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German Shepard puppy?

(26 Posts)
AngryBeaver Tue 14-May-13 02:52:59

Thinking of getting one beginning of June.
Love the idea. Quite scared by the prospect though.
My grandparents had a GSD so I ave always loved them.
I have NO idea how to toilet train/train a dog, or what to do with them at all really!
The love, affection, and exercise would be there (my running companion!)

What do I need to know?!
ps I live on a small island in nz so no dog obedience school or anything like that

AngryBeaver Tue 14-May-13 02:55:27

Ps I do know the breed is prone to joint problems, also that they need loads of exercise and are great family dogs.
I have 3young children 3,5 & 7, so it would have to be really well trained for me to feel comfortable with such a big dog.

miggy Tue 14-May-13 07:59:25

if you honestly have no idea how to train, might be better to start with a slightly easier breed?
Yes GSD are lovely but they are a bit like the ferrari of the dog world where you perhaps need a ford focus.
They are sensitive, very bright dogs that wont tolerate the same mistakes in their upbringing that another breed might.
If looking for a large breed labrador/retreiver/springer would all fit the bill or pointers, vizlas etc
small breed cavalier perfect first dog, easy going, good with children and other dogs naturally

SignoraStronza Tue 14-May-13 08:10:47

We have two young children and a gsd bitch puppy at the moment. Like all dogs they respond to a loving, patient environment but the upside is that their intelligence makes them easy to train and they make excellent family pets. You do have to choose your breeder carefully though.

If you're after a running companion, just be aware that it is not recommended they have too much strenuous exercise for at least the first year, as their joints can be prone to problems later in life.

tabulahrasa Tue 14-May-13 09:17:27

Firstly GSDs have lots of health problems - it's massively important to find a good breeder, so hip scores, elbow scores and the hemophilia test should all have been done , you also want lines clear of OCD and CDRM.

A good breeder is very unlikely to have puppies available in two weeks - so unless this is a breeder you've been in touch with for a while, the chances of getting a puppy from health tested parents are very slim.

Also, getting a puppy is like having another child in the amount of work involved, in my case a very active child who loved nothing better than to chase children to try and bite them - that's how puppies play and it takes a lot of effort to stop that. They also don't come trained or well behaved.

If you're not confident about having a dog and you haven't already been researching training methods and how to raise a puppy this close to getting one, to be honest I don't think it's a great idea.

AngryBeaver Tue 14-May-13 10:17:38

It's just been made a possibility, to be honest.
Dh had always said no to a dog before, and circumstances were not in alignment with owning a dog.
(A lot of moving around due to dh's work)
But we feel settled here. We would like to have another child.
And would like a family pet.
Nothing is set in stone!
We are still umming and ahhing.
I have JUST started researching.
Nothing is definite, we are just considering it.
We both like GSD, dh is not keen on small dogs at all.
I wouldn't mind a black lab. But I'm not sure he would.
It would be me doing all the work!

chrissiegsd Tue 14-May-13 10:52:34

I love GSDs, as far as I'm concerned there are dogs & there are GSDs.
I have 2 working line gsds, a male(3yrs) & a female(7yrs). I also have had GSDs while my children were growing up (my youngest is now 11yrs old).
When GSDs are puppies they are seriously full on. They need a really firm but fair upbringing - which means every single member of the family on the same page - i.e. "down" means down, not get down, lie down, do it when you feel like down - command words need to be decided on, used & followed through by every single family member(impossible for little children to remember to do) as well as lots of exercise - every single day, through rain/shine/thunder/blizzards. Depending on the individual dog(& owner) - they can mouth/play bite quite hard right up into adulthood.
Your children are still very young & I'm assuming not used to doggy behaviours - any puppy, let alone a GSD, is really going to be a nightmare.
Puppies play with their mouths, children then scream & run when they get nipped, the puppy thinks it's playtime ( it is for the pup) & does it even more.
The children end up terrified, the puppy ends up left by itself in the kitchen(where it will proceed to eat your units/empty the rubbish-then eat it & vomit it back up all over the floor/tip it's water bucket over/ nick food off of the worktops) or in the garden(where it will dig up your flowers/plants/lawn) and then eventually be left in its crate, as that will be deemed the only "safe" place it can be left. It will then grow up into a completely untrained, out of control dog that will end up in rescue.
I've had dogs - mainly mixed breed adult rescues - all of my adult life & even I found my first GSD seriously hard work, when you add children into the mix it's a whole different ball game again.
Personally, as your children are so young, I would leave getting a puppy - regardless of the breed - until they are older. I've had 3 children myself as well as puppies over the years, so know how difficult the 2 together can be.
If you aren't prepared to wait until then, I would look at getting an adult dog - as it will be your first dog - not a GSD, but an "easier" breed/cross, perhaps an older rescue, nice & calm, bomb proof that takes everything in its' stride. I think Guide Dogs for the Blind have a waiting list for their retired dogs - something along these lines would be perfect for your family to get the necessary experience to eventually be able to bring a GSD puppy into your household and raise & train it to be a well behaved adult & family member.

tabulahrasa Tue 14-May-13 10:55:40

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying, OMG you're so not fit to have a dog because you haven't been researching it for years or anything like that, lol.

Just, that the beginning of June is a really short time frame.

If you're not set on breed, it might be worth working out what it is you can realistically offer in terms of time, exercise and grooming and making a short list of suitable breeds, then researching breeders to find a good one with a view to getting one from their next planned litter. (they quite often have waiting lists)

Rescues often have puppies, though of course not usually pedigrees. Pedigree older puppies and dogs do come up though and all breeds have breed specific rescues.

If it's a dog you want rather than a puppy, rescues can match you with one that suits your family, personally I'll never get another puppy...they're a nightmare, lol, after this one I'm going back to getting them from rescues after they're past the bitey and teething stage.

I had to compromise with my DP over the breed of my current dog, I ended up getting a list of breeds he was willing to have and then I chose from it what would suit me best because I'm the dog lover and I'm the one looking after it.

Yonididnaedaethat Tue 14-May-13 11:10:15

I have 2 GSD's both from the same breeder, the two of them are like chalk and cheesesmile One is quite happy to laze around until I'm ready for walks/dinner time etc the other is hard work! she chews, wrecks things, barks when left alone, has issues with strangers hmm but is still amazing lol. I also have 2 older DC's, a one year old and I'm expecting again, I have no issues with my dogs being around the children but I do get judged by non-dog lovers for it. DH had said that once the 2 GSD's die if we ever get another dog we won't get GSD as we find a lot of people scared of them.

ginauk84 Tue 14-May-13 12:58:34

We have a GSD, she was hubby's dog and I moved in with hubby a couple of years ago when she was 7/8. I have a GSD cross collie, 2 collies and a sheltie. I must admit I find the GSD difficult, she is VERY dominant with my dogs and as a result they cannot be together. She is very whingy and whiney. She is a show bred dog and has a very sloping back but luckily no hip problems and she is now 10, so touch wood.

I personally wouldn't have another as I just find her hard work compared to my collies, but then I have only had one GSD and every dog is different. One of my collies is a live wire, the other is a lazy so and so lol! I would however like another GSD cross collie as I like the balance of the two breeds.

I wouldn't have thought a GSD is a great dog for a first time owner and if you're looking at labs as well I would have thought that would be a better option?

Booboostoo Tue 14-May-13 16:33:18

I've always had GSDs, they are a fantastic breed and make wonderful, loyal family pets.

HOWEVER, dogs are made by their nature and their owners and you need to stack the odds in your favour. A couple of weeks is a completely unrealistic time frame for getting any puppy of any breed. You should give yourself a few months to research the breed which should include going to see some adult dogs (any decent breeder would be happy to show you their dogs and if they are not then they are not decent breeders). You should also research your breeder. GSDs are a complex breed, bred for a variety of purposes (work, show, pet) and you want someone who has specifically bred for suitability as a family pet over generations.

Ditto the health screening tabulahrasa mentioned. You should walk away from any breeder who does not have this information on both parents. Having just lost a GSD to CDRM it's a horrific disease and you don't want to go through that experience. Decent breeders will have long waiting lists but there is a reason for that!!! Don't be tempted by someone who has loads of puppies available. Decent breeders only have limited litters because it takes a lot of time and attention to do a good job. Also you should be able to view the pups with the mum a couple of times before taking one home (usually you can view the pups at around 5 weeks, perhaps again at 8 and take home between 8-10 weeks).

Training is extremely important. There are a lot of good books out there (anything by Ian Dunbar or Karen Pryor is usually good), there are many training methods, personally I am a big fan of clicker.

Again as tabulahrase mentioned getting a puppy is extremely demanding, they are super cute and fun, but they soil in the house, they chew things, they keep you up at night, they take time to learn how to behave, you need a lot of time to socialise them, etc. If you are thinking of TTC it's a catastrophic idea to get a puppy! Just read some of the threads on here of people tearing their hair out with young dogs and newborns. If you were a very experienced dog owner and really knew what you were getting in for, I would still suggest you rethink the timing, for a first time dog owner it could be a huge, and emotionally painful, disaster.

AngryBeaver Wed 15-May-13 10:34:06

Thanks for the advice. I think we will leave it for a while! grin

Preferthedogtothekids Thu 16-May-13 22:52:09

I wanted my own dog for years but wasn't in a position to have one until my kids were a bit older. I adopted an 11yr old German Shepherd lady who was fabulous - just walked into the house, chose her favourite spot to lie down and watch the household activities, ate us of house and home and provided us with enough hair to knit-yourself-a-dog-a-day :-) She was fabulous and I was her willing slave for the next 18 months. Unfortunately, they aren't always the longest lived of dogs and she developed a condition called CDRM which is too common in the GSD. For all that she was an old lady, she still had lots of her Shepherdy characteristics and firmly believed that her job was to protect her family from all 'wolves'! She was pushy, noisy and guardy and very difficult to hold on a lead if she wanted to chase away another dog. Shepherds aren't a dog a child could manage easily at all and they will tend to be very protective and need to be managed if you want to have your DC's friends round to play!

I have a rescue Border Collie now and he is also wonderful, but luckily I don't have small kids as he doesn't like the noise and rowdiness of them and has been known to control them by nipping them.

There is definitely a great dog out there for you, but I suspect it's not a Shepherd at the moment, and I would suggest not a pup either. Check out some of the really well-regarded rescues who carefully match their dogs to adopters and you will find a great dog:-)

ginauk84 Fri 17-May-13 12:31:46

Lol my rescue collie is 13 and does exactly the same with small children, I am worried how she is going to take to a baby in a few weeks time as I know as soon as she's toddling she will be hot on her heels!

Kormachameleon Fri 17-May-13 12:43:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LandOfCross Fri 17-May-13 12:46:07

Agree with Kormachameleon.

Personally I think they are the most intelligent dog breed, and if they aren't stimulated and trained correctly, there can be massive issues.

haggisaggis Fri 17-May-13 12:49:32

We were thinking about getting a GSD until my sil got one - they gave it NO obedience training, and having been hauled round a park by this immensely strong yet not fully grown dog, we have gone off the idea!

GemmaTeller Fri 17-May-13 13:02:21

We had a GSD from being a 12wk old puppy, we brought her home to live with a one year old boxer bitch.

GSD are very very intelligent, you have to train them a lot (we had the issue of DH telling her to do something and she would do it but if I told her to do something she would only do it if I was on my own - if DH was in the room she would look at him as if to say 'what do you think? should I do it?')
They like being 'worked' and given 'jobs', I used to going jogging with ours plus you could get her to bring all her toys in from the garden, help bring shopping in from the car etc.

They are very loyal but can 'fixate' on an owner, ours 'fixated' on me and would stand behind me doing a low grumble if a car/person/someone she was not familiar with stopped to talk to me or ask directions. Neither did she like my DH or adult son horseplaying with me.

Sadly she got CDRM aged 9 and it was heart breaking watching her deteriorate.

34DD Fri 17-May-13 13:29:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AngryBeaver Sat 18-May-13 03:33:45

I would go for a black lab, but my dh only likes GSD! It's the ONLY breed he would consider. I u dear stand this, they're so adorable.
But yes, I would really worry about the training.
Obviously I would put loads of effort in.
I want to be a good responsible dog owner!
But I'm anxious that it would be too challenging for a novice.
I do want a running companion and I would like some protection too. I run trails through bush, pretty scary on your own!
Also, my dh travels away quite a bit and I would feel safer with a big dog here!
(Silly really, where I live is virtually crime free...I'm just paranoid!)

Also, school hols here are not sept! It's winter here now! smile
And only two of mine are at school, I still have a toddler at home.

Re getting on older GSD, I get that. But always remember my grandad (GSD owner) advising me to never get a dog I haven't had since puppyhood, as you never know what's happened to it in its life and what may trigger it to bite.
I couldn't risk that with my young children.

We were looking at an 18 month old rescue GSD,but I'm uneasy about it.

I have asked around the island (tiny island in hauraki gulf, so not many facilities!) and apparently a lady from the vet's does dog training.
So at least there would be that.
No idea how much they would charge though, things are very expensive here as a rule.

More mulling over me thinks. Thanks for your advice and experiences smile

mrslaughan Sat 18-May-13 07:25:39

I would add - and you must be in NZ- look at the gene pool - labs = large gene pool..... GSD - I am not so sure, and think most of the breeding would be geared towards guarding.... Not necessarily the temperament you want in a family.
I was going to suggest vizla's but doubt they are available in NZ, but if they are, it will be an extremely small gene pool...... What about a ridgeback, or springer.... A springer will run with you, very trainable, and I believe any dog will protect its owned from harm......

tabulahrasa Sat 18-May-13 08:01:09

Re getting an older dog vs a puppy...

There is always a risk of something going wrong when you have an animal living in your house...

A good rescue will have assessed their dogs properly and because they are older dogs will have a very good idea of what their temperament is like, with a puppy it's very much more a case of doing your best and hoping everything turns out alright because there isn't any way to tell how a puppy will grow up.

Puppies bite, no matter what breed they are, some almost constantly and it's not any pleasanter because they're little - they have tiny needle sharp teeth. My puppy bit everybody pretty much every time anybody interacted with him until he was about 4 months old, in fact one of my friends has a scar on her hand from him biting her at 12 weeks old.

You may well know a dog you've had from a puppy better, but not only are there no guarantees about how it will turn out - you've got to get through the bitey puppy stage itself.

Booboostoo Sat 18-May-13 10:04:11

To be honest I think your DH is being silly about what is a very serious issue. I adore GSDs, they are by far my favourite breed but it is not reasonable not to consider other breeds that fit other requirements better (I own and have owned other breeds as well).

Puppy vs older dog is a tough one. Personally I prefer puppies, I get them at 8 weeks and I do all the socialising and training they need. However, an older dog could be a good compromise for a first dog, young family. By older dog I would go for a dog that is 5 years old plus, when habits have been well set and the rescue has properly determined the dog's character. The 6 months to 2 year old window is probably the worst time to get a dog. The dog has missed the socialisation window, its at the stage where all the problems emerge (this is by far the most popular age for previously cute puppies to be abandonned because they have become unruly teenagers). If you get the puppy at 8-10 weeks you have the opportunity to make your own mess of it, if you get it at 5 years plus you may benefit from someone else's good work, in between you may pay the price for someone else's mistakes.

In terms of training there are many different approaches (a bit like childrearing where recommendations range from Gina Ford to attachment parenting), so you need to decide what works for you and find a trainer with similar ideas. Personally I think positive reinforcement techniques are the best way to go. You need to allow for one puppy class per week (pure socialisation, fun play for puppies) and one training class per week (more formal training, help with problems) for the first year at least. You also need to train little and often at home, so 5-8 minutes, 3-5 times a day as well as taking the puppy out to see as much of the world as possible. Large breeds need very controlled exercise until they mature (around 18 mo) so it will be a while before the dog can come running with you but it will still need to be exposed to the world and mentally stimulated which does make life a bit more complicated for the first 1-2 years. For example, large breed puppies should avoid the stairs and you would need to carry the puppy up and down for a while.

AngryBeaver Sat 18-May-13 10:47:56

Looked at vizla's and ridgebacks..I thought both were beautiful but dh not so much.
I think ridgeback might be a bit Tooo huge!
George's dogs though.
To compound things, we are watching a film where main hero had GSD companion...just gorgeous!
We are on teeny island as part of nz.
Just decided to buy a house, so I think doggie plans on the back burner anyway.
Would so love a GSD companion, but had never realised thy were such hard work!
As I say, my grandparents had one, he was well trained. Never went o obedience classes or anything.
My gran did say it was like having a newborn, but I'm sure all pups are like that!
Anyway, no pup for now I think smile

GemmaTeller Sat 18-May-13 14:13:36

Another thing you have to factor in with GSD is the moulting, there's masses of it, you can brush and brush and brush and pull it off in clumps!

Luckily ours would stand patiently for ages while I brushed her and she felt gorgeous and soft after a bath.

Before we got her I wanted a white long haired one - looking back I'm so glad I didn't get one.

One thing we couldn't let ours do was go upstairs in the house, for some reason she couldn't control herself coming downstairs and would stumble and fall about half way down as if her back legs were trying to get in front of her front legs.

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