experiences with german shepherds please(154 Posts)
thinking of getting a german shepherd pup. This would be my first "big" dog , i work in the police and have already enlisted potential help in training from a bobby who is a dog handler and does dog training as a second job.
i have thought about getting one for a while - met quite a few through work, and love them. DD met one while staying with a relative last week and is smitten with them.
i would get a dog rather than a bitch and a long haired GSD. House is not huge but garden is of a good size and the park is just 2 mins walk away.
i do have an aging cavalier king charles. totally going for a change here....(and to soften the blow when my beloved girl goes....she is knocking on)
so. GSD owners.....what do i need to know before i get one.
i have the name and number of a reputable breeder and am prepared to go on a waiting list. not in a huge rush.
Mine are wonderful, but I'm not the expert you are looking for. We have 4 (actually 3.5 as one was a stray so I can't be 100% sure)
Obvs as with any big dog if they play rough they can do more damage, but you train them not to play rough with humans. We started training properly, with a retired police dog handler, last week. All but the eldest (my stray) learned what was expected the second time a command was given. Not the second class, but the second word in the first class. My Pirate would not behave for the trainer but would for me, she 's the only one who gave him trouble.
You need to check for health problems, particularly hip problems, but using a reputable breeder as you are makes that easy. They need lot's of affection and excersise and need to be treated kindly, are hugely loyal and obedient. Plus they are just plain gorgeous.
I am going to take my police dog handler blokey with me to pick a puppy - he can tell which one to go for.
i intend to have a well mannered, obedient dog - so training will begin at 14 weeks.
I will go to the police handlers puppy classes for 2 months and have some one to one training too.
the dogs at work amaze me. They are incredible - sadly due to cutbacks dog handling positions are being halved so the opportunity to work with one is now highly unlikely, so this is the next best thing.
plus i work shifts - i would feel so much better knowing there was a dog in the house that means business - and to protect dd.
One of mine, my teddy Bear really protects. We were attacked by a sick stray bóxer when the puppies were only 4 months and while DH and my Pirate tríed To flight it off the teddy Bear got between it and DD2, a 40 kilo wall a muscle. And he lets her stradle him like he's a horse. Once DH was mucking about trying To chuck me in a pool when the teddy Bear just sauntered over, walked between us and shoved DH away from me.
The early training is importante, the only reason we didn't do it was because DH is one of them genius blokes who knows how To handle puppies he's learning now.
Forgot To say, good plan getting the dog handle To help you choose the puppy.
The plus sides are they're beautiful, loyal dogs who protect you and make you feel safe.
The downsides are that grooming them is hard work, I'm not sure if i'd want a long haired one! I seem to be constantly brushing mine and still seem to be ankle deep in dog hair and I vaccum every day - it's a bit like shovelling snow while it's still snowing - really I should just attach the Dyson to her.
They're often also very noisy dogs so be prepared to listen to a LOT of barking. They can also be a bit neurotic, scared of loud noises etc and I say this as someone who used to train (agility and obedience) with the local GSD club and a lot of the dogs there were the same and turned into nervous wrecks if there was a loud bang. All of that said, mine is a complete pita as she's a nutcase rescue who is still driving me potty even though she's 10 years old but I adore her more than I have loved any other dog and I've had dogs all my life. There is just something about how loyal they are that melts your heart!
They are amazing, we had a rescue GS who was about 16 months old when we got him. He was the fantastic. Loyal, loving (loved to sit on knees for cuddles), protective and just adorable.
He needed a lot of exercise (3 - 4 hours of walks per day and would have been happy with more), seemed to need constant grooming and could get a bit over protective but he was a well trained wonderful ball of fluff
I have two big males and also work with a few.
- they shed ALOT. Be prepared to Hoover every day all year around. Clumps of hair fall out no matter how much I brush mine.
- as a breed I find them aloof and wary of strangers. Mine are very much family dogs and take a while to trust people. In a vets we rarely trust them with
- they are quite expensive. Cost of feed and insurance is quite high.
- they suffer from health issues. Hip dyspasia, sensitive stomAchs and later on splenic masses are very common. Also read up on CDRM which is common in the breed, health testing is important but there are still risks.
However!! If you can deal with the above you will get the most fantastic loving family dogs ever. Mine come everywhere with me and love walks and playing most of the day. They are great at protecting the house and I never feel unsafe when walking them! Mine are great with children, cats and small animals and once they know someone people too.
They are highly intelligent and train so easily if you put the work in, sadly a lot of people don't hence why rescue is so full!!
If you want a well trained dog start before 14 weeks.
Just a word of caution some (many) police dog handlers have outdated training methods that are not suitable for pet dogs.
Research research research to make sure that you get a healthy straight backed GSD - it may take many months to find a healthy mating
"i would feel so much better knowing there was a dog in the house that means business - and to protect dd."
If you do all the socialization and training required to make a good family pet there are no guarantees that it will protect anyone or be anything other than a friendly pet dog...unless you're planning on actually training for that as well.
we have a gsd x rottweiler and shes a perfect mix of the breeds. molts twice a year which can drive me a bit potty but shes funny and loving! long haired gsd would drive me mad with the hair!
Were you aware that there are different types within the GSD "umbrella"?
There are the Show lines - mainly black & gold, some sable (though different from W/L sable. They mainly have sloping backs. Bred in this country, purely for their looks. Nerves can be an issue.
Interestingly Germany requires S/L GSDs breeders to ensure that their breeding dogs also have working qualifications.
The Pet lines - mainly long haired and multi coloured, including the whites. Usually straight backed. Some lines have bad hip dysplasia & epilepsy. Bred for their coats/colour for the pet market.
Then the Working lines - mainly sable, bi-colour, black or black & tan. Within these are the "sports" lines & the working/police lines (which I have). Bred purely for their working ability, so must form strong bonds with their handler and want nothing other than to please their handler.
The ones you've met through work are more than likely the working line ones &, in my experience, nothing at all temperament wise like the long hair pet lines that you are thinking of getting. Remember the police need entirely different qualities - brave/loyal/protective/intelligent/integrity/good health etc - from a dog , so aren't so bothered about coat length/colour/looks - just that it's got the right temperament make up to get the bad guy.
Whereas the pet line breeder will be breeding for the latest "in" colour - which is not in the breed standard - or coat length & not necessarily for the correct GSD temperament.
Of course there will always be exceptions in and out of the specific lines, but generally this is what I've found over the years.
I think that you should have a long hard think exactly what you want from your GSD. and if you have still have your heart set on a long haired one, then at least make sure you get it from a breeder that doesn't specifically breed for long coats. L/C occasionally occur in normal coated litters. From what I gather, the L/C pups used(decades ago) to be culled as they weren't deemed suitable for work as they didn't have an undercoat.
Have you considered one of the police "rejects"? You're in an ideal situation for one, plus it will have been house/obedience trained, out of the puppy mouthing stage etc. GSD puppies are really full on with their mouthing & playing, so this will need very careful supervision with your old Cav & your daughter as they can unintentionally hurt when playing when they're pups/juveniles, an older dog should have outgrown this .
I've found the females much more "serious" & not so full on as the males (mine have been slow to mature "goof balls"). Though, if your Cav is a female, you're probably better off with a male.
We have a gsd pup. Shes about 9 months now. Lovely lovely breed. Very loyal. We have had some problems ( she is literslly only just house trained in the last 4 days) and she does nip ALOT. She has huge amounts of energy and does get a little rough with my toddler. Although obviously they are never left alone togwther and we monitor any play situations very carefully.
We got her from a reputable breeder and saw both parents etc so have checked for health problems and temprement.
I would say they are a great family dog but need training from day one. Ours has been amazing with recall from day one. Just whistle and shes back by yourfeet. Although its got to the point where I cant take her for a walk on my own now as shes too strong ( iim5.9" and quite strong but still struggle)
If you are willing to get all the training done properly they can be the most amazing pets. Also so bloody cute.
Oh and re the protection issue.....a friend of mine had toclimb over our back wall as I had forgotten my key.....the dog is left to roam in the courtyard. When he went over the wall the dog screeched ran away full pelt tripping over her own legs and proceeded to hide behind the fridge and pee. Not the greatest gaurd dog the big wuss. ( btw shes not a nervous dog at all. Just atotal wuss.)
We had three amazing GSDs over a fifteen year period.
They were fantastic dogs, great with other dogs, brilliant guard dogs, but we did have to introduce them every carefully to new people.
The main downside is that as they got older two of them had hip problems.
If you are at all house proud they are not for you, the fur will roll across your floors like tumbleweed and the wet dog mud splatter will decorate your walls.
I only skimmed the topic but as far as I am concerned German shepherds tend to be far more disciplined with their flocks, rather than spending their days wistfully staring at the landscape and writing ballads and sad poetry they tend to see themselves more as flock managers.
i hoover daily anyway - long haired cats and long haired cav = lots of hair to hoover! the downstairs of my house is all tiled and laminated for that very reason! so hair - while it can be a bit of a pain doesnt really bother me.
the dogs dont go upstairs.
im in the police and the handler i am going to get help from also works as a dog trainer - no outdated modes as far as i can see - he said from a puppy point of view the most important thing is teaching manners and socialisation. he is very knowledgable.
i dont want a guard dog - i want a pet first and foremost. dd is 16years old btw, not a toddler....ds is 21.
i fully intend to start training from day 1 - but would go to the puppy classes from 14 weeks for 8 weeks. other training would be done at home.
i dont want an unruly 10 stone dog - i need a dog i can walk, control, recall, as i can my other dog.
i have found that most smaller breeds tend to be more wappy and fussy than bigger breeds.
going into this with eyes open.....
not sure about getting a police "reject" if they are different lines - though the dog handler who works our shift has the most loving beautiful dog, you can love and pet him, he switches to business mode when required. we gave DH a lift after a job once and dog sat inbetween the seats licking my ear.....though he is an exception i think.
might speak further to the handler who will be helping me about that possibility....
Health is the most important factor for me. You want a breeder who has hip and elbow scored the parents, has tested for eye problems, the male is Haemophilia tested, and ask them about Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy (CDRM - I am not sure if it can be tested for) and Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) in their lines. If they deny they have either, be very very suspicious.
I would also personally avoid any european lines (unless blended in with UK lines) as they are typically very pushy and worky, and don't always have the most stable of temperments. If someone is breeding from Schutzhund lines, avoid for a pet imo.
Having worked with a client who is an ex-dog handler who got his first 'pet' GSD if can tell you police/forces dog work is all about winding the dog up. The client was unconsciously doing this with his pet and spent 3 months with a behaviourist unlearning his habits.
Another thing that I see regularly with shepherds is that they are very aware of their pack and will want to protect it. An example of this would be we had a GSD in the clinic hospitalised two colleagues got out the kennel to take him to the garden all fine happy with both of them, one goes back inside and the comes back out and is barked at as he is no longer part of the pack.
I love shepherds, but would never have one myself as they are very high maintenance dogs IME.
i have such lovely memory's of my GSD, she was very faithful
she could almost read my mind as to what i wanted her to do without telling her, trained very easily, walked beautiful but yes very aloof as in ignored other dogs, never played with them. Not really interested in food, she just 'did' because she wanted to please.
would have another one in a heart beat, after my walking stomach -Labrador- ever gets off the sofa and shuffles off over the bridge
My 2 are both from police breeding programmes & are "just" pets! They are just lovely. The female is nearly 8yrs & the male 3yrs. I've had them since they were 7/8 weeks old.
The police assess each puppy when it's about 7 wks old with a series of "tests" - some aren't suitable & are offered up for sale to the public. Also the police mainly favour males for their operational dogs, just keeping some of the females for their breeding programmes, so more female pups tend to be available than males. This was before all of the cut backs.
Please don't be put off by the working lines - they tend to have the true GSD temperament & make wonderfully loyal obedient pets. They do tend to have higher drives though, so need lots of exercise & training.
The "reject" thing - the puppies are usually put out to puppy walkers for the first year (as you probably know) & come back to the police at various intervals during that year for training & to be assessed. The dogs are then handed back to the police at a year old for their "formal" police training - some just don't make the grade & fail somewhere along the line - tracking/loud noises (gun shots) - these "rejects" are then rehomed. This is one of the reasons that the protection/defence training is done last.
You mention that you have cats - you need to make sure if you decide to have an older dog that it's been brought up with cats - very important.
I very much doubt that the police dog you are describing is an exception!
My very first GSD was a 3year old fully operational dog. I house trained him & had him living in the house with us for over 10 years. Not once during his entire time with us did he ever put a foot wrong with us, or our 3 children. In fact when my daughter was learning to walk, he would walk sooo slowly along with her, her hand on his back, using him to balance. He was so very gentle with her, only taking food from her when she offered to share it with him by holding it out, & then taking it so very carefully from her fingers.
I've just seen Chicken's post re the European lines - all mine have/had these in their pedigrees(complete with lots & lots of Schutzhund 3's) and have had 100% stable temperaments so far.......
Before a dog is even accepted for Schutzhund training it has to pass a temperament test anyway, & is rejected if it's not deemed stable. Schutzhund 1 is the training element (long stay/recall etc), then the dog progresses to Sch 2 which is the tracking element, & finally Sch 3 which is the protection/defence.
There are people bringing in schutzhund lines GSDs from Europe, esp at 4m old who are NOT suitable pets, and are often going to homes that are far from suitable and being bred on from. I am sure there are nice ones but I would personally recommend people avoid them as I have seen what they are like in 99% of cases. I don't like to tar one group but these GSDs are not good pets. Well bred lines will be, but the majority around arne't these dogs
"There are people bringing in schutzhund lines GSDs from Europe"
In a few European countries though...Germany being one, dogs have to have a schutzhund title to be passed as fit to breed, that's as well as passing a confirmation title, and passing endurance, obedience and temperament tests.
I'd rather have a German GSD than one from someone down the road who threw together any old dogs even if they were health tested.
Tabulahrasa - I agree, I said more or less that up thread.
Chickchick - There are lots of unscrupulous breeders out there in pet/show/working GSDs as well as in every single other breed - fact.
Vicar has posted that she has a dog handler contact that has offered to guide her through the minefield of choosing a correctly bred GSD puppy that will fit in with her family.
I've posted my first hand experience with my working line GSDs that have been obtained from police breeding programmes that are my pets. In my opinion & experience they are what a "proper" GSD should be - trustworthy, loyal, obedient & protective. When the time comes for me to get another GSD I will get one from the police again - whether it be a puppy or a "reject". I personally wouldn't touch a U.K. line GSD with a barge pole, but that's just my opinion.
Lookingforbaubles - you've summed up the character of a correctly bred GSD beautifully in your post.
i think i will email our dog handler unit and ask about "rejects" then chrissie....its worth a look.
our unit do ask for pupper adopters for that first year - i have shied away from that as i know i would never want to give the dog back after a year.
i will call our training unit in OSS and ask - but in our force the number of dog handlers is being halved. not sure how this wll affect the breeding programme.
I just don't think you realise what a really fab position you are in being able to access your dog unit, Vicar.
It's got to be, at the very least, worth some of your time to explore the possibility of acquiring a dog or pup from there.
I know for a fact that all of the different Dog Units "share" their stud dogs with each other when required in order to enhance their own Unit's breeding programme, so I suspect that quite a few of the Head Trainers will be mates or at the very least have some sort of working relationship with each other. Why don't you arrange to meet up with the Head of your Dog Unit to explore all of your options, he can then put some feelers out for you at other Dog Units as well?
I wouldn't do the puppy adopter thing for the exact same reason as you either.
I know you mentioned that you'd like a male, but some of the dog units place their future brood bitches (from 8wks) in "foster" families which might very well be an option for you as she would just have to return to the dog section briefly when she needed to be mated, etc which wouldn't be until she is over 2yr anyway. When she's "retired" from her "mum" duties(usually 3 litters) , the "foster" family is given the option as to whether they want to keep her or not. Of course, all the different dog sections will have slightly different rules, but that's the gist of it. The dog section covers food, vet bills, etc as it's essentially "their" dog, but she would live with your family & obviously in her eyes(which is the most important thing) you would be her family.
When the time comes for me to have my next female GSD, this is definitely going to be an option that I thoroughly explore.
One thing that has been niggling me is a reference up the thread regarding GSDs & their pack, so I'm just going to give you an example of my experience with mine.
My middle son started Uni last September, so it was weeks, sometimes months that he wasn't home for. But every single time he came back my 2 were sat at the door with their tails wagging waiting for him to walk in. Also when he's home he obviously goes out at night with his mates, coming in late at night (something the dogs haven't been used to him doing since before last Sept), with different cars dropping him off (sometimes very late) - we haven't had a single incident where the dogs haven't known who he was when he's walked in the door.
Also the comment I made about GSD's with U.K. lines - if you search the GSD forum over on pedigree database for some of the kennels with "pet" lines, you will find information backing up what I said. There was a thread the other year that shocked me - certain "pet" line breeders had been using dogs with hip scores in the 90's (should be 20 & under), using dogs riddled with epilepsy - for decades -, even putting down a dog as the sire of litters when it had been dead for years - all just to "enhance" their "breeding" programmes. There were also some truly heart breaking posts from some of the poor people who had purchased puppies from these "breeders" as well.
noted chrissie and thank for taking hte time to post - back at work next week.
will email dog unit - its a start.
i wanted a blenheim bitch cavalier king charles - i ended up with a tri colour dog in the end....so i rarely get what i set out to get anyway!
i did end up with a blenhiem bitch but she was a rescue. Someone knocked on my door and asked me to take her....so i did!
ill let you know how it goes. thank you!
well i emailed our dog section today - i will let you know what they come back with.
i would love to take an ex police dog - but i just dont know how many "ex" or "failed" dogs there are these days with the cuts- our dog section has been halved from 40 handlers to 20.
I think they've stopped rehoming the ex operational dogs - health & safety - well, that's what I was told. Should imagine that the retired dogs (the ones that don't/can't stay with their handlers) would fall under that umbrella as they'll obviously have done the protection side also. You could always ask, they might make an exception with you working there?
Even with all of the cuts there's bound to be some "fails" before they get to the protection bit - I think that's your best option really.
I think it worked in our favour when we got our ex operational dog that we live in the middle of nowhere with a good chunk of land that he could be exercised on freely.
Hope you hear something soon!
Just to add:
- researchers in the US have identified the degenerative myelopathy gene so some breeders are taking this into account, however it appears to be in so many lines sometimes it's difficult to avoid, and there is some controvercy over the research with other vets claiming the gene has been mis-identified.
- you want to stack the odds in your favour and go with a breeder who breeds for family temperament, not working dogs. Equally taking on a retired protection dog is insanity.
- you cannot set a limit to the training the dog needs and certainly not such an unrealistically short one. Most dogs benefit from a couple of years of group training to achieve the basics, as well as reinforcing all the lessons at home and in other environments. You want to start this training asap, e.g. guide dogs start at 6 weeks which is difficult for pet dogs, but as soon as the vaccinations are done you should join a puppy socialisation class and a beginners' training class. All of my dogs have been able to start with sits, downs, targeting and recall from 7 weeks when I get them from their litter.
discovered that no dogs available, people do offer their unwanted dogs for police training and i could look at these but for me thats not ideal. The only one going at the moment is a bag of nerves and not suitable for police training so it would be mad for me to take that one on as im just not confident enough. Its sad as the owner just wanted rid of the dog - but as a first large dog i dont feel able to take one on with problems.
ex operations dogs generally stay with their handlers, and the pups that dont quite make the grade for police often go on to private security companies whos needs are less than an operational police dog.
the only other way to do this was as i suspected - puppy walk for 15 months then if your dog doesnt make the grade its yours to keep - too much of a gamble for me - i would get too attached.
so i will go back to the breeder i had in mind and enlist the help of the dog handler who also does training.
my cav is very well trained (by me) but is a cav and the most she could manage is to lick someone to death.
dog handler is able to come with me to choose a pup so when the time comes this is what i will do.
thanks for the advice everyone.
ok - more advice needed guys.
ive gone onto the kennel club website for a list of breeders in Yorkshire and the Humber.
one breeder has a dog ready now - but from the photos he has a sloping back - he is huge at just 8 weeks, not long haired but "heavy" coated and very fluffy.....adorable looking, she only has him left as there were only 2 dogs in the litter.
another breeder has a litter due later this month, means i could get a pup in November. She is married to an ex police dog man, and has invited me over to meet her dogs. She has had some longer haired dogs from this mating before but doesnt breed for coat.
im confused.....im thinking that waiting for the pup due later this month might be sensible in order to really prepare and get some time off work....
all are hip/elbow tested. The lady with the litter due later this month actually knows my vet, lives about an hour away, knows the pitfalls of looking for a pup....but i didnt asked if they were straight backed or show breeds. She also said they dont breed often, and this is this bitches last litter, though she has other bitches that she will breed from in the future.
this is a minefield.
Sorry to repeat myself but you really need to research the lines and choose a breeder who breeds for temperament. Good breeders have long waiting lists.
They should also check for haemophilia and ideally for degenerative myelopathy.
the lady with the litter due later this month has all those tests plus a couple more - she sounded very very good and really knew her stuff - and the pitfalls.
i like that she asked me over to meet her and her dogs. She also tattoos her dogs before they leave. She certainly sounded like she breeds for temperament and not for looks/coat etc.
The other lady whose dog is ready now was sired by a german import, but she didnt ask as many questions of me as the lady with the litter due later this month.
What lines is she breeding from? There are quite a few knowledgeable GSD people on HHO and I can ask on there for you.
What are the hip scores?
I would be very interested to know what she said about degenerative myelopathy as I know breeders are struggling with that one (I lost a dog to DM last March and we are tentatively thinking about another GSD but I am not sure what to do about DM).
Asking you to come over to meet the dogs is a good sign, and if a breeder wants you to just turn up and pick a puppy you should avoid them. Responsible breeders will want to meet you, see how you react to the dogs, etc., at the same time you want to meet at least the mother and see what the home environment is like.
ive no idea what lines - how do i find that out? i will post hip scores etc when i get them.
think im going to go with the lady im going to meet next week - just hoping that when the litter is born there is a woof with my name on it.....
this lady has lots of accolades on the KC website and really sounded like she was very experienced, and picky, about where her dogs go. i took that as a good sign.
Ask the breeder for the dogs' registered names. The breeder should also tell you a number for both hips for both parents. The score will be something like 4:8 for each dog (0:0 being the lowest and best, a total of 19 being the average for the breed but IMO you should only breed from dogs with a total of 10 or under). If you visit the breeder should show you paperwork on all this (hips scores, haemophilia negative for the dad, genetic test for DM).
If you get a moment please ask her about degenerative myelopathy I would be really interested to know what lines she has used to avoid it.
thanks for that - i will ask.
im gutted really that i feel i cant take the dog thats ready now - think his hip scores were good - 7/7 i think.
feeling guilty now as breeder emailed me saying im missing out on a lovely pup.
If you have the kennel name you can type it in here:
and a list of all the dogs registered to that kennel should appear, click again & you should be able to see the individual dogs' pedigree, which will give you an idea as to its lines.
If you haven't the name of the kennel, then the breeder's name + location on google should find it for you.
Please don't be rushed/made to feel guilty - as far as I can see you're doing everything exactly right.
Personally, I never go to see the puppies unless I have researched thoroughly (including a general search of breeder - both name & kennel), as I wouldn't want my heart to rule my head, if you see what I mean.
If the puppy you are referring to is from the Northallerton area - a quick look indicates that she also breeds 2 giant breeds as well, which you should investigate a bit further into. Google is your friend here.
my only recent experience is what I have experienced with my NDN's GSDs. They need more attention than they are given and they definitely need more exercise. They bark incessantly and dug under our fence and brutally attacked my whippet.
My blood runs cold to think what might happen if they got out and encountered my children.
We had one as a child and it killed a toy breed on our street for no reason at all. I have no trust in this breed around children.
No advice about choosing one - I had one but he was a rescue - we also had one when I was a child, but obviously had no part in choosing him. However, I can say that they are lovely dogs. Very intelligent and loyal. Very vocal - I used to have long chats with mine, which probably made me look a bit bonkers . They can be a bit highly strung though - mine used to hide in the airing cupboard during thunder storms, bless him. On the whole though, he was a great dog, and brilliant with children, other dogs, small, furry creatures etc.
can anyone just give me an opinion on the following please - the pup ive missed out on is from the northallerton area and looked beautiful.
this breeder has pups due and is the lady who has asked to meet me and invited me to go and meet her dogs - a good sign i think.....
Yes, I looked at this breeder when I was searching, from what I remember he has both show & working lines. I (personally) would be more happy going to this kennel than the other in northallerton, but you definitely still need to research the lines thoroughly.
For example - a quick look on the link I gave you above shows two gsds registered for the northallerton breeder affix, both with sires from a certain show kennel, then a quick search on the ped.database gsd forum brings up a large thread about this exact same show kennel & epilepsy.
It truly is a minefield & absolutely heart breaking if you get it wrong.
thanks so much chrissie - im a bit useless with google....can you help me do a bit of research on the breeders im meeting? i can sit and google all day and get nowhere, the lines this breeder uses are on the website i think....i will also continue to google
thanks again - if felt really guilty about not taking the available pup....
Do not feel guilty about taking a puppy that is being pushed at you by a breeder - there will always be a reason as to why it has not already been sold. The breeder is just after the money.
I don't mean to be negative but just look at those dogs from the breeder you have linked to. Do they look like healthy working dogs? They have been breed to an inch of their life to have that dreadful sloped back that is just fashionable and does nothing for the interest of the dog.
Please be very careful you could end up with a large dog with major health problems, that is not only heartbreaking but require very special care and a lot of money.
Vicar - exactly what idirdog said about that lady pushing the puppy! I looked at that person's website (northallerton) & couldn't see one photo where the dog looked to be inside a house.
As to the other breeder - I looked at them when I was looking for my female (she'll be 8years old next week), but I didn't visit them. They do(I think) both show lines & working lines - which type are you looking for? If you let me know I'll try & have a google for you later on.
I feel I must be honest with you & also agree with idirdog about the sloping backs of the show lines - but it's entirely your choice, & having given my opinion, am quite happy to do some digging around online for you.
i would prefer a straight backed dog if im honest - i just dont know where to go.
i went on the kennel club website and clicked "yorkshire and humber" region but i would be more than happy to travel for the right pup.
every single breeder that i click on sounds promising but then when it comes to the gallery or photos they all have sloping backs - does anyone breed straight backed dogs?
O.k., well I've had a look around & can't find very much at all regarding that last kennel - just one post from someone who had one of their dogs - no problems with his, but he didn't want to recommend them as he knew someone that had one of their dogs that did have problems. He didn't say, but should imagine they were behaviour issues as he said that these "problems" could be down to its owner. I've only checked on the kennel/owners names as I didn't know which bitch & dog the due puppies will be out of - if you have this information perhaps you could let me know if you'd like me to check, well as best as I can.
Re the sloping backs - it's the show lines that mainly have these, the working & pet lines tend to have the straight backs.
If I were you, I would go along & have a look at her dogs (but don't take your purse!! - believe me, this is a top tip!), at least then you'll be able to compare them to your friend's working one.
Another tip is that every single breeders' website is geared up towards making you believe that their dogs are the best - take it all with a pinch of salt, it's all simply marketing.
I think you should go & have a look at adults from the different lines & then make your mind up which type you prefer. Be prepared though, as they'll all try to tell you their lines are the "proper" ones. Just have a good look & try to see the adults in situ & how they interact/pay attention with their owners. And again (I learnt the hard way) the easiest way is not to take any money/cards with you at all, then you can come away & have a proper think without being persuaded.
thanks - i have just spent all night googling and definitely prefer the old fashioned straight backed dogs.
so i googled straight backed german shepherds.....found a few breeders and am willing to travel and wait for the right dog.
ive left messages on voicemails and emailed a couple so ill wait to see if they get back to me.
really not keen on the look of the show lines - they just dont look right somehow - they look permanently as if they are about to sit....
this has really helped me make up my mind about what it is im after so thanks....
Just be really careful as some of the pet lines have epilepsy as well as really poor hips in their lines. As soon as you get a kennel name or better still a dam/sire name - google is your friend.
thanks - i may be back for some google assistance!
at least i know i dont want the show lines....just the pet lines minefield to get through now then....
if anyone ever calls me back.
oh and my DH made me laugh tonight
i asked him if he was still on board with the idea of getting a GSD pup
"i dont know - have you told me im on board? if so yes."
i have him well trained so a dog will be a doddle!
Our GSD was the most amazing dog we've ever had
She jumped off a balcony when she heard me screaming as a child, broke her leg and still dragged herself to me to bite the person who was next to me (sorry grandad!)
She never had any aggression except if you were in danger and would literally have given her own life for you. Followed you everywhere and was generally just an amazing family dog, great to walk and handle and fantastic with children
Comedy moment was her trying to follow me through a swinging door and face planting as the door swung back on her
Oh that was so funny about your hubby!
I have sent you a PM with some further info on - hope it helps.
thanks chrissie....youre a diamond.
I've got 2 GSD, it's so funny when my 16 month old is doing something he shouldn't as they give me a look that says 'mum......he's being naughty!'
Just a little point but for puppies you need the hip scores of the mother and the father (the addition of the two hip numbers for each dog should be under 10, so the dog you mention at 7:7 is a 14 and not particularly good). Puppies cannot get hip scored before 12 months old so beware of anyone who gives you numbers for a young pup.
Good grief - I've just looked at the gallery of the breeder you linked to vicar and I can't believe that people would choose dogs with backs like that over straight backs - surely it can't be good for the dogs' health? They look like they're permanently trying to sit down...
German shepherds aren't really on my radar but I can't remember the ones I knew as a child looking like that
well, i think the way they are stood makes it look worse - they pull on leg forward and one back to exagerate the slope - and spoke to some really good people today through word of mouth.
a good healthy backed GSD should not have a poker straight back, nor a very sloped back - there should however be a slight and gentle slope, its that shape that enables them as a working dog apparently.
found some diamonds in the rough today. hurrah!
went to visit beinhard GSD today - lovely lovely lady and very responsible breeder. Unfortunately no pups until next year.
Chrissie ill pm you....
I know it's tough to wait, I am making myself wait until spring 2014 or spring 2015, but maybe it's a blessing in disguise. Imagine toilet training in the middle of the winter!
How about a GSD cross like Boo Boo
well - this being my first GSD i think for a first go id like a puppy so i can get it used to all my other furries,
but if i get another to buddy up i would definitely consider a rescue - just think its more sensible for a first time GSD owner to get a pup, that way i know that if i start training early doors i more or less no what im going to get.
this will be a learning curve for me - i have a house full of rescues so not averse to rescue dogs at all - but would do that when im a bit more experienced with the breed.
hope that makes sense.
I have nothing to add to the great advice you've had here, but just wanted to say that my 8 yr old GSD is the love of my life. Had him since he was a pup, he's the easiest dog ever, he just seems to know what to do before I tell him.
I did socialize him really well when he was young and I do think that helped a lot - so he's not fussed about any new situations, just takes it in his stride.
I would recommend dealing with puppy biting by 'yelping' loudly whenever they bite (basically mimicking how they themselves would communicate with other dogs if they were hurt). I did this whenever my dog nipped me when he was little, and as soon as I 'yelped' he would back off immediately.
He also got to the 'adolescent' stage where he tried to push the boundaries and become more dominant with me (I was a single woman, alone with him). Again, I would mimic how dogs play and wrestle with him, but always make sure I won. It really worked.
Things to look out for - well my dog recently had GDV, which GSDs are prone to. Frightened the hell out of me. He also now has weak joints, partly as a result of loss of fitness from the GDV episode.
Other things to look out for - being asked "Is that a German Shepherd or an Alsatian?" all the time, and also being told "Oh my dog hates Alsatians, he was attached by one once, he doesn't like the big ears.." usually by small terrier owners, who's dogs invariably attack my GSD while he looks at them and wonders whether he should bother squashing them with one paw or just walk away in an aloof manner....
GSDs, when brought up well, are the easiest, calmest, most wonderful dogs in the world. Beware you'll never want another breed.....
By the way Vicar I think you sound really sensible and will make a wonderful GSD owner, good luck in finding a pup and please share pics when you do so we can all go gooey over him
i will and thanks glad - i found a brilliant breeder up in newcastle - just waiting to see if she has a pup for me but we spent a good hour on the phone and she has been breeding for over 35 years - sadly she has just got her last litter....im praying for one of hers! She said she would be happy for me to have one of hers and we talked for ages - she said i was the sort of person she would happily let have a dog - all of my animals and all of my rescues have a forever home with me, ive done my research and arent getting a GSD on a whim - and im quite prepared to wait for the right breeder, but i do have my heart set on a long coated dog or bitch, so just waiting to hear back to see if she has a l/coat in her litter.....my fingers are crossed.
I would say, if you like the breeder so much, take one of her litter whether it's long haired or not.
I had my heart set on a Black & Tan dog, because our previous GSD was like that. It's hard to tell when they're pups what colour they'll turn into, so when my pup started turning gold/sable dare I say I was a little disappointed....
He is of course, now the most handsome GSD I've ever seen and I wouldn't have him any other way
The breeder sounds great, I like it when they say they'll let you have one of their dogs, makes you feel like they really do care who takes on their pups.
When will the litter be ready?? Excited for you!!!
im just waiting for her to get back to me and then she said she would invite us up to meet her and the dogs,
she doesnt advertise, but chrissie helped me do the research and it looks like no problem lines in her dogs.
they are only about 2 weeks old so just waiting to hear back - i really liked her, but i really do have my heart set on a l/coat - i want a big fluffy bear. not bothered about colour, or sex.
When she gets back to me i will decide whether or not a l/coat is still important to me.
happily she was very picky about who got a dog of hers, and we did click, so will just wait!
im manically checking emails daily!
And apologies for bombarding you with links! Just thought you might like a slightly older dog who knew the basics rather than a puppy... very good luck with your search
ive got one!!!! not passing this one by! excellent breeding and no problem lines -
i could burst with excitement!
he is a long coat boy.
names suggestions please!
Oh, have been following this thread and am so pleased for you Vicar
Will have a think re names ...
Am thinking 'bear' names. So
quite liking Teddy.....
im planning on going up to see him and the breeder on monday.....i am so excited!
to give you an idea of the sort of names i like
my boy rats are Dudley, Barney and Harvey. got to be cute boy names....liking Teddy at the mo....he will be my big teddy bear! oh god i am so excited!
Then I think Teddy would be perfect
How exciting! Will there be pics on Monday? <hopeful>
I have a big Teddy bear, he's not called Teddy in RL but I think it's fab ñame. Glad you found one.
Awwwww how exciting for you!!! Once you see him you'll be in love, guaranteed.
Funny, I call my GSD Teddy as a nick name, as well as Bear, and have decided that the next GSD I get I'll either call him Teddy or Yogi..!
Oh my, I certainly hope that you're not expecting him to be as quiet as a Teddy Vicar! Great name tho!
Yes! Definitely pics required!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ummm, my male is called Kaos - which suits him absolutely...........
Hmm, now what about "Quest"?
You've certainly been on one to find him - lol!
Rolo - if he's black & tan
Vic, if you decide on a pet name before she registers them with the kennel club & ask nicely, she just might incorporate his pet name into his KC one for you, which is exactly what I did with my female.
Oooh, like 'Doghouse of Mumsnet's September Teddy Bear'
And I picked the name [proud]
I am going to be Teddy's Auntie Bore
When I got my GSD, the breeder let me choose her kennel club name......she's Princess Snow Storm, took me ages to pick one lol but thought that was a good one as I have a white one. 6 months later when I got another from the breeder I put her kennel club name down as Snowstorms Shadow .
Good luck with the new pup.
Yes, exactly correct "Auntie" Bore!
Yoni - those are really nice names & are any of those their pet names too?
going to see him on Monday or Tuesday - so will post pics soon!
Hello Vicar so excited to read you are getting a GSD pup.
What a fabulous noble breed they are . Their eyes shine intelligence .
Lucky pup to have you for an owner.
I like Banjo and Mojo for names...
WOLFeeeeeeeeee come here you bugger .....NO NO leave it ........oh god please leave it .......come back .......Come BACK .
Wolfie must be his name Vicar . waiting for pics .
i cant do Wolfie cos i just think of Citizen Smith!
we are going tomorrow so DD can come too, she has a day off college on a Tuesday, i am very excited! its a 2 hour drive.
I like Banjo! DD wants to call him Milo but not sure....think ill wait to meet him. I think ive decided Teddy is too cutsie for a GSD.
Took my other little dog to vets today - her heart murmur is much worse so she is now on tablets. I wanted to get her teeth cleaned but its too risky to put her under now, luckily they arent that bad and she has no loose ones, but she is getting on now in terms of how long Cavs live.....so i think the pup will be good for her and for us - i dont want an empty house when she goes and the vets said a puppy may well give her a new lease of life, though she is still very sprightly for her age.
also found out about puppy training classes - there is one near to me that does basic obedience and agility training and you can just keep going even after the initial course so i think we will do that as a family - i think pup will like a bit of agility....i can take him from his 2nd vaccinations. All being well he should be coming home at the end of October.
DH is looking forward to it too now, he was talking about how nice it will be to have a dog that he can walk and that will play - i hear GSD like balls and frisbees!
im going to take lots of photos tomorrow so i will post pics when we get back.
What about calling him Bear or Yogi .
Have a look at kazetigsds.com - really lovely well bred animals, and lots of info.
I just thought of Loki but dd doesn't like it. I want her to come with us to meet them tomorrow but she has assignments for college. really struggling with names. ..
Fantastic news! Hope you can post pics!
A small point and I am sure the club would tell you this anyway but keep in mind that agility is not suitable for puppies because of the strain it puts on growing limbs. With a large breed dog you want to wait until about 18 months before you start agility. Ideally even in the home you want to restrict access to stairs and carry him up and down for a while.
However, in my experience agility training is a lot easier for a dog that has basic obedience training, and while you wait for the agility classes you can always do the KC good citizen awards which are good fun and veru useful.
Don't worry too much about the name, you need to know the dog first and the name will come!
Oh GSDs love balls and frisbees alright... the challenge is finding some that they don't destroy in 10 seconds flat!!
Just a note on training - the number one best thing I did for my GSD when he was little was take him to work with me (I was lucky in that I worked outdoors where there were lots of public) - what it did was socialize him really well, got him used to all sorts of different scenarios, people, kids, dogs, bikes, wheelchairs, large crowds etc etc.
So if you can, try and get the dog out and about with people as much as possible once he's vaccinated. They say there's a critical window of time up until they're about 16 weeks where they're 'open' to new experiences..and if they're not socialized until after that time they may become fearful and aggressive. Not sure how true this is, but it certainly worked for us. My problem is my GSD is too friendly, he hugs (i.e. puts his head against the legs and expects a cuddle) every human he meets.....
It is certainly true GladitsnotJustMe although the exact timing is unclear. Up to six weeks old seems to be a crucial time for puppies to be with their mum, from about 8 weeks to about 14 weeks is a crucial time for puppies to see the world. The vaccinations are an issue but if one waits until 2 weeks after the second vaccination there is hardly any time left for socialisation. Personally I take the risk after the first vaccination and carry my puppies where I think there may be unvaccinated dogs and foxes. As it is puppies shouldn't walk a lot so carrying works out really well. I have seen other people with pet buggies for larger breed puppies.
I agree not to worry about names. We spent weeks arguing about what our puppy should be called, but just knew what his name was within a couple of hours of having getting him home.
I am so but equally pleased and excited for you. Hope the visit went well and you got lots of lovely puppy cuddles.
Oh oh oh! Beeeooootiful!
He's gorgeous - you lucky thing!
it was a long drive but worth it. He is mine. I left a deposit.
his mummas hip score is 4/3
daddys hips are 6/3
also got his aunties hips scores
his great gran
and his great great gran. all good.
nice pedigree. no dodgy lines in there. odds stacked in my favour hopefully! her adult dogs were beautiful. i think she is keeping the l/coat female and i got the l/coat male. We all trekked up in the end, me, Dh and DD.....
I still think he looks like a Teddy
Can you tell what colour he will be at this age?
I mean what colour he will end up. He looks black/goldish at the moment.
no idea what colour he will be - he is black and gold - his mum is very gold and black, his dad is black and gold, so i guess it will be somewhere in between!
i was never bothered about colour - just wanted a good breeder with no dodgy lines in there and had heart set on a long coat.....which he is.
cant wait to pick him up! gah!!! so excited! spent a good couple of hours with him today but its a 4 hour round trip so wont see him again until i collect him....
So exciting for you! The time will soon pass.
Since he comes from Newcastle, how about 'Geordie' or 'Hadrian'?
well. time is nearly here to go and collect him! on saturday morning i leave work at 7am.....we will then drive up to newcastle and collect fluff pup.
he is a ball of gorgeous.
he is very spirited and bouncy according to dear breeder....she thinks he will need firm handling.
How exciting Vicar let us see pictures
(cringes at bit at breeders comments "he will need firm handling")
Just wanted to say that you sound like the best kind of dog owner and I wish more were like you.
I had German Sheps as a child in the family and adored them. They were gentle (no rough and tumble was allowed so as to train self control into both dog and child), protective in a positive way and beautiful to look at and exercise.
Very at you being able to have one.
Enjoy your puppy snuggles, my GSD fur baby Mishka has just turned a year old (pic on profile) and it seems like yesterday that i picked her up. Best breed ever, so loving, loyal and lots of fun to train.
So excited for you, Vicar!
And DooneDave, your Mischka is gorgeous! What a beautiful face.
Oh, how I wish I could have a dog, but I work away too often.
Thanks Bore she certainly has me smitten.
i am in LOVE.
i picked up my baby boy today.
he is 7 weeks old. he has asked to go out for every pee and poo since getting home. (bar 2 accidents!)
he is a fluff ball of cute proportions that are simply not definable! he is gorgeous.
a big fluff ball of gorgeous.
he is placid, compliant, and cuddlesome. he is stunning.
ive called him Barney. Barney Bear. ill post pics when i can.
Congratulations! You will never want another breed
are you ready for pics?
he is my floof ball.....i am absolutely in love.
I'm in love too! What a gorgeous little fluffkin!
Ooh - he has a spark of mischief in his eyes - good luck!
I want one! oh wait, I have four already, damn!
That is one seriously cute puppy.
Ahh, he is just gorgeeeeous!! All the best with him Vic!
he is so clever. he has house trained himself already, he isnt yet 8 weeks! he chooses and asks to go out for wees and poops. he is good as gold over night in his crate. no messing. no whining.
but he found his feet today and my god he is like a toddler! he is into Everything!
he has ripped the wallpaper.
he has destroyed his cuddly toys.
he has discovered that his water bowl can be played in.
he has found the stones in the garden and thinks they are just dandy to eat and play with....
he has chewed the dining chairs
he has chewed the rug
he has found the belt of my dressing gown and thought it a great game to play tug o war
he has discovered shoes. even with the wearer still in them!
im exhausted. he is lovely, absoltuely gorgeous but omg! he is very well behaved but even so im knackered! its more like having a baby again than i remembered!
Yep, a baby with teeth . You didn't the dining chairs anyway, did you?
i didnt need the dining chairs....
now the wallpaper.....!! i did need! the little sod has ripped a huge piece on my feature wall!
well. i guess i could argue its a feature......
he is just scrummy but its a good job!! else he would be out on his arse by now! lol.....
such a naughty little pup!
Sooooo funny Vic!
Now THAT sounds much more like a proper GSD! Hold on to those now cosy thoughts/memories about how "placid & compliant" he is - it'll help when you're having your first nervous breakdown!!
He sounds just like my male with his housetraining, my female on the other hand was an absolute nightmare - so this is GOOD. You must hold onto the GOOD things when it gets worse - much worse as it will definitely help!
Oh & you think his little itty bitty teeth are doing a lot of damage now?! I've got news for you, wait until his adult teeth start coming in............
Just read a few comments from last couple of pages. Would just like to support the person saying risk taking him out before vacs. (obviously carry and be sensible). 16 week critical socialisation period is probably quite optimistic for a GSD. His "window" will probably begin to close soon.
I don't think I'll be brave enough for a 'proper puppy' for a few years. Value my skin (and feet especially!) and soft furnishings (er and hard furnishings?) too much heh.
thanks dirtybadger....i will start taking him out and about for cuddles.
i will remember that.....
nervous breakdown you say.? so maybe i should shut myself in the crate and give him the house.
it was funny today - we are doing lots of "play" that involves pinning.... - but in a playful way. Today i got him on his back and pinned him so he couldnt get up....he went all floppy and i praised him and let him up.
dh said give it 6 months....and ill come home from work to find you pinned to the floor.....
this would be funny were it not a possibility!
Only just seen this, but my GSD female is now 5 and a half. I love her lots and she is the bestest dog ever, loyal, intelligent, laid back and well behaved........most of the time. She is very prejudice against small dogs, people with curly hair, people in hoodies, the list goes on, but she would protect me til the end I think they are my fav. breed.
He is lovely.
I don't want to sound preachy but please don't play pinning games. They are old fashioned training methods that are not necessary.
he seems quite happy to be "pinned" - when i say "pinned" its more like he rolls on to his back for a tummy rub....
i do examine him daily and brush him - he has to learn to allow this? so i lay him on his side, he turns on to his back for tummy rubs, i check his ears, mouth, paws.....then give him a quick once over with a brush, i leave him alone when done and praise him like mad.
he is very laid back. not an ounce of aggression in him. he loves to lay on his back for his tummy rubbed.....so i just sort of utilise this and use it as an opportunity to examine and brush him....sometimes he wants to get up before ive done, so i keep him where i want him until im done brushing or examining....
i am conscious of the fact he will be a big strong dog with teeth.....i need him to know that we are the boss.....im not rough...but i do make him stay put while i do what i need to do.
You won't need him to know you are the boss - he just needs to know that you are the gateway to all things exciting!
Also, I forgot to recommend a furminator - don't pay forty quid, get one off of E-bay. You can thank me later
Knowing who is boss is a really old fashioned and dangerous way to train a dog. Although a way of training that is hanging around with GSD trainers
GSD do not need to be trained in a different way from other dogs. Why force a dog to do something when it is easier for the dog to want to do things. Rather than pin him on his back reward him for lying on his back for a command and moving when you give him a release command- you will be stimulating his brain and building trust.
Good books to read although there are 100's on this topic
How dogs Learn by Mary Burch and Jon Bailey
Dominance Fact or Fiction Barry Eaton
The majority of Police dog handlers are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to dog training. Although some are now beginning to use a clicker and are being amazed at the speed they can train the dogs so hopefully things will change.
I was gonna say something similar to idirdog. Maybe teach him a cute play dead. He lies on his side. He gets up when released. Build duration (he's only a baby I doubt he'll have the self control to manage long to start) and then make it trickier by him allowing you to handle him whilst he plays dead. Reinforce. reinforce. Eventually you'll have a dog who loves to lay on his side and be handled for a game or tasty now and again!
I've never owned a GSD brain so he might get it quicker than I'm thinking, actually.
Vic, you are absolutely correct that Barney needs to be 100% comfortable with you examining all of his bits & by continuing to groom him & checking his ears, eyes, mouth etc regularly he will soon build up his trust in you.
If he starts getting all wriggly & won't calm down when you're grooming him I would either distract him by giving him something to chew & continue grooming him- mine love cold (washed) carrots from the fridge - or break up his grooming sessions into smaller chunks. He'll be bored that's all.
What I also do is that anything that I do that the dog may find even slightly unpleasant, such as cleaning their ears, checking between their pads, applying flea treatment, giving them worming tablets -I counterbalance it at the end by ALWAYS giving them a treat.
When they're puppies it's usually a high value food treat such as chicken, & as they get older I'll mix it up - so sometimes a ball game, extra walk, or a food treat. They quickly learn that if they stand still, whatever treatment will be over faster & they can have their treat.
I've recently had my female quite poorly & she's had to have quite a few meds given to her in the form of anti b's, ointment, drops, tablets etc - so much so that even the vet enquired if I was ok administering them all. I didn't have a peep out of her, she stood as good as gold waiting patiently for her treat to arrive at the end of it - & that was 3x's a day for 2 weeks at the beginning.
When he's being naughty I would simply redirect him.
Have you tried training him to sit yet? You should try - you'll be really surprised at how quickly he picks it up. As he's so tiny just remember to keep the training sessions short - say 5 mins. Several shorter sessions a day at this age are much better than one longer one.
Also try rolling a ball just a few feet away (one that fits in his mouth, but make sure he can't swallow it obviously, & don't leave him to chew it), you may need to get him interested in the ball first before you roll it, then as he starts to follow the ball insert a command such as "fetch", as soon as he picks up the ball call him back to you with another command "come", "here", whatever you want, but it's important that you choose your command words & stick to them. Make sure you're crouched down to his level as he arrives back to you, then lots & lots of praise for being the cleverest poopster in the world. All this will help build up the bond between you, which is the key to getting him to do all you ask of him as he won't want to displease you.
I would just have a google before you fork out for a Furminator - I think(but not 100%sure) that they work by removing the undercoat & most long coated GSDs don't have an undercoat. Get a Sebo instead!
As for the nervous breakdowns - wait until he hits the "Kevin" stage! Oh my! You'll be having at least 3 a day!
What does your little Cavi make of him?!
thanks for the thoughts folks - anyone who knows me will realise that i am not in the least bit "old school", we are starting puppy training as soon as he has had his second vaccinations.
chrisie - he is actually very accommodating and lets me examine him and brush him quite well. it was the vet and the breeder who said plenty of pinning games and hands in his mouth....all the police dog handlers at work have gone gooey over him! no one has advised harsh tactics at work at all. Our dog handlers are actually very enlightened.
he also plays fetch. he toddles off after the ball....brings it back....drops it to be thrown again.
he seems to understand his name now and "come here"
ive tried a few "sits" but nothing much more.....now he has found his feet i will try a few more commands and see if he gets it. He wants to please - he is such a good natured little fella....he has found his naughty side but its "puppy" naughty....nothing i would tell him off for, though he is starting to understand the word "NO!"
im happy to use clicker training.
my little cav....oh deary me....she has gotten over the slightly nervous phase and is now firmly within the pissed off phase.....
so far she is holding her own. He is very boisterous and mithers her a lot....she is an old lady really and cant be bothered with it, though she does play chase with him in the garden. So far he cant get on the couch so she knows if she gets up on there he cant pester....
he is quite submissive with her - she tells him off and he lays down and tries to lick her.....but she is having none of it. She is tolerating him, but i cant say she seems impressed! nor are the cats. They all seem to have accepted he is here to stay though.
im not thinking about the "kevin" phase.....he is actually very good but it really is like having a toddler in the house again.....i cant turn my back for a minute. Im going to have to sort the gravel borders out as he is determined to eat the stones.....(so far i have always got them off him) i could leave him to play in the garden if not for the stones....he is still very much a baby and plays, then crashes out fast asleep.....which is a relief! god knows what ill do when he stops napping.....
for his own safety and my sanity he is crated at night or if i go out and leave him alone - which isnt often i have to say. he is very happy that it is his bed. no whimpering at all and no protests.
he is super sweet natured.he is just at the hard work stage!
Whats with the pinning? He does need to respect you, but I would be have thought this is not a way to develop a healthy long term relationship, by forcing him into submission?
yes he needs to be comfortable with you handling him, but Pinning him I would have thought could make him less so?
Also you have to be bloody strong to carry this on once he gets bigger.....my dog is 54KG, there is no way I could force submission, but he gives it to me because he trusts me.
yep hear you all with the pinning stuff - as i have said - and will say again - im not particularly "pinning" him anywhere - he is quite happy to be groomed and examined, and actually rolls on to his back for me. i dont have to "pin" him - this is what the vet and breeder said but he isnt putting up the least bit of resistance so far to being groomed or examined - he goes floppy like a little rag doll and just lets me get on with it.
im grooming him daily and checking his paws, ears, eyes, mouth etc so he gets used to it. he is very compliant.
i trained my other dog after she had come from a home of abuse, she learnt to trust me, because i used praise and treats, i never smack or hurt my dogs - ever.
i hope i dont have to keep repeating myself here.....
Vic, I must say it sounds like he's coming along really well! You've only had him a week & he's going to the door for the loo, fetching a ball AND giving it to you, he knows his name, it sounds as if he's good in his crate at night & you're working on sit! You've had him a week! I would say you're doing brilliantly well with him - honestly!
Yep, you definitely need to be careful with those stones as they can be lethal. Not sure how large your garden is, but would it be easier to fence of a section of it so you can safely leave him to play in it for a bit rather than tackle the borders?
Your Cavi sounds like she's doing a sterling job getting Barney into shape! She will be setting him boundaries & showing him how far he can go. She'll need to whip him into shape quickly before he gets too big, so if I were you I wouldn't tell her off at all if she snaps/growls at the pup-obviously keep an eye on things tho'. I realise that this will be even more work for you now, but honestly it will be worth it long term.
Are you feeding them together? I would - I do - mine sit & wait when their food is placed in front of them, & then to eat only from their own bowls. I also make a point (even when they're all grown up!) of making sure that they're comfortable with me handling their food bowl - they wag their tails when they see me coming towards their bowls. This is very easily accomplished by just putting higher value food in while they're eating their kibble. I just work this into my regular routine by feeding the dogs after we've had our tea, but before I've cleared away. Then as the dogs are eating & as I'm clearing away, I just scrape the leftover meat/veg directly into each dogs' bowl.
Re the pinning thing - generally speaking, the vets I've come into contact with over the years aren't that clued up on behavioural advice. Lots of people have conflicting views on it, as well as training methods in general. It's not something that I have ever done.
I totally agree with you, all of the police dog handlers that I've come into contact with over the years have been had beautifully trained, obedient, well looked after happy dogs that they can rightly be proud of.
I reckon in another week(tops) Barney will have worked out how to get onto your sofa!
thanks chrissie - i sought advice from our various dog handlers today - they all think he is lovely and have advised against anything harsh.
ive been told to get a dog whistle and use rewards.
ive been told to teach him what "NO" means - he already knows it. and ive been told to mimic what his mum and litter mates would do if he goes too far - so just to grab him by the scruff and say a very firm "NO" if he is doing something naughty.
this has worked very well so far. he tends to bite feet.....but he clearly knows what NO means as he stops the moment you say it.
ive no idea where the idea that dog handlers use antiquated techniques - ours are all very much of a different school of thought. Even the most hard handler told me today not to do something the breeder had told me to do.....so im getting good advice and he is very lovely natured anyway and wants to please.....makes training him that much easier!
Vicar you are using harsh handling grabbing by the scruff of the neck is ridiculous old fashioned training methods. But if you think it is fine......
He does not know what no means he knows that when you say know you turn into a loon that grabs him by his neck.
Scruffing him IS harsh and old school, the only time a mother dog would scruff a pup is to move them somewhere else. You aren't his mum and he knows you are a different species. I wouldn't be using 'no' on him either, it's just another word, show him what you DO want him to do instead of punishing what is wrong in your eyes.
I don't get what the problem is with pinning?
When my GSD was young, particularly when he went through the 'boisterous teenager' stage and started testing his boundaries, I used to play games with him which involved me pinning him. When he was naughty I would hold his muzzle and look into his eyes and growl. When he was in his play biting stage, I would yelp loudly whenever he tried to bite. My logic was that these were all behaviours that other dogs use to teach each other boundaries, so they would be things that he would understand. I watch my dog with other dogs, and these are signals he uses towards others to show him his boundaries and what is acceptable to him. I never, ever hit him or hurt him. He got the message quickly, and has rarely, if ever, done anything naughty in all his adult life.
So what is the problem with teaching a dog the same way his litter mates or mother would teach him? I'm not asking this question to be confrontational, I'm genuinely interested as to why this school of thought is considered wrong?
I also use a firm 'No' when necessary - yes, it's just another word, and it could be any word / sound, you could be saying "Bananas" for all the dog cares, and I think the tone of voice is just as important as the word. But sometimes it needs to be used quickly without time to think e.g. when the dog is about to do something dangerous, and it needs to be a command that other people understand and are able to use - so it makes sense that we use a word that we humans understand... what's the problem with 'No'?? It's not a punishment as Lilcamper suggests, it's merely a signal to stop doing what he is doing. You are then able to redirect him if appropriate.
Also, if you don't establish this 'No' signal and choose to simply show him what you do want him to do instead - how will you control him in later life when he isn't in your immediate reach and you need to stop him doing something e.g. on a beach about to eat a jellyfish?? I have prevented many a potential accident with my dog by using a swift 'No' which he reacts immediately to.
Sorry Vicar for this rant on your thread - I think it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job with Barney Bear, (love the name BTW) and he will turn out to be a lovely, well rounded GSD.
Just reading further mrslaughan you say that "'[pinning] is not a way to develop a healthy long term relationship, by forcing him into submission?"
But that is exactly what other dogs do to each other - particularly adult dogs with puppies. My GSD will gently hold a pup down with his paw, while the pup rolls over into submission. It isn't aggressive at all, it's simply giving a clear message of who is in charge.
And the kind of play pinning that Vicar describes is hardly 'forcing' the dog into submission. If the dog really wanted to get up, he really could.
I'm prepared to be told I'm wrong on this, but I really don't get the problem with pinning??
As far as the 'no' is concerned there is just no need, I use a positive interrupter, a kissy nose to distract and redirect. My dog won't eat a jellyfish on a beach because I have taught him a 'leave it' cue.
As far as the pinning and scruffing goes, you said it right there, the pup voluntarily rolls over, it isn't forced. It just isn't needed and dogs are smart enough they know we aren't other dogs. Scruffing a dog can go one of two ways, the dog becomes fearful of it's owner's hands, the owners hands become a bad thing, the owner approaches the dog to put a lead on, dog pees itself and runs away or dog finally has had enough and fights back in self defence.
Far better to deal with a land shark pup this way https://www.facebook.com/notes/dog-training-advice-and-support/puppy-biting/731505346865025
But what is the difference between "No" and a kissy noise or "Leave it"...? they're all just interrupter noises. It is us that has put a negative connotation to the word "No" but in reality, you could just as well say "Bananas" or "Rainbows" as long as that's your consistent word. It's just that 'No' is more widely understood by other humans and you won't look bonkers shouting 'Rainbows' on the beach
The Facebook link is good, but really doesn't relate to dealing with a dog that is biting you. I think a loud, puppy like yelp while withdrawing from the dog really works. They understand that you don't like it, and my dog very clearly inhibits his bite (in play) after such an incident, so he really does seem to understand it.
Sorry again Vicar, dont' want to derail your thread. Keep updating us on the gorgeous bear's progress (I'm very jealous and want another GSD puppy soooo much!)
I am not saying a yelp doesn't work for some dogs, it does but for others a yelp from a human turns them into a big squeaky toy and can excite the pup further and make them play more roughly.
My kissy nose is a POSITIVE interrupter. It can't be done in a negative way. No is negative (obviously) and it is a word we humans use far too much. It's starts to lose it's effectiveness after a while.
'Leave it' isn't an interrupter, it is a cue that my dog has learned.
And the link was all about dealing with a bitey puppy, which is what Barney is.
we have two gsds and have numerous pups through the house...we puppy walk.
All pups are a bit different, the two gsds we have are both highly typical, but opposite ends of the scale and depending on where they fall depends how you handle them
Zac is needy, clingy, very much MY boy, aloof with most strangers, fairly eager to please me and has been fairly easy to train
Keller is very family oriented, he needs to know where everyone is and will sulk if he forgets someone is out and he cannot find them, he is much more independent than Zac, much deeper and thoughtful, he knows full well what he is supposed to do but will do it in his own time and on his own terms, thankyou very much.
As a pup Keller was very bitey ....total withdrawal worked for him....it helps if you crouch to give a fuss, the second they nip or jump you straighten up hands folded, turn away, not even looking at them. You wait till they sit and give more fuss, it really shouldn't take long for the penny to drop and then you can lessen your reaction to a hands off/look away/"NO!"
He as also very keen on ankly biting....we used distraction and walking quite slowly with "watch me" or "close" while distracting ith a hand pinchy motion to get a focus.
I'd also third the getting out with him up in arms....the more they see and hear at this young age the better.
Hi Vicar how is your gorgeous boy getting on?
Hope the training is going well, sounds like you're getting some great support from your colleagues.
Is he 'out and about' yet? Ive lost track of timescales.
My GSD is going through a mega shedding phase at the moment (oh the joy that you have ahead of you!), we brushed enough out of him to stuff a cushion the other day. He's also a bit smelly - not sure why, but I suspect he just needs a lot more grooming.
Hope you're still loving every minute with your new boy
He looks absolutely gorgeous, I am very jealous.
I have never had any problems training my GSDs with positive reinforcement methods, they are extremely intelligent dogs and learn very quickly. I would strongly suggest you go and observe a training class before committing to joining to make sure the trainer is using the right methods. Also, a lot of places run puppy parties for puppies under 16wks old so you can take them before their vaccinations are done - they are the best fun ever!
Personally I don't use the word 'no' as it is used so commonly dogs become desensitised to it. I do like my dogs to learn that 'uh ah' means 'stop what you are doing immediately', but I use the command very sparingly and only when really necessary. For simply puppy things like chewing, jumping up, mouthing, etc. I use either distraction or counter conditioning.
well i just thought id update.
he is now almost 6 months, and weighs 5 stone! all muscle! he is very lean.
he is just wonderful.
easy in every way. he is obedient. loyal. he behaves in the car. he behaves out walking. in the park. He was so easy to housetrain and he goes into his (huge) crate without fuss or bother.
he barks if anyone knocks at the door.
i feel safe with him.
he knows the main commands and usually obeys them.
we walked today through town centre, he sat at every road and waited for the command to move, he didnt pull, his attention was completely on me, he was friendly to passing children, he even managed not to bark at 2 dogs who barked at him!
out and about in the park he is fine off the lead. his recall is good (mostly!!unless he finds a dog to play with!)
training is going really well though his classes have been a bit of a let down - cancelled almost every week, they were cancelled over xmas then due to bad weather. so far he has only attended 2, but luckily we are doing really well on our own. He has been a revelation. He is so quick and intelligent. Everything he has learnt has been through kindness and rewards. He loves us and we love him!
and DH absolutely adores him. im surprised as dh is not prone to displays of passion and doesnt get attached to animals - but this has been different! he calls him his big bear! he talks to him in silly voices and walks him daily. (we take it in turns! so he gets plenty of walks!)
we all love him so much. im so glad i got him and the research and help on here was invaluable.
he is truly an amazing addition to our family and is so loved. The comments people make when we are out with him make me so proud! he is a beautiful dog, a real head turner!
no regrets at all. i would have a houseful of GSD. The breeder has said she is looking to rehome his sister....im so tempted!
I just saw this about your German Shepherd and I hope you are getting on ok with the training - was it easy? I have also just got a German Shepherd puppy having previously had black labs. I found really good information on trainmyhound.com which had masses of information on German Shepherd health and training. Some articles were more useful than other. I am also going to try and book some training for my German Shepherd when she is a little older. They are amazing dogs!
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