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Most of my neighbors and friends think GSD's are awesome, I've heard so many wonderful stories. A few aren't so positive. I met up with one of my neighbors down the street yesterday, a very nice man, nice family. I told him I just got a GSD puppy. He winced and said he's been bitten twice by GSD's. One of them he said was only 11 months old, and the owner said that was the third time he'd bitten someone :eek: I tried to assure him, but really, what can you say. I came home feeling so deflated, and anxious. So I was talking to one of my friends last night and she asked me, what am I afraid of....

I'm afraid that I'll have a GSD that is more stubborn than I am, one that will get the upper hand with me, and be in control. I'm really not an alpha type person. Dominance has little if any place in my life.

I'm afraid that no matter what I do (training, socialization, positive experiences) that my GSD will grow up to be aggresssive towards people (any people).

I know that I can't change on a big scale the negative perceptions of GSD's, but I sure as heck am going to do my best to not reinforce them.

What advice do experienced GSD owners have for me? I just brought home my first GSD 2 weeks ago, his name is now Boo. He comes from strong lines with good temperament. I will have him in training very soon, and I fully anticipate it will be continuous training at some level through maturity and likely beyond. I'm brand new with GSD's, I want to do this right.
 

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My advice is to forget, even just for a moment, breed tendencies and study like crazy on training philosophies. Regardless of the breed, having many "tools in your toolbelt" is the best way to accomplish what you want to accomplish. Think about it- one might claim that the GSD breed is more land-sharky. Ok, that's all well and good, but what can you do about it without knowledge??

I believe from the bottom of my heart that the true joy of raising a dog to be a model 'citizen' relies very heavily on the knowledge and application of proper training principles. LEARN and apply those principles and you'll have a wonderful, well behaved companion. Ignore those principles and "wing it" and you might end up with something other than a well behaved companion. Knowledge really is power in the case of raising a dog, in my opinion.
 

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To clarify, I don't think you should overlook breed tendencies- that wasn't my point. Rather than worrying about the "big bad mean GSD" (as some would see them), I think you should focus on becoming a knowledgeable trainer so that you can apply solid principles to the breed tendencies that you will likely see. That was my point.
 

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He comes from strong lines with good temperament. I will have him in training very soon, and I fully anticipate it will be continuous training at some level through maturity and likely beyond. I'm brand new with GSD's, I want to do this right.
Well, you're off to a good start right there. :)

I'm afraid that I'll have a GSD that is more stubborn than I am, one that will get the upper hand with me, and be in control. I'm really not an alpha type person. Dominance has little if any place in my life.
Being a strong leader doesn't necessarily have anything to do with dominance, and you can learn the right attitude even if it doesn't come naturally to you. "Being the alpha" can just mean controlling the resources and making your dog work for the things he values, as in NILIF: Nothing in Life is Free

It's a clear way to communicate with your dog in a language he understands because that's what the pack leader does. There are going to be times when you will need to MAKE your dog do something, but if you start out with a relationship where he learns that it's in his best interest to do what you want because that's the path to get what he wants, you'll be ahead of the game.

Be fun, engage him in training so he's a willing partner, don't just tell him what to do - have him use his brain. Channel his drives in appropriate ways so he has an outlet for them, and teach him impulse control.

Here are some great sticky threads with lots of good info:

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/training-theory-methods/101861-give-your-dog-job.html

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/training-theory-methods/89990-how-do-you-define-being-alpha.html

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/training-theory-methods/90871-establishing-dominance.html

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/training-theory-methods/85885-want-understand-become-better-pack-leader.html
 

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I think the best things you can do are buy a dog from sound lines that matches your lifestyle and expectations, and have a strong bond with the dog (through training) so that there is mutual respect and trust.

I was bitten in the face by a GSD when I was a toddler and guess what I own...GSDs. Everyone in my family has been bitten or outright attacked by a GSD at some point. I fell in love with this breed because of two GSDs I met when I was a kid and these dogs were everything a GSD should be. I don't try to argue that GSDs are really nice and people-friendly because the truth is too many of them are not and most people like me have already had a bad experience. I don't want to seem ignorant or insensitive by insisting that their experiences were wrong. Instead, I sympathize and then do my best to make sure that *my* GSDs are ambassadors for the breed.
 

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What advice do experienced GSD owners have for me? I just brought home my first GSD 2 weeks ago, his name is now Boo. He comes from strong lines with good temperament. I will have him in training very soon, and I fully anticipate it will be continuous training at some level through maturity and likely beyond. I'm brand new with GSD's, I want to do this right.
I think the breeding has much to do with the dog....a well bred GSD compared to one that has unstable nerves is a huge difference. And managing one that is well bred is soooo much easier!
 

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I like to think of it like being a leader. Think of it in terms of being a good mom. You don't have to be some crazy dictator, but you have to be caring, loving, firm, fair, and consistent. It's a well round package deal.

Some perceptions you'll never change. I wouldn't get hung up on them. Focus on your dog and making him this the best dog he can be.
 

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We have always had GSD mixes when I was growing up. Years ago two GSD's were running the streets early one morning and as I was coming down the stairs to take my son to school, I was eye to eye with them--they weren't friendly and I backed up the stairs with my son behind me. Animal control had to come and get them, they were fine when he grabbed them. Two nights later as I was delivering pizza's, I ran to the door(silly me left my car door open), when I turned around the same 2 GSD's were in my car. I figured that I would make the next delivery and bring them to the Police Station...Well when I got out of the car to make that delivery, they decided that they weren't letting me back in..they turned vicious and it was an hour long project to get them out, without someone getting bit. I haven't had any luck in finding someone in my area that has a sound GSD:( I rarely hear any good stories, except on here(which gives me hope). So here I sat with a 12 week GSD and not to sure what to do. The only thing I was 100% sure of was obedience classes. It didn't matter what the breed, I knew that any dog I got would go through these classes. Some people in my household were opposed to spending money on classes...they thought that the GSD could be taught at home..I wasn't falling for that one:) The classes proved to be beneficial for both her and I. And I know that if I don't want a dog like the two that I encountered years ago that I have to keep going with the training and socialization. Good Luck to you!!
 

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Two nights later as I was delivering pizza's, I ran to the door(silly me left my car door open), when I turned around the same 2 GSD's were in my car. I figured that I would make the next delivery and bring them to the Police Station...Well when I got out of the car to make that delivery, they decided that they weren't letting me back in..they turned vicious and it was an hour long project to get them out, without someone getting bit.
:eek:
I'm sorry, but this scenario just cracked me up, even though I know it was serious!:help:
Who were the owners or did they just get taken to the shelter?
 

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I would tend to think that if a GSD is biting someone for no apparent reason then it's a lack of proper socialization among other things such as a fearful GSD. A properly socialized GSD shouldn't be aggressive toward people; they may not be crazy about being petted and grabbed at until they know someone, but not biting anyone.

If someone is threatening you, and trying to hurt you - then I can see your GSD biting to defend you. But otherwise, it shouldn't happen.
 

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train and socialize your dog. if your dog turns out to be
the kind of dog you don't want it's probably your fault.
don't worry about what people say about your dog.
people make comments about all breeds of dogs.
 

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i just wanted to add when i get negative feedback or remarks about GSD i try ti turn it to a positive..when people ask or say to me..but dont they bite or arent they agressive..or im so scared of shepherds..i remind them if they werent such a smart breed they wouldnt be used as seeing eye dogs,therapy dogs,search and rescue dogs..how many times have we heard stories of the GSD getting the owners out of the house from a fire..or taking the bullet for his military or police owner. sometimes people just need to be reminded what a great breed it is
 

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when i was a kid many moons ago i was biten by our
neighbors GSD who lived across the street. the dog
bit me more than once. my fathers advice was stop
visiting the neighbor.

I think the best things you can do are buy a dog from sound lines that matches your lifestyle and expectations, and have a strong bond with the dog (through training) so that there is mutual respect and trust.

I was bitten in the face by a GSD when I was a toddler and guess what I own...GSDs. Everyone in my family has been bitten or outright attacked by a GSD at some point. I fell in love with this breed because of two GSDs I met when I was a kid and these dogs were everything a GSD should be. I don't try to argue that GSDs are really nice and people-friendly because the truth is too many of them are not and most people like me have already had a bad experience. I don't want to seem ignorant or insensitive by insisting that their experiences were wrong. Instead, I sympathize and then do my best to make sure that *my* GSDs are ambassadors for the breed.
 

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:eek:
I'm sorry, but this scenario just cracked me up, even though I know it was serious!:help:
Who were the owners or did they just get taken to the shelter?
This is the even funnier part..they were in training at a local guard dog facility. When I called my mom up to tell her that I couldn't get back in my car, she thought some pepperoni would work...I said I don't think so mom. Well she came and tried that and almost got her hand bit off....The end result were two guys with baseball bats on top of my car and opening the doors. The top was smashed in because even after the dogs got out they were circling the car and lunging at the guys on top of the car. Eventually they were put in a yard where about 4 hours after my call of distress went to the police department they finally came and got them.
 

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When I got Saeyl she was a year old and has clearly spent that year between shelters and abusive owners, she had no prior training or socializing what so ever. I remember the first couple of days thinking what did I get myself into.
I've had her for less than a year now, and you know what the first thing i would tell people when I'm asked about her? I'm amazed at how smart and quick learner she is, even when it comes to socializing.
She's very stubborn, however if you put the time and do it right you'll have a wonderful companion.
You'll hear stories from both sides, but just like with anything else anybody that generalizes anything is an idiot.
I have a buddy that has a bit bull and he always tells me I never realized how stupid my dog is until I saw yours.
The other day we were at the beach and it was an off leash beach, so both dogs were running around this is girl comes with a couple of kids and she goes can you please hold on to your dogs i'm a nurse and 95% of the biting cases we see are either from GSD or Pits.
Let people think whatever they want, anybody that thinks that way is someone I wouldn't be interested in being around, and anybody with common sense will know better.
I have a 4 yr old daughter, and my sister has a 3 yr old monkey, and my wife's family is filled with kids and I'm always warning them not to go nuts with the dog but sometimes I look and they're all over her and she has never done a thing to them, if she get annoyed she would just push them with her head other than that she's very happy that she is around people.
What I love the most is when my 4 yr old daughter gives her a command to sit or lay down, she the dog would look at me and I can see her thinking, seriously dude??!! I'm like 1.5 bigger than this thing and you're telling me I need to listen to her???!!!! then she reluctantly follows the command in slow motion.
 

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My husband was not a fan of GSD because he was bitten by one when he was 10. He was riding his bike and the GSD from next door got out and chased him and bit his leg. I have always loved GSD since I was 10.

So my husband did not want a pure GSD he was ok with a mix so that's what we have. He has warmed up to German shepherd more.

It's the same with many dog breeds some love them others can't get over the 1 or 2 bad stories. Just know the breed. Socialize, train, and love. Set rules and stick to them. Be consistent. Positive Socializing is key.
 

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hmm..

Hi, my names dylan and I just recently got a 8 week puppy. I havent found a relevent 'thread' so i chose to post this here. Sorry if its in the wrong section:blush: I purchased him a week ago making him 9 weeks old. I'm quite confused and struggling to decide what the problem is with him.

Since I have got him he has not been alone for more then 5 mins as i am home 7 days a week. When i am not around (shower/kitchen ect)or when he has to sleep, he is in an indoor run which has a puppy kong(which he is not interested in) blanket and crate (always open but he doesn't use). when im around he has the run of the living room
Issues are as follows
1) when ever I put him in the indoor run he cries and barks even if im in the same room
2) when ever I leave the living room he sits outside the door I've jut exited and if i dont return with in 30 secs he will scratch the door ect. (i have noticed it is mainly me but has done it to other people a few times
3) he also follows me around the living room

When he is sleepy/not active he does not follow me or whine when I leave the room/hes alone. When he Is asleep and he heres me go out the room he will look up and see me leave but he just goes back to sleep

What can I do to make sure hes ok with being alone as come september i will be starting work and he will need to be left alone for at least 4 days a week. I can arange someone to come round at 12 to feed him and let him out
Thanks
 

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Hi dylano - welcome to the forum! You should repost your questions in the puppy training / behavior section and start a new thread. There are lots of folks here who can help you!
 
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