We think we've found our new addition

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by CollieMan, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. CollieMan Experienced Member

    We've been looking for potential 'new addition' candidates for a wee while now. The hardest part has been finding a dog that has just the right temperament to suit both us and Ellie.

    We want a dog that loves training, of course, though will be more suited towards obedience than agility. We also wanted a dog that is good with other dogs, as there are several other dogs in our area, and not all of them have great manners.

    We wanted a slightly more mature dog with a well-rounded and confident temperament, that Ellie could use as an example. (Wishful thinking perhaps!)

    Of course, it also had to have the energy and enthusiasm to love our long walks each day.It also had to be a rescue dog, as opposed to buying a new puppy. We just can't justify buying a new pup when there are so many dogs needing a home.

    Well, we think we've finally found him. We've agreed, in principle, to taking him on, subject to meeting and seeing how the two dogs get on. He sounds like a real gem of a dog, and the current owner is making all the right moves to give me confidence that she's doing it for the right reasons, and looking for the right people.

    He's great with other dogs, and has no history of aggression. Absolutely loves country walks, particularly places with water. Has a reliable recall and walks great off-leash. Not a problem barker, or a chewer. He's had basic training, but nothing over and above that. He's used to children and is fine with them.

    He is a German Shepherd of four years of age, which, while not perfect for training, is still plenty young enough to work with. He does pull on the leash apparently, but that can be worked out easily enough. He also "might" have some small S/A issues. Though, he apparently tolerates being left alone, he's just not overly keen on it. His current owner is like me and works from home all day. He is also KC Registered with a verifiable lineage.

    And here he is!

    I couldn't resist those markings and that eager face. If you asked me to paint my idea of a perfect looking GSD, that would be extremely close to the dog I painted.

    Apparently, he's just a very placid and well-rounded boy. Of course, there are no guarantees that he will remain so in a new environment with a new dog, but that is true no matter where you get the dog from, and we can still change our mind if they clearly react badly to each other when we meet. We will never compromise Ellie's well-being. She is our biggest concern, first and foremost.

    We won't be meeting until after March 14 now, as Jan's Mum is coming to visit on Sunday, for a week, but I'll keep you posted on how things progress. As she has incurable cancer and is a little frail, I don't want to risk having a large dog jumping up at her in excitement.

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    Congratulations CollieMan! You sure have embarked on a new journey that should make you grow as a person and as a dog trainer.

    That dog looks beautiful, but I am left to wonder: If that dog is so good, then why on earth is the owner getting rid of it?

    I also think that you should bring Ellie with you when you go visit the dog. So that you can see how they react. I'm sure the owner could arrange meeting in a safe and neutral environment. :)
  3. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I don't think it's right for me to discuss the current owner's personal circumstances on a public forum, as you never know who knows who on the net. However, she's given me the reasons, and I'm happy to accept what she says.

    We're arranging the meeting very carefully. They will come to us (as the owner naturally wants to see us and our home), but we will initially meet in a local field where both dogs have the space to move about and not be in an enclosed space. It will also give me the opportunity to see how he behaves with his existing owner. Presuming they get along there, we'll then each jump into our cars and drive to our home, and let the dogs meet again outside the home. We'll then let them into the home and see how they get along.

    It's being planned like a military operation. :)
  4. Jean Cote Administrator

    Ah, I feel bad for the owner now. So sad to see a member of the family leave the household, but I'm sure they must have good reasons. At least they are trying to find him a good home. :dogsmile:

    Has Ellie played a lot with other dogs growing up?
  5. l_l_a New Member

    Awww...he is a very handsome boy! I hope it works out well!

    Have you seen this dog in person yet (without Ellie I mean)? for example the description of him - great with other dogs and children, walks well off leash etc. - are these things you've seen for yourself yet or is that what the owner says?

    Also how are his hips? a common health/genetic issue in german shepherds. Another one is digestive problems (mine is prone to diarrhea! ugh!!)

    Also I may have missed it, but just out of curiosity what got you interested in adding a second dog to your household at this point or has it always been the plan from the start?

    German shepherds are my favorite breed!!
  6. Jean Cote Administrator

    He does look like an awesome dog! :dogsmile:
  7. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Not played, no. We've raised her to largely ignore other dogs, which she usually does. The only time she doesn't tolerate other dogs, and lets her feelings be known is if the other dog is "rude" and constantly badgers her. At which point she will do that infamous "Collie nip". We've certainly had other dogs in our home with Ellie, and she's been fine, though her usual timid self for quite some time.

    This is purely the owner's word at this stage, and I will, naturally, be checking these things for myself (as much as is possible) when we meet. She has had him since he was a pup and has the pedigree papers, etc. There is no commitment set yet, other than to say that we've agreed in principle, subject to meeting and seeing the dog, how they get on, and so forth. We're in no desperate hurry to get another dog, and the current owner is in no desperate hurry to rehome him either. We can both afford to take our time. We just happened to spot this fella (as well as another collie cross) but this one seemed to have the best personality, in terms of what we're looking for.

    Again, I'm assured that he is extremely fit and healthy and without seeing him, I have to take that at face value.

    It's always been a part of the plan to get a second dog, and we very nearly got one at the same time as getting Ellie. However, after taking advice at that time, we wanted to get Ellie trained to a reasonable level first, and become her best friend, before another dog became her best friend.

    Now seems a good a time as any other to introduce a second dog. For starters we were struggling to see valid reasons for waiting any longer, and we feel that now is the best time for Ellie, before she gets way too accustomed to having us completely to herself.

    It's an exciting time for us, but not so exciting that we're blinded. We'll be extremely careful, and there is no way on God's earth that we will risk the work we've put in with Ellie.

    We may even ask our trainer/behaviourist to come over on the the day of the meeting to give us a third-person perspective, and to help supervise the meeting.
  8. leema New Member

    I hope everything turns out for the best. :D
  9. emmasmamma Guest

    I would expect nothing less from you!;) Good luck and I hope it works out well!
  10. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Congratulations! My he's georgeous. ^^ Hope everything works out great for all of you!
  11. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I've just confirmed with his current owner that we are both reading from the same page:

    That being that both parties must be in full agreement before making any final decisions. I'm devising some small tests that we can do when he arrives, such as a quick walk around the town, in the local field where other dogs run around, with the neighbours dogs barking away in the garden next door, etc.

    The present owner seems perfectly happy to do this.
  12. marieke New Member

    Beautiful dog, I hope it works out well. Not only for you and Ellie but also for the German Shepard so he'll get a nice new home.
  13. Jean Cote Administrator

    So when is she coming to visit? :)
  14. szecsuani Experienced Member

    This dog is just beautiful! And those EYES!! :msngrin:
  15. CollieMan Experienced Member

    We're still trying to drill down a good date for all parties, but it's looking to be around the 16th to 19th March. We're just waiting to drill down a little further.

    I'm also speaking with a colleague of mine who trains only GSDs for a living, to get some general advice regarding tests that we can set up, and what to look for when he visits.
  16. nereis Well-Known Member

    He's gorgeous, a really nice looking dog. Hope everything goes well :D
  17. heidib860 New Member

    I am so happy for you CollieMan. I hope everything works out well for you and Ellie. Beautiful new addition.
  18. CollieMan Experienced Member

    The meeting date has been confirmed for March 17th.

    Here's hoping that all goes well. I'm still devising the tests that I want to put him through before any final commitment is made, but I'm getting there. The existing owner seems very confident that he'll be fine, so we shall see.

    To be honest, my main concern is vocal and physical aggression. Almost all of the problem dogs around here are GSDs. A sad fact but a true one. However, they are clearly more of the American bloodline group, which, in my experience, are generally more nervy and 'skittish'.

    I'm prepared to work with other issues, but not aggression. It's so hard to manufacture safe and consistent situations to make working with it possible and productive.

    However, this is the area where the current owner seems the most confident, so I'm hopeful.
  19. l_l_a New Member

    speaking of tests, you probably have already got this covered but thought I'd add anyway that you might want to check the dog's "protective" instinct and territoriality and reactivity to sudden changes in environmental stimuli, as these are common traits in GSDs, and due to the varied breeding landscape many GSDs (even those from otherwise impeccable lines) can come with too high a dose of these traits for pet owners to deal with easily. the key word is "easily" since it's not impossible to deal with them effectively and have a well-mannered pet, just that it can take a TON of time and effort that could otherwise be spent on other training goals or on your other dogs.

    I know many fellow GSD owners who are struggling to get control over these traits in their dogs and it really requires extra training and/or lifelong management. I have to do that with mine to some extent too which I've never had to do with any other dogs I've owned before. With dangerous dog laws being so easy to misconstrue anything as viciousness it can be a mental burden, always worrying if I'm going to get reported to animal management authorities if someone freaks out over my dog's appearance or demeanor. For example his breeder got reported to the police because one of her dogs (my dog's mother) barked at someone outside the house (as in, dog was in the property and other person was outside). And that person freaked out because the dog's barking was a bit too intense for their liking (the territorial thing), and also combined with the knowledge that this dog is a GSD, they called police and animal management saying the breeder had a vicious dog. The dog (my dog's mother) got put on "probation" for that.

    So yes collie man you are absolutely right to be concerned about vocal and physical aggression. Or just a general reactivity like having a low threshold for alarm-barking.

    If I may suggest maybe you can have someone video the tests so you can later analyze it or take it around to other trainers or GSDs experts to get their opinions too. Or join a GSD forum (I can recommend a couple if you're interested) and post the videos there to get their opinions.

    Also the warning signs of aggression aren't just the obvious growling and snarling and snapping at people. Even just a general slight shyness around strangers, like not being totally confident and comfortable around people or dogs or if they are initially fine with other people/dog/kids but have weak nerves and get reactive around other environmental stimuli, is something that can over time (like months or years) develop into more serious aggression if not handled/managed properly. Also alarm barking is something that can get you into trouble because other people misconstrue it as the dog about to attack them.

    You are absolutely right that the fact is many many problem dogs are GSDs. Because they are high maintenance dogs due to so many of them having these traits in disproportion even though the breed standard calls for the dog to be calm and confident. I think the majority of GSDs in existence at least in america do not meet the breed standard for temperament. The american lines are usually more wary or skittish, but european lines tend to be higher drive and higher energy which carries its own set of unique challenges for being a pet.

    These things are not impossible to deal with through training and management but is just an extra thing to spend gobs and gobs of time on, which could otherwise be spent on other training goals for that dog or for your other dogs.

    And yes GSDs are very vocal too! they LOVE to express their emotions with their voices! A day doesn't go by when mine has "conversations" with us!

    But that said they are still my favorite breed!! Good luck and I hope this boy passes the tests with flying colors!:dogsmile:
  20. leema New Member

    Only a few more days! Very exciting.

    In my experience, I have found GSDs to be 'stressy'. So the only thing I would suggest is to be generous with your tests, especially ina foreign environment for the dog.

    I think that food aggression is a kind of aggression I'd be most willing to work with. Have you factored food aggression into your tests? :D

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