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Hi! I've been stalking the forum for some time now, and I figured it's just about time for me to make a post of my own.



I've had two dogs in the past, one potentially a gsd mix although I really have no way of knowing of course. A few months ago my family decided it's time for a new pup to join the family since the house feels so empty now, and by chance while browsing local breeders I happened across a lovely sable DDR line boy that caught my attention in his pictures and general description the breeder gave me. He is however 8 months old, going on 9 now. This would be the first pup (teenager?) I'd be adopting, and the first purebred gsd. I'm meeting him for the first time on Friday to get to know him, and I was just wondering if anyone had any advice for me? Both my previous dogs were high energy, athletic dogs so I'm not too worried about that, but is there anything in particular to look out for when I interact with him for the first time? Obviously any blatant terror or extreme aggression will be huge red flags, but are there other more subtle things that someone more experienced might know of?



My previous pups were both rescues, one my parents adopted in my childhood and the other that was literally delivered to our doorstep (we knew nothing about him except that he was 4 years old and needed us) so I've never actually picked out my own dog before. How is adopting a pup at this age going to influence bonding, for example? The other pup my family considered is a gsd/malinois mix at 12 weeks old, and I'm not sure that's necessarily better given the malinois reputation for being like a gsd on speed, but at the same time I've heard it's often preferable to start training and socializing your own young pup to get it used to your family and home and lifestyle, etc?



My last option is a line of working long haired GSDs from yet another breeder, but they won't be available for pickup until long after I've started college again, and while this will definitely be a family dog I wanted to be around at least for the early stages to help out and bond with the new dog.





I live in Poland if that makes any difference at all, and my family wants a dog mostly for companionship, hiking/jogging, and some watchdog potential.
 

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How well do you know the breeders and what are their reputations? Can you get references? It is not about picking a puppy, it is about picking a breeder.

Are they responsible breeders who know how to match puppies to the right home environments? Do they ask you a lot of questions to see what kind of home environment you will be providing? Do they turn down puppy buyers who are not suitable? Or do they sell to anyone with no questions asked?

Are they experienced? Do they train at any of the dog clubs and breed organizations in the area? Are they knowledgeable about GSD temperament from a practical basis and know their lines?

Are the parents available to see along with the puppies? What is the behavior of the parents toward you when you visit? Do they have health certifications?

The puppy should be confident and not shy. At that age it should be friendly. Getting a GSD at any age does not make a difference in terms of bonding to getting an 8 week old, it just takes a bit longer, the older the dog. 9 months is still a puppy, not even a teenager yet. If you don't feel right about something, wait. Puppies are born everyday. Don't rush into buying one. They are all cute so take cuteness out of the equation.

Will your parents be training your dog when you are in college? Are your parents 100% with the idea of getting a puppy and them having the major responsibility for it?
 

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How well do you know the breeders and what are their reputations? Can you get references? It is not about picking a puppy, it is about picking a breeder.

Are they responsible breeders who know how to match puppies to the right home environments? Do they ask you a lot of questions to see what kind of home environment you will be providing? Do they turn down puppy buyers who are not suitable? Or do they sell to anyone with no questions asked?

Are they experienced? Do they train at any of the dog clubs and breed organizations in the area? Are they knowledgeable about GSD temperament from a practical basis and know their lines?

Are the parents available to see along with the puppies? What is the behavior of the parents toward you when you visit? Do they have health certifications?

The puppy should be confident and not shy. At that age it should be friendly. Getting a GSD at any age does not make a difference in terms of bonding to getting an 8 week old, it just takes a bit longer, the older the dog. 9 months is still a puppy, not even a teenager yet.

Will your parents be training your dog when you are in college? Are your parents 100% with the idea of getting a puppy and them having the major responsibility for it?

Thank you for all the questions! You've given me a lot to think about and consider. Hope I'm not coming off totally and idiotically unprepared, I'm just a little nervous/excited and trying to cover all my bases.



So far the breeder I've spoken to feels rather like they're interviewing me, which I think is good. The breeder I had in mind (with the 8 month old) is definitely my favorite as they asked questions about my lifestyle, etc and insist on me meeting the dog as well as the parents, so I'm looking forward to that. The parents are working dogs with health certification and seem very legit to me, unlike a few others I've spoken to who wanted me to commit to purchasing a pup after a 20 second phone conversation :/ From what I've heard they've taken care socializing the pups (the boy I mentioned and his brother), but I've only spoken with them over the phone so it's hard to tell if it's just a sales shtick yet, I'll have to see on friday when I meet everyone face to face.



The dog was not my idea but my parents', I'm just trying to help them make the best decision I can since apparently it's happening whether I want it to or not, heh. (Not that I am at all opposed, I just wouldn't tackle having a GSD - or any dog for that matter - if I was by myself and in college all at once.) I'm living basically at home with them and the pup even once I start college so I'll still be around to help out with training, walking, feeding and other daily activities, if they struggle, just not full time. He is not likely to be lonely or wanting for mental or physical stimulation though. There's always someone at home, and they're all dog lovers and willing to care for the dog and learn how to train him, etc.
 

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You sound really well prepared. All I can add really is meet the dog and see what you think/feel then. I've gotten dogs as 2 yo and up and as puppies. I'm not sure that the age of the dog impeded me in developing connections with the dog. Some dogs suckered me in right away - like first site, others took a bit longer but the age of the dog wasn't an issue in this.
 

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When you meet a breeder like that who ask many questions about you and your lifestyle they are mostly responsible breeders. Pups that age will most likely be potty and house trained, so that's a plus. When meeting the pup I will suggest that you don't give him any attention for the 1st minutes and see if he is interested in you. You will know a lot about a dog based on how he approaches you, and how he reacts to your reaction. And you will know if you and the pup's personalities match or don't.
 

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My 2 cents....

I would look closely, and critically at the puppy's reaction to you, as a stranger; but also to noises like banging on a pan or blowing an air horn, or even shaking a can with some coins in it. If the puppy at that age shows any undue fear of those things...and doesn't recover and investigate the source pretty quickly, I'd walk away.

My current puppy was EXTREMELY social with all people up until about 8 or 9 months. Then it was like a switch flipped, and she became aloof overnight! She will allow strangers to touch her without freaking out, but she will never initiate it unless she's known them for some time. And even then, having known someone for several months doesn't qualify them for attention...it's always on her terms. So at 8 months, this pup could be very friendly, or more aloof...they all mature at their own rate. So don't put too much stock in the puppy's demeanor in that regard.

But I would pay very very close attention to the behavior of the parents. They should not accept you too readily. Some suspicion is a very good thing. Likewise, they should not show undue aggression toward you, as that shows weak nerves. What I like to see in the parents is aloof but watchful. They should not trust you too readily, and should remain watchful even after being told it's okay. That's ideal! If the parents are too friendly, walk away.

Unlike others who have commented here, I think a good assessment of the puppy and it's parents is more meaningful than the breeder. If the parent's demeanor is good, and the puppy shows you that he's not afraid of noises and is otherwise well balanced, well, that's what I'd base my decision on, not the breeder. And I say that not knowing exactly what the expectations are for breeders in Poland. Good Luck, how exciting getting a new puppy!
 

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How well do you know the breeders and what are their reputations? Can you get references? It is not about picking a puppy, it is about picking a breeder.

Are they responsible breeders who know how to match puppies to the right home environments? Do they ask you a lot of questions to see what kind of home environment you will be providing? Do they turn down puppy buyers who are not suitable? Or do they sell to anyone with no questions asked?

Are they experienced? Do they train at any of the dog clubs and breed organizations in the area? Are they knowledgeable about GSD temperament from a practical basis and know their lines?

Are the parents available to see along with the puppies? What is the behavior of the parents toward you when you visit? Do they have health certifications?

The puppy should be confident and not shy. At that age it should be friendly. Getting a GSD at any age does not make a difference in terms of bonding to getting an 8 week old, it just takes a bit longer, the older the dog. 9 months is still a puppy, not even a teenager yet. If you don't feel right about something, wait. Puppies are born everyday. Don't rush into buying one. They are all cute so take cuteness out of the equation.

Will your parents be training your dog when you are in college? Are your parents 100% with the idea of getting a puppy and them having the major responsibility for it?
What he said....

The only trick I know of is to cradle them like a baby getting a bottle and if they buck up right away then that one might be a bit too much for you.. You would prefer them focusing on you for even a few seconds.

I would sit down with the breeder and explain what it is you expect of your new family member and have her/him tell you which pup is for you.

I would go and see the puppies and see what you think but trusting a good breeder is best.
 
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