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Guest Anonymous

Considering a German Shepherd pup! please advise!

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Guest Anonymous
Hi everybody, i've been a long time lurker... havent posted much after i posted in the "welcome new members forum"

I currently have a shih tzu (see picture below) and i am thinking about getting a german shepherd. Why? Well... ive always wanted a bigger dog, but since i live with my parents (i'm 21) they didn't let me keep a dog. But since i got my shih tzu and showed them what joy a dog could bring in our lives, we are now considering a larger dog.

Just over a year ago.... some burgalurs came to my house in the middle of the afternoon (it's like they watched us come and go) and my dad came home just before they were done ransacking the house. They got my dad, punched him in the face, and put him in the trunk of my dad's car. Long story short, my family has been somewhat been terrified afterwards. We beefed up the security system.. but that's about all we did. I thought about getting a gun, but i figure the risk with the gun in the house is greater that with no gun at all! Especially with my 1 1/2 neice visiting so often.

So we're now considering getting a dog for several purposes...
1. companionship
2. guarding the house
3. guarding the garden plants (my dad keeps a big garden that gets invaded by opossums and other critters)
4. guarding the koi pond (you know those big birds from Finding NEMO? Well.. they stalk our Koi fish!

I need a dog who will be gentle with kids... since i have a neice, a nephew and another neice that is soon to be due.

We have a pretty big yard, and the dog will get lots of free space to run in.

Im currently reading a book about training a German shepherd... and i have some questions that have been pondering in my mind.

When he is young... and is it okay if i keep him in the house.. and when he gets older, and it's time to sleep outside, will he adjust well?

If not, can i keep him in a playpen outside to begin with?

How long before i can trust him to run around the backyard without running away? We have a pretty big yard.. it's fenced, but i guess if they really tried and jumped really high.. they can escape.

Will he (which will probably be a SHE) get along with my male 7mo Shih Tzu?

Will he kick an intruder's ass?

Where should i start to look for a GSD breeder? Ive been looking online.. and all the good breeders i see are selling their pups for $1500 - $2000. I have a $800 budget..... can I still get a quality pup for that amount?

any thoughts? recommendations??

I think that's all that's in my mind right now... thanks everybody!

-Jackie


this is Daryl
[img]http://trackiepro.com/Daryl/IMG_1917.JPG[/img]
[img]http://trackiepro.com/Daryl/IMG_1451small.jpg[/img]

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I would not recommend a German Shepherd to very many people. Don't get me wrong they are the best breed :lol: but not a lot of people can handle a GSD.
GSDs and Shih Tzus are nothing alike other than that they are both dogs, just incase you think a GSD would be like a 85lb Shih Tzu.
In my opinion from what you wrote and what you're looking for you should not get a German Shepherd, get an alarm system.

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Guest Anonymous
A question

If you want the dog to guard your house why put it in the back yard? Why not crate train it and have it in your home? Barking alone is often enough to deter someone who wants to break in.

Also instead of going to a breeder (nothing wrong with breeders if you find one who does health testing and such) why not go to Petfinder.com.

I don't know what area you are in but I know here in New Orleans we have a rescue just for German Shepherds.

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Nearly any dog who is a loved family member will protect, or at least alert to danger. (except my pit bull :roll: )

Dogs need more than large yards. They need lots of training, attention and being with their family. Putting a GSD (or any dog) in the backyard is not a good idea, IMO.

If he is going to be part of the family and live indoors with you, that is another matter. Just the bark of a big dog will chase just about anyone away.

My neighbour's house was robbed, but mine was never touched because at that time I had a big GSD mix with a ferocious bark, but he was in the house where his bark would do some good.:)

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I'm with everyone else on this....is there a reason you HAVE to keep him/her outside? Some people have the misconception that the large guardian breeds such as the GSD are happiest living outdoors, but speak to any of the owners of those breeds on this board and I am sure they will tell you otherwise. Most dogs are happiest when they can be part of the family. :D
As for "kicking an intruder's a**"...as an inexperienced dog owner, I really don't think that should be your optimum goal....having a trained protection dog is a big responsibility...not to mention a liability, and should not be undertaken by a novice, otherwise you end up with a large people aggressive menace on your hands.
I understand your concerns, since you had to go thru such a terrifying experience, but as everyone above has mentioned...a better alarm system or an inside dog with an intimidating bark is a safer way to go IMO ...

oh and welcome to Dogo.....Daryl is adorable!!! :D

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A GSD is not a breed I would recommend keeping outdoors. You want this dog to bond with you, and it takes time for dogs to do so. Once they do bond with their people, they want to be near them, even if on their own terms, but to be physically seperated, is often inviting problems. Such as barking, digging, guarding, jumping, aggression. This breed has a very high incidence of seperation anxiety, so I would definitely say house dog and with crate training. GSDs can jump extremely high. I was working with a GSD a few years ago, she was all about 50lbs, but managed to scale an 8ft fence easily.

A GSD will bark and do more if necessary. Usually their mere presence is enough to scare most intruders away. I never recommend guardian training for a pet dog. The breed by it's nature is protective, but you should encourage it to also be social, gentle, well adjusted and friendly. They are intelligent enough to know the difference between friend and foe if properly bred and trained. My GSD is a therapy dog, he is out and about and always has been since we've gotten him. He is quite friendly, and very well socialised. However, I have no doubts that he will protect our home if need be. However he is a pet first and foremost and his primary responsibility is to shed, keep the Newf in line and keep my bed warm in the winter.

$800.00 is usually the starting price for a responsibly bred GSD. But it's a tiny fraction of the cost of maintaining a GSD for the first two years of it's life. They are considered large breed, and large breeds carry large bills. So you need to be prepared to pay a lot more than $800.00.

Honestly, I have to agree with Majie's mom in what you have given us, you don't seem like a good candidate for a GSD. I suggest you join a GSD email list for a few months to really understand what this breed is about. They require a very patient owner who is quick on their feet and willing to work on numerous solutions to counter a very smart dog. They love their people, but you also have to be prepared to establish a pecking order with many GSDs which can be a daunting task. They are notoriously naughty teenagers, and they have TONNES of energy. You have to be prepared to exercise a young GSD for hours to try and burn off some of that energy or they'll bounce off the walls. I've had GSDs for 10 years, I've fostered quite a few, trained several for different purposes and share my home with one senior GSD who can still run for hours. I love them immensely, and yet the prospect of going through the puppyhood of another GSD is enough to exhaust me just thinking about it.

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I don't really like the idea of having a dog to protect a garden from wild animals. A dog can be injured by a wild animal - not to mention get very sick from contact with a wild animal.

$800 isn't nearly enough for a responsibly bred GSD. Also, it will be very difficult to adopt a GSD (or any other large protective breed) based on your reasons for wanting one. Rescues rarely adopt to people who want a "guard dog".

As for a GSD getting along with your shih... it all depends on the individual dog. Ilsa (my Doberman) ignores my friend's senior shih tzu. The shih tzu lives with three other dogs (Ilsa two DoberCousins and an American Eskimo) and none of the dog have paid much attention to the old guy.

My final verdict: You aren't ready to own a GSD (or a rott, dobe, bully breed, malinois, etc.). Do some more research, especially on what it takes to care for a large dog properly - NO dog should have to sleep outside. Dogs should be inside with their "pack".

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I know you think you want a dog who would attack an intruder, but believe me, you really don't. It's a HUGE responsiblity and I can almost guarantee that at least once in this dog's life it will attack something that you didn't want it to. Especially if you're keeping the dog outside all the time. You just better hope that whatever gets into that fence when you're not home and is attacked by your dog isn't a kid or something, because you will be held responsible.

[quote]How long before i can trust him to run around the backyard without running away? We have a pretty big yard.. it's fenced, but i guess if they really tried and jumped really high.. they can escape. [/quote]

Most dogs that want to escape a fence, find a way. And if you've got a dog that wants to get out and run, how good a guard dog is it going to be? The burgler would just open the fence and let your dog out.

If you want a larger dog as a [i]companion[/i] please go visit your local rescues. You'd be surprised what excellent dogs and puppies are waiting for you to adopt them.

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I so agree with what everyone else has said so far.
Just to touch on the point of a dog living outside, I just don't get it. If one wants a dog to protect the home AND family, that dog needs to be part o the family. Dogs left outdoors tend to bark out of boredom and frustration, annoying your neighbors. Also, if the dog does bark frequently, neighbors may start to ignore the barking as best they can. If someone decides to break in your house and your dog is barking, neighbors might just brush it off instead of checking to see why.
If someone has broken in, and a family member walks in the house, the dog CANNOT come to your defense as they are outside.
Dogs ARE companion animals, they are pack animals, they should be with their people whenever possible or at least in the company of other dogs that they get along with. Keeping a dog isolated from people or other dogs on a constant basis is cruel in my opinion.
A bored dog quite often is a destructive dog. A bored dog is often a dog who will seek to escape their yard. A bored and frustrated dog is, again IMO, a disaster waiting to happen. German Shepherds can be nippy, many herding/working breeds share this trait.
Not all GSD's are good with children. Not all dogs of ANY breed are good with children. A dog that is carefully bred for proper temperament, health, structure, etc., is going to cost more (as a rule) than one who has been bred without regard to these and other concerns.
If you truly want a German Shepherd, try hard to find GSD breeders and/or owners in your area that you can talk to. Beware of any who simply say GSD's are the bestest dogs ever without being willing to discuss the drawbacks of owning one. Beware of getting a puppy from someone you have not thoroughly researched. Anyone just putting two dogs together for the purpose of having puppies to sell is someone you want to RUN away from. GSD's have some serious health concerns if not bred properly with fairly stringent health check clearances on both sides. A properly bred GSD, bred for temperament and good health, IS most likely going to cost far more than $800. A 'pet quality' pup from quality parents still has had the benefits of correct breeding.
As has also been said, if your FAMILY is sure they all want a larger dog, consider either GSD breed rescue or start looking at the dogs at your local pound or humane society. I feel that almost ANY dog of sound temperament that is raised in the home and bonds with their people will have at least some protective qualities that will develop. ALL of my dogs bark ferociously should someone approach my house, two are mixed breeds and ALL are very sociable, friendly dogs.
Consider too, you could save the life of a pound dog, in a decent pound, dogs have been evaluated for temperament, you might not find a young puppy but perhaps a very young adult dog whose temperament is already somewhat known. You may also be able to bring your niece to the pound to see how your potential new companion reacts to her in a structured, safe, environment.

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That's awful what happened to your family but in your case I would advise you NOT to get a GSD.

GSDs are not partial to heat (mine hates it) and do not do well as outside dogs. At all. They can be very people oriented and they NEED their families. They're not to be isolated yard dogs, it's not in their nature. How do you expect the dog to protect your belongings if it's outside? Why couldn't they just shoot the dog if it was outside in a pen?

Unless you have a ton of time on your hands and a ton of dog-experience, a GSD is not for you. They NEED, need, need, need, need training. It's not a question of if you want to do it or not...with a dog as smart as a GSD, you HAVE to. They must have emotional, physical and a ton of mental stimulation to be happy.

Many German Shepherd lines produce very dominant Shepherds and sometimes dog-aggressive/same-sex aggressive GSDs. My German working line GSD pup is both of those things.

If you want a protection dog...look into Schutzhund training and look into a FAMILY dog...you've got to bond with the dog...not throw it outside and tell it to guard the house. I know some GSDs who'd bark but high-tail it in the next direction if there was an attack on the house. Sure, it's not normal for a GSD not to guard...but it happens. You must take a ton of time to build confidence, socialize and TRAIN a German Shepherd. It's not a breed for everyone.

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Ok, I have a quote here-

[quote]"I'm familiar with hundreds of dog breeds, but what's an "outside dog?" Unless you're medically intolerant of it (and therefore can't take care of it in a medical emergency, so you shouldn't have it), making a dog stay outside is a costly waste. If it's for protection, what do you think I want to steal, your lawn? When you leave, do you put your valuables and your kids out in your yard? Just what is the dog "protecting" out there? ."-Dennis Fetko[/quote]

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As for the wild animal thing...it is not a good idea to say the least. The dog could get very hurt by a wild animal. It could also catch lots of diseases from them. I would say you need a fence around your garden and a better security system, not a GSD.

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