This is a jumbo article on German Shepherd Dog Comprising around 13,500 words. This article serves as the ultimate guide for everyone who is willing to buy, adopt or already own a GSD. This article includes all the topics listed in below content section.
- All About German Shepherds
- German Shepherd Facts
- Things To Know Before Getting A German Shepherd
- German Shepherd Temperament
5.1 What Is Temperament?
5.2 Temperament Test
5.3 Early Manipulation
5.5 Rank Drive
5.6 Defense Drive
5.7 Prey Drive
5.8 Pack Drive
5.10 Clear In The Head
5.12 That Is, Basically Where We Are Today
5.13 Sensitivity To Sound
5.14 Life With A Weak Dog Nerved
5.15 We Felt Sorry For The Poor Thing
5.17 But We Only Wanted A Nice Pet!
5.18 But, my dogs work!
5.19 Find the right ones
- German Shepherd Colors
6.1 Black And Tan
6.3.1 Two-tone coat of German Shepherd
6.7 Liver (brown)
- German Shepherd Training
7.1 Train A German Shepherd Puppy
Breed Group: Sporting
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Female: 21-23 inches (53-58 cm)
Male: 22-24 inches (56-61cm)
Female: 55-70 pounds (25-32 kg)
Male: 60-75 pounds (27-34kg)
Colors: Yellow, Chocolate, Black
Barking: very rare
Upright ears (naturally)
Exercise Requirements: less than 40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Life span: 10-12 yrs.
Bred group: Herding, Guard dog
Coat Length: Medium
Characteristics: Double coat
Colors available: red & black, sable, black, black & tan, blue, black & silver, grey, white
Grooming Needs: Moderate
1. All About German Shepherds
The German Shepherd Dog, also known as Alsatian in Great Britain and parts of Europe, is one of the most popular dog breeds, and probably one of the most important dog breeds. more recognized in the world. He owes some of his fame to a little puppy who was ripped from a kennel riddled with bullets and bombs in France during the First World War by Corporal Lee Duncan. When the war had finished, Duncan brought the puppy back to Los Angeles (his hometown), trained him, and turned him into one of the show-biz’s most famous dogs: Rin Tin Tin. Rin Tin Tin continued to appear in dozens of films and, at the height of his fame, received 10,000 fan letters a week.
The German Shepherd has held many jobs other than that of movie star: keeping livestock, visiting the sick, serving in the military, sniffing illegal substances, hounding criminals and leading the blind are just some of the jobs of this versatile breed. The dog has even taken the role of national hero. The German Shepherds were search and rescue dogs crawling through the ruins of the World Trade Center after the September 11 terrorist attacks, looking for survivors and comforting first-aiders and their families. The German Shepherd can embody some of the best dog traits, but it is not for everyone. It is an energetic dog that needs a lot of activity and exercise.
Without this, he is likely to express his boredom and frustration in a way that you do not like, such as chewing and barking. The breed also has a distant and sometimes suspicious nature – great for a watchdog, but not the kind of family dog ?? that will make guests feel welcome. But when you expose it to many different situations and to people who start out puppy, he can learn to take new people and new circumstances in short time.
If you buy a puppy, you will get a slightly different type of German Shepherd depending on whether you choose an American or German breeder. In general, American breeders often aim to create canine competition champions, and they breed more pups for this distinctive German Shepherd look than for those distinctive German Shepherd talents. Fans say German-American shepherds are calmer than their German counterparts, but some critics say these GSDs have lost some of their talents to work the traditional jobs of German Shepherd, and are more prone to behavioral problems such as as separation anxiety.
On the other hand, German breeders breed German Shepherds for their working abilities and to match the traditional look of the breed. Before becoming a German Shepherd in Germany, he has to go through different tests to prove that he is up to the physical and mental criteria for which the breed is known. GSDs tend to have a more energetic and motivated personality.
The German Shepherd history dates back to 1899, and owes its existence to a man: Captain Max von Stephanitz, he is from German cavalry with the aim of creating a German breed that would be unmatched as a dog herd . Centuries before von Stephanitz’s arrival, German farmers had to rely on pet dogs to drive and protect their herds. Some dogs were legendary for their skills, and shepherds traveled days to raise their females to a remarkable father. However, as von Stephanitz noted, no one has developed the breeding dogs of the region into a separate breed.
In 1898, von Stephanitz retired from military life and began his second life, towards his passion: experimenting with dog breeding to create a superior German sheepdog. Stephanitz studied breeding techniques of the British, known for their exceptional breeding dogs, and traveled across Germany, attending dog shows and watching German-type herding dogs. Von Stephanitz saw many beautiful flock dogs, dogs that were athletic, or intelligent, or capable. What he did not see was a dog that embodied all these traits.
One day, in 1899, von Stephanitz was visiting a dog show when a wolf-like dog attracted him. He immediately purchased the dog which was named as Hektor Linksrhein. Later renamed Horand v Grafeth, the powerful physique and intelligence of the dog so impressed Stephanitz that he formed a company – the Verein fur deutsche Schaferhunde – to found a breed on the descendants of Horand. Although he had intended for his breed to work as a sheepdog, as Germany was becoming increasingly industrialized, so he saw the need for such dogs to decline. He was determined that his race would continue as a working dog, and he decided that the dog’s future was in military service and police work. Having military connections, von Stephanitz was able to convince the German government to use the breed.
During the First World War, the German Shepherd served as a Red Cross dog, equipment carrier, guardian, rescuer, messenger and sentry. Although German shepherds had gone to the United States before the war, it was not until the war that the breed became popular in the United States. Allied soldiers noted the bravery and intelligence of the dog, and a number of dogs returned home. One such dog was a five-day-old puppy torn from a kennel riddled with bombs in France by an American corporal from Los Angeles.
The corporal brought the puppy, trained and turned him into one of Hollywood’s best-known celebs: Rin Tin Tin, who participated in 26 films and helped popularize race in America. Although the Allies were impressed by the German dogs, they were not so happy with the dog’s German roots. During the war, all that was German was stigmatized and in 1917 the American Kennel Club (AKC) changed the name of the breed to Shepherd Dog.
In England, the dog was renamed Alsatian Wolf Dog, after the German-French border region of Alsace-Lorraine. The AKC returned to the use of the original name of German Shepherd Dog in 1931; it took until 1977 to the British Kennel Club to do the same. Von Stephanitz remained closely involved in the development of the breed and as early as 1922 he became concerned about some of the traits that appeared in dogs, such as a bad temper and a tendency to tooth decay. He developed a tight quality control system: Before any individual German Shepherd was raised, he needed to pass numerous tests of his good health, athleticism, temperament and intelligence.
On the other hand, the American breeding of German shepherds was not so regulated. In the United States, dogs have been bred to win dog shows, and breeders have put more emphasis on the looks and gait of dogs, or how to move. After the Second World War, German shepherds of German and German origin began to diverge dramatically. At one point, the US police and military started importing German Shepherd working dogs because the German Shepherd dogs were failing performance tests and suffering from genetic diseases. In recent decades, some American breeders have begun to focus on breed abilities rather than appearance, importing working dogs from Germany to add them to their breeding program. It is now possible to buy German Shepherds from American breeding to live up to the reputation of the breed as a capable working dog.
3. German Shepherd Facts
1. The Name GSD
The German Shepherd Dog is one of the few breeds whose official name includes the word “dog”. This is because when people hear the word ‘German Shepherd‘, they may confuse between a man(shepherder) or a dog breed.
This sport was developed in the 1900s specifically for the German Shepherd Dog. According to the United Schutzhund Clubs of America, “this sport is to test the natural instincts of the breed and to eliminate dogs that were unstable or untrainable“.
3. Max von Stephanitz
Do you know this name? You should – he is considered the “father of the GSD breed”. In the year 1889, he began the process standardizing a breed of sheepdogs after seeing a “medium-sized yellow and gray wolf dog” that caught his eye.
4. Hektor Linksrhein
Renowned Horand von Grafrath, was the first registered German Shepherd dog – and the dog Max von Stephanitz saw for the first time at this dog show.
5. Mr. Popularity
The GSD is the second most registered dog in the United States. This is probably due to the diversity of races – they are popular as army, police, show, performance, guard, family and service dogs. There is not much that this dog can not do.
6. Dog of war
Unlike the doxie that was ridiculed for being German, the First World War helped to increase the popularity of the GSD in the United States. The American soldiers saw that the dogs were able to fight the Germans and many brought dogs with them to the United States.
Before there was Rin-Tin-Tin, there was Strongheart. He was one of the first canine stars and even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has played in six films.
Of course, you know who Rin-Tin-Tin is, but did you know that he was named after a French puppet because he was raised and saved in France, not in Germany? And, he is said to be America’s first rescue dog. Finally, he received the first Legacy Award from the American Humane Association in 2011. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
9. Shepherd dog
In 1914, the breed was so popular in America that there was talk of changing the name to “sheepherd dog” or “sheepdog” – dropping the German attribution. In 1917, the AKC actually removes the word “German” in front of the name of the breed. It stayed that way until 1930, when the members of the breed club voted to change it.
10. Lewanno Filax
There are so many heroic GSDs in the history of the breed that you can not name them all. But Lewanno’s Filax was honored at Westminster in 1917 for bringing back 54 wounded soldiers in the First World War.
11. First guide dog
In 1929, Harrison Eustis founded The Seeing Eye to train GSD dogs to be used as guide dogs for the blind. Morris Frank was a blind man who read about the World War I veterans who were blind and who used these extraordinary dogs as guides. He met Harrison Eustis who was already working with GSDs.
12. The club of thirteen
The German Shepherd Club of America has a club for GSD who are twelve years old. It’s a fun way to recognize your super senior.
The GSD does not only comes in black and familiar tan, black or white, the AKC actually recognizes eleven colors – those that mention as well: sand, liver, gray, black and red, blue, black & silver, black and cream, black and two-tone.
14. Global Popularity
The GSD does not only enjoy popularity in America. There are hundreds of thousands of fans in 78 countries around the world. There are 250,000 purebred GSDs in Germany alone, with around 15,000 puppies born one year old. There is even a World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs.
15. Lack of Westminster wins
Despite its blazing popularity in America, the German Shepherd Dog, as a breed, was one of the most coveted titles of the Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show in 1987. The dog was Ch Manhattan of Covy Tucker Hill owned by Shirlee Braunstein and Jane Firestone. He is also the only dog in the breeding group to have ever won.
Kaiser was the first German Shepherd killed in the war. He served in Vietnam and died trying to lick his owner’s hand.
17. In numbers
This famous breed has around 250,000 purebred German shepherds in Germany alone with estimations that 15,000 puppies born each year
18. Bite Force
The bite of a GSD has 238 pounds of strength – we have about 86. That’s enough strength to slaughter a human, tissues, breaking bones.
19. Training facility
German shepherds can be trained easily they learn simple tasks after only five repetitions.
The accuracy of accepting command for the first time is around 95 percent.
There is a coloring in the shepherds known as “Panda”.
22. Emotional attachment
A GSD named Captain was so sorry after the death of his owner that he did the daily trek for six years to sit near his tombstone.
23. GSD Play
In the mid-1980s, a play entitled Going to the Dogs featured six German Shepherds, who were to take acting classes in Amsterdam.
Nemo was a German Shepherd who served in the Vietnam War. this brave dog took a turn to the eye but was still able to attack the enemy giving his manager time to escape.
25. In view of 11 September
Rescue German shepherds were among the first responders to the sight of 9/11. They not only sought out survivors but gave comfort to those in distress.
4. Things To Know Before Getting A German Shepherd
1. They are smart
The first thing any one who wish to own a german shepherd must know is that German shepherds are smart and intelligent. These dogs will have your determined routine before you, and they are extremely sensitive to human moods. How intelligent are German Shepherds? Not only do they know what “walking” means, but they can also spell it. Back Have a training plan in place before taking your german shepherd home, and stick to it. Their high intelligence also comes with an eagerness to please their owners. They want to use their intelligence in a constructive way, so have a strategy ready to make this possible. A German Shepherd gets bored is not fun for all involved parties.
2. They may have high energy needs
German shepherds are working dogs. There is a reason why they are frequently used as service dogs, military dogs and police dogs. They like to have a job to do, and your German Shepherd is no exception. Get ready for long walks with your German shepherd, then a few. Take them to a large park where they can run at full speed or consider enrolling them in agility classes. Believe me, if you do not give your GSD excercise, they will start taking their accumulated energy on your favorite things.
3. They require mental stimulation
GSDs can walk longer distances compared to other breeds. In addition to daily exercise, your new German Shepherd will also need mental stimulation. Dog sports and Obedience classes can be particularly useful for rescue shepherds. Classes and training provide you with a bonding experience that builds confidence and helps your dog find his place in your home, and can help you diagnose behavior problems from the beginning.
4. They are cuddled at home but away in public
Do not be surprised if your German rescue shepherd is stay with you at home but remotely and faraway in public. This is a GSD brand behavior and not something to worry about.
5. German shepherds are natural watchdogs
Without adequate socialization, this can sometimes be transformed into territorial behavior and even aggression towards strangers and other pets. If you adopt an older German Shepherd you do not know if their former owner took the time to socialize them. This is a risk that potential GSD users need to be aware of to take the necessary precautions when bringing guests and other dogs onto their property.
6. They are excellent listeners
Nobody is a better listener than a German shepherd. GSDs can reduce loneliness in your life. These radar ears are always listening to your voice, and watching them tilt their heads is sure to make you smile even on the most difficult day.
7. German shepherds are actually Velcro
It’s a little known fact about German Shepherds that they are actually Velcro. Although not all shepherds are stuck, you can be sure that your GSD will never get too far from you, whether you’re going to the cooking, watching TV, gardening, taking a shower, bathroom. GSD takes loyalty very seriously.
8. They are not ideal for new owners
German shepherds can be a handful. The requirements like training, excercise makes them a bad choice for dog owners for the first time. If you choose to adopt a GSD for your first dog, be sure to work with an experienced trainer so that your GSD does not develop any potentially dangerous or destructive habits.
9. All the owners do not like German shepherds
Unfortunately, German shepherds are not always welcomed by the owners. Adopting a GSD might not be a good idea if you rent. If you rent, be sure to ask your property manager or landlord if you can have a GSD in your rental before bringing one to your home.
10. You can not have a single
Adopting a German Shepherd may seem like a harmless decision. What you may not realize is that German shepherds are like potato chips. You can not just have one. You could end up owning German shepherds the rest of your life, which means you’ve been adopted into the German Shepherd family – not the other way around.
5. German Shepherd Temperament
5.1 What Is Temperament?
When we talk about temperament, we are referring to a collection of traits, drives, thresholds and instincts that are innate and inherited.
Yes, it’s true. Temperament is a function of genetics. It’s hereditary, not developed. The basic temperament of a dog never changes. Some behaviors can be modified by training, but the temperament itself never changes. For example, a high-energy dervish dog will not learn to be a casual, low-energy dog. But, the dog can be taught to control his energy, to a certain extent.
Most dog owners absolutely refuse to believe it. If I only had a dollar for each time someone told me “Everything is in the way they are bred!” … No, it is not correct. It will depend on the DNA of the dog. A dog with a foul temper will always be a dog with a foul temper, no matter how beautiful the environment. A dog with a stable and stable temperament will always be a stable dog, even in an ugly environment.
Good early socialization, handling and training will help develop desirable traits in the dog, but these traits need to be there. The ball transmission is a good example because it is the foundation of so many types of work. Some dogs are not interested in running after a ball. If the dog enjoys ball games, a good coach can build it and bring it to the highest level possible, but the player himself is innate. You can not install a reader.
Real people from GSD are always looking to produce healthy working dogs. An understanding what actually temperament means is crucial to developing a breeding program that makes sense and that will preserve working abilities rather than throwing more animals into an already overcrowded world.
5.2 Temperament Test
In the struggle to find good job prospects, the question of using various temperament tests arises. In general, standardized tests may have some value, but do not be fooled by them. Some are really terrible, like Volhard Puppy’s (R) temperament test. This is bad news, not only because the Volhards have so badly labeled various elements of the temperament, but because the test items themselves are too stressful for many puppies. For example, on contention tests, if the puppy freezes, this is labeled as “independence”. Barely. The dog shows avoidance behavior.
Some of their test items are quite harmless, such as social pull tests in which you kneel and call the puppy to come to you. But, other elements, designed to identify suspected future dominant terrorists, are traumatic for a weak and nervous puppy. Do not roll and pinch puppies from others, please. At best, this test is misleading, at worst, it submits puppies to unnecessary stress without good reason.
The Volhards have also developed the Puppy (R) Fitness Test, which is somehow an improvement. The test is designed to identify puppies who have a particular talent for obedience. They do not realize it, of course, but they are actually testing some prey. Volhard’s thing really got hooked. To this day, you will hear local park obedience instructors diagnose any aggression as “dominance.”
A much more useful test is P.A.W.S. Work dog evaluation by Jona Decker, who tests the prey drive.
There is no perfect test, some are more horrible than others. Experienced dog trainers eventually develop their own assessment system for puppies and young adults. The best predictor of temperament is history. How are the parents of the puppy, Grand parents Keeping in mind that temperament is inherited, look to ancestors as your best source of information.
Also, keep in mind that puppies are not made in a artificially. Since the is GSD does not mean that by definition the dog will be able to work. Some dog owners who do not understand why their dogs are not good obedience dogs, guard dogs, protection dogs, whatever. A typical call was from a man who had a six-month-old GSD puppy. He had bought the puppy specifically to train for personal protection. He needed help with that because the puppy is afraid of strangers. Whenever he has a visitor, the puppy runs and hides. On a walk, if approached by a stranger, the puppy hides behind his owner.
He always honestly believes that all he needs is the right coach. I asked a few questions and found that the puppy was reproduced from AKC American shows. The AKC does not impose any condition of any job title earned before reproduction. The puppy’s parents had never been trained in protection. Neither the grandparents of the puppy. There was nothing in the pedigree of this puppy to suggest that he would have what it takes for the protective training. Yet the unscrupulous breeder was more than happy to take the money from this guy and tell him that his puppies would make good protection dogs.
5.3 Early Manipulation
What is the impact of early socialization, manipulation and training, if the temperament is genetic? Why to worry? To use a human analogy, why can not all humans become Olympic gold medalists? Because they do not have the right genetic equipment. But, if you are blessed with the right things, good training can develop these innate abilities at their highest level.
It’s similar to dogs. For example, a coach bought on an 8 week old GSD puppy that was completely lifted from kennel. She had minimal human contact with the kennel, her only interactions being feeding and cleaning. Yet at 8 weeks, this puppy of a bitch was very interested and attracted to humans. The trainer hoped to train this puppy for therapy work, which id intended to develop this aspect of the dog’s personality. Whenever the puppy approached a stranger in a friendly manner, the coach rewarded her lavishly. It is not surprising that the puppy becomes an extremely extroverted social dog. The raw genetic material was there all the time, what the trainer did was just build on what was already there.
Each dog has a personality, which is different from the temperament. Personality is developed through interaction with other living creatures, most humans. Puppies that are raised in enriched environments tend to have well-developed personalities, with maximum emotional intensity and depth. Dogs that have been too often locked up in the kennel have a certain flatness, they lack the expression that we like to see.
So, socialization and early treatment really matter, not because they can change temperament, but because a good manager can build on the innate traits that are already there. And socialization is part of the development of the personality. Good early handling will make a strong dog even better and bring the dog weaker to the extent that the dog is capable.
An obedience instructor who was interested in working dogs went to evaluate two puppies from pretty lines of work. After looking at the female and male pups, each separately, she confirmed the female Schutzhund’s best prospect because she had good behavior. I went out and saw the same two puppies, and left with the opposite opinion. The little female was a darling puppy, exceptionally attentive to the human but only moderately interested in running after a ball. She was a little more interested in catching a rag.
The male, on the other hand, was a fan of the moving objects. When the ball rolled out of sight he chased him away. He was everywhere, in everything. The obedience instructor had confused the energy and attention of the female puppy for work efforts. The male, however, has shown a lot of prey drive as well as confidence in new situations. It would be worth a second glance as a possible prospect of Schutzhund.
A local breeder proudly proclaimed that she just had to pick up one of her male puppies, because he “has too much road!” What did she mean by that? The puppy had been destructive in the house. His interpretation of the shredding of the owners’ affairs by the puppy was that it was a sign that he had excellent behavior.
A veterinarian described his male GSD as “very unstable”. Did that mean he loved chasing a ball? Well no. Not really. She meant that he has a lot of energy.
Again, we have to ask ourselves if some of us are talking about the same thing. Among the working dogs, you will hear a lot of discussion about the readers. But, what are they? What are they like? Too often, the term is used to describe dogs that have high activity levels, but the activity is dispersed and untargeted. When looking for working dogs, we are obviously looking for high energy, but also engines that can be channeled and targeted.
A workout is an internal mechanism that causes the dog to act. All dogs have some basic records. The only real difference between dogs is a matter of degree. Think of each disc being on a continuum.
As a true GSD enthusiast, the readers that interest you most are: pack, defense, prey, and rank. Keep in mind that each workout is related to the survival of the dog. For example, to survive in the forest, a dog must have the will and the ability to capture and kill prey. Drivers are very poorly understood, too often with tragic results.
5.5 Rank Drive
This one should be familiar, it is the domination vs the subject matter. Training rank has to do with the dog’s desire to improve his social position. A dog that is high in rank control will try to catch the highest position in the hierarchy. Again, you will see a great variation in dogs. Some dogs will fight to the death to assume the Alpha position like other dogs in the household, but will be completely respectful of humans and will accept human leadership without fuss.
Some dogs, however, will try to dominate humans. But, remember that it’s always a matter of degree. There is a wide range here, from a moderately driven dog who has an arrogant attitude to a dog who will not hesitate to come on a leash and nail his manager. High ranking dogs can be fun to train because they are very confident. But, in its extreme form, it is not a good trait to look for by novices. When coached in a motivated manner, high-level walking dogs can be real stars in many types of work. They are smart and they like to show off.
Another term that you will hear about and often misused is hardness. Breeders will announce puppies of parents with “super hardness”. The definition for the term hardness is resiliency. A hard dog is one who does not collapse under stress. The extreme hardness of the handler, although revered by many members of the working dog community, makes the dog difficult to handle safely. A dog too soft is the one who wilts at the slightest correction. Newcomers are generally better off with a dog that has a certain degree of toughness and will not be negatively affected by a poorly timed or too severe correction. A soft dog will show avoidance behavior in response to stress. Or, to deceive you, there are dogs that will show a defensive aggression in response to an over-correction.
5.6 Defense Drive
By far, this player causes more confusion than any other. The conduct of defense refers to the dog’s instinct to defend himself. It’s part of the instinct of self-preservation. Thus, a total absence of any defense attack in the GSD would be a defective temperament. Although we expected to see very little defense thrust in a laboratory. This breed is not supposed to have many suspicions towards humans. The question of whether this disk is problematic depends on both the power of the disk and the threshold at which the disk comes into play. We will talk in depth about the thresholds in the next section.
When a dog is in defense, he displays aggressive behavior. Growling, scolding, slamming, running and Barking are part of the constellation. The dog’s hair may be up. Understand that the dog feels he has to fight for his life. A dog in defense is under extreme stress. He may feel extremely ambivalent, and you will see ears swinging back and forth, the dog can bark and recoil, then move forward again. That’s why good coaches never introduce defense elements into protection training until the dog has enough emotional maturity and confidence to handle stress. Defensive behavior is not fun for dog. But most of the owners unknowingly think that it is funny.
It’s easy to understand why so many people confuse a defensive screen with real protection. Remember, the dog in defense feels threatened. All displays of snarling, lunging and others have a common goal: to repel the threat. This is why a defensive display has such a disposition, the dog wants to repel the threat. The best analogy I’ve heard so far was to compare the dog in defense to a lone wolf confronting a grizzly bear (I believe this analogy was written by Donn Yarnell). The lone wolf understands that he cannot win this fight and feels he is not free to flee. So, he makes a big show, hoping to hunt the bear.
In fact, if the dog thought that theft was an option, he would run away absolutely. It is very important that defensive dog owners understand this. Too often, people mistakenly assume that the dog does not bite unless it is stuck. This is not true. All that matters is the dog’s perception of the situation. If he feels he cannot escape because he is in the lead, the dog could very well bite.
Is there anything positive about ordering the Yes !! This is essential for a good protection dog. Why? Because the defensive player is always accessible. It is not subject to exhaustion or boredom. Defense is what puts the seriousness in the protection work. Once again, everything is a matter of degree and threshold.
Assuming that the dog has good solid nerves and a reasonably high threshold, a dog with a strong defensive effort can be a good working dog.
Keep in mind the next time someone tells you that their dog who moans and hugs is “protective”, this protection, by its very definition, requires the presence of a legitimate and identifiable threat. If the dog pursues defensively towards a person or a non-threatening object, it is not a protection, it is a ghost dog.
5.7 Prey Drive
This is another reader misunderstood, but essential. A GSD with a small prey is a crime against nature.
Prey drive refers to the dog’s natural desire to hunt, capture and kill prey. It is completely natural and forms the basis for a wide variety of dog jobs, including SAR, Schutzhund, Police K9, and many others.
Tragically, countless dogs are euthanized each year because no one has understood the nature of the prey. Humans often insist that if the dog kills a rabbit or a cat, it goes on to bigger prey and starts killing the toddlers, which of course is crazy. Dogs of great prey do not attack or kill humans unless there is another pathological dynamic at work or the dog lacks sonic discrimination capabilities. In other words, the dog must be able to tell the difference between a child and a gopher. Most dogs can do this quite easily if given a good puppy socialization.
A dog will not consider any living creature to which it is exposed at the beginning of a puppy’s life as an object of prey, ideally around the age of 3 to 5 weeks. That’s why the job of the breeder is so important! Breeders must have their puppies exposed to babies and small children. An under-socialized dog and high prey can easily confuse a crying baby with injured prey. If you have a little dog that kills, you can read Sadie’s story in “I love my dog, but …”.
What’s great with prey, aside from their usefulness, is that it’s a lot of fun for a dog. Prey and games are very close. In other words, when a dog is prey, he has a good time. A high prey dog ??will love chasing the bullets. When you throw a ball away, does your dog tear it up with a lot of enthusiasm? Good! If he disappears, does he continue to chase him relentlessly or does he abandon and move away? Those dogs that will continue to hunt their beloved tennis balls.
Prey drive is also the basis of good protection training. Remember, prey work is fun. Dogs hunted by prey do not growl. They can bark, but you will hear a kind of barking higher and more mischievous. What you hear is actually prey bark hunting. The dog tries to stimulate the prey to move so that he can chase him away. Look at the body language of the dog. A dog ready to bite the sleeve in prey mode is inflatable, not stressed.
Their tails are raised, the ears are raised, they are excited by the game. In Schutzhund, the bite sleeve finally becomes the object of prized. It is only when the dog is full of confidence and mentally mature that the wizard will begin to behave in a threatening manner towards the dog, which is when the defense is introduced. Prey remains important, however, as it provides a mechanism to relieve the stress of defensive work. If the dog becomes too stressed, the assistant can change gears and give the dog some fun “prey tips” by changing his body language and movements.
The prey, however wonderful and useful it may be, will not, in itself, be a real protection dog. A dog that works only in its prey lacks seriousness. They also focus on the equipment, rather than the agitator. The other problem with prey is that they are prone to boredom and exhaustion. The dog can simply stop working if he works exclusively prey. The conduct of the defense is, however, always accessible. No dog is too tired to defend himself. It is the defense that adds the serious advantage to the protection work.
There are many types of work in which the prey is the base. If the dog has good prey, you have a way to motivate him and reward him for obedience and other activities. Just remember that the prey drive is a comfortable place for the dog to be. And, if you meet a coach who wants to start a young dog in driving the defense, rather than prey, run !!!
5.8 Pack Drive
We know that dogs are highly social animals, just like their ancestor’s wolves. They love to live in a group. As with all readers, dogs vary greatly with respect to the degree of driving of the package. A dog that is independent and distant even with his own family would be considered weak in the player pack. A more social dog that does not support being left out of everything humans do would be higher in the pack.
The extremes at each end do not make good work prospects. A dog with improper exercise t will not stick well with his human partner and will be more difficult to motivate in training. Some races are supposed to be independent and distant. Most GSDs bind themselves deeply with owners.
At the other extreme would be the dog who manifests separation anxiety. It’s a dog that literally cannot be left alone. The poor dog will collapse and show vocalizations and destructive behavior if the owner enters another room and closes the door. In this condition, dog cannot work. True separation anxiety must be medically treated.
To some extent, the degree of training is a personal preference. Do you like a dog who is particularly attentive or who is able to have fun on his own? Until you reach the extreme outdoors, the higher pack dog is easier to train in obedience than the more distant dog. However, too much training can be a handicap in other types of work. Consider the dog sent to do a zone search. This dog must be ready to leave his manager and stay in the car. The overly dependent dog will be concerned about “where is my mother (or father)?”. It is also a function of the nerves, which we will see later.
A good dose of propulsion makes the dog easier to train, because the worst nightmare of the dog displeases you and makes you expel from the pack. More independent dogs also tend to be higher in rank order. The dog thinks in a opposite way as we were there to please him.
There are actually a number of other readers that all dogs have in common. We examined the most crucial drivers of success at work. And those drives who separate the real GSD from these other dogs. And know that disks alone do not make a real GSD. Good commands are only useful if they are combined with good thresholds and strong nerves.
Thunder is my five-year-old sterile GSD male. It is backyard bred, half of the West German exhibition lines and half who-knows-what. He is a beautiful red and black with (do not you know it) good elbows and hips. He is agile, healthy and athletic. Thunder gets along exceptionally well with other dogs, loves clowning and welcomes humans with friendly enthusiasm unless it’s on its own territory. However, Thunder’s defense is off the charts, and it’s something of a sore bag, but luckily for me, it has a pretty high threshold.
Since his debut at Schutzhund, Thunder has demonstrated all his defense, all the time, despite the fact that he has excellent prey, it is not accessible to him under the stress of the bite. Watching Thunder is a bit like watching a primal therapy. It’s stressful and exhausting for him (that’s why he’s now retired from Schutzhund and is only doing perfume work these days, where he excels). He puts on a show.
A dog with this degree of defense could be a threat to the whole society, if not to the threshold. By threshold, we hear reaction time of the dog. In the case of Thunder, we are talking about the conduct of the defense and the point at which it intervenes. In terms of protection, the sight of the assistant in a round is enough to stimulate a strong reaction. It is the result of his training or his previous experiences. It is also a behavior based on reality, he learned that the appearance of the guy with the sleeve means he can start the action now.
Genetically, its overall stimulation threshold is quite high. He showed it to us early in life. I had Thunder when he was seven weeks old and took him quickly to his first veterinary visit. After being pushed by the technology, we put it on a metal table to wait for the vet. The thunder reacted by stretching and falling asleep. On more than one occasion, he took a nap for a long time during one of my group obedience classes. There are those who would say that falling asleep is avoidance behavior, but I do not think it fits that dog. He overall has a very calm temperament.
Some time ago, we were out of our local Pet Smart, talking to a lady who used to raise GSDs. A toddler appeared suddenly, came screaming behind Thunder and grabbed him hard on both flanks. The thunder turned his head to see what had attacked him, then looked up at me and continued to do the task assigned to me as I took out the toddler’s parents. The former GSD breeder commented on the interesting temperament test that Thunder had just done. Thunder had minimal exposure to toddlers, so her reaction was a non-socializing function for kids, but her threshold of stimulation. Even this odious behavior of the child was not enough to trigger a defensive reaction.
Callie is a three-year-old GSD, also black and red, owned by a client. She is from West Germany and comes from a breeder who has a proven track record in producing sprooks. Callie, like Thunder has a strong defense spurt. If a stranger is within ten feet of Callie, she lunges, barks, retreats. She has no reluctance to try to bite strangers. Callie responds to non-threatening events as if her life were at stake. For example, every time Callie’s owner walks in or out of the home, she closes the door behind her. And, every time, it makes a “thump“. And each time, Callie barks. If someone drops a book on the floor, Callie goes into a frenzy of barking.
Callie and Thunder have about the same degree of defense. Yet Callie can not be approached by strangers, while Thunder approaches the strangers willingly and allows strangers to pet him. Callie and Thunder are both weak and nervous dogs. The difference is that they vary considerably in the stimulation thresholds (and Thunder has had more socialization). A small sheet is enough to send Callie in a defensive panic. Conversely, it requires some precise learned clues to launch Thunder in defense mode. Thunder can stretch and relax in a crowded shop. Callie can not relax on her own lawn.
You can see that a very defensive dog with a low threshold for stimulation is a very dangerous dog! It is a dog who perceives a threat very quickly where it does not exist and reacts aggressively.
Threshold is not another word for the nerves, but rather a function of the nervous force. The stronger the dog’s nerves, the less likely he is to panic for nothing and more stimulation is needed for the dog to react.
Some dogs react to absolutely everything in the environment. The sound of telephone ringing or washing machine change cycles puts them in a barking, out-of-control frenzy. The low threshold dog reacts to almost anything and often reacts excessively. It is very easy to over stimulate these dogs. It’s almost as if the dog was missing some kind of filter that filters incoming stimuli.
You may have seen the quiet, relaxed dog dozing in the living room, who barely raises his head when a car door slams. It would be the high threshold dog.
We had a one-year-old Mastiff in a large group obedience class that had a fairly high threshold. The dog next to her was a crazy GSD rescued with horrible nerves and a low threshold. Poor GSD barked, grunted, leaped and tried to bite any human being or canine too close to his personal space. The Mastiff puppy responded by falling on the grass and taking a nap. The GSD of the group was also inclined, when he was agitated enough, to bite his own handler when he could not reach the object of his reluctance. With his other significant problems, this dog was not clear.
5.10 Clear In The Head
You will hear the clear term headed bouncing a lot in the working circles of the dogs. Lucidity is closely related to thresholds and nerves. A dog with a clear head is a dog that does not panic easily because it is in contact with reality. It can have tons of driving but has an integrated ability to cap its drive when the need arises.
If we had my thundering Thunder on the field, and he was racing for a bite and you had to come behind him and pull his tail, Thunder would not bite you. It’s clear in the head. He is under the maximum pressure, but it can understand that it is not the threat, the guy with the round is the only one to worry.
Compare that to the dog who gets into a frenzy when a stranger walks down the street, or another dog passes by his window. His owner come near him and he bites her. What happened? The dog has lost touch with reality. He was too agitated for his own level of tolerance. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is very common. Some coaches will tell you that it’s quite normal for a high-driving dog. No it is not. The dog was too stressed and lost touch with reality. It’s a definition of madness. The dog clearly tells you that his tolerance for stress is inadequate. Biting the manager rather than the desired object is called displacement aggression. A well-balanced dog does not lose its grip on reality as easily. It is not a matter of driving, but of a dangerously low threshold.
“Such shy animals are in all circumstances an encumbrance to their owner, who must be ashamed of such a dog, and a disgrace to their race. Under no circumstances whatever must they be used for breeding, however noble and striking they may appear outwardly.”
Max von Stephanitz, The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture (1925)
The essence of the German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is the character. By far, the worst possible defect of temperament in the GSD is the weakness of the nerves. Unfortunately, this problem is endemic. Von Stephanitz warned us a long time ago. In fact, he told us that the production of weakened nervous dogs would be nothing less than the destruction or degeneration of the race.
Captain von Stephanitz believed that the cause of weak nerves is kenneling, but not kenneling an individual dog to create shyness kenneling, but rather the process of “keeping animals that have been torn from their vocation and their Natural living conditions have existed for several generations. In other words, the net effect of raising and rearing dogs, regardless of the maintenance of temperament and working abilities, results in weak nerves and the inevitable destruction of GSD.
5.12 That Is, Basically Where We Are Today
Nobody said it would be easy. Von Stephanitz acknowledged that the GSD should be exceptionally attentive to the environment if it wants to fulfill its obligations as guardian and protector. The tricky part would be to maintain this increased alertness and sensitivity without crossing the line in excessive responsiveness. That’s why there is a system in place to help screen dogs with defective nerves on breeding programs.
As with everything else, look at the nerves on a continuum. The degree of nerve resistance varies among dogs. But, there is a minimum that must be allocated. Breeding essentials under the German system are put in place to help ensure that dogs that fall below this minimum standard are not used for breeding. Is it a right system? Not at all, but it’s the best we have.
What is a weak-nerved dog? In other words, a weak, nervous dog shows aggressive behavior or avoidance in response to situations, objects or non-threatening people. This includes shy dogs and fear buffs. Nothing is harder for a dog owner or breeder to hear that his dog has a nerve problem. People will go to great lengths to circumvent the reality and deny the problem. All alarms should sound in your head when you hear a breeder attempt to blame the environment for a dog’s behavior. For example, the shy puppy who walks away from you and walks away from you when you squat to pet it. I bet the breeder told you not to worry, she’s just a little shy and needs some time to get to know you. And I bet the breeder told you it’s perfectly normal for a puppy. Or the young adult dog who splits and splits a neutral stranger that you see walking down the street and you decide that it’s because the stranger was wearing a funny hat or that your dog is incredibly insightful and recognized a an evil trait in the stranger from whom she bravely protected you. (In fact, if your dog did this only once or twice in his life, I would be inclined to buy it). The reaction of a dog to neutral strangers is still significant. By neutral we mean the stranger walking in the street who does not pay attention to you or your dog. Does the dog ignore the stranger? Good. Some curiosity is as well in the normal range. Aggression or Avoidance are signs of a serious nervous problem.
Understand that nervous problems are not repairable. Skinner away from an object or a scary noise is not a training problem, it’s a temperament problem. With sufficient training, you could teach a dog to inhibit his response to a particular stimulus, but you will not correct the nervous problem. For example, you could teach a weak dog not to run away from a moving wheelchair. In case, the wheelchair user dropped a book on the floor. You can be sure that the dog will panic again. Training can, to a certain extent, modify specific behaviors, but it can not change the dog’s genetics. The weakness of temperament will always resurface under stress. And it takes stress tests to weed weakened nervous dogs out of the gene pool. This is why Schutzhund remains the favorite test of the breed. The training itself provides many opportunities to evaluate the overall nervous force of the dog. It is not only during the firing test or the protection phase that the dog’s nerves will be tested. How does the dog concentrate on the track with a group of strangers in an unfamiliar place? How does he manage his obedience routine in front of a large crowd on strange ground with someone in the honking car park? There are many possibilities for the dog to be heard.
Not that Schutzhund is the perfect test, there are far too many weak dogs that are driven through a title by talented coaches. But it’s better than nothing! Too often, dogs are used for breeding without being tested for anything. In the United States, breeding has become entirely subjective, as in “I know what I love, so I will raise it!” It is amazing how many breeders of GSD do not understand the nerves. They see their dogs on their own turf and assume that the dogs are just great. And puppy buyers also fall for that. The typical scenario is, puppy buyer goes to the home of the breeder to see a litter of puppies. The buyer is presented with six adorable puppies, all happily playing together. They have a beautiful look. Unfortunately, this is the worst possible scenario for choosing a puppy. All puppies look more confident than they are in familiar circumstances, surrounded by familiar humans and littermates! Only when you have isolated the puppy from littermates and human friends, and preferably taken the puppy to an unexplored area, can you even begin to see what you really have.
5.13 Sensitivity To Sound
Sound sensitivity, which is a frightening reaction to loud noises, is not synonymous with nerve weakness, but is usually a symptom of a lack of overall nervous force. That’s why the shooting test remains a part of Schutzhund. The ideal answer to a sudden, loud noise is indifference.
However, it is possible to find cases of sound sensitivity learned rather than genetic. For example, the novice coach who issues a severe correction just at the moment of the shot may induce a phobic reaction in a sensitive dog. However, you will be able to tell the difference, because if it is a trained behavior, it will be precise. As in the case of the dog who had a bad experience in the training that he was brought to associate with the shot, if the dog shows a reaction of fear only to this specific noise, in this specific frame, the chances are that the behavior is learned, rather than genetic. It will take a lot of work to train, but it can be done if the dog is generally healthy and stable. Dogs that are exposed to large amounts of live bullets, such as police dogs, can develop phobic reactions that are authentically not inherited and learned. You will know by the narrowness of the reaction, the avoidance behavior will only occur under certain circumstances. The dog who can easily ignore a firecrackers or car fire on July 4, but panics on the training ground may have learned a negative association.
5.14 Life With A Weak Dog Nerved
It’s not a picnic. It is tough to predict Weak dogs. Combine weak nerves with a high defense workout and a low threshold and you have a really dangerous dog. Who knows what will put the dog off? Owners are always stunned when their dogs show aggression of fear. They find all kinds of excuses for that, they particularly like to define it as “protection”.
The owner of a 7 month old puppy from the who-knows-what breeding contacted me to train for his puppy. She had no previous dog experience and was determined to breed this male as soon as possible. Nothing I said could deter him. She thought she had the best natural protection dog in the world. Why? Because when the guests come to her house, the puppy folds next to her, leans against her and grunts at them.
The reality is, the dog is a nerve and should never be used for breeding. It is easy to understand how this owner took the behavior of his dog to protect her because she did not understand what was happening from the point of view of the dog. The dog is afraid of the visitors welcomed. So he sticks to the owner. His closeness gives him enough confidence to express his anxiety by growling. I absolutely guarantee that if she was not there to protect the puppy, he would hide under the furniture when the guests arrived. Nobody wants to hear about their own beloved pet. But, we all need to hear it, in the hope that these dogs will not be used for breeding. This seven month old puppy is exactly the kind of dog that worries us the most because it is likely to ripen in an unpredictable fear.
5.15 We Felt Sorry For The Poor Thing
If I had a dollar for every time I heard that! Puppy buyers fall for shy puppies. We are sorry for them. The breeder feeds our illusion that we can offer them a wonderful home and then they will be fine. Puppy babies often show their weak nerves by acting timidly. They show the avoidance of all that is not familiar. Some puppies will remain avoidant, others will mature in aggression of fear. In any case, they are at risk. Imagine a low-threshold dog, weak, nervous, facing his first toddler crisis?
It’s a little different for adults. Shyness in a puppy is always a cause of alarm. Puppies should be in everything, curious about everyone and pretty much a royal pain. When the puppy matures, it is quite normal that he stops jumping on everyone. The gap is not the same as shyness. It is quite correct that a mature GSD is reserved for foreigners, showing no evasion or aggression. Some suspicion of new people is also allowed in the GSD. But many breeders want their GSDs to welcome everything and everyone on their property with queues stirring. They do not want GSD, they want the Golden Retrievers to wear GSD uniforms.
My first GSD was a two year old K9 policeman named Jet. Jet was in a host family when I went to meet her, accompanied by a friend. His adoptive owner took him out and gave me his Frisbee. Jet grabbed the Frisbee and slumped on the grass, making me think I was not there. At no time did she turn away from her adoptive owner. I pampered and talked to him. She ignored me. I asked if I could get it and I was delighted when the adoptive owner said yes. My friend was not happy. She acknowledged that Jet was exceptionally pretty, but she did not like her temper at all.
(My friend is strongly in Golden Retrievers). I assumed Jet’s temperament was wonderful. She guessed quickly enough that neither my friend nor I was threatened, and started to ignore us and focus on the adoptive owner she had started to bond with. Jet had a lot of mistakes, but his initial attitude towards me was totally correct for a GSD. She showed us neither aggression nor avoidance, just a total lack of interest. (Of course, I finally turned it into a social butterfly and turned everything upside down).
Jet gave us another impromptu seminar on suspicion of GSD from strangers shortly after. My boyfriend was then out of town when I had Jet and he was looking forward to meeting her. She woofed at the door, but allowed me to let him in without complaint. She then placed on an extension “look at her”. When he was in the kitchen, she lay down and kept her eyes on him. He went out to install new lights, went, lay down and watched every move he made.
Finally, she decided he was well and relaxed. They became good friends. Again, she showed no untoward aggression and certainly no avoidance. She did not immediately jump on him to make friends. She behaved like a GSD.
Thus, we expect puppies that they let their curiosity take over and eagerly investigate all the new comers. With maturity comes suspicion, and some distance to strangers is perfectly acceptable and not a symptom of bad nerves.
What signals bad nerves is the avoidance of a inappropriate aggression or human, or non-threatening object. Remember what a dog looks like in the defense car? When you observe this behavior in the absence of a legitimate and identifiable threat, you look at a nervous bag. Nervous dogs are often very vocal, you’ll hear a machine gun barking or grunting.
By avoiding, we mean that the dog will try to move away from the imagined threat by moving away physically or freezing on the spot. Roll over is an avoidance behavior that you will observe in extremely submissive dogs.
Again, remember that there is a range here. Some nervous problems are more serious than others. One of the worst cases I’ve seen so far is a 12-week-old Siberian Husky puppy. I went to her house, squatting and turned aside to join her (turning and squatting to the east side in canine language a universal signal of friendship). The puppy raised his pulled back, barked, grunted and hair, releasing a huge trail of urine as it escaped.
She stayed about twenty feet away from me for twenty-five minutes before I wanted to get close. (I completely ignored her) The recovery time is always important. When a puppy moves away from you or an object, note how long it takes to recover and decide to approach and investigate. Some puppies catch an unknown object, but gather almost immediately and check. I am much less worried about these puppies. Twenty-five minutes is a very long recovery time. Fortunately, the owners of the puppy will not raise it!
Beware of grunts! This is never good news. Confident dogs do not growl about objects or people. Hackles up is another gift that the dog is scared of. People always tell me that they have good watchdogs because every time the dog hears a noise, the dog growls and puts his hair in the air. They dream.
No matter how impressive the screen is, you can never rely on a nervously weak dog for protection. The only reason they did not run and hide was because you are there. They can talk a lot harder when dad or mom is on the leash.
Dogs are so much more confident on their own ground that a lot of nervous problems are covered. Imagine the buyer of an adult dog who is going to see the dog. The seller can even put a sleeve and give a few bites to the dog to really impress the buyer. Be warned: playing with your landlord on your property is not a stress test! This means nothing to you. Get this same dog on a strange field, with his owner as far as the eye can see, and see what happens.
5.17 But We Only Wanted A Nice Pet!
To mention Max von Stephanitz, GSD breeding is working on dog breeding or ceasing to be a GSD breeding.
There are already many more pet dogs that are born than houses for them. There is no excuse for intentionally producing pets.
Potential buyers of puppies must understand that if they go to a breeder who raises “pets”, the chances are astronomically high that they find themselves stuck with a untrustworthy, unstable, nervous, weak pet. Breeders born of feeling, greed or ego do not care about the complexities of temperament. The nerves seem to be particularly sensitive to neglected breeding. A really strong dog with good nerves is getting harder and harder to find. You do not risk tripping over him through animal breeders.
The best animals come from breeders that breed strictly to the SV standard. In the best breeding, not all puppies will have the same amount of driving and some will be placed in pet homes. You are likely to get a healthy dog are much better looking for a Real GSD breeder.
Even if your only goal is to have a pet dog, you still need good nerves! A nervous dog makes a lousy companion. Imagine having a dog which cannot left with kids? Or a dog needs a company with him? How about a dog that you can not even train reliable obedience because the dog is too busy to panic every time you leave your own property?
Do not fall into the big promises of breeders. If their dogs are protective, trainable, healthy and really stable, let them prove it in the field.
5.18 But, my dogs work!
Some breeds of the breed race for pets, there are breeders who resist the norm and argue that since their dogs do another type of work, they are suitable for breeding. assistance, obedience, agility, K9, detection, SAR and other dog work are wonderful and we would expect DLG to excel in these areas. But, they do not stress dogs enough. Herding, under the German system, is just for reason for exeption, as herding dogs are supposed to demonstrate protective and courageous abilities. Thus, the HGH can be used in place of a Schutzhund title. Do not confuse AKC breeding with German style breeding.
The other problem with using another type of work is that the plan is missing regularly. For example, suppose the breeder has a functioning SAR dog that has shown courage and confidence in training situations. Its good. But, what proof do we have that the dog can reproduce these traits in his offspring? How could we test the toughness, courage and fighting instinct of this dog?
This becomes really ridiculous when breeders decide that it is acceptable to substitute an AKC obedience title for an endurance test, a conformation test, a breed study and a Schutzhund title.
Also, keep in mind that all nervous problems do not manifest themselves as clearly as the dog who moves away from a strange object or puts his shackles on it and barks at it. Nervous weaknesses can be very subtle, which confirms the value of a balanced breed fitness test. Consider the drug detection dog that falls off a search when its manager walks away from it too much. A lack of motivation? Could be. But it could also be a nervous problem if the dog breaks down because of his anxiety when his master is not near.
That’s why so many dogs are washed from law enforcement, for patrol work, and also even for detection. Think that a drug detection dog does not need strong nerves? Oh yes? A weak and nervous dog is not about to leave his master in a strange warehouse with noisy machines to search for drugs. This is the wrong time to discover that the dog’s nerves are not as big as the breeder has claimed.
5.19 Find the right ones
The puppy buyer can avoid a lot of grief by considering only the puppies of Real GSD breeders. Those who breed to the SV standard and understand what the nervous force looks like. Breeders who are ready to stress test their breeders and accept an truth, even when it hurts.
A dog with a good nervous force is a joy. We can trust him with the children. He is never a tyrant, he has nothing to prove because he knows he can handle any situation that should occur. And only a well-behaved dog with strong nerves is the dog you can rely on for your safety.
6. German Shepherd Colors
The German Shepherd Dog comes in a variety of colors. The standard breed requires beautiful dark pigments and rich colors. The colors considered as “undesirable” or “disqualifying” according to the German standard Shepherd Dog are liver, white and blue. All others are considered “correct color“.
In some breeds, some colors are related to specific health problems, but this is not the case in the German Shepherd breed.
Rumors that liver, white and blue dogs will have more health problems are unfounded and based on incorrect information and misconceptions. These shepherds are no more likely to have health problems than any other Shepherd color.
Let us have a look at the different colors of the German Shepherd Dog.
6.1 Black And Tan
Black and tan are the most common color in the breed and When anyone thinks about GSD this color comes into mind first.
There are many color variations in this color. The tan color can range from a rich deep red to a light pale silver color. The black pattern can go from a saddle to the back cover. A rear saddle is just what it looks like: the black color looks like a saddle on the back and sides of the dogs. A back cover is darker in color and the black covers more of the back and sides of the dog. Some black and tanned dogs have very little black covering their backs.
Black and tanned are recessive to the most dominant zam gene, but dominate the solid black recessive gene. Black and tanned dogs are usually born darker and become lighter as they mature. The black will go back and the tan will become more prominent. It is not uncommon for some black and tanned (especially females) to develop a gray band in the back; This is often called a “bitch band“.
West German exposure lines are usually black and red. Black and tans and two-color are found more in the different lines of work.
The most dominant color in the German Shepherd breed is a sand color. Most people do not know a German sable shepherd; they are used to seeing the typical black and tan variety.
Sand dogs often have a color pattern that looks like a gray wolf. If you examine a single hair of a marten dog, you will usually see two or three different colors on the lock of hair.
Sand dogs can range in color from a very light gray to a darker color, more gray or red to a black or dark brown color. All shades of sand are acceptable but the dark pigment is preferred. Lighter sands lack pigments, making them disappear.
A dog must have a marten gene to be a sable. Therefore, it is mandatory to have at least one Sable parent to produce a Sable puppy. A dog can not carry the zen gene recessively, which means that two black and tanned dogs raised together will never produce a sable puppy.
A homogenous sable, also called dominant sable, is a dog that has received a sand gene from both parents. This means that it carries only marten genes and that it will only produce wild pups, regardless of the female to which it is bred. When a sable puppy is born from two sibeline parents, this does not automatically make the puppy a “dominant sable”. Indeed, the puppy could have received the parent’s recessive gene rather than their zibeline gene.
The German Shepherds of Sable have existed since the very beginning of the breed, and the very first German Shepherd Dog recorded was sand colored. The sand color is not very common in the German exhibition lines. They do not usually do well in the SV style show ring. Sand dogs are very common in the work lines.
6.3.1 Two-tone coat of German Shepherd
Two-tone shepherds are considered a variation of black and tan. The dog’s entire body is black, with the exception of a few areas of tan or brown, usually in the eyebrows, on the feet, under the tail, and sometimes there might be a small blemish on the cheeks.
Blacks and darker tans are often incorrectly advertised as bi-colored, but a true two-tone is very dark with very little color on the body. The only way to identify a puppy at birth as a two-color versus a black one is to look for some brown under the tail.
In some circles, there is a debate about whether the two-color is a real color or just a pattern. In any case, it is known that bicolor is recessive compared to typical black and tan patterns such as the black of the saddle, and two-color dogs will carry another black gene or bi-color gene recessively. Two-color is the most acceptable recessive color other than plain black.
The two-colored shepherds are not seen in the West German exhibition lines but are in various lines of work.
Black German Shepherds can be completely black; they may have some brown hair on their toes or feet, or a white patch on their chest. If a black puppy has a tan under the tail, it will end up being two-colored. Black German shepherds are seen less often than black and tanned dogs, but black is not “rare” or “special”, no matter what breeders may try to make you believe.
Black is the most recessive acceptable color of the German Shepherd. To produce a black puppy, both parents must be black themselves or carry the black gene recessively. A black puppy can unexpectedly appear in litter because the black gene can be recessively transmitted for several generations. If black gene is not carried for other breeding partner, there will be no black puppies, but this recessive gene can be forwarded to pups in the litter.
Black German shepherds are not in the West German exhibition lines. Black shepherds are found in European and German lines of work, American show lines and backyard breeders/pet lines.
Almost everyone has seen a white German shepherd, but few people are aware of the controversy caused by white shepherds within the breed. According to the German Shepherd breed standard, white is a disqualifying defect and can not be shown in conformation or reproduced. The American Kennel Club (AKC) allows white shepherds to be raised and receive registration papers, but they are disqualified to be shown in conformation.
In the GSD breed, the white color is actually an absence of color. This is called a masking gene; the dog’s genetic color is masked, giving the dog a white appearance. A white GSD has the genetic color of a black and tan, sand, or black but you will not see these colors.
There are breeders and owners who breed responsibly and show their white shepherds under different organizations. The White Shepherd International Dog Club (WGSDCII) was created to help promote and maintain the white-coated GSD. The American Shepherd Association (AWSA) was also founded for the recognition and preservation of the White Shepherd in the United States.
The white GSD is called different names in other countries. He is known as the American White Shepherd or White Swiss Shepherd.
Never choose a German shepherd based solely on color. Although you may have a color preference, please look for more essential traits such as structure, work capacity, temperament and health.
While some of the blue color may be accepted as a purebred, almost all important kennel clubs dabble the blue as a flawed color and will not accept them as a show quality. However, some may accept light blue or shaded blue with black or silver.
6.7 Liver (brown)
The color of the liver is controversial, in that those with a light liver color and white tones (cream) may be acceptable, but a darker or red liver color is considered defective.
7. German Shepherd Training
7.1 Train A German Shepherd Puppy
German Shepherds are known for their loyalty and have all these traits, being eager to please, intelligent, and athletic, they are trainable and very versatile.
1. Start your training attempts around the age of eight weeks. Although any German Shepherd dog is trainable, they are powerful and very strong animals. If you start with a puppy, you have the opportunity to shape and shape his personality and develop your relationship early.
If you get an older dog, adult dogs can still be trained effectively.
German Shepherds can be very protective of their family members, so it is advisable to socialize your pup early. This will allow them to interact with a wide variety of people and pets, which is essential.
2. Begin to gently manipulate the tail, paws, ears, etc. of your puppy. It will be a big dog, and you want to prepare the dog when it is young and small for future grooming and veterinary visits. They may need to take the temperature, cut nails, clean the ears, and other tasks. These tasks are not easy to accomplish if your large adult German Shepherd dog is in top form.
3. Start training your puppy with basic commands. You will need to train them to heel, sit, and stay, in addition to training them at home. Your puppy will not understand your commands immediately. Have patience with your dog when they do not do exactly what you ask right now.
4. Use treats and compliments to strengthen your orders. German shepherds love to learn and they are very motivated to follow your orders if they are rewarded with treats.
5. Prevent aggression of the food bowl. Caress your puppy while he is eating, as long as he does not stiffen and stop eating when you stroke the puppy. If the puppy stiffens, stops eating or growls, you must face this aggressive response immediately.
Teach your puppy that people are not a threat to the food bowl by adding food to the bowl while they are eating. Start with some kibble (or any type of food you normally eat) in the bowl and add food so that the puppy combines good things with people near the bowl of food.
6. Address food aggression. Do this by removing the food bowl and feeding the dog by hand. The puppy needs to earn every piece of food from you with commands like “sit”.
Once the puppy is more compliant around the food, you can bring out a bowl or plate and continue your manual feeding routine in the presence of the plate or bowl, but do not feed directly on the food.
Making the bowl is not a big deal. If a piece sof food is left inside, let the puppy take it and congratulate it. Then feed again nearby. The bowl will not always have food inside. Gradually drop more food into the bowl while you stand or sit with the puppy. It will not be long before the puppy realizes that you near the bowl means food and good things and it’s not something to keep.
You can also add some high-value treats like roast chicken breast to the bowl if your puppy seems to need more confidence than you bring good to the bowl.
If, at any time, you feel that you are in danger. STOP. Immediately call in a professional trainer to avoid hurting another family member or injuring yourself, especially a child. Resource guarding can be a very serious symptom of fear aggression and, if you see it in a puppy, it needs to be treated as early as possible so that it does not escalate.
7. Use the feeding time as the training time. You can make your puppy to look at you to get more food, then sit down and wait for more food, etc. Humans control the food resource and reward the puppy for good behavior.
8. Wean your puppy off the treats for the performance. After your puppy has mastered an order, start treating intermittently so that you do not have a dog that will only do food. You always congratulate your dog, but do not offer a treat every time. If you are working to modify a command to create a faster response, add treats again to shape the behavior until it is disabled. Then start using treats to reward truly outstanding performance.
9. Do not create fear in your puppy. Do not shout at your pet. Learn to recognize when you lose patience and stop the workout on a happy note. Your dog may feel your frustration in your body language and the tone of your voice. Try another day when you are both fresh.
If you still face any problem donot hesitate to call a professional trainer.
10. Register your German Shepherd puppy in a basic obedience class or puppy. Usually, as the puppies are the first instructors, a member of the adult family will be responsible for the training. Later, when the puppy is consistent and understands the basics, other family members can participate in formal training. It is crucial for the dog to understand that not only must a household member be obeyed.
Your puppy should be 8-10 weeks old and started his series of vaccines for this first class. There are preschool puppies designed for puppies who have not yet finished receiving all their vaccines. The school has a registration process where you need some information like provide proof of vaccination.