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What's your one big piece of advice on a Gsd rescue that you had wish someone told you before having one?
 

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What's your one big piece of advice on a Gsd rescue that you had wish someone told you before having one?
Warning! Red Alert! They'll steal your heart, change your life a thousand different ways for the better, and inspire you to foster other wonderful dogs to pay it forward, and eventually the memory of that first dog will prompt you to get together with friends to found a new breed rescue in 10 years when you live on the other side of the country. Nobody warned me about any of that being a possibility when I adopted my first rescued GSD...and yet here I am. :p

Seriously, when you adopt the right dog, it's just pure magic. Have your heart open to that. Yes, there will be training issues (but there always are for any dog)...yes, there will be challenges (as there are with any dog), but if you and the dog are committed to each other, they become opportunities to grow together...yes, your heart will be broken when the dog grows old far, far too soon. It's a journey. When you find the right dog, it's a pretty amazing one.
 

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Warning! Red Alert! They'll steal your heart, change your life a thousand different ways for the better, and inspire you to foster other wonderful dogs to pay it forward, and eventually the memory of that first dog will prompt you to get together with friends to found a new breed rescue in 10 years when you live on the other side of the country. Nobody warned me about any of that being a possibility when I adopted my first rescued GSD...and yet here I am. :p

Seriously, when you adopt the right dog, it's just pure magic. Have your heart open to that. Yes, there will be training issues (but there always are for any dog)...yes, there will be challenges (as there are with any dog), but if you and the dog are committed to each other, they become opportunities to grow together...yes, your heart will be broken when the dog grows old far, far too soon. It's a journey. When you find the right dog, it's a pretty amazing one.
Very nice response! I just got a 3 yr old WL couple months ago
 

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You're awesome for saving a GSD. The only one who will know this will be your GSD. He or she may have had a ruff life so be kind and easy with the training at first. Best dog I ever had was a rescue. He passed peacefully in his sleep guarding the front entry as he did every night when I went to bed. They really appreciate getting bailed out. They may have some quirks but don't blame them. You can blame the previous owner who couldn't hack it. Lots of love will help transform them into a superdog!
 

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Warning! Red Alert! They'll steal your heart, change your life a thousand different ways for the better, and inspire you to foster other wonderful dogs to pay it forward, and eventually the memory of that first dog will prompt you to get together with friends to found a new breed rescue in 10 years when you live on the other side of the country. Nobody warned me about any of that being a possibility when I adopted my first rescued GSD...and yet here I am. :p

Seriously, when you adopt the right dog, it's just pure magic. Have your heart open to that. Yes, there will be training issues (but there always are for any dog)...yes, there will be challenges (as there are with any dog), but if you and the dog are committed to each other, they become opportunities to grow together...yes, your heart will be broken when the dog grows old far, far too soon. It's a journey. When you find the right dog, it's a pretty amazing one.
how does one know if they have found the right one?
 

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how does one know if they have found the right one?
Steve, I currently have rescues 4 and 5, and all have been the 'right one.' They have all seemed so thankful, especially the ones who had abuse and/or neglect in their backgrounds. As someone pointed out, you get some quirky behavior sometimes, but no two dogs are the same anyway. I wouldn't have traded any of them for any number of puppies. It takes patience and commitment, but it's all worth it.

Susan
 

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how does one know if they have found the right one?
I have 5 out of 7 (all 3 of the GSDs are)rescues right now and they are all the right ones. Once you open your heart and mind it all comes together. I adore all of mine and they seem to feel the same way:)
 

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I'm on my 4th successful gsd rescue. I include a dog that I shared with my ex because of heavy involvement in choosing her, training her and the amount of time all the dogs spent at each other's residences. I've also had a "foster failure" rescue who ended up not working out in the long run (female to female aggression) but she was a fantastic dog in her other home whose adopters I kept in touch with until her passing.

the "right dog" to me means a dog that fits in well to my lifestyle, family structure, training ability and more so, the bonding experience... all while understanding what each dog is capable of (aloof or affectionate types for example). for dogs beyond my training ability, it was important that she was hardy, forgiving, and suitable for a dedicated first time GSD owner.

I adopted all of my dogs between 6 and 14 months - I had the back story on some and some I got absolutely nothing.

one thing that I've always kept consistent is hand feeding. every morsel of food for the first few weeks came from me. it's a tip that the first rescue gave me and I believe is the reason I've never struggled with food aggression/possession, leadership, or delayed bonding.

some things that stand out... on my second rescue I learned the benefit of crate training, on my next one I discovered clicker training and on my most recent, the flirt pole. I also start the dogs off (if this makes sense) without many rules but lots of structure during the acclimation period. I observe a lot and play a lot but very minimal training until I have a relationship with them and truly see who they are. all essentials for me now.

aside from that I never realized how many excellent dogs end up at rescues - and with patience and involvement (I volunteered at several rescues over the last 15yrs), you'll end up with the right one. being in california I'm pretty sure there may be a geographical factor but there are too many people, dogs, breeders, and unique situations to ever box rescues in as being this way or that way. after watching countless people research breeders, pay top dollar, employ trainers from the start and in a sense do everything "right" from the very beginning then still end up with some of the issues I've worked thru with my rescues - I can confidently say that as far as GSD go, all of my future dogs will be rescues. I just don't have a reason not to yet. my dogs have been as good or better plus I always have the excuse of "sorry... s/he's a rescue" LOL
 

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I am on my second rescue, the first was a yellow lab and the second a shepherd. Max, the lab, was about 5 when we got him so he was more mature, very gentle and loving. A stern look was all that was needed with him and he did not get even that very often. I was devastated when we had him put to sleep at almost 14. When we decided to get another dog, I knew I would take care of it, but thought that I would never love another dog the way I did Max. We decided to get a younger dog the second time around. Newlie was described as 3 or 4 when we got him but we found out later he was maybe 1 1/2 or two. Sweet natured, good with people, but full of beans, stubborn and rambunctious, I had to learn to be more firm with him. It will kill me to lose Newlie just as much as it did with Max.

My advice:

Be honest with yourself, your lifestyle, what you want and your limitations. Don't just look at appearance, ask questions and try to find a dog that will work for you.

Be ready for some surprises, things are not always what they seem. But the same thing can be said when people get a puppy from a breeder. You have to be willing and able to adapt.

Building trust and a relationship takes time, there is no substitute for that.

Accept them for who they are, not who you want them to be. I'm talking personality here, not behavior. If a dog is high drive, you are not going to magically change them into a couch potato. If they are not demonstrative, you are probably not going to change them into a cuddle-bug.

Love them while you have them because with any dog, their time on earth is much too short.
 

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Thor is my third rescue GSD. He's been home with us for 1 week and he's awesome. My advise for anyone thinking of getting a rescue GSD, would be for anyone wanting a GSD: Research the breed and make absolutely sure that the breed fits your lifestyle and that you can take on the responsibility.

For anyone who has owned a GSD and knows the breed, my advise is: Patience is a Virtue.

German Shepherds attach themselves with their families with an umbilical chord; when the chord is broken, they don't always accept a new owner, at least not right away. They can be mistrustful. They may defecate or urinate inappropriately, chew things, etc.

When they do accept you, the problem will be separation anxiety. All of my rescues have gone through the separation anxiety phase. Thor is doing the same. They become absolutely glued to you to the point that you can't take a step without falling over them. My Heidi ate the doorknob trying to get back into the kitchen, where I was standing (she was outside at the time).

Thor dismantled the metal screen protector yesterday, trying to open the screen door outward from the left side (it's a right side open door). He's since figured out how to open it properly. I've turned around and found him patiently (and quietly creepy) behind me, scaring me to death. LOL

Patience wins the day on all of them...and having a sense of humor is a MUST!
 

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Be wary of fear biters. I had a rescue several years ago that was a medical mess. He nearly died from a botched neuter by the shelter vet, requiring emergency surgery. Then heartworm treatment and months of recovery. He was a great dog with us but long story short, he bit people, not our family, but others he perceived as a threat to us. I think he was trying to protect us. He was completely unpredictible and unprovoked when he bit. He sent two people to the hospital before we were forced to put him down. We both cried as he died in our arms.

I have had German Shepherds for twenty years, and I was not prepared for a dog with an unpredictible poor temperment. I think about him often, and at least he was loved for eight months. My husband does not want another rescue.
 
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