are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

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shepherdlover
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are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by shepherdlover » Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:02 am

firstly I would like to say hello to everyone im new

what I would be very greatful for is if you could help me with advice on the German shepherd.

I have never owned my own dog before and am in love with the shepherd every time I see one in the park/town or at crufts I melt inside and light up. my auntie has owned tow so I was brought up around them and understand the breed as I also studied the breed for tow years reading hundreds of books meeting as many shepherds as I can and talk to there owners. the thing is when I was walking home one day I spoke to a women who was walking 4 shepherds and I went over and spoke to her and she told me that if I have never owned my own dog before just been brought up around them than I should go for something like a Labrador or spaniel as shepherds are not for first time owners and when I asked why she said that they will dominate me and will challenge me all the time so the third time I went to crufts I asked the people in the discover dog part and they said that, that is nonsense as all dogs can be a great first dog it all comes down to training exercising and that the shepherd is in the right hands. and they said that I will be fine as I plan to g to training class and clearly love the shepherd. so what do you think who's right? I am a very active person and work from home as I own the company so have plenty of time for training and socialization.

Ari_RR
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by Ari_RR » Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:37 am

There is probably some truth to what the lady said. I fall into the same category as you - 1st time owner with a rather challenging breed to own (an XL sight hound with opinions and views of his own on things, and strong will to act according to his views :lol: )

Looking back - yeah, we made a few mistakes along the way, and he could have been better trained in some areas.

With that said, my 2 cents is - follow your heart. What you lack in first hand experience you will compensate with the desire and ability to put as much effort and time into developing the relationship with your GSD and training as needed.

With all the imperfections of my now 4 y.o. Ridgeback boy, and all the restrictions that having such an animal imposes, I have no regrets, and not a single day goes by where I don't enjoy his presence in my life.

Good luck.

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Nettle
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by Nettle » Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:47 am

If a GSD is what makes your heart sing, then get one. You won't learn the ins and outs of one breed by owning another. Yes they are a demanding breed but by no means the most demanding out there, and a first-time dog owner is not necessarily an unworthy dog owner. You sound sensible, and as if you have done a lot of research - though nothing beats a real dog in real time for teaching us how little we knew when we thought we knew more, and it's the same for everyone, not just you.

There are considerable health issues in the GSD and finding healthy sound ones is very difficult. Many modern ones are shaped like prawns - all massive head and shoulders curving away via a bent spine to weak hips and hindquarters. There are temperament issues with some GSDs too. Source your puppy with care and don't be rushed. Do NOT get a rescue. Maybe second time around, but for your first dog you need a healthy well-bred well-reared puppy where the breeder has already started its socialising.

Dominance theory is outmoded, though its ideas linger on with many people. I would suggest lots of research into reward-based dog training - stay with us and read some of our many threads to get a feel of what can be.
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by JudyN » Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:22 am

I agree with Nettle and Ari - I also am a first-time owner who took on a dog who turned out to be difficult, but I managed. In a way being a first-time owner may help as you're not thinking 'but this always worked with my previous dogs,' but dealing with the dog in front of you.

GSDs I know tend to be quite nervy, and if their coping behaviour is then viewed as attempts to dominate, the owner is likely to increase their issues. As Nettle says, really research potential breeders - and then make sure you get their early training & socialisation right. Good luck!
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shepherdlover
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by shepherdlover » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:07 pm

thanks you all really helped me realise that the shepherd dose make my heart sing and I would 100% work hard to make it work to have that special bond with him/her. I am in the uk and am thinking of going to Absela GSD as that's were my auntie got her dogs. there German show line and the breeder stopped going to crufts as she said that when she was showing her dogs there that males looked like females and females looked like fox's and now only show her dogs in the breeds hometown Germany I think the place she takes her dogs is called sigar or something like that.

thanks very much for all your help

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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by JudyN » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:27 pm

It's not something I'm knowledgeable about, but I'd be interested to know what Nettle thought of the conformation of the dogs on Absela's website: http://www.abselagsd.co.uk/page3.html
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Erica
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by Erica » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:07 pm

If it helps...one of those dogs is practically a meme dedicated to how bizarre and unhealthy GSD structure can get.

I would look for something more rectangle or square-y than semicircle!

Not the ideal conformation picture but my girl Opal is better than average for a GSD (and I can post her picture without worrying about copyright infringement ;) )...

Image

Level top line, though it gets slanty when she stacks, and can be a bit rounded but nowhere near as round as show GSDs.

Working GSDs are higher energy than show GSDs but they'll probably tend toward better health. You'll still have to watch out for temperament. You may be able, with some work, to find a good pet breeder...but sometimes people say "pet quality" when they mean "unsuitable for much of anything but lying around being miserable." If I were looking for another GSD I would try to find a breeder of sport dogs, like agility or search and rescue/tracking. Still possible to get frantic dogs but maybe easier to avoid than with schutzhund kind of working dogs...

Dr Ian Dunbar has a free book to download called "Before You Get Your Puppy" and it has great advice on deciding whether a breeder is worth your time. I'll probably be able to dig up some more references for you in a bit but I've got to run to work right now!
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shepherdlover
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by shepherdlover » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:37 pm

hi

that was a complete shock. im glad of you opinions now rather than later.

these are my other choices see what you think. I am very greatful for you helping me.

http://www.champdogs.co.uk/breeder/36854

http://nashworkinggermanshepherdogs.co.uk/

http://www.castlehill-kennels.com/puppies.html

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Nettle
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by Nettle » Thu Sep 25, 2014 2:55 pm

How cunning those photos are. You need to see the dog in sideways standing full-body profile, then standing from the front, from the back, and moving.

None of those sites show what the dogs actually look like. Handsome mugshots are not indications of soundness.

Every time you go out, look at GSDs to get your eye in for healthy conformation. It's really hard to find good ones, but sometimes looking at bad ones shows you what not to have. Look at hindquarters and be horrified at those that move like mermaids - hindlegs almost joined together and the whole of the pelvis swinging because the hips are so bad. Look for muscle wastage on the hips.

Erica's Opal is a well-made dog and about as good as you'll get.
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shepherdlover
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by shepherdlover » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:11 pm

hi

thank again I have found a video of one of the shepherds with the castle hill shepherds showing there dog in movement. tell me what you think?

http://www.castlehill-kennels.com/puppies.html

if you scroll down you will find a video.

thanks

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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by JudyN » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:25 pm

I think this is the same dog, and he's certainly a lot squarer: http://www.schaeferhundwelpen-leistungs ... gerry.html I don't know if 'working' GSDs are different in nature to 'show' GSDs and might be a bit more work to keep sufficiently stimulated - something to bear in mind.

There's a thread on dog conformation here https://positively.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=16321 GSDs are mentioned towards the end, but it might be worth going through the whole thread to 'get your eye in' and appreciate the differences in different dogs' conformation.
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shepherdlover
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by shepherdlover » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:23 am

hi everyone

thanks for the comments. I did see a difference in the working sheps compared to absela. I did contact the breeder and he said that he dose not thing its the right time for me to get a shepherd as I will need experience to have one of his puppies as his dogs are high drive and he dose not have a lot of litters that go to pet homes as he mainly breeds for police, military and a few of his dogs were trained to be guide dogs. and he did say that working shepherd has a LOT more energy and is more strong willed than the show type and he personally has no respect for the breeders in England who breed show with how the breed is turning out. he said that the shepherd should have a sound temperament one that can be trusted and some of the show types he has met has been sour in temperament and has only got bit once and that was by a show. he said that he has given first time owners a puppy when he had a litter for pet homes and he said twice it did not work out as the shepherd was to much to handle with them being a novice therefor he dose not give any shepherd puppies to first timers. he also said that the litters that are for pet homes are normally every tow to three yrs and that he has a litter every year to work homes. just wanted to let you know.

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minkee
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by minkee » Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:16 am

You could also possibly look at the different types of Belgian Shepherd. These are by no means less intense (they might be more so?) but it would broaden your search and possibilities of a healthy pup :) They have similar looks to GSD so might still fit your bill

shepherdlover
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by shepherdlover » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:28 am

hi everyone

I have looked up the Belgium and do like the look of them and they do look a bit like a shepherd. dose anyone know of any good breeders in the uk? (I am willing to travel)

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Nettle
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Re: are german shepherd a good choice for a first time owner

Post by Nettle » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:58 am

Not the Belgian Shepherd. They have a much better physique (so good for you to look at and compare) but they too are very high drive and often touchy. Too much for you to manage without someone to help you.
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