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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm wondering just how specific you can get when looking for a pup and if these traits are realistic. Also, would a dog with traits like these turn out the way an average dog owner like me thinks and hopes they will? I plan on getting a German Shepherd puppy and these traits are what I hope to ask for with the intent of waiting until the perfect pup was born to get them:

1. Even-tempered as well as stable and sound. | This is the temperament I assumed a dog I plan to do Schutzhund would need? Please, please tell me if I'm wrong so I can change this.

2. Alpha material; tolerant, fair, respectful, assertive, patient. | If everything works out well, I plan on getting a pup from this dog ( I want two GSDs ) and having dogs after him so I just feel a personality this would really help raise future dogs. It isn't necessary, just something I'd like. Tell me if I'm wrong about my initial conclusion!

3. Reserved and tranquil attitude. | I'd actually like a dog that was reserved and didn't warm up to others that easy but was still tranquil when "strangers" were around. One who isn't barky or ready to bite, but also - and I use this term loosely - no Golden Retriever. I don't want a dog eagerly running up to people, ready to jump in the car with them. I'm almost sure how social a dog is, has to due to their genetics so I'm curious to see if this is something a breeder would be able to see in a young puppy.-- I also know training can affect how reserved a dog is, but still.

4. Clear ball and prey drive with a prominent off-switch. | I know for a fact that breeders can test drive and see this in puppies early on, but I'm curious if the off-switch is something detectable and can be confirmed. Can drive and off-switch change as the dog matures?

5. Doesn’t turn down a play session with littermates, but may not initiate it. | This is something I just thought would go into his reserved attitude and how social he'd become, but it's not a necessity. Tell me if I'm wrong!

6. Playful with littermates but respects space. | With this, I was just thinking he wouldn't grow to be a very pushy dog and would respect the space of others. I've seen pushy puppies grow up to be dominant and really rude-- I do know training can curve this, but it really is genetics. Tell me if I'm wrong about any of this!

7. Very observant, attentive, and clearly interested in what the handler has to offer; stays close to them. | Thinking this would be an amazing quality for a dog trained in any sport-- Schutzhund especially.

8. Interacts less with littermates when out and about. Seems more interested in interacting with handler and other things more than littermates. | I'm just thinking a dog like this would grow up with little interest in other dogs making training easier, but I know it can always be taught in so it isn't a necessity-- I would still like feedback on if that were true or not though.

9. Cleary confident when approached or approaching. | I assume this would help in Schutzhund and I know confidence is in the temperament standard. Would a breeder be able to test for something like this and is it... "confirmable"? I'm just thinking because they're around their siblings it may just be because it knows it has backup or something.

10. Watchful of surroundings. | I'm assuming a pup showing this trait while young would grow into an excellent guard.
 

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Puppies change and you won't know what you have until some maturity develops and depending on the quality of training and upbringing they have. You are ascribing human traits to dogs. When looking for a sport dog, I wanting some craziness, not even tempered. That will come with maturity and training (if done correctly.) Alpha material? You won't find a true alpha dog. Fair, respectful, tranquil, reserved and a sport prospect? Respect is learned. An off switch is also taught unless the dog is hyper which is different from high drive. Dogs are not rude. People are rude. Staying close to the handler is the opposite of what some sports require. Confidence can change in a pup, just like many other traits. I would start over and determine more clearly what your goals for your dog will be and simplify what traits you hope to obtain. Repeat breedings will give you a better idea of what a breeding has produced. There are no perfect pups.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Puppies change and you won't know what you have until some maturity develops and depending on the quality of training and upbringing they have. You are ascribing human traits to dogs. When looking for a sport dog, I wanting some craziness, not even tempered. That will come with maturity and training (if done correctly.) Alpha material? You won't find a true alpha dog. Fair, respectful, tranquil, reserved and a sport prospect? Respect is learned. An off switch is also taught unless the dog is hyper which is different from high drive. Dogs are not rude. People are rude. Staying close to the handler is the opposite of what some sports require. Confidence can change in a pup, just like many other traits. I would start over and determine more clearly what your goals for your dog will be and simplify what traits you hope to obtain. Repeat breedings will give you a better idea of what a breeding has produced. There are no perfect pups.
Ah, thanks so much! The traits I applied are ones I've read in dogs bios from potential breeders I was looking at, but I guess you can't add too many traits from too many different dogs. What would be the right traits for a potential schutzhund dog? Also, what were the human traits? I'll definitely take them out my little list. I didn't even realize that I'd put in any.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Puppies change and you won't know what you have until some maturity develops and depending on the quality of training and upbringing they have. You are ascribing human traits to dogs. When looking for a sport dog, I wanting some craziness, not even tempered. That will come with maturity and training (if done correctly.) Alpha material? You won't find a true alpha dog. Fair, respectful, tranquil, reserved and a sport prospect? Respect is learned. An off switch is also taught unless the dog is hyper which is different from high drive. Dogs are not rude. People are rude. Staying close to the handler is the opposite of what some sports require. Confidence can change in a pup, just like many other traits. I would start over and determine more clearly what your goals for your dog will be and simplify what traits you hope to obtain. Repeat breedings will give you a better idea of what a breeding has produced. There are no perfect pups.
Also, also, is the thing I said about littermates necessarily true? Will a dog less interested in his littermates grow to be uninterested in other dogs? I've heard about it and "seen" it, but took in the fact that the those people may have trained their dogs that way or didn't socialize them well and said it was just how the dogs were.
 

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If you go to a very good breeder, you will be given an in depth interview that includes a lengthy questionnaire. Mine ended up being 16 pages.

I feel that if you pick a breeder that is breeding and perfecting their own line as opposed to importing often, some of these traits which can be difficult to tell at such a young age may be more distinguishable by the breeder.
Picking a good breeder is very important but it's also important to pick a breeder that excels at puppy selection. They need to be able to decipher what you need and read their puppies well.

If I were you, I’d focus on what you will do with the dog. What will the dogs typical day be like? What are your training goals?
 

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Schutzhund/IGP dogs are all very different. The basics are very high prey drive with a low thresheld for prey (easily stimulated in prey), very good food drive, very good nerves, genetically full grips, reasonable to good handler hardness (tolerates corrections without folding), being new, I'd look for a breeding that produces social dogs with a higher threshold for defense and that are not reactive. I personally don't like that type of dog for anything. Forget about the littermate thing. You want a pup, that when taken to a strange place away from his litter mates, he is still open, curious and confident. Look at health issues within a line like hips and elbows. Breeders who know what their dogs have produced are the way to go. I'd stay away from too much emphasis on things like DDR dogs which are essentially gone.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If you go to a very good breeder, you will be given an in depth interview that includes a lengthy questionnaire. Mine ended up being 16 pages.

I feel that if you pick a breeder that is breeding and perfecting their own line as opposed to importing often, some of these traits which can be difficult to tell at such a young age may be more distinguishable by the breeder.
Picking a good breeder is very important but it's also important to pick a breeder that excels at puppy selection. They need to be able to decipher what you need and read their puppies well.

If I were you, I’d focus on what you will do with the dog. What will the dogs typical day be like? What are your training goals?
I'm thinking a for a typical day: Wake up, walk, training session, off to work. Come home, walk/hike, training session, playtime or something, feeding/training session.

One of the reasons I was drawn to German Shepherds was honestly because I was interested in a dog I could get out and be active with then come home and do ( and this is an exaggeration ) military type drills with. Belgian Malinois was an option but I think that's way to much dog for me-- Border Collies too.

I think my training goals would be to get into a sport like Schutzhund or IPO. I was solely interested in the obedience and protection aspect at first so PSA was my go to, but when I realized how intense it was, I rethought my options and just shrugged off the tracking part of Schutzhund. It will be fun and mentally stimulating for the dog so, why not?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Schutzhund/IGP dogs are all very different. The basics are very high prey drive with a low thresheld for prey (easily stimulated in prey), very good food drive, very good nerves, genetically full grips, reasonable to good handler hardness (tolerates corrections without folding), being new, I'd look for a breeding that produces social dogs with a higher threshold for defense and that are not reactive. I personally don't like that type of dog for anything. Forget about the littermate thing. You want a pup, that when taken to a strange place away from his litter mates, he is still open, curious and confident. Look at health issues within a line like hips and elbows. Breeders who know what their dogs have produced are the way to go. I'd stay away from too much emphasis on things like DDR dogs which are essentially gone.
Alright, will do. Thanks so much. You learn something new everyday-- I had no idea grips were genetic. I see it all the time on dogs' bios but thought they were just trying to emphasize the dog's confidence. Now that I'm thinking about it, it makes total sense for it to be. That means the dog is well balanced mentally and confident, which are things I know can be passed down, duh! ( Not directed at you )

You said being new, I should look for a breeder that produces social dogs with a higher threshold for defense and that are not reactive. Would you be able to recommend someone? I've looked at a few and recently found out that two aren't reliable when getting back to you so you can ask questions and one just isn't a good person ( at least from a **** of a lot of similar reviews ). I'm currently looking at 3, but would love a few more options.
 

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Chip
I'm thinking a for a typical day: Wake up, walk, training session, off to work. Come home, walk/hike, training session, playtime or something, feeding/training session.

One of the reasons I was drawn to German Shepherds was honestly because I was interested in a dog I could get out and be active with then come home and do ( and this is an exaggeration ) military type drills with. Belgian Malinois was an option but I think that's way to much dog for me-- Border Collies too.

I think my training goals would be to get into a sport like Schutzhund or IPO. I was solely interested in the obedience and protection aspect at first so PSA was my go to, but when I realized how intense it was, I rethought my options and just shrugged off the tracking part of Schutzhund. It will be fun and mentally stimulating for the dog so, why not?
@Chip Blasiole described what seems like a good dog for you. He knows his stuff ?
I have a dog with a high threshold and it’s really very nice for someone newer to the sport and breed. I found that one issue for newer people is understanding all the lingo. I believe I have a good prey, high food, high threshold, medium hardness, handler focused dog. But even living with him every day, I’m still learning what his drives are considered. A good breeder will hear what you say and translate it into dog lingo, just as Chip did above.

I assume you are looking at working lines?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Chip


@Chip Blasiole described what seems like a good dog for you. He knows his stuff ?
I have a dog with a high threshold and it’s really very nice for someone newer to the sport and breed. I found that one issue for newer people is understanding all the lingo. I believe I have a good prey, high food, high threshold, medium hardness, handler focused dog. But even living with him every day, I’m still learning what his drives are considered. A good breeder will hear what you say and translate it into dog lingo, just as Chip did above.

I assume you are looking at working lines?
Yep, I am. And yeah certain words and terms just go right off the top of my head and I'm just like, "Well, yeah, I guess I want that." He really did make things easier.
 

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Always train first and then walk if you need to. Actually, it is best to give the dog some "soak time" in the crate after training to absorb what he has just learned. Grips are often genetic, some to the point that the worst training won't mess them up, some that bad training will mess up and some are so genetically bad, the best training won't help much. It is not the grip per se that is genetic, but a combination of other traits that the grip arises from like intensity of prey, possessiveness, strength, jaw structure, nerves, etc. Also, a dogs needs to be calm when learning to grip and not all jacked up like many helpers create. This makes a dog hectic and interferes with learning. Dogs that simply like to bite things are a plus also.
 

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Always train first and then walk if you need to. Actually, it is best to give the dog some "soak time" in the crate after training to absorb what he has just learned. Grips are often genetic, some to the point that the worst training won't mess them up, some that bad training will mess up and some are so genetically bad, the best training won't help much. It is not the grip per se that is genetic, but a combination of other traits that the grip arises from like intensity of prey, possessiveness, strength, jaw structure, nerves, etc. Also, a dogs needs to be calm when learning to grip and not all jacked up like many helpers create. This makes a dog hectic and interferes with learning. Dogs that simply like to bite things are a plus also.
Oh, alright. I was thinking that, but training first isn't something I do with my dog now so I just listed it first. Does that apply to younger pups too or should I take them out first until potty trained? I've only had rescues and adult dogs so this would all be pretty new to me.

And addressing that last thing you said-- do you think it would be a good idea to let my puppy chew "whatever" he wants? I was going to just because I know it assist with ears and ya' know- because puppies chew- but do you think a toy variety might encourage and strengthen a grip?
 

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Your best bet is to visit breeders who produce dogs that succeed at the sport you want to compete in. Meet their adult dogs and see if they are something you want to live with. When you have found the breeder that you trust, let them guide you in your decision. As has been pointed out above, what you see at 8 weeks old can be very misleading.
One time, many years ago my wife chose a golden retriever pup (field line) because it was the most quiet gentle pup in the litter. She seemed to be exactly what my wife wanted. We got her home, and it turned out she had a stomach infection, and that had made her lethargic. Two days after starting on meds she was a very stubborn, very difficult hellion. Just saying, you never know exactly what you are seeing at those young ages.
On the other hand, My breeder who chose my pup for me, noticed that when they took the pups to the vet at 7.5 weeks, while most of the pups were going crazy, one pup was totally calm and confident. When we went to pick up Max, we spent a bit of time with the breeder and he showed us the pup chasing the flirt poll and how he chased a ball. He commented that our pup was "hard on the ball" for that age. I wouldn't have seen the things he saw. He has had a lot of litters over the last thirty years, so his frame of reference was much more developed than mine, with my experience with different breeds and only 7 or 8 dogs. Trust your breeder.
 

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Always let your pup/dog have the chance to relieve himself before training. I wouldn't let a pup chew anything for many reasons including safety and destructiveness. Raw soup and knuckle bones are good, but don't get the ones that are basted and baked. Certain hard nylon toys with little nubs are good. Never leave a pup unsupervised with a collar or chewing on something. The problem with a novice looking at adult dogs is they don't know what to look for. Also, a good dog might not be a good producer. Go with a breeder who has a good idea what their breeding pairs are likely to produce.
 

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Your best bet is to visit breeders who produce dogs that succeed at the sport you want to compete in. Meet their adult dogs and see if they are something you want to live with. When you have found the breeder that you trust, let them guide you in your decision. As has been pointed out above, what you see at 8 weeks old can be very misleading.
One time, many years ago my wife chose a golden retriever pup (field line) because it was the most quiet gentle pup in the litter. She seemed to be exactly what my wife wanted. We got her home, and it turned out she had a stomach infection, and that had made her lethargic. Two days after starting on meds she was a very stubborn, very difficult hellion. Just saying, you never know exactly what you are seeing at those young ages.
On the other hand, My breeder who chose my pup for me, noticed that when they took the pups to the vet at 7.5 weeks, while most of the pups were going crazy, one pup was totally calm and confident. When we went to pick up Max, we spent a bit of time with the breeder and he showed us the pup chasing the flirt poll and how he chased a ball. He commented that our pup was "hard on the ball" for that age. I wouldn't have seen the things he saw. He has had a lot of litters over the last thirty years, so his frame of reference was much more developed than mine, with my experience with different breeds and only 7 or 8 dogs. Trust your breeder.
Yeah, I planned to, but your story really just opened my eyes and made me realize how extremely important it is. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the advice!
 

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Always let your pup/dog have the chance to relieve himself before training. I wouldn't let a pup chew anything for many reasons including safety and destructiveness. Raw soup and knuckle bones are good, but don't get the ones that are basted and baked. Certain hard nylon toys with little nubs are good. Never leave a pup unsupervised with a collar or chewing on something. The problem with a novice looking at adult dogs is they don't know what to look for. Also, a good dog might not be a good producer. Go with a breeder who has a good idea what their breeding pairs are likely to produce.
Oh I wasn't serious about that, sorry. But okay. And I knew about that collar thing already; as well as that raw vs cooked bone thing, I'm actually in the process of transitioning my guy to raw right now. Thanks for all this info, you've really helped. I'm revising my puppy "specifics" as I type and will share them shortly to get more feedback.
 

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Do you have any active and successful clubs local to you? If you're going to train in Schutzhund, that's just about as important as the dog.
This is for a future dog so I'll have moved when I get him. Currently in an apartment and plan to be for a while and definitely don't want a GSD while in one. I'll be doing my research though, and will make sure to try to get into a place that has one nearby.
 
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