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Discussion Starter #1
So when it comes to dogs and GSDs, what level does it appear I am on? Level like Beginner, Amatuer, Novice, Expert, etc.

I'm asking because months ago, I didn't know anything. I favored feeding Purina Puppy chow, raw hide bones, and didn't know anything much. So I made this thread because I am curious to what level I seem to be on when it comes to GSDs and dogs.

I believe I have learned a lot, but I see sometimes in threads when I try to help others, other members will correct something I told the OP wrong.
 

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I have noticed ( b/c you post a lot of threads!) that you are not only trying to get as much info as you can, but also want to be able to help others learn. I think you are very interested in being a great dog owner, which is awesome!
I don't know everything, which is why I come to this site daily, but I will offer MHO...Don't pass along info as soon as you get it---meaning sometimes not everything you read online is true. A lot is opinion and should be presented as such. What I like about this site is a lot of the info is based on actual breed particular experience. But not everyone's experience is the same, so you have to try to take it all in and use your own judgement.
 

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Research and reading is an excellent thing to do. It can only help.

However, you should not (IMHO) give advice pertaining to things that you have only read and not things you have personally experienced or dealt with unless you follow up your statements with something to the effect of, "I haven't personally done this, but I heard/read the following..."

Everyone has different opinions on things. But you have to be honest in where your experience is coming from.
 

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So when it comes to dogs and GSDs, what level does it appear I am on? Level like Beginner, Amatuer, Novice, Expert, etc.
I haven't paid enough attention to your posts to begin to answer your question, but even if I had, it's rarely so simple. We do have many people with an obvious broad range of knowledge about dogs in general, GSDs in particular, breeding practices, training techniques, nutrition and health, competition in a sport, but we also have many people who know a lot about one or more of these subjects, but are not expert at all of them. It's usually pretty easy to tell when someone knows what they're talking about and when they don't.

What I try to do is read and learn in the threads where I don't have a lot of personal experience, and to answer questions in the threads where I do. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm an expert at whatever topic I'm responding to, but I can at least share what has and has not worked for me.
 

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However, you should not (IMHO) give advice pertaining to things that you have only read and not things you have personally experienced or dealt with unless you follow up your statements with something to the effect of, "I haven't personally done this, but I heard/read the following..."
^ What she said.
 

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Let me tell you something. I've been coming on this board for almost 9 years. I've been fostering dogs for 7 years. And I'm still a rank amateur about a lot of things.

I feel pretty qualified to give advice pertaining to rescue. And because of my recent breeder search and the fact that I have to deal so often with the product of indiscriminate breeding, I feel confident in giving basic advice on telling a reputable breeder from one whose pups are likely to end up in my rescue before their 2nd birthday.

But I know next to nothing about bloodlines and genetics. I'm having to do a lot of research about raising, feeding, and training a puppy. I'm also having to do a lot of new research about caring for Rocky now that he's becoming a senior. Even though I've been actively involved in GSDs for 8 years now, you won't see me giving much advice on those topics because I haven't experienced them myself and there are so many people on this forum who have. It's better for me to sit back and learn from them.
 

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Excellent post Emoore, exactly what I was trying to say.

GSD Fan, I went back and read some of the threads you started, and I'd have to say you're a beginner. You've never had a GSD, you're still young (in college), and although you said you've have dogs in the past you don't currently have one. I don't know how many dogs you've had in your life or how old you were at the time and how much responsibility you had for their care and training, but a family dog when you were a child or even a teen is not the same as being being completely responsible for raising a dog as you would as an independent adult.

Your threads ask a lot of very basic questions. Nothing wrong with that at all, we all start somewhere and you're thinking ahead by doing your research now, before you get a puppy, which is great. But you've only been a member here for a month, and asking questions and getting answers does not make you qualified to advise to anyone else on those topics as you've had no practical experience yet. Once you do I'm sure you'll have some great experiences to share, but in the meantime, why pretend to know more than you do?
 

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I'm not sure it's really safe to call anyone an 'expert' in the entire dog world. One person may be an 'expert' about nutrition, but a total novice when it comes to breeding or SchH or agility.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm sorry I made this thread. I guess I just wanted someone to say to me "You've made an improvement".
 

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GSD Fan, just keep on keepin on...we all are learning. It is never ending, just like training!
 

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Don't ever make a thread expecting people to tell you what you want to hear. Yeah, you may get what you're looking for, but everyone will share their opinions. Not what you want to hear.
We all learn new things about our dogs every single day. It's a never ending process. Yes, everyone that has joined here has made an improvement. I know I'm 1,000,000x more knowledgeable about dogs now than I was before I joined. Wouldn't dare call myself an expert in any field, though. I've just increased my knowledge about them.
 

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I'm sorry I made this thread. I guess I just wanted someone to say to me "You've made an improvement".
Well, you have! But that's not what you asked, is it? None of us are experts at everything, and some of us know more about some things than others. Why would that be a problem? As long as we all acknowledge what we DON'T know and continue asking questions to learn as much as we can, that's what's important.
 

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We all learn new things about our dogs every single day. It's a never ending process.
TOTALLY. I got my first GSD (and first dog as an adult) in 1986, probably before many of you were born. And yet 24 years later, I'm STILL learning! There is no shame in not knowing, only in refusing to learn.
 

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I'm sorry I made this thread. I guess I just wanted someone to say to me "You've made an improvement".
You want to learn about the breed, you're excited about becoming the owner of a GSD and every simple question you ask probably helps someone who isn't asking it, but wondering.

If you continue with this same level of interest in the breed your pup will be very lucky to have you. :)
 

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You are way ahead of the game, because you are asking questions, and learning before you get your puppy.

When you do get your puppy, you are probably going to make a better informed opinion as to where to obtain it. Hopefully if that doesn't succeed in getting a better puppy, it will certainly get you a person who can help you succeed with him.

You will have some good ideas about training and nutrician and how you intend to manage your dog.

You may think that the dog will sleep in the laundry room, and not be allowed on the furniture, and six months later, he may just OWN the house, but it will not be totally lost.

There are some things that simply cannot be learned from books or reading though. Some things simply take experience. There is nothing worse than for someone with three or four kids to be approached with advice about those kids from someone who has never had any kids, because they took a class in child psychology or something.

Dog people do the same thing. "I am not a breeder, but if I was a breeder, I would..." Doesn't matter, you are not a breeder, and until you are, than you really cannot say whether or not you would take that dog away from the lady who saved it from being euthanized. -- Just an example, not suggesting you made that comment.

We have to guard against the preconceived idea of how we think things ought to be, and apply them to people real life scenarios. That is why posts that begin with, "When my dog started doing that..." are generally better tolerated than posts that begin with "You should..."

Of course, experience is partly what we have experienced, and partly what we would have done differently if we had to do it all over again. Like when I mentioned it would be best to join a club, get to know the dogs, get to know the people. I did not do that first, I have now, but if I had to do it over again, I would have done that first.

You're doing fine, except for a bad case of puppyitis. When is it thay you intend to get your first shep?
 

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you're asking questions BEFORE you get the dog. THATS an improvement. None of us are experts by any means. Some are far more knowledgable than others. Compared to many on this board, i'm a total newb despite having 4 GSDs. I'm constantly learning. I've learned about medical problems from others on this board that i never even considered. I've learned what I and a few others consider to be the best time to spay or neuter. a lot of what people say is great while other things should be taken with a grain of salt. Pick and choose what works best for you in terms of advice regarding YOU and YOUR dog. Like i've said in another post, just because you want to hear something specific doesnt mean you will. You're a newbie. You're learning beforehand which is great but you still have a lot to learn and a great deal of it you cant learn without experiencing it.
 

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Selzer is completely right. It's all well and good to do a ton of research before getting a GSD (or any dog), but it doesn't compare to the sink or swim experience of actually being responsible for a living, breathing animal. Sometimes you have to completely revise your game plan because the dog in your living room isn't responding to you the way the dog in that book responded to his trainer.

That being said, the knowledge you gain from books and forums will give you a good base. It's a heck of a lot better to know a bit ahead of time than to jump into dog ownership completely unprepared.

I also agree that it's best to dispense advice when you have practical experience, rather than theoretical. I waited until I had the puppies for a year before I started posting. And I still feel like there are many, many people on this board who are miles ahead of me in experience and knowledge. I still consider myself a beginner.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You're doing fine, except for a bad case of puppyitis. When is it thay you intend to get your first shep?
May or June of 2011. That's if the breeding is successful. I'm glad I came to this forum, and I do have some experience with dogs. I have used a clicker, fed Blue Buffalo and saw the results, little stuff like that. However, I am only experienced in keeping outside dogs and not a bit of experience with inside dogs. My first GSD will be my first inside dog.

I definitely agree that owning a dog, whether you are a breeder, handler, or owner, is forever a learning experience. My last dog would do the "Down" command when I gave the "Sit" command. I learned then that she had not fully understood the "Sit" command or maybe it only confirmed what someone else told me, that female dogs may try to do a trick a different way.
 
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