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Old 09-16-2012, 11:57 AM
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Default GSDs for SillySally - LONG

Thought I would make this a new thread to answer Christina's post about GSDs and what she needs/wants in a dog. It's long!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
What I would Want:

-driven to DO something, but won't go insane if we skip a couple days without training
A good GSD should have no issue with that.

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Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
-up for anything and can go all day, but can chill too-has an off switch
This is a good GSD too, although it can be hard to imagine when you see a driven GSD out somewhere doing stuff that they could be good house dogs. IME The breed as a whole tends to be good house dogs once they are past the puppy stuff. They are the kind of dogs who want to do what you want to do and want nothing more than to be with you. If that means hanging around the house for days while you recover from the flu, then they're fine with that. If it means going on hours long hikes, swimming and tent camping that suits them too.

Obviously they are a breed who needs exercise and training, so I'm not saying you can or should except them to go weeks and weeks without any sort of stimulation but they can be pretty reasonable dogs.

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Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
-is good with children
Good GSDs tend to be extremely tolerant of kids. In a way that you know they understand they are just kids and don't mean to do stupid things. My very driven, serious and guardy GSD went to work at doggy daycare with me every day, where my boss's young son and her would play and play. One time I was in the office talking to my boss and her son who was 3 or 4 at the time said "Look I made Jora like Sadie (the Dal that came to daycare)". I looked back and there was my serious, driven guardy dog covered in blank price dot stickers laying there looking at me like "why?" while he continued to put stickers on her. My boss ended up having three kids total and there was never, ever a concern about her and those kids or really, any kid we met. I took her and my other girl GSD Lexi (who was sound but did not have a proper GSD temperament in terms of drive/trainablity) to Dog Safety days at summer day camps, 4H and the such.

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-can do agility
I think happen to think GSDs with proper temperament and structure are kind of a "best kept secret" in agility. Admittedly, the majority of GSDs I see in agility are...not great. But they tend to be either show bred, pet bred or really huge (oversized and/or heavy boned and/or fat :/ ). Jora was never a very competitive dog in agility but it was because my skills and knowledge in training a very fast, driven dog in the sport were not up to par. Speed was, she very competitive times and was the sort of dog people watching were always commenting on because she was so fast.

This is a video of her running in CPE at 9 years old. She had slowed down a bit by this age and still ran a course with SCT of 49 seconds in under 28 seconds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b978hwOAmJ8

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Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
-can go anywhere in public safely, is very tolerant of strangers. Doesn't have to love everyone, but does have to be able to deal with what strangers can dish out in public (unsolicited touching, etc)
Yes on this too. I had 3 GSDs, 2 of them could be taken anywhere without any concern about their behavior towards people out and about. The third Doogie was a bit unpredictable about his reactions with strangers as he got older but he ended up having severe seizures, so I suspect his weirdness had a lot to do with that.

I got Jora was I was still in high school and took her everywhere with me from the time I brought her home. She visited friend's houses, went to festivals, training classes, staying at people's houses, going to shows and staying in hotels and once she was a yearish old or so she went to work with me almost every day, pet expos, demos, etc. One of the things my work did every year was have a booth at the town's street fair. This street fair is insanely packed at night, so much that it is hard to walk. Jora and Lexi both were there all night for three nights, with non-stop crowds walking by, petting them, watching them work, kids rushing up to them and hugging them, just about anything you can imagine. They were both great dogs for those things, tolerant but not overly interested in the people. As Jora matured she developed into a very aloof dog, which is proper for the breed. Anyone could pet her, talk to her, etc and she was always polite and disinterested. Lexi remained a bit more friendly. Jora went to pet expos with me for work too, also extremely crowded and long days of having to hang around the booth while people came and went. Often people would be in the booth for awhile, then notice her laying in the corner off leash and say "wow I didn't even notice there was a dog in here!".

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
-can tolerate other dogs. Doesn't have to be a dog park dog, but does have to be able to dog tolerant enough to go on hikes, walks, and events where other dogs will be
All three of my GSDs were fine to go to dog events without being an issue with other dogs. Lexi became leash reactive as she matured but it wasn't all that difficult to get under control and it wasn't a life long issue or anything. Jora generally treated strange dogs like strange people - with indifference. Doogie could be reactive if strange males challenged him, he was Lexi's half sibling on mom's side and his dad was fairly SSA with all other males. They were both from American showlines, Jora was from German show/herding lines.

Jora went to daycare with me for years and never had any issues there, she could have gone to dog parks too as long as I was there. Her main interest at daycare was following me around with a ball. Lexi was too likely to have "predatory drift" issues with small dogs running, so she couldn't go. Doogie went until he was about 2 and started having issues with some of the other males there. He didn't live to turn three


The issue with GSDs can be SSA towards household, which can be found in all types of the breed. Not all are SSA but it is something you have to be aware of is a potential issue and plan accordingly. The best bet is to have the GSD as an only male or only female of the house. Or consider you're other dogs and who would be most/least likely to be a problem. Ideally you'd want 4+ years between the GSD and the other same sex dog. And you wouldn't want to have a GSD with a same sex dog who is really pushy, prone to DA, etc. Males seem to be a better bet than females, although some males will fight just as seriously as the girls do.


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Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
-don't want a reactive dog
GSDs should be pretty level headed, this is where it pays to do your homework for sure.

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Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
-don't want a dog that will eat my birds
I think GSDs raised with household critters tend to be very tolerant towards them, especially when you start training them early that chasing those animals or pouncing on them is never ok. Getting one as an older puppy or adult who has never lived with critters is much harder IME. I had to pull my cat out of Doogie's mouth a few times when he first moved in at 8 months. He was able to live peacefully with the cat but it took more work. Same with Lexi who moved in at 14 months. I never allowed either of them with the ferrets because I didn't have to and it was easier. Jora was great with all of the household pets. She had more than enough prey drive though, she and Lexi killed wild birds, rabbits, squirrels when the opprunity came up. But she was able to understand the difference between them and the creatures she caught in the yard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
-will tolerate kids friends coming in to the house
I don't think this would have been a problem with my girl GSDs at all.


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Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
-is not so guardy that the dog would go crazy living in down town area
My GSDs were more guardy than most of my Belgians in general but my Belgians are more vocal about it. The GSDs only really went into guarding mode when people came to the door or up to the fence and they learned pretty quick what was "normal" and what wasn't. Like there's no point to bark at the neighbors every time they come home. The ability to understand this concept escapes most of the Belgians :/ Two of the three (Jora and Doogie) were very protective of the car when people approached it. Lexi was a bad recreational barker and came to me that way at 14 months. Her barking had nothing to do with being guardy, it was more excitement, boredom or whatever.

So on paper, it seems a good GSD could fit you. That doesn't mean they will though. You would have to decide if you want a guardy dog that needs a lot of early and ongoing socialization and training. They also shed like crazy and have a bit of a doggy odor, even when clean. I think there is no dog quite like a good GSD in terms of how extremely devoted they are to you and how they seem to almost be able to read your intentions when working with you but I don't have them any more because of the SSA. I definitely miss having a GSD, they are a life long favorite breed of mine but in my current household there would be too much risk of SSA being triggered.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
I think happen to think GSDs with proper temperament and structure are kind of a "best kept secret" in agility. Admittedly, the majority of GSDs I see in agility are...not great. But they tend to be either show bred, pet bred or really huge (oversized and/or heavy boned and/or fat :/ ). Jora was never a very competitive dog in agility but it was because my skills and knowledge in training a very fast, driven dog in the sport were not up to par. Speed was, she very competitive times and was the sort of dog people watching were always commenting on because she was so fast.

This is a video of her running in CPE at 9 years old. She had slowed down a bit by this age and still ran a course with SCT of 49 seconds in under 28 seconds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b978hwOAmJ8
I have honestly wondered why so many GSDs are so incredibly slow. Jora looks great and Kastle is another that seems very fast. But the ones I see around agility in class and at trials are SO SLOW! A couple trials ago I sat through a number of slow GSDs and then a gorgeous sable boy was up. He looked working line to me, just very moderate and very stunning. I was like 'Okay, this is it. This dog is going to be awesome!' They started running and the dog was barely moving faster than a walk.

Is it just lack of drive? Or is it their temperament? I always loved the breed but the more I'm around in agility the more I just don't see any kind of spark in them. And of course there are slow dogs in any breed but GSDs seem to be very consistently painfully slow.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
I have honestly wondered why so many GSDs are so incredibly slow. Jora looks great and Kastle is another that seems very fast. But the ones I see around agility in class and at trials are SO SLOW! A couple trials ago I sat through a number of slow GSDs and then a gorgeous sable boy was up. He looked working line to me, just very moderate and very stunning. I was like 'Okay, this is it. This dog is going to be awesome!' They started running and the dog was barely moving faster than a walk.

Is it just lack of drive? Or is it their temperament? I always loved the breed but the more I'm around in agility the more I just don't see any kind of spark in them. And of course there are slow dogs in any breed but GSDs seem to be very consistently painfully slow.
A lot of it is just that the people who have the intense, high drive working GSDs are not the people who are doing agility - they're too busy with SchH So you're much more likely to see pet/show bred GSDs in agility than working bred ones. So that would be issues #1.

Issue #2 is a bit more complicated. GSDs are a breed that many people still firmly believe must be "kept in line" and "raised with a firm hand" meaning GSDs are a breed which tends to be trained with force, at least to some degree. And that sort of approach to training is not generally what creates super fast agility dogs, even in high drive dogs.

And that leads to Issue #3 as well, which is just how agility was approached in general. With many GSDs, if they are trained with the typical "get'r done" method of training that goes on at so many clubs where the idea is to get the dogs on equipment and running courses ASAP they will end up running slowly. Because drive was never introduced into the game, they were accidentally taught that their owner wants them to perform these obstacles slowly and carefully. GSDs want to do what you want them to do, they are supposed to be a breed that can do things intensely with drive when called for and also be methodical workers when called for. I think a lot of people accidentally teach their GSDs that agility is a time for methodical work.

So, I think if we saw more moderate to high drive GSDs in performance homes with trainers who understand how to train agility dogs to be all they can be, we'd see a lot more fast GSDs in the sport. As it is, most people who are really into agility don't consider the breed and people who get into agility with GSDs often end up switching breeds because people tell them GSDs are always slow.

Here's some other nice agility GSDs:


Kiptin
http://youtu.be/4DHIOH9rHec


Tang
http://youtu.be/nwFOaQFAFXM

Tory
http://youtu.be/xDbLKrLCf2w

Rev - in training, Tang's daughter
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUjZ_0WcLwA
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:49 PM
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I have mixes, but I figured I should respond since they definitely have strong GSD traits and I can definitely see getting a well bred working line someday if I don't get a Malinois. I've been hardcore learning about the breed since I adopted Lily, which will be five years ago on Nov 17 and omg how has it been that long already!?!

1. Scout who is 75% GSD and aside from her fro-licious husky tail and butt feathers basically looks all GSD is just dandy with a good long walk every day. She's happy to go running and we do, but she doesn't get antsy if we skip a day. Lily (50/50 GSD/Sibe) on the other hand starts chasing her tail if she doesn't get her daily minimun mileage and mental work.

2. They will go all day and are up for anything, but they have good off switches too. Basically as long as they are with me, everyone is happy as a clam. My parent's Border Collie doesn't have anywhere near the endurance they do.

3. Both are great with kids, even poor Scout who got chewed by them in a previous home and is scared of them. Scout (who is a rescue nervebag btw) not only didn't bite the unsupervised toddlers who harrassed her, but she's seen them since living with me and shows them affection and is not scared of them anymore. Lily freaking adores kids, she's helped a toddler learn to walk before. They were fine meeting a 12 day old infant even. Scout gets really over the top during fetch with me and I usually get bruised lol, but she adjusted her play and played gently with my 6yr old neices despite being afraid of them when they came to visit this last spring.

4. I would think a well bred GSD would be ridiculously fun to do agility with.

5. Both my girls are very good in public. I've taken them to Montana Shakespeare in the Parks multiple times, lol. I don't let everyone pet Scout always, just because she's safe doesn't mean I let rude people/children scare her. Every time I go to visit my mom's office they hang out there and are the official greeters. They are super good girls.

6. Both of them are very social actually. Rude people with aggressive off leash dogs have caused Scout to be dog reactive, but she's very well behaved in public. It makes me mad that people can't be respectfull of others in public where there are leash laws. Now in an off leash situation she's not reactive at all, she just gets really excited. I have heard its extremely common for GSD's to be reactive while on leash, but I feel like part of that may be a pet owner's not giving them enough of a job thing too.

7. Get a well bred dog and socialize/build your foundation properly.

8. I wouldn't trust my dogs around birds. But they do understand ownership. I know Scout killed some semi-feral cats in her second home, despite growing up with two cats in her first home. She totally ignored my Missy cat at first because she wanted to eat her and knew she couldn't because she was mine. She did build a bond to her eventually and now grooms her and stuff. Lily has always been awesome with my cats, but she totally begs for birds and small rodents at the pet store.
A family friend's wg working line/czech line GSD girl (RIP Omen) was not trustworthy around cats. I actually got to see the lightbulb go on upstairs as to Missy being off limits because she's mine when Omi watched me snuggle her while in platz. She never tried to grab her again after that.
Not all are capable of learning to be around small prey animals!!! It depends on the individual dog!

9. Never been a problem. They don't like missionaries, but everyone else is welcome. Good dogs!

10. Again I think it depends on the dog. A well balanced dog whose needs are met and knows the ground rules about people/space, etc. should be fine. My girls never bark unless someone we don't know is messing around outside and even then there are people who aren't noteworthy, like delivery guys, etc. are considered normal. Part of that is probably because they go everywhere with me and have been exposed to way more people/things than most dogs are. Even then, I had to teach her to bark when strangers show up... they really aren't that guardy and are very social dogs.

Lily can be pretty civil when it comes to my safety and things we own. The one guy Lily repeatedly alerted on (a neighbor) is now in federal prison, so uh I trust her judgement. Scout's not guardy at all, but she is very serious in sport bitework.

My family friend's dog Omen (she got her as a breeder rehome @ 2 and she passed of old age last year) one time jumped out the window of her truck as they were filling up at the station on a road trip and got between her and a guy who had come over to her. No alerting or anything, just put herself between her owner and this dude and sat there calmly watching him. **** good dog.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:26 PM
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Re: their speed, I wouldn't expect a GSD to keep up with a BC or a Malinois but there is absolutely no reason inherit to a well bred one that would excuse it walking or jogging a course lol.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron View Post
A lot of it is just that the people who have the intense, high drive working GSDs are not the people who are doing agility - they're too busy with SchH So you're much more likely to see pet/show bred GSDs in agility than working bred ones. So that would be issues #1.

Issue #2 is a bit more complicated. GSDs are a breed that many people still firmly believe must be "kept in line" and "raised with a firm hand" meaning GSDs are a breed which tends to be trained with force, at least to some degree. And that sort of approach to training is not generally what creates super fast agility dogs, even in high drive dogs.

And that leads to Issue #3 as well, which is just how agility was approached in general. With many GSDs, if they are trained with the typical "get'r done" method of training that goes on at so many clubs where the idea is to get the dogs on equipment and running courses ASAP they will end up running slowly. Because drive was never introduced into the game, they were accidentally taught that their owner wants them to perform these obstacles slowly and carefully. GSDs want to do what you want them to do, they are supposed to be a breed that can do things intensely with drive when called for and also be methodical workers when called for. I think a lot of people accidentally teach their GSDs that agility is a time for methodical work.

So, I think if we saw more moderate to high drive GSDs in performance homes with trainers who understand how to train agility dogs to be all they can be, we'd see a lot more fast GSDs in the sport. As it is, most people who are really into agility don't consider the breed and people who get into agility with GSDs often end up switching breeds because people tell them GSDs are always slow.
That definitely makes a lot of sense. I've always wondered if it had to do with something like #3. They just seem so slow and steady when they're going and nothing is needing to be done urgently. Almost all the ones I've seen lately practically walk agility.

I have definitely seen some anti-GSD agility folk too. My first trainer (who looking back wasn't all that great) actually said German Shepherds were not good agility dogs. Struck me as odd since I would have thought the breed would be very athletic and fast.

The only GSD in my classes (Summer's) at the moment dropped out, which is sad. I'd like to see one go through agility training with a trainer that knows what they're doing. They only made it through half the foundations class but the dog seemed pretty nice.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:19 PM
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I really appreciate the posts- they're super informative!

I have been thinking about my experiences with GSDs today and they have been mixed. I've met some dogs I really liked at dog shows, but the more I think about it, I realize that they were all working line dogs (this is a large show where they have both confo dogs and some working dogs as well as dog sports). A trainer I used to take Sally to had one fantastic German showline female and one extremely reactive German showline female. Then we have a breeder in the area who also owns a dog daycare who breeds white shepherds whose dogs seemed pretty tolerant of the daycare clients and good with the 4-Hers who showed them. But then I have also been bitten by a GSD in the face as a kid (21 stitches later I learned why we don't hug strange dogs), been chased by a couple, and have had my dogs attacked/ harassed by several GSDs, so while I have always admired the breed I have also been very apprehensive about temperaments and breeding within the breed.

I'm not really looking for a dog to add to my current two-they do well together and while Jack is adaptable to other dogs, Sally can be a bit of a pushy jerk with other dogs. This would have way off in the future, but I'm a planner...

What are some good GSD resources? What lines are good to look into? Are there shows, etc that would be good places to see dogs in action?
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:12 PM
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Here is an example of a breeder whose dogs I have met at a show. Their staff was very helpful when I asked them questions, and pulled a couple of dogs out to show me when I asked about show vs working lines ( German). Disclaimer: I have no idea if they are considered good breeders, nor am I entirely certain what all the title abbreviations mean.....
http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/Home.aspx

As far as the physical look I like, these dogs...

http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/OurDo...ales/Elsa.aspx

http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/OurDo...les/Rubie.aspx

http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/OurDo...s/Cherish.aspx

http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/OurDo...Dogs/Enzo.aspx

http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/OurDo...ogs/Vello.aspx

http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/OurDo...Dogs/Xiek.aspx

http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/OurDo...Dogs/Axel.aspx

http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/OurDo...gs/Brutus.aspx

And especially this guy....
http://www.mybodyguarddogs.com/OurDo...ogs/Faldo.aspx
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by sillysally View Post

I'm not really looking for a dog to add to my current two-they do well together and while Jack is adaptable to other dogs, Sally can be a bit of a pushy jerk with other dogs. This would have way off in the future, but I'm a planner...

What are some good GSD resources? What lines are good to look into? Are there shows, etc that would be good places to see dogs in action?
GSDs make absolutely great only or one of two opposite set dogs. Some people have luck with more and some do well in multi-dog households too. I just think because of their nature, most would prefer to be an only dog or have a girlfriend/boyfriend LOL Jora loved her male housemates but the girls were another story!

If I were going to get another GSD, I'd get one from here: http://www.vomhausweinbrand.com/

I'd say your "type" very much tends towards German working lines with good structure Only a couple of the dogs you posted were German Showlines. Good places to see those dogs in action would be SchH clubs and trials.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:49 PM
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As for being slow in agility, I agree with Aleron that a lot of it has to do with the breeding (backyard pet breeders) and the training. There was a really nice GSD in my foundations class, so much potential and innate speed, but I can guarantee that it will be very slow in a few months. The GSD is the couple's first ever dog, they are not good trainers, and they just do agility for fun. I find that GSDs often want to be right and please their humans, so the dog is slowing down to match the pace of its handlers.

A GSD is never going to be fast like a BC, but those videos that Aleron posted are very nice.
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