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Hi Everyone - me again!

So - still looking to find the right working line puppy. Been getting a lot of mixed information. Hoping to get some views for you experts out there!

We're looking for a GSD puppy. We've had muggings in our neighborhood and a few break ins. Was hoping to get a GSD as a puppy as well as a deterrent and protection dog. By protection, I don't mean body guard level training etc. But a dog who can step up and protect if needs be - but be trustworthy.

We live very active lives. Have a lot of people come in and out of the apartment and both travel for work for a day or two of the week. We might have to have our dog stay with friends or board for 2-3 days a month at the most.

Given it's NYC - there'll be a lot of 'stranger's and new dogs etc in our lives everyday on the streets etc.

Do you think I should still be looking or a working line dog - or would a show line dog also do what we need?
I ask this, as I've been getting mixed reviews on the WL dog - and if it's trained in protection, it might be more difficult to allow 'strangers' into our lives safely.

Love to get any thoughts anyone has on this topic.
And as always - if anyone has any good recommendations for breeders around NY or in Europe - i'd really appreciate it!

Thanks again
 

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I've been around a couple showline shepherds - they are beautiful creatures and were even tempered. They seemed to be a dog you could take anywhere. They were not overly friendly, like a Lab but nice. That being said the owners said they did not act like a guard dog.

Working line for us was naturally protective. We received so many offers to do protection classes but decided against it. Our dog is a female, I don't know if they tend to be more protective in general. It took a lot of training for her to be "nice" in public places. We live in a densely populated area (nothing like NYC) but lots of condo living and tourists. My greatest concern would be the time you could spend with your dog. These dogs are so loyal and want to be with you. Being left alone in an apartment for several hours a day may be hard on the dog and your neighbors. If you want a really well trained working line dog, you will need to devote time in training, like in group classes where your pup/dog can learn to "leave it" pass by other dogs and people and not react to them - just focus on you. We did training on and off for about 4 years. Just to keep our dog mentally stimulated. We still do a class every couple of months for fun, our dog is 6 yrs old now.

As for letting in "strangers" into your home. If you were to start at and early age with your friends coming over regularly and having positive interactions, your pup will know who they are, and will be on your dog's safe list. We do have an issue with guests coming over because generally my husband likes our home to be for his quiet time - not much socialization. He does socialization and has lots of friends come to his work, he's self employed.
 

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A lot depends on what you mean by 'protection' training. Do you want a dog that barks to warn off intruders? GSDs do this naturally and you can encourage it if you wish. just be sure you have control of it by teaching him a 'speak' command so you can turn it on and off.

Or are you talking about bitework? That is a very complex topic that requires expert guidance from an ETHICAL trainer. Step one is to acquire the right dog. You need the proper combination of drives and rock solid nerves as well as clear headedness. You will need expert help testing and evaluating the pup or young adult dog before you buy.

A temperamentally sound, properly trained protection dog is not a threat to invited guests.

Bite training is serious business. Find a trainer with a good reputation who also trains K-9s or is involved in a protection sport like SDA. Too many frauds will take your money and ruin your dog.

Also, check your homeowners' insurance. You'll want to add an umbrella policy, just in case someone does something really stupid.
 

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I've raised a GSD in NYC before. It's tough work. I honestly don't think it's fair to the dog, or fair to yourself. These dogs need a lot of exercise, they like grass, not concrete. Do you have a big yard? Do you have 3-4 hours of your day to exercise and train him? You will come across thousands of sickos wanting to pet you dog, and if you want to raise him for personal protection, you have to say NO most of the time. You can get a medium to large sized rescue dog who will be a good deterrent to muggers. I don't recommend a GSD for NYC, much less a working dog, he will destroy your house. He will be a huge bite risk if you have so many people coming through your house being a working dog. Unless you have a huge yard (which I doubt you do in NYC). I say don't do it. When I did this I was lucky, I had a large yard, and I had daily access to an enormous fenced parking lot to let him do zoomies and run free. I kept him crated most of the time and it literally broke my heart watching him in a cage. They aren't good apartment dogs. Pit bulls are good apartment nyc dogs. They don't need as much exercise.
 

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I've raised a GSD in NYC before. It's tough work. I honestly don't think it's fair to the dog, or fair to yourself. These dogs need a lot of exercise, they like grass, not concrete. Do you have a big yard? Do you have 3-4 hours of your day to exercise and train him? You will come across thousands of sickos wanting to pet you dog, and if you want to raise him for personal protection, you have to say NO most of the time. You can get a medium to large sized rescue dog who will be a good deterrent to muggers. I don't recommend a GSD for NYC, much less a working dog, he will destroy your house. He will be a huge bite risk if you have so many people coming through your house being a working dog. Unless you have a huge yard (which I doubt you do in NYC). I say don't do it. When I did this I was lucky, I had a large yard, and I had daily access to an enormous fenced parking lot to let him do zoomies and run free. I kept him crated most of the time and it literally broke my heart watching him in a cage. They aren't good apartment dogs. Pit bulls are good apartment nyc dogs. They don't need as much exercise.
I have to disagree with some of these statements. We have no yard and our dog has never needed 3-4 hours of exercise daily. I don't think a yard and that much exercise is required to raise a GSD. It would be ideal if this person had a car and could get out of the city on the weekends with the dogs. They do need your time, your presence and they do need to be challenged, give them a job to do. Our dogs have never torn up our house because people are usually home, or the dog comes to work with me and we do regular exercise. My neighbor has a smaller place than I do, less than 900 sq ft and she has very well behaved and happy huskies (2). She does work from home and of course takes them out for decent walks or bike rides. It can be done, but would not recommend a GSD if there is nobody home for several hours daily.
 

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I have to disagree with some of these statements. We have no yard and our dog has never needed 3-4 hours of exercise daily. I don't think a yard and that much exercise is required to raise a GSD. It would be ideal if this person had a car and could get out of the city on the weekends with the dogs. They do need your time, your presence and they do need to be challenged, give them a job to do. Our dogs have never torn up our house because people are usually home, or the dog comes to work with me and we do regular exercise. My neighbor has a smaller place than I do, less than 900 sq ft and she has very well behaved and happy huskies (2). She does work from home and of course takes them out for decent walks or bike rides. It can be done, but would not recommend a GSD if there is nobody home for several hours daily.
Without a yard you need regular exercise, not just physical but mental. That amounts to 3-4 hours a day, you don't notice it but it's true. And for this kind of dog in NYC? You better have 3-4 hours a day for walks, training, exercise, mental stimulation. If you don't live in NYC you have no idea what it's like having a working line GSD walking around with you bumping into 10 thousand people on day average, kids whizzing by on skateboards, bikes, ambulances, squirrels, cats, other dogs, bums, people running up wanting to pet the dog without permission. There's bums walking around teasing the dog just so they can get bit so they can sue you. You trying to convince her is doing nothing good for the dog. Get a rescue pit who's proven stable, and will not at all mind being in the apartment all day, and will also gladly go with you on your active lifestyle adventures, and will also be a great deterrent for muggers. A working line GSD is a whole 'nother world of dog, especially for NYC and if it's her first GSD? No way.
 

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No way! Muggings happen in New York City?? It's my opinion that with you living in an apartment and living "very active lives" with work and travel requirements that it would be impossible to provide a good environment and time for properly raising a GSD. Completely unfair to the dog. Please consider another breed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all.
To clear up a few things:

I can take my dog to work, so he won't be left in the house alone. We also have a huge dog park by us where he can run around, be off leash, play and be with other dogs.

From my understanding - if I can commit to m an hour of dog park before work and an hour after, that should be enough exercise for him.
Open to your thoughts and feedback on this.

If we don't train him in protection or bite work - and is socialized heavily as a pup (inevitable when you live in NYC!) ... Would he still be a bite risk?
 

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I am pro dog parks but what will you do to exercise your dog IF your dog matures into one of those that doesn't play well with others?
 

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Would your dog be a bite risk? All dogs have a risk for biting. If you take your dog to work, starting young he/she should be very well socialized. There may be some exceptions to that - depending on the lineage of the pup. I know of two female GSDs from Czech working lines - they have extreme drive, high strung and never settle down. They are owned by experienced GSD people. I know finding a pup can start to get complicated. Obedience training is highly recommended. As you research breeders you should also research and visit training facilities, see if the trainers understand GSDs and make sure the classes are fun. Our first trainer was boring and I found myself spacing out, not paying attention.
 

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Thanks @Gretchen

I had no idea that could be an issue! Is that something that could be avoided with proper socialization and training as a puppy?
 

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If you are determined to get a German Shepherd and have no experience, consider getting a rescue from a reputable GSD rescue group. A puppy won't be any kind of protection for a few years. You don't want a dog that bites, you want one that will bark and scare off people who want to harm you. Rescues get a lot of young dogs. Most will need specialized training and retraining unless you are very insistent on getting a trained dog. That can take time. You will want to find a good trainer with any dog you get.
 

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Most reputable dog trainers will tell u that dog parks are never a good idea. If your puppy gets attacked it will never be the same again. To quote my vet,"A dog park is a vet's best friend"!
 

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While other posters have pointed out the challenges of owning a GSD in New York City, it can be done. As a child my family owned a GSD and we lived on the upper east side in NYC. It was my responsibility to walk the dog every morning before I went to school, starting about age 11. (People sometimes crossed the street when they saw a 90 GSD pulling an 11 year old behind him). My mother did not work until I left for college, so she walked the dog around lunchtime. My dad walked him every night. Weekends we regularly went to Central Park. (The area just below the Metropolitan Museum was christened "dog hill" by our family since it was frequented by dog owners who would let their dogs off leash to play together - this was before there were dog parks.

Our dog was a happy, well-adjusted GSD. He generally ignored strangers and got along well with other dogs. Plus this was in the days before people were expected to pick up after their dogs, which made things easier.:)

In any event, I just want you to know that it can be done because we did it.
 

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You may want to think about getting a rescue or a trained adult it may be easier, some breeders have older retired dogs from their breeding program for adoption. I'm not sure of your situation. If you are determined to get a pup and determined to make it work it can work.If a pup from a breeder you would have to look for the right breeder that can match the right pup for you. I had both a trained adult working line in the past. Now presently raising a American showline from a pup and learning so much but also putting much time and effort in. Both we were able to have invited guests in the house and both great watch dogs. Anybody working on the house painter etc. l would put Max away. Our American show line is more energetic- not hyper -then our working line was- he is also younger. Our working line was calm when he needed to be, aloof ,quiet and had the energy when it was time to use and incredibly disciplined and reserved/ he seemed to not waste a drop of energy was not hyper and did not act like a energizer bunny. I don't live in the city itself but know the winters can be long. So if you get a pup you want to plan it right. There is a lot to think about as others have mentioned. Activity wise someone mentioned there is a place you can let you dogs off leash in Central Park that is not a dog park. Bike riding and jogging is another exercise outlet and when dog is old enough.
 

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Activity wise someone mentioned there is a place you can let you dogs off leash in Central Park that is not a dog park

Want to be clear, this was true when I was a child in NYC. I am currently 58, so this specific info is a little dated.:)

However, I suspect that you can at least jog with your dog on leash. There is the reservoir, which is approx 1.5 miles per loop, and various bridal paths. You can also do the paved loop around Central Park when it is closed to traffic which is about 10K as I recall.
 

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Activity wise someone mentioned there is a place you can let you dogs off leash in Central Park that is not a dog park

Want to be clear, this was true when I was a child in NYC. I am currently 58, so this specific info is a little dated.


However, I suspect that you can at least jog with your dog on leash. There is the reservoir, which is approx 1.5 miles per loop, and various bridal paths. You can also do the paved loop around Central Park when it is closed to traffic which is about 10K as I recall.
I have heard of the same indirectly and pretty recently a year ago maybe. I think it is early morning something like that an area you can let your dog off leash in Central Park- of course with a trusted recall. I'm sure there is more info on this. But yes much exploring in and Surrounding the city.
 
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