Dog People: GSD Questions

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by jettgirl24, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    We've been mulling over getting another dog lately and through a friend have come across a gorgeous 11 month old black GSD that is in need of a new family. We've both owned and been around dogs all of our lives but neither of us have owned a GSD so I have a couple of breed specific questions. I know there are quite a few people that are experienced with dogs in this board so I thought I would pose a few questions in addition to doing other research!

    We're very early into deciding if this lovely girl will be a good fit for the family and we're asking all of the general "new dog" questions. I do know that GSDs are predisposed to hip issues, especially North American show bred dogs. I don't know anything about this dog's bloodlines at this time or what she was originally bred for - show, companion, or work. She is purebred and papered so I will have that information before we make a decision. Are there any other health issues that we should be aware of before we jump into GSD ownership?

    From what we've been told she was raised around and is good with young kids and cats, which is good because we have 3 cats and kids that visit regularly. She's never been around chickens or horses so I expect to need to do some training with that, but in general do GSD's have any natural behavior tendencies when it comes to small animals and livestock?

    Finally, what sort of training do they generally need? In all honesty this would be my area of least experience. I have always had labs who were super easy to train. I instilled the basic sit, stay, heel plus some little tricks without a single obedience class. My SO is more experienced in this area - most recently he had a pitbull who unfortunately passed away of old age who he trained very well. I don't yet know what kind of training this little girl has had and if she has any major behavioral problems we will likely pass so for the purpose of this question let's assume she is a blank slate. I know trainability will also depend on breeding and temperament but in general how challenging are GSDs to train? I'm assuming obedience classes would be a good idea?

    If you think of anything else not covered above please feel free to share, all input is greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  2. GatsbysGirl

    GatsbysGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2011
    Central Illinois
    I would find out if she is a working line dog or a show line dog. Each seem to have a little different drives. I have one of each. Both have a high prey drive but my working line is more intense if that makes sense.

    With the livestock it can be a crap shoot. She may take to them, she may not. Obviously most things can be trained but I do not trust one of my dogs around the chickens, ever.

    GSD's are a fabulous breed and if well bred can be a fantastic overall family dog. What you would worry about would be hips/elbows and I would ask if the parents have been OFA'd for these. DM can also be a concern but is new in the actual testing phases.

    Is this a breeder you are getting her from?
     
  3. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 19, 2010
    Pennsylvania
    Well, there is a saying "The good, the bad and the ugly" I guess I'll take on the bad/ugly. I work at a veterinary clinic, so I feel, I get to see animals' true colors, a true test of that animal's character. When the dog is a GSD, automatically we are cautious. A lot of them bite and are fearful (aggressive fearful). These traits have always struck me as odd for the GSD--to me, they should be brave, not hiding behind their owners or barking at every person in the building. When you do have a good one, it's the most amazing dog you have ever witnessed, but those are so rare--and how do replicate that? How was it achieved in the first place (breeding, training, both?)?

    I'm not sure why so many GSDs are turning out this way. I don't know if it's genetic, learned from other family dogs, lack of owners knowledge or experience or simply a trait of the breed. I do believe though, that many people do not actively WORK their GSDs. They are meant to work, but most people have them as a house dog/companion. Perhaps a lot of the downfall is this lack of physical direction. I think they would make a great farm dog, but I would be very worried of them biting someone, they are so suspicious of everyone. GSDs are incredibly intelligent.

    This is my observation, as a person who deals with animal when they are sick or healthy and in for a simple annual exam. You get to see and learn a lot. Good luck on whatever you decide. [​IMG]
     
  4. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    sorry for asking, but what's a GSD?
     
  5. GatsbysGirl

    GatsbysGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2011
    Central Illinois
    GSD is a german shepherd dog.

    Peaches - A good one is not hard to find if you know where to look. Sadly though as with many breeds there are far to many BYB that are throwing together 2 dogs "they have papers" and are not breeding for temperment or health. You have to be careful although you can get a good one from a BYB by accident (my 12 year old is one) it is very important to do your research on the lines and breeder you are getting a dog from.
     
  6. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I my experience they are good dogs, they are very loyal, faithful dogs if trained and treated properly. they are fairly energetic though, so need a fair amount of exercise. about the same of a lab. oh, and they shed a lot, so require lots of brushing.
     
  7. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    oh, and the work dog lines are braver, but also may have a more tendency to be aggressive if not trained properly. they are fairly easy to train if you are firm, steady.
     
  8. GatsbysGirl

    GatsbysGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2011
    Central Illinois
    Working line does not have more of a tendency to be aggressive. There are forms of aggression. What you look for though is a dog that is balanced. Different thresholds in the dog and their temperament.

    The dog I do Schutzhund with, who does the protection well, is a big marshmallow. She has balanced aggression. She loves children, sleeps in my bed, is fine to take in public, is my hiking/running partner. The amount of training and obedience that goes into this dog is amazing. But out on the field you would think she is going to tear the decoys arm off.
     
  9. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Thanks for the input guys!

    Gatsbys Girl - She was originally purchased from a breeder although I don't yet know who the breeder was. Now she is needing to be re-homed by the family who originally purchased her (friends of a friend) because they're living situation has changed and apparently they are not allowed to have dogs where they are now at. Trying not to judge on that as I don't know the circumstances of the move... Just not something I would ever consider! The chickens come and go but the rest of our animals are lifelong keepers.

    I am supposed to get some more information tonight and will see what I can find out about her background and bloodlines. We definitely don't mind a more active dog - We have a small 5 acre farm back on a quiet street surrounded by other small farms so there is plenty of room to exercise and miles and miles of trails for her to ride with my older horse and I if she comes home with us (and once she's trained to safely behave around horses). She wouldn't be a working dog per say but we're very active and she'd get a ton of exercise. We are lucky because our work schedule is kind of staggered. My SO goes to work very early and is home by early afternoon. I don't go into the office until mid-morning plus I work from home sometimes so she'd get lots of attention and wouldn't be left alone for too long at a time.

    I will keep you guys updated as I get more info and let you know what we decide :)
     
  10. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I explained that wrong, a working line breed is bred to protect, and if that protection instinct isn't taught, then it will become overly protective. I understand what you mean though. obviously you know what your talking about if you can train a dog for Schutzhund!!!
     

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