Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by skittledoo, Jan 28, 2012.
I meant the "mellow" GSD as a fluke. All the GSD I know fit the description pretty well.
I got what you were saying. I was more talking about the others posting about their GSDs.
I mean I know my dog lacks balance, but even the more balanced working bred dogs are pretty accurate to what I deal with, with Judge.
I think that the GSD breed as a whole lacks balance. I think the working lines lack Balanced drives a lot of the time....but *I* feel they are superior to the others out there.
My two Amline GSDs were easier dogs in terms of in home activity level, especially the male. Although outside they could all be pretty wild. When Jora, the German line girl was young she had a hard time settling in the house but as she matured, she did develop a good "chill out" mode.
Jora was high energy, go-go-go to the point where she didn't notice pain or exhaustion when "working" though. "Working" was doing anything active - chasing a ball into the lake for example. She once wore her pads down so bad playing ball at the lake that she had a hard time walking for days afterward. But while at the lake, she showed no signs of discomfort at all. She's also have to be made to take breaks because she was exhausted to the point that her breathing was getting really noisy and she would not stop. She also broke her toe at a point, very badly - it had to be removed. I have no idea how or when she did it but it happened some time before I took her to training and she wasn't acting like anything was wrong. At the end of training, I was playing ball with her and after I had thrown it a few times, she jump back and yelped....then continued with bringing it back and wanting me to throw it again but on three legs. I looked at her foot and realized that her toenail on one side was pointing sideways and had dried blood around it. A vet visit showed that the first half of her toe was shattered and had to be removed. Crazy, crazy dog. But I really loved her craziness
Mine were all a bit rough when they were young, but they all settle and act just fine in the house as they mature.
I want this dog. http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_dog/dog.html?id=617867
Judge is related to that dog via Fado Karthago. Such nice dogs. Judge's breeder has some awesome dogs down from Tom and Querry Antverpa. That is what lines the Bitch had that I bred Judge too. I really am learning to love the Czech dogs. If I ever get another GSD I want a Czech/West German Working cross, heavier on the Czech side.
Judge is 4 and no settling in sight. His dad is almost 14 and still acts like Judge does!
Skittledoo, I've had pretty close to the same experience as you. I don't get a lot of GSDs, and the ones that do come are generally for boarding. While I used to adore the breed from afar, having to care for the ones that come in has made me rethink that. Most of them are overly reactive and when they can't control a situation, they fire off those machine-gun barks that make my eardrums bleed. Or they flip their food/water bowls, shred blankets, mess their rooms, etc. I posted about this in the "breeds you would never own" thread. Now admittedly, as Aleron pointed out to me, I was not seeing them at their glowing best, as Shepherds are not meant to be "abandoned" by their owners to a boarding kennel.
I can certainly accept that the GSDs I'm seeing are probably not A.) the most high-quality, B.) the most well-trained, and C.) in a situation that would do them justice. But since these behaviors are also not atypical when out of the presence of the owner, that's enough for me to know that they aren't what I want. In a nutshell, if I were to drop dead right now, I would want my dogs to be sad for a bit, and then go off with the next person who gave them cookies. I would not want them to pine and scream and climb the walls because they couldn't be with me anymore. Morbid, but its how I feel.
Shoot.. I'm not sure my pit bulls would even notice if I died, well as long as someone kept feeding them... lol they're very different from my malinois.
Roman is related to that dog as well. I wonder how inter-related they all are.
Roman is not a mellow dog. He is prone to pacing, whining and he went through a tail-chasing period. I've refrained from giving him anything he wants (food, attention, outside, play, sometimes room to pace...) while he is "high" or in a state that I find grating. If he gets really irritating he gets locked up. I encourage him to lay down while gumming a toy (it always helps to have something in his mouth). He's gotten to do that on his own quite often now. With my parents he is a bit of a terror, but then they will give him treats when he harasses them, let him out the door when he's being obnoxious etc.
About destructiveness and noisiness, I was pretty hard-handed on him from the time I got him at 8 weeks... not saying that's right but I thought that's how it was done, and he has left my non-dog stuff untouched (save for my favorite bra, for some reason...). He throws screaming fits (eg if you throw his ball and hold him back), he whines, he grumbles and sighs if he wants you to know he's bored lol, he "talks" to his toys, and of course he barks at intruders/cars in the driveway but he isn't barky. He rarely barks at people who are off the property (but he'll listen to them), and he doesn't bark/scream/cry to have a door opened or to demand something.
It would seem that between lots of reinforcement for good behavior, "time-outs," and probably also a bit of aging (he's 4) he isn't hard to live with (well I don't find him so, my parents complain about him though).
He is from Czech lines, he was described as one of the highest drive puppies in the litter of 12. I believe two of those are certified narcotics k9's now. I have done little with him re:work/sport and so I don't really have a good objective opinion on what he's like but his pedigree nor early assessment don't indicate that he should be a mellow dog.
(BTW Red Chrome you should post in the "GSD's of Chaz" thread, I think it's a couple pages back in General Chat now )
This is a more adequate description of the German Shepherd Dogs I am used to and prefer. I am honestly surprised that the common consensus is that GSDs are constantly physically pushy and unable to settle well, because that has not been my experience. Then again, my experience is not with the competition sport trained dogs, so perhaps that is why?
Quite frankly I did very minimal research when I purchased my first, only, and current German Shepherd (Trent) and I got a great dog out of it. Like Judge, he is primarily West German working lines with some Czech way back through his sire (dog in question is Cent An Sat, litter mate to Cordon). He does have DDR and the Karthago dogs through his dam, Crok vom Erlenbusch in the 4th generation through Yascha von Karthago (and I know many breeders would not touch Crok with a 10 generation pole LOL).
He is a very balanced dog. I had said the following about him a while back -
No, he's not the type of dog you could take to Nationals, but that does not mean he would fail as a working dog, either. I think if someone did not know dogs and hung around the house, they would describe my dog as "mellow" because he settles so well. But anyone with a bit more experience would be able to see that this dog has drive, he is just not high strung or overflowing in energy. I have used "subtle, but with power" to describe him before and I do not know if that makes sense, but it's the best I can say about what I see.
He is just such a damned good dog all around, there is not a day that goes by that I do not feel thankful for him.
Is he pushy? Yes, if you let him push you around. But in his maturity he has never pushed me and is ready to go when I am ready and willing. He rarely plays with toys if I am not interacting with him, and almost never touches anything in the house, including his own toys. He is content to sleep in the same spot for days on end, but if we are outside he will go, go, go.
I considered Trent a vocal dog, but from these descriptions I am reading, I am beginning to doubt it. His breeder describes him as vocal, and I agreed with that assessment, but truth be told I cannot stand a consistently loud dog. I like having conversations with my dog, in that he barks and grumbles and I grumble and mutter back at him, but a dog that does not quiet upon request, a dog that is always vocalizing, all the time, in any setting? No, I do not want that. That would drive me completely insane.
Trent has a full sister from one of several repeat breedings that could, without a doubt, be described as an excellent sport dog. Same dam and sire, many similar traits in temperament, drive, and personality, but also many differences. She is a high octane, high drive, high energy, hard, tough, feisty little bitch. Our dogs' breeder has been working, training, and breeding these German Shepherds for about 40 years now, and is a DVG judge (his daughter being the youngest certified in North America, I believe), and both he and his daughter have said that the sister is a real hard bitch. Completely capable of making Nationals with the proper handler.
Ironically, she was purchased to be primarily a pet companion and I think the breeder wants to buy her back, but luckily her owner does a great job with her regardless of how much dog she is, and completely adores her. From what I have heard (and we have exchanged e-mails regularly about our dogs from since before her girl was born), she is excellent in the house, on her best behavior and not at all difficult to live with. Great nerves.
Both Trent and his sister were completely awful puppies. It's no lie when I say that I thought about sending him back, more than once. First dog, first German Shepherd, first puppy... I was overwhelmed. I used the crate, and I used it often. He was still nipping and mouthing at 6 months of age, and I still can't recall when he completely stopped. For me, though, it was more letting him mature and less intensive training that made him become the fantastic dog he is. I sure wish I could take the credit for it, but I know I can't.
Trent is good at the boarding kennel and does just fine with strangers grooming him, if they know what they are doing. A vet I hated tried to force Trent over on his back and he leapt up and showed teeth, but the groomers working at his breeder's boarding kennel bathed and washed and handled him without the slightest problem. Every time I drop him off he doesn't even glance back at me - I love the staff there because they know how to handle a dog.
That being said, I would never, ever leave him at a daycare or a dog park and he is not by any means a dog park type of dog. He is only allowed to be around other dogs under supervision and is definitely same sex reactive, especially towards intact males his size or equally reactive dogs. He is an only dog so I admit that I have not worked on this nearly as much as I should (and even could). He does still play well with our neighbor's male German Shepherd (though each time it takes some firm handling on my part) but I would worry about bringing in a second large, male dog to our home. I would not think it altogether impossible, just most likely undesirable.
I'm not trying to deny that overall, the breed has issues, because it does. I just don't think that the good German Shepherd Dog is so completely impossible to find.
Red Chrome, this is the thread Xandra is talking about
As far as wanting to "be" you, one thing I've noticed about GSDs I've had and worked around is they are soooo into you, their emotions are literally tied to your emotional state. They don't seem to have emotions independent of yours. And they work really hard to keep it that way. That's why trying to have one be my PTSD service dog was a complete fail.
Both Tengu (amline/west german blend) and Anko (DDR) were like that. They'd staaaaarre, and stare some more. And then some more. If I got anxious, they'd instantly leap to their feet making anxious wookie noises and begin hunting for the source of my anxiety. Anko was a lot more balanced and had a more solid head on her shoulders (she was also a mature female), Tengu became extremely reactive to various random things that she decided were making me anxious, and therefore were Teh Debil and needed to be driven away. If I was happy, they were ecstatic. It's not like with my hounds where Strider will be sad, because he's sad and it has nothing to do with me. Or Kaia leaping into the air with joy even if I'm a bit down. There's nothing wrong with shepherds being that way, I just prefer my dogs to be more independent and not constantly study me so that the know how they should feel at any given moment.
Maybe it's a bitch thing? Come to think of it, all of the GSDs I've lived/worked with were female and they all did it.
They honestly seem to settle all right in the house. The physical activity didn't bother me as much as the sighing, mooing, moaning, wookie grunts, staring, more moaning... lol. Tengu settled a lot better than Anko even though she was younger. Anko had a tense settle. She'd lay down in a sphinx position, ready to spring to her feet the instant you commanded because she lived for long strings of tedious commands. All four that I've worked around sort of writhe around mooing pitifully when made to settle for long periods if they haven't had their daily quota of work.
It's not my description either. Either I have vastly different definitions or much different dogs. Mine are competition dogs as well though. The two I have now, one is what I consider to have very high drive, but only a mid level sport temperament. The other one has no limits other than I am her helper and handler and makes things difficult to do the training I want to and she's just coming off an ACL injury and 8 weeks of rest first round of light jumping last week and all is well so far.
While they certainly don't come out of the box so to speak knowing everything, i don't find them terribly difficult to live with or leave somewhere. It's one of the things I really love about them, they are able to go a thousand miles an hour and go till they drop, but also STOP when it's time to stop.
These aren't the first two i've had and won't be the last. Either i'm extremely lucky or something different is at work. I don't think my dogs fit the descriptions being left here either at all. Is it because I would describe things differently? or because my dogs behave differently?
what's pushy? can they be? YES, are they? NO They don't hump anything, none of them have. They don't throw fits. They do have energy, they are very driven and they can just chill out.
Thanks guys. I'm really enjoying reading this thread and it's interesting to read about different experiences people have had with this breed. Majority of the GSDs I run into are the ones at daycare and I can totally see how that would not be the best scenario to base a breed's overall temperament. I would absolutely love to meet some well bred German Shepherds outside of my work.
lol he does the mooing/groaning/moaning noise when he's bored and he lies down lol but he does it infrequently, not more than a couple of days in a week and not more than 3x in a day. Infrequently enough that I find it funny vs annoying
He can be high strung (pacing etc) inside the house but that only happens in the evening when my mom comes home... her dog goes nuts when she comes home, and is completely I mean completely uncontrolled, barking, snarling, pushing past you, stealing stuff, yapping left right center... an utter menace. And Roman tends to anxious I guess at that time. With just me here, he basically lays around
e.g. (gratuitous pic from a few minutes ago )
and sometimes he plays with a toy, esp if he hasn't been out.
I have two GSD mixes and a lot of whats being said is definitely true.
I know Lily (GSD/Sibe mix) would be fine in a daycare environment, but I would never put her in one. She's extremely conscious of polite dog on dog interaction and she is getting less tolerant of very rude dogs as she gets older (she's 5). She's extremely outgoing with people. I've only had her alert on 2 or 3 people ever, one of which was an upstairs neighbor that she alerted on every single time she saw him. He is now in federal prison, so uh I'm gonna trust her judgement. She's very vocal, but most of it is husky woo-woo-ing rather than the GSD yodeling and barking. I know its gonna be a good morning if I get howled at, lol. She settles well in the house, but is always ready to go. I honestly do not think I've ever really worn her out, of course the sibe could have something to do with that. Like I said, she loves people, but doesn't give a crap about working for anyone but me.
Scout (aprox. 75% GSD) is a very badly bred dog. I feel I gotta preface it with that because its true. She's got generalized anxiety that is genetically rooted. BUT her previous two owners also created quite a few problems with her too. Big example that relates to this discussion is that her first adopter didn't know what little sharkies baby GSD's can be and assumed that her tearing out of her kennel as a pup was SA, so then she bought a byb showline GSD male with problems to keep her company and stuck both in daycare all day long as well as taking them to the dog park. As a result, Scout has AWFUL dog on dog life skills and a really screwed up co-dependancy/insecurity relating to other dogs. Its been such a pain in my a$$. Luckily Lily has been very patient with her and they get along well despite both wanting to be my only dog and being GSD mix bitches and not caring much for other bitches in general. Scout barks a lot during play, especially when she gets overstimulated.
She also learned in previous homes that if she acted more scared than she is, she got the reward of being left to her own devices...
That said, Scout is extremely intelligent, sweet, and would literally do anything for me despite her fears about life. She yodels and barks a lot, but I love it. Which is weird because I cannot stand my friend's lab mix's barking or my little foster's barking. The little foster's has learned to woo-woo as of late though and isn't as annoying now. I took Scout with the intention of her being a foster and thus far have failed pretty miserably. IF a freakishly perfect home showed up that could give her a better life than me (lower key and less stress for her would be good, much as it pains me to say it) then yes I would place her. OMG it would be painful as hell though. I am very picky, odds are a home like that won't present itself. I hope I always consider what is best for her though and not just my own selfish attachment to her.
Both settle well inside, but they play together a lot in the house and there are times where I'm reading and both my hands are full of tug toy...
Both are very in tune with me... to the point where at one time when I was very stressed about something Scout refused to eat. Both understand that my cats are off limits and are great with them.... not so much with strange cats though.
If I have to go somewhere my mom or friend babysit's. Lily pines really badly and the day I'm headed back (I have no idea how she knows!) she is usually chirping like crazy and generally being completely insane. They are both meh on eating when I'm not there too I have been told.
Scout was great the groomer's, but Lily doesn't like anyone but me manhandling her like that. They've only ever gone once, I usually do everything myself.
They will both push around people who aren't me. The one exception is my one best friend.
Having met enough well bred GSD's I can honestly say they are fantastic dogs that I would be extremely happy to own. I very much like west German/Czech combo dogs that I've met. I feel like I just click right with the high drive shepherds. Some have said they wouldn't have another for various reasons, but for me its the opposite... everything not a shepherd just doesn't quite measure up in my eyes. Depending on the month I might lean more toward Malinois or Dutchie, but whatever breed I end up getting in the future would be peachy with me. I do like the extreme athleticism (not to say GSD's aren't athletic by any means!) of Mals and the lighter, more upright structure as well, but I've met/lived with (family friend!) enough GSD's to know that I'd be more than happy living with one. I will actually be dog sitting a very nice girl sometime this spring probably. Looking forward to it!
I've never met one like the ones you described. All the ones I have met have been very loyal and focused on their owners, but not obsessively so. A friend of my sisters has a pup just now, and she is amazing, she is so eager to please, willing to learn, and smart, oh so smart. Not to mention, she is gorgeous!
I always wanted a GSD when I was younger, but realised they are way too much for me. Just need too much exercise for my lifestyle at the moment.
I don't want people leaving this thread thinking that my dog is a menace in the house. He is hard to live with, I won't lie, but he is a good dog. He helps my grandma and is very gentle with her at all times.
But my dog is not super suited for sport work. His breeding and litter was meant for more serious venues such as real patrol work etc. He has a direct sister who is a working K9. He got placed in a sport home but honestly that is not where he should have been. I've had many offers from K9 officers to buy him as a started dog. His attitude and the way he is, is partly why I do Personal Protection stuff with him. He is extremely friendly has excellent nerves and is a GREAT dog but he would kill the average sport dog owner let alone a pet dog person. As I said my dog's not balanced.
You can find a good solid GSD if you do your research and look hard! They are out there but you can end up with one like my dog.
Apollo was very in tune with my emotions, but he was definitely his own dog. He grumbled when settling, but that was it. He liked to move around the house a bit faster than a walk, but once he reached wherever he was going, he was happy to settle down. He would bark out of frustration outside a lot, but never in the house. He was a high drive dog, very willing to engage the helper, very "up" in his work, but controlled. He was a serious worked, but very level headed.
Knox doesn't pace either, he's also willing to settle down and chill with me, but he couldn't care less about my feelings. He's a much more stubborn, hard headed fool of a dog. He's got pretty good work ethic, his drive is either a lot higher than Apollos (Apollo would never have dreamed of hurting the cat, Knox wants to eat him, literally) or it's less controlled than Apollos was. Knox can come to daycare with me, but he's a bit of a bully sometimes, and he definitely likes to get his hump on occasionally. (It's gotten better) but nothing I can't control. I wouldn't leave him there with certain people, but others I work with I would be fine leaving him with them.
He's much much more of a talker/sigher/grumbler than Apollo. He also screams when he's excited, when he's frustrated, ect. He doesn't bark hardly at all. He will sometimes, but he's much more likely to scream and make wookie noises than bark. Apollo never screamed, or did very much that was undignified.
He can be very stubborn if he doesn't see the point in something. Not really working per say, because he'd work until he dropped just about, but he doesn't like Steven's car, and has to basically be either bribed to get in it, or I have to pick him up to put him in it. No amount of cajoling will get him in that car. If he doesn't want to do something, like get out of the front seat, or go down stairs, he puts the brakes on. I think it's some sort of magical shepherd ability to instantly make themselves about fifteen times heavier than they normally are.
Meh, my dogs are menaces in the house, join the club. That's why we have "Doggy Jail".
But, yes, I know... they're malinois or better known as sewer rats on crack in the shepherd world. LOL
I guess they respect the idea of a fence?