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Discussion Starter #1
What do you look for in a puppy? I am thinking of getting another German Shepherd in the very near future and I realized that I am not sure what to look for in a good quality puppy. I want a dog to train in schutzhund, I also do not know what to really look for in that either, I have a general idea of what I think that I need to look for...but other than that no clue.

Ryn the dog that I took from the shelter is going into drug dog training at a local police department. And I do want another shepherd preferably one with more drive than Kaid.

Help?
 

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I don't think you really look for the puppy. You look for a quality breeder that you can trust and then work with him/her to choose the right puppy for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Isn't that sometimes challenging? and I would like to know a little more about what to look for in GSD pups because I do not know any good breeders in my area....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So what are some breeders to look at/talk to near north Alabama?
 

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You say you want to get involved in Schutzhund. Go to your nearest SchH club, which may be an hour or more away, and watch them work. When you see dogs you like, ask them where they got them.
 

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This is actually a question we see a lot around here. Because of this, I thought it would be a good topic for our weekly discussion this week. Maybe we can all pitch in and give our experiences on what we've done and what works.

Thanks!
 

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While I value the opinion of a good breeder, I'm also a control freak and like to be able to back up their opinions with my own personal information that I get from evaluating a puppy. Additionally, training has a lot to do with individual preference, and there are certain things that are higher on my priority list than perhaps others. Some things that you see with puppies are subjective- like ball drive. What looks crazy to you might not look crazy to me, or for that matter I might think it's too much. I like a puppy that has great natural focus, shows environmental soundness, like to play with it's mouth, and likes to hold it's toys with a full grip.

Generally speaking I like using the working puppy tests as a baseline. Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test

Generally speaking, for a working dog, I like to see 2s and 3s with maybe a 1 thrown in.
 

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While I value the opinion of a good breeder, I'm also a control freak and like to be able to back up their opinions with my own personal information that I get from evaluating a puppy.
Agreed, but I then again you are experienced enough to know how to eval a puppy. I think for the novice puppy-buyer, leaning on the breeder is more important than for an experienced person.
 

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Agreed, but I then again you are experienced enough to know how to eval a puppy. I think for the novice puppy-buyer, leaning on the breeder is more important than for an experienced person.
True. But I think an ever wiser idea is to bring in a 3rd party trainer to evaluate the puppy for you. If you're really serious you should have some kind of idea where you want to be training ahead of time.

It's probably cynical of me...but so many breeders out there advertise their dogs as more than what they are. I've seen too many pups sold to unsuspecting people as suitable SchH prospects when they're not really (usually SLs, but some WLs too). If you have a trainer that knows what kind of dog works well with their methods, then they can usually point you in a better direction.

Additionally most people who go out to buy a SchH prospect, have had some experience with their current dog- who for one reason or another wasn't as cut out for sport as they had hoped and so they've moved forward to buy the "SchH puppy". Ideally they should have learned something from training that first dog about what they want to see in the dog that compensates for the lack in the first dog. Ex: No drive for toys= look for a puppy that likes to play! Too independent= Don't get the puppy that walks off and has no interest in you. Too soft= get the puppy that shows higher pain threshold. Nerve issues= look for outgoing environmentally sound puppy. Bad grip= look for puppy that likes to grab toys all the way in the back.

I really don't think that choosing a puppy is rocket science. What is infinitely harder is taking a critical look at yourself and your inherent training style and finding a dog that will compensate for all of your lacks. You're soft spoken, usually say please when you ask your dog to sit? Choose a dog that's softer and more responsive. You're a giant man who doesn't know his own strength? Or perhaps an occasionally too emotional trainer who loses your temper? Choose a harder more resilient dog. And then knowing that regardless of how perfect the puppy is, you will make mistakes somewhere and that it's OK. Your next dog will be better. :)
 

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I'm getting a puppy in a few weeks and the breeders have narrowed it down to two. It's not entirely them choosing for me, a LOT of time and research when into me choosing the breeder, the lines, and then the litter in the first place. We've exchanged lengthy e-mails where I explain what I'm looking for, what I'm not looking for, and give examples of things I like/don't like about my current dogs. I feel they know their dogs and understand what I want. I still have the right to go there in two weeks and say, no I don't like any of these, and walk away. Unfortunately the breeder is a few states away so I can't really observe the dogs growing up. I will be taking a club member with me when I go to pick up my dog.


Honestly, I think figuring out WHAT it is you really want is more difficult than getting it, if that makes sense. Most people I see that are unhappy with their dogs or breeder or made "bad picks" went in lacking the knowledge and experience to even know what they were looking at, for better or worse.
 

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Honestly, I think figuring out WHAT it is you really want is more difficult than getting it, if that makes sense. Most people I see that are unhappy with their dogs or breeder or made "bad picks" went in lacking the knowledge and experience to even know what they were looking at, for better or worse.
YES! I totally agree and relate to this!

I am currently training my 18 month old in SchH. I went into the sport knowing NOTHING. I am starting to see quailities in my current dog that I would like to change (as far as working abilities, drives, thresholds, temperament, etc..) and things that I want to remain the same, etc.

I know I want a dog to train in the sport and just figuring out WHAT I really want is definitely the most difficult part.

The breeder really choose my dog for me based on me just doing some simple obedience type things, not with SchH in mind so I can not fault my breeder at all and I won't because Stark is an amazing boy. I do however know that I will probably be heading somewhere else for my next dog just based on the qualities I want/need.

Knowledge is key. I have been researching lines, dogs, breeders for about 9 months now and I am still learning a lot and I know I won't be ready to narrow my list down for some time still. I have visited MANY clubs in my area, talked to breeders and even went out and met some of the dogs I like and yet I am not fully able to really say for sure what I want yet.

I think you really need to take your time and invest in a good breeder who can help you choose the best possible match with of course some knowledgable insight from you, the potential owner - this comes from meeting dogs, watching others train and trial, researching bloodlines and particular dogs that keep showing up in the lines you are drawn too, etc..
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You say you want to get involved in Schutzhund. Go to your nearest SchH club, which may be an hour or more away, and watch them work. When you see dogs you like, ask them where they got them.
I plan to join the club closest to me in the up coming months and taking Kaid to continue the training that I have started with him.....Schutzhund has proved to be one of the hardest sports for me to train for due to the lack of resources. I have seen dogs that I like one of which I know the guy went out of country to get.

I know what I like about Kaid and there are somethings that I would like to see more of in my next pup.

I do not know much about lines, and I am not sure that I would be able to fully trust a breeder to make the choice for me.

This has gotten so much more complicated than I ever thought that it would but I am not going to settle on a maybe pup and it not be what I want/need in a working dog.
 

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I've had 3 dogs picked out for me by breeders..Two I never saw before I got them:).

My first was my aussie, I did visit the breeder and puppies a couple of times, told her what I wanted and she picked Jynx, I must say I was a nervous wreck with the 'stories' she told me about how this little monster was before I got her...(climbing 4ft xpens when she was 4 weeks old, investigating the house on her own) I have to say, my nerves were for nothing, because she's turned out exactly what i wanted.

Masi I didn't see until she stepped off the plane..Again, I was a nervous nelly, but went with wanda's suggestion, and she is just what I wanted also.

I think it's perfectly normal to be nervous and wonder if this dog is gonna turn out to be what I want, but finding a good breeder is 90% of the battle.
 

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I've had 3 dogs picked out for me by breeders..Two I never saw before I got them:).

My first was my aussie, I did visit the breeder and puppies a couple of times, told her what I wanted and she picked Jynx, I must say I was a nervous wreck with the 'stories' she told me about how this little monster was before I got her...(climbing 4ft xpens when she was 4 weeks old, investigating the house on her own) I have to say, my nerves were for nothing, because she's turned out exactly what i wanted.

Masi I didn't see until she stepped off the plane..Again, I was a nervous nelly, but went with wanda's suggestion, and she is just what I wanted also.

I think it's perfectly normal to be nervous and wonder if this dog is gonna turn out to be what I want, but finding a good breeder is 90% of the battle.

Well that is comforting to know that you were able to trust the breeders that you got your babies from so I guess I need to start making phone calls and if possible visit some of them.
 

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The reason that I originally asked this question is because I really would like to know what you would look for in a quality puppy. How do you want the puppy to look physically? I know that personality and drives are strictly personal preference ( and sometimes physical attributes as well.)
 

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I've had 3 dogs picked out for me by breeders..Two I never saw before I got them:).
Ike was like that. Of course I talked the breeder about what kind of dog I was looking for and the TD of the club also talked to the breeder (he was the one who recommended the breeder in the first place). But as far as knowing which pup was mine, I had no idea. Two days before the breeder was to ship the dog, he emailed me and said: "I've made my pick" and that was it. And unlike US breeders, he didn't exactly take a lot of pictures, there was no video so I didn't have a chance of say "Woo I want the yellow collar pup" or "That blue one is so cute!" ...
 

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The reason that I originally asked this question is because I really would like to know what you would look for in a quality puppy. How do you want the puppy to look physically? I know that personality and drives are strictly personal preference ( and sometimes physical attributes as well.)

To tell you the truth, as long as we're not talking about deformities, I don't really care. It's probably the lowest priority for me. It's also really hard to tell what the puppies will look like all grown up. I have 4 siblings and while there are similarities, they certainly don't all look the same.

Personal preference? I like the ears to be up and the pigment to be dark. That's about it.

Generally speaking, if you like the parents the puppies will probably be just fine.
 

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Looks are the lowest on my list also, however I do have my preferences:) I'm looking for brains, temperament, stability and good focus (and health of course) . I've been lucky to have/had some really nice looking dogs, but I'd rather have an ugly dog that was smart than a good looking one that was dumb as a stump:)

I will admit, my next dog I am looking for a black or bi male, but he also has to have brains.

I don't think I've ever really seen an ugly gsd
 

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I would recommend finding a good working line breeder that is involved in SchH. They will be able to pick a puppy from their litter that is suited for a new person.

That said, you should certainly decide what you want. There are still many choices to make even if you don't have experience with SchH training. Male or Female? Stock coat or long coat? You should also explain what type of dog you like for companion. Do you hike, do you run, do you just like to chill around the house? Also communicate anything else that you want to do with your dog. For example, I would like to do therapy work and agility with my next dog as well as SchH.
 
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