

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I think finding a dog house raised, trained and available for sale to a pet home as an adult by it's breeder is like a needle in a haystack. Pups kept back and raised are usually pups who the breeder hopes to sell as a working prospect, sold by trainers they are going to be kennel raised with minimal socialization of the sort you would like.

For example, I kept 3 pups from my K litter to ensure that I kept the family ongoing.....then re-acquired a male. Due to a car wreck and severe injuries, my first three pups are on co-ownerships now (1 was prior to the accident - Kira with phgsd in many herding threads). The last pup I put with phgsd's trainer to also get titled as I am physically still not 100% and have an old male who is going downhill and could not fairly keep the younger male at the time I got him back. Considering the time and work that has gone in any of these four dogs (all raised in the house) if I were to sell any one of them - I would expect a very significant sum of money for one! However, this is a moot point as I could not and would not sell any of the co-owned dogs as those relationships are important and the dogs are valued members of their respective families...and integral to the future of my breeding program.

You may find an older retired (6 - 8 years old) dog available somewhere, but a young adult meeting your criteria is not going to be easy to find....I think there are plenty of dogs in rescue or in shelters who might work, but you will have to check further from home - there is a guy in IL or IN (??) who pulls and rehabs dogs from shelters - he is not an official rescue but seems to rehome some nice dogs - he is on facebook alot with photos and info...

Lee
 

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Sonja, is money going to be "no issue"?

I know when I was looking for a young Untrained adult or older puppy to avoid the uncertainty (health and temperament) you get with a puppy [I do SAR-cadaver] I was looking at around 5-6K for that. A healthy older puppy with potential, nothing more, nothing less. Your specifications have narrowed the search window even further.

You may find something like what you are looking for at some place like Eurosport (though I have no personal experience with them but understand there is a reason prices are not listed-but I do know some folks with their dogs )

So, I was very careful in my selection and went the puppy route.

The two years. Well, when you get your relationship down I hope that means when the "right dog" comes along you are not going to wait to snag it? One prospect may be breeder returns (yes, many reasons but I have seen several where the first owner got sick and could no longer provide the dog with the excercise and stimulation it would need but they were basically sound, trained dogs) but that is going to be serendipitous and not planned for so you would have to have several breeders on the hook for that right occurence.
 

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I know people with Eurosport dogs - both established, connected people who bought trained or started dogs who were happy - a few are SAR dogs now - and then novice people who had no experience and no connections. I have assisted in rehoming at least two dogs bought by newbies. I also have seen ads several times looking for sale dogs in Europe by them. The dogs they sell run the gamut....and comparatively, the OP is just as likely to find a good dog for her needs in a rescue. JMHO

Lee
 

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Oh I was not pushing Eurosport as I have no personal experience just stating you would expect to shell out thousands of dollars. I imagine in double digits. What does a nice schutzhund 1 import from a reputable person go for?
 

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Nothing wrong with NOT wanting another rescue dog. I personally wouldn't take one again. You're going to spend the rest of your life with the dog so get what you want and comfortable with it.

There is nothing wrong with looking for a patient breeder but remember time is money. If you want someone to take their time to find what you want, a deposit is usually necessary as it takes time and resources.

Just be realistic about what you want from the dog and what you are comfortable with spending.
 

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I won't push rescue if that's not what you want. I do agree with Lee though, it's a needle in a haystack, and also like Lee said if/when they do exist typically they are already in co-own situations or have a buyer lined up. I still think it would be easier and cheaper to find a puppy that meets your needs, temperament wise, and send it to someone good for training if you want it trained. Like Lee said, finding what you want that has been bred, raised, and trained by the breeder and has no issues and is available is going to be rare. Even young green or partially trained dogs that have had hips and elbow checked, temperament is known, etc is very expensive and that's usually a kenneled dog that may or may not transition easily to a home.
 
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