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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, our family of 4 (my husband, I and our 2 kids ages, 9 and 3) we also have two cats. We are looking to add a WSL GSD puppy to our home by fall. We will be first time GSD owners . I’m looking for any advice or suggestions from experienced owners as to what to expect and how to go about the best way to raise a sound/well rounded GSD. Of course I’ve heard the good and the bad about the breed and I want to do my best to ensure the puppy and our family, especially my kids get along well. I want to do the best I can to make sure we raise this puppy to be well rounded. Any feedback or advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to get as much information as I can before we bring our pup home. Thank you in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I’ve been researching here as much as possible. I read some horror stories that made me a little nervous. I want to give this puppy the best start possible.
 

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Research now how to crate train. You tube will bring up a lot of "how to" vids. My boy loved his crate and at times it became invaluable.

You can set up an intended schedule now for the pups and family daily activities now. It will change often once the pup is home but seeing on paper how your time will be spent between your children's needs and your pups needs might be a good preparing exercise and keep expectations real of how to manage it.

Prepare your children now by discussing often the rules that you want them to abide by when the pup comes home. Ask for their input, children love to be helpful and will value the rules since they helped make them.

Be prepared to set up a safe area for the cats to escape to. A baby gate in the doorway of another room usually does the trick.

Just some suggestions that may be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the feedback. We did already install a cat door so they can get into the basement and away from the pup.
 

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Finding an extremely reputable breeder and letting them know exactly what you are looking for is the best place to start. Meet as many different GSDs as you can, especially from breeders you are interested in. Go to some clubs and watch the dogs do things. Most GSDs clubs will allow you to observe classes. Talk to owners and ask what they like about their dogs, and how they are with kids. Ask if they have any environmental fears, or reactivity issues. Ask about their health. After that, line up a good trainer to get you started with obedience/manners. It will help if the trainer has ample GSD experience. Good luck!
 

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Don’t put too much attention into horror stories. Instead search for solutions. Or ask in that thread how you can avoid it.

I have to mildly disagree with you. The horror stories are important because it lets her know what things may be possible with her future dog. If these are things that she doesn't want to deal with (like the biting or the waking up several times a night for potty breaks when it's a puppy, or the whining during crate training, or taking precautions with the hips, or etc.), it's best she knows what she's getting into now. Last thing we want is a dog that ends up at the pound because someone told her to ignore the horror stories and because of that she wasn't prepared for it...and you know that happens a lot. If I knew about the horror stories before I got my 1st GSD years ago, I may not have gotten him. Who knows?


Hula, am I mistaken or are you looking to get a working line shepherd as your first GSD? If so, I don't know if that's a good idea. They're a little more "high strung," for lack of a better word, and will need more activity, more mental stimulation, etc. And with both kids under 10, your time will already be divided. I'm not telling you to get a different breed. Just suggesting maybe not a working line. Anyway, good luck and like everyone else said, read everything here and elsewhere. Watch vids on YouTube. Google. Buy books. Every little bit helps. And as prepared as you think you'll be, you won't be when that pup comes home. My best advice...you'll feel overwhelmed the first couple weeks or so. Power through that. Just remember, things will get better. Come here to the forums, people will be more than happy to help and offer advice or just to "listen."
 

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Yes, I agree. I meant don’t focus on negatives that might turn someone off to GSD ownership, but on finding solutions. I was in a hurry and did not have time for details.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We have spoke with and researched some breeders near us. We are planning on getting our pup from Alta Tollhaus in Michigan. Not a working line, show line. We did already meet the breeder and some of her dogs.

We found two training facilities near us that we think would fit our needs.

We understand the general “horror stories” of puppies and what it takes. I was referring to the stories you hear of aggression, dominance and so on. I have found many answers within the threads of how to possibly prevent those issues.

I appreciate all the feedback.
 

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Leerburg.com is a great site for all kinds of free information, from puppyhood, interacting with the kids and cats to dealing with a typical puppy.
 

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I think it's a really good idea to keep your puppy in a series of obedience classes for the first year or two, rather than taking just one class. I wish someone had told me that when I got my first GSD (not one of my current dogs). He started having some reactivity issues, which we worked through, but I think if I had kept him in classes longer that might not have happened.
 
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