German Shepherds?

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German Shepherds?

Postby TPS » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:30 am

Anyone have one? I've always wanted one, and absolutely love the breed, but right now we have 3 1/2 yr old boy and 15 month old girl, so I'm worried about how one would be with small kids? I am trying to research it as much as possible, as I would hate to get one, just to give it away. Hubby keeps telling me how they will ruin the house and eat away the couch and anything in sight. How true is this? Hubby is away most of the time with work, and I'm alone. No family here either, so it would be nice to have a dog around for protection and company. Also would you buy from a breeder or pet store? There are two breeders out in Milton that I was considering. And what is the difference with the "German" shepherd, and the "American" shepherd?
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby boatgirl » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:55 am

Always always always get a purebred from a reputable breeder, never from a pet store. There's a million reasons, but basically you'll spend more but get a healthier, more suitable dog in the end. The best breeders will also not let you pick your own puppy, they will get them temperament tested early and pick one that suits your needs (in your case a family dog vs a working dog). For example, a shepard litter may have 6 puppies, but even if both parents are from protection dog lines, only one or two may be suitable for that type of work. Another two may be suitable for search and rescue, and the other two will be best suited as family dogs. (These stats are from a friend who breeds dogs that often go on to police organizations around north america)

I'm not familiar with the breed standards, so I can't speak to differences in American vs German (didn't realize there was an 'American', just German and Belgians). In my experience non-working Germans are amazingly loyal family dogs, and great with kids. Like any working breed though, they will need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. This means giving them something to do, not just letting them out in the yard or for a walk around the block. Getting them involved in dog sports or games is huge, as on going training is vital with working breeds.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby Luke101 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:34 am

I can't speak for the breed, but I can speak for dogs in general.

Use a reputable breeder. Pet stores do not have the same quality control. You'll save money and time on vet visits.

How are you going to walk the dog if you have the kids around? Maybe someone can speak for German Shepherds in particular, but in my experience puppies become destructive when they're bored. They need exercise. If you have a large fenced-in backyard, that might be enough.

And although I know you know this, it's important enough to say anyway. Don't leave your kids alone with the puppy. Even if your kids and puppy are the sweetest tempered creatures imaginable, they don't know their own strength.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby meathead1 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:50 am

German Shepards are great dogs. My father in law has one now (a 1 year old female) and had an 8 year old male until last year. However, like any other dog, it depends on how they were raised/trained. Even pit bulls can be nice if they are brought up to be nice.
My father in laws dog is great around my 15 month old daughter. She loves her-never acted aggressive towards her, just wants to lick her face. She's protective of my daughter too, even though she doesn't see her that often. However, I wouldn't leave the 2 of them alone for any period of time. My daughter likes to pull tails and ears and who knows how much Kuma (the dog) will put up with.
The dog can be destructive, as most can be without training. She tore a hole in the back of a leather lounge chair my daughter was given for christmas-probably out of boredom. They need a LOT of attention and a LOT of exercise. So if you don't have 2-4 hours a day to dedicate to the dog, I would not reccommend getting a german shepard.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby ryan.p » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:20 am

GSD was our first option when looking for a dog. My family had one as a very small kid (I think it passed away when I was 2.)I would personally get the breed of dog that fits your family the best. After visiting many many GSD's we didn't find that breed would fit our family very well.

We finally settled on a purebread rottweiller and I can honestly say that breed was a perfect fit for our family. Lower energy, lower shedding, docile, friendly and great with kids (although we don't have any kids yet, the neighbours 3 year old daughter is her pal for life!)

Here is a pic of our rottie and our buddy's GSD

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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby meathead1 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:30 am

I forgot to add this- don't ever EVER buy a dog from a pet store. You have no idea what you are getting. My wife bought one years ago and was assured it was a pure bred black lab. Imagne the surprise when it turned out to be black lab-great dane mix.
Do your homework and seek out a reputable breeder. My in laws travelled to Tennessee to get their last German Sheppard. We bought our weener dog from the same breeder that my in laws have gotten generations of weener dogs from. It will be more expensive but they (usually) give you a health guarantee (which you would never get from a pet store) and the blood lines are guaranteed. Our weener dog was guaranteed for no genetic health defects for 5 years.
If you look for a dog at a breeder, check out both the mother and the father to see what they are like. I would be extremely hesitant to buy a dog if the breeder wouldn't let me see the parents.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby Shawshank » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:03 am

As with the others, don't get a pet store dog.
You can go to a breeder, but you don't need papers of the Kennel club saying it is purebred, papers just jack the price up.

I have had two Shepherd/husky crosses in my life. One when I was a kid and one now. My mom took care of the one when I was a kid, and she was a rescue so she was different. She was a really great dog, but her beginning was not traditional.

They will chew the shit out of everything if they are bored. Kennels are great for while you are at work. They will try and bite you when they are young, it is how puppies play. This hurts, their teeth are very sharp when they are young. Bite them on the ear once after they bite you and they will never bite you again.

Get the puppy at 8 weeks, no sooner. They should not be separated from their mother until that age. Get them into training ASAP. This will go along ways.

As well, play with the dog to get it used to a kids touch. We have pulled our dog's ears, tail, skin and played with her mouth. When I say this, I don't mean we do it to be malicious, but we do it so she is used to it for when we have children. She just lets it happen. Even our vet is happy with this, and says the same thing.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby Luke101 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:36 am

Why did you choose a German Shepherd?

Not that I have anything against the breed, but others are easier to train and more family-friendly.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby Shawshank » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:51 am

Luke101 wrote:Why did you choose a German Shepherd?

Not that I have anything against the breed, but others are easier to train and more family-friendly.


German Shepherds are one of the easiest dogs to train. As well, they are very good with kids, when brought up with them.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby ryan.p » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:28 pm

My buddys GSD is very smart and very eager to learn. Trouble is that dog NEEDS to stay occupied almost every waking minute of the day. If you don't mentally stimulate the dog with kongs, or other activities it has been known to start finding it's own stimulation. That stimulation has destroyed quite a few items in their house. Obviously destruction of property is by no means limited to one breed. Just saying that their intelligence can sometimes work against you in situations if not properly directed. I'm sure the dog will get better and more mature with age, and start to slow down a bit. It just can't sit still for a minute without having to be doing something.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby meathead1 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:18 pm

Luke101 wrote:Why did you choose a German Shepherd?

Not that I have anything against the breed, but others are easier to train and more family-friendly.


see below for a picture that explains the reason.

Image
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby basketcase » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:35 pm

Sheps are a very high energy dog that bore easily if they're not being looked after as puppies. That being said, if you have the time and energy to commit to their needs as long as the needs of the family, you'll be rewarded in the end. If they're brought up from the puppy stage with the kids a shep will be absolutely fine for the family. They're very protective of the ones they're around all of the time and most of them share trust easily. That being said they recognize a thread without hesitation and will take care of the threat to protect those it cares about. They are very easy to train because they're a smart animal. That's why they're used as police dogs and make great police dogs.

Make sure you buy from a breeder. It's worth the money and there's guarantees against things like hip displacia, temperament issues, etc. Research your breeders. Don't go to one based solely on convenience or proximity to where you are. That could end up being the worst thing in the world for you. If you're going to spend the money on the dog, don't be shy about spending the money on the trip to find the best dealer. Find out where police services in the are are getting their sheps from, if they're not breeding themselves. Chances are if they're dealing with a certain breeder, they've done most of the research for you. http://www.hellwiggshepherds.com/ is out of the Kingston area. I've had some contact with the breeders and they seemed to meet all of my needs when I was dealing with them. I know of people who have bought there and been happy and they've also sold dogs to police services.

CaseyJones can talk about the dogs tearing the shit out of everything in sight because of their high energy ways. I've seen a few pictures of futons that he USED to have until the dog got bored. Was actually some of the best pet photography I'd ever seen.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby boatgirl » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:48 pm

meathead1 wrote:
Luke101 wrote:Why did you choose a German Shepherd?

Not that I have anything against the breed, but others are easier to train and more family-friendly.


see below for a picture that explains the reason.

Image


Each breed has personalities within the breed, just like people. I know a breeder who breeds specifically for police work, and even though his lines are bred for it, he only has maybe one or two puppies from each litter that are suitable for it. The rest, while still good dogs, are better suited to being a pet or different work.

My family, we have poodles (if you don't know poodles, don't judge). Two of our last three dogs came from the same breeder, same lines, and we know the brother of the first one too. All three dogs are related (brothers and a nephew) and all three dogs have completely different personalities. The first, Kahlu, was a great dog with drive and energy who did very well at agility. His brother, Trip, is a typical pet dog, he's kinda lazy, hard to motivate and not too bright. Their nephew, Enzo (our current dog), was specifically picked for us because of his drive and trainability, he would make an excellent search dog. Our other dog, Ripley, is not related but also has a different temperament, more like Kahlu's.

So long and short of it is, yes there are GSDs out there who will tear your arm off. Those dogs come from breeders who breed for that type of work, and are picked for the handler specifically for their protection potential. As long as you're dealing with a knowledgable, reputable breeder, you can get a dog that is more geared towards being a pet and still have a fabulous dog. I've known many family dogs that are GSDs, and they do great, even with small kids.

The things people are mentioning, not leaving them unattended, making sure they get enough exercise and don't get bored, those are things that apply to any dog, regardless of the breed, size or temperament of the dog.
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby TPS » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:25 pm

When I was younger I used to have a GSD and a husky mix. But we ended up giving it up as we were young and with my parents work schedule it wasn't fair for the dog. Last I heard she was with a police service. The reason for wanting one, is that I've always wanted another dog after that, just didn't have the space for it. Now that we have a place with a big backyard I think it would be perfect for a dog. But everyone keeps warning me about how our backyard will turn to crap, and they'll eat away at our couch, and wood. Another reason for the dog is I've heard they are smart dogs and easy to train. I'm just a bit concerned about the exercise it needs. With two little ones I THINK i can find the time, as I'm home and don't work. Being alone at night alot too with no family close by, the dog would not only be a companion but a protector. I contacted a few breeders. According to them the females are smarter and easier to train, but for some reason cost less? Why is that? I was quoted at about 1500 a female and 1800 a male. They also won't release them until 8 weeks. Both were in the Milton area, so before we decide 100% I think we will take a few trips to different breeders to figure out which place is best. Hubby is somewhat against the idea, although I think deep down inside he wants one :P
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Re: German Shepherds?

Postby boatgirl » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:37 pm

TPS wrote:When I was younger I used to have a GSD and a husky mix. But we ended up giving it up as we were young and with my parents work schedule it wasn't fair for the dog. Last I heard she was with a police service. The reason for wanting one, is that I've always wanted another dog after that, just didn't have the space for it. Now that we have a place with a big backyard I think it would be perfect for a dog. But everyone keeps warning me about how our backyard will turn to crap, and they'll eat away at our couch, and wood. Another reason for the dog is I've heard they are smart dogs and easy to train. I'm just a bit concerned about the exercise it needs. With two little ones I THINK i can find the time, as I'm home and don't work. Being alone at night alot too with no family close by, the dog would not only be a companion but a protector. I contacted a few breeders. According to them the females are smarter and easier to train, but for some reason cost less? Why is that? I was quoted at about 1500 a female and 1800 a male. They also won't release them until 8 weeks. Both were in the Milton area, so before we decide 100% I think we will take a few trips to different breeders to figure out which place is best. Hubby is somewhat against the idea, although I think deep down inside he wants one :P


If the puppy is supervised and has a job as it gets older (looking out for kids is a job) your house will be fine. We've had five puppies in as many years (we fostered) and we only have a spot on the carpet (one puppy got a hold of a permanent marker) and a chair with a chewed rung (same puppy) to show for it. You yard will probably suffer, but it's not as bad with one dog as it is with two or more, it's when they play that they get rough.

The price difference between males and females is common, but it depends on the breed which is more. 'Tough' dogs tend to have the males be more expensive, pet dogs females (because they are perceived to be easier than males). The reality is that female or male doesn't much matter, they each have their benefits and problems, I don't feel that one is better than the other.

I'm going to go into a bit of a preach here because we had a horrible experience with Kahlu were he got sick and died very young. Don't over vaccinate, find a vet that is willing to do titre tests first, to check their immunity, and then if they require the vaccination will do them separately instead of all together. Also make sure that you wait until the dog is at least a year old before getting them fixed. A lot of vets do it as soon as they can (usually around 12 weeks), but it can have serious repercussions. Females can lose bladder control (often permanently) and both males and females can suffer from growth problems. There's a lot of good information out there on more holistic veterinary care, I can PM you links if you're like. The illness that our dog died of is called Auto Immune Haemolytic Anemia, and we suspect it was triggered by a flea treatment done around the same time as he was neutered and vaccinated. We had all the best intentions, but it was just too much for his immune system.
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