Working GSD, Mal, other? Doing homework. :)

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Kodiak CGC

Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 2:28pm PST 
Talk to me, those of you who have experience with these kinds of dogs.

I'm looking to have my hands full with my next 'my choice' dog. This is a several years in the future purchase, it's just fun to think about. :]

I would like to do Schutzhund with this dog.
I've loved the sport since I first learned what it was, just over a decade ago. Have been by my local club and love their approach, been watching their dogs, reading, and trying to learn as much as possible.
This would be my first SchH attempt, so I'm pretty realistic in my expectations.. don't necessarily need the BEST working dog, if that has to be sacrificed to have a dog I can live with at home.

What I'm looking for:

-Dog tolerant. Doesn't need to be labhappy making friends with every dog, but anything at or above the Akita's level of dog acceptance.

-HIGH maintenance, clingy, velcro dog. My 'free time' is dog time, I want a dog that is just as clingy.

-Smart. Out-thinks me and keeps me adapting smart. Trouble on paws smart. >:]

-As 'type A' as me. I want a dog that GOES and wants to KEEP GOING. I want a dog that doesn't quit before me.

-A med-large dog. I like the size of the Mal a lot more than the GSD, but it's not a big issue.

NOT a concern:

-Grooming / shedding. Used to huskies and akitas.

-Human sociability (Will socialize intensely, but I don't want a breed that 'loves everyone'. I have no kids, no intent to have kids.)

-Energy/exercise requirements. (I'm currently tiring out all three of my dogs before I'm tired.)

-We have no cats and aren't offended if dogs kill the odd rabbit or squirrel. Prey drive is a GOOD thing.

I think that covers it. If I've left out any important info let me know! I'm a ways off from actually moving forward, I'm just gathering info.

Any red flags popping up from my list of preferences? Any breeds besides the GSD or Malinois that come to mind and fit?

Edited by author Fri Nov 9, '12 8:17pm PST

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 3:47pm PST 
I don't often drift this way, but off those specs? Doberman.

GSDs are not clingy. Some say they are, but they are nuts. When on that breed, that aspect really bothered me. You will feel they are a lot more into you "in that way" than a Mal, though, who sort of have a Border Collie thing going on, but if you want that more clingy aspect....Doberman. If you got heart set on a GSD, you would want to go after Quando lines. He's more the dog you are describing than your average GSD. Rottweilers also are clingy, but way too big and not a good starter Sch dog for this list, IMO.

Nor, incidentally, are Mals. If you want a really good first Sch experience, you need to go with a Doberman, GSD or Pit Bull. Or, Standard Schnauzer, depending on how much training chops you have, for they are the toughest and perhaps smaller than you'd want.

Dog tolerant? Best shots with GSDs or Mals. Dobes are ok, but you'd need to know the parents and lines re SSA that can occur. Standard Schnauzers are trouble, but this can mitigated through training. Pits you know wink

High maintenance/clingy? Doberman. Doberman, Doberman, Doberman. They are crazy into the people they love. Caveat? Do you live with someone? If you DO, you better select your puppy with that person and be sure the puppy is drawn to you, as they are very one-personish. I had one I fed, I trained, I treated....the whole nine yards. Didn't matter. She fancied my husband.

Smart? The smart you described is best found on the Standard Schnauzer. GSDs and Mals are not complicated....they are two of the most highly trainable dogs in the world. They are that kind of smart if you are inept. Dobermans are the easiest to train....if you want a training challenge, they are way too silky to train to have that on offer....but in terms of intelligence they are absolute genius dogs. They will more turn the screws on you in the home, out and about around town. Due to their immense handler bond, however, they are very easy to train. Pit Bulls bring challenges due to high drive levels coupled with their gameness, but they will spill their guts out to please you. Standard Schnauzers are extraordinarily wittty and do live to twist your brain when they can.

The type A thing? Any working breed. That doesn't need to even be on your list. If the dog has a working pedigree, this is not a problem. Please read my caution on the bottom.

Size....well you can probably figure that out for yourself.

You could also consider a work bred Airedale, who are similar to the Standard Schnauzer in that way, but Airedales can be very scrappy and are not the precision dogs that Standard Schnauzers are. Done right, there is no tighter precision dog than a Standard.

*****My Cation to You!!!!!! Be careful you are not slicing off too big a piece of cake, which you are sort of proning yourself towards off your lingo and is a classic novice mistake....I hope you don't mind me saying, as I have been around a long time and am only trying to be helpful. If you are to start in something as new AND demanding as Schutzhund and are on a breed "of this sort" for the first time, you need a dog to suit that. Not something that even people of reasonable experience have trouble with. That's why you don't start with a Mal. Absolutely the wrong breed, much like the Dutchie. They can have seasoned veterans tearing their hair out. You will only set yourself up to fail.********** My best advice is to start with a Doberman or Quando line GSD.

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 5:17pm PST 
Yes, agreeing start with an easier dog than a Mal. They are a breed for those with an immense love for TRAINING, above and beyond all else... this certainly isn't a dog for a first timer, or really anyone IMO who isn't absolutely smitten with the breed and wants THEM specifically (and sometimes not even then, haha).

Personally, I say take Tiller's suggestion and look for a GSD off of lines known for sticky handler bonging.

I personally wouldn't recommend a Doberman as a fist time Sch dog, not for lack of love for the breed or respect for what it can do, but for lack of GOOD trainers with enough experience to work with them. Everyone can work a Shepherd, but Dobermans are NOT the same, and my concern is 100% with the dog and its well-being in going into the sport with someone who's going to try and force it to be something its not. Even the club I was at for a time, the trainer said as much, thought Dobermans were worthless in the sport and was quick to turn them away (to his credit, at least turning them away wasn't screwing them up further by receiving bad/inappropriate training).

I think the GSD is a dog you can learn on, make mistakes with, and still have a stable, enjoyable dog after all is said and done. Not that you necessarily SHOULD, but you can be hard on him without breaking his heart, and I think that's important... a good GSD will forgive you for being an idiot, while all too many others will not.

Considering the dogs you already have, I personally believe a GSD is going to be the most dog agreeable of the suggested lot as well. GSDs like to play, are mostly tolerant, and aren't stupid- they may stir the pot but typically aren't the type to bend it til it breaks. Something especially important to consider, considering the dogs you already have. Various lines yield various results in that regard- strongly recommend against anything that's TOO MUCH of that "type a" you're thinking of... a dog who doesn't know how to back down in a pack made mostly of primitive-type dogs is, I'm sorry, going to lead to some #### going down in your house that you AREN'T going to want to deal with.

When I was picking out Ridley, a second male in a house with a preexisting male, I was actually pretty specific in what I NEEDED to happen- I had a "type a" dog already (albeit a very dog social one). Two dogs of equal attitude WOULD have created problems, so a softer dog was what need to come in, and what did come in.

Don't set yourself up for failure. Don't try and run before you can walk- the suggestion of a very nice, sporty German Showline is great, have fun with the dog and explore the sport and what you are capable of, and work up from there.

Kodiak CGC

Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 5:35pm PST 
Doberman! I can honestly say I hadn't thought about them. I haven't met many that seemed well-bred. Never see them at my local training club, and my previous training club only had one that I remember, and she was a nervous snappy thing but she had lime disease.. so it was probably justified.
I will look into them more, for sure!

Rotts, while lovely dogs, just aren't what I'm looking for.
Pits.. not in this day and age. Too much social stigma, too many breed ban concerns. I'm used to breed restriction stuff, but pits get it way harder than anything else.
Standard Schnauzer.. a little smaller than I'm looking for, and his larger cousins are probably a bit more dog than I . laugh out loud

GSD not clingy? That goes against what I've been told, but not entirely what I've seen. The obviously clingy shepherds I have seen seemed to be that way out of nervousness. I wasn't sure if the confidant ones only appeared to be less doting, or if they were actually more aloof. The well-bred sheps I've met were certainly 'with' their handlers, but they weren't exactly soliciting petting.

As far as the Mal BC comparison, that's about what I was figuring. When I was younger, I fostered a BC mix for about a year (working through some issues) and did novice agility with him. Nothing too spectacular, but enough to be able to work with that BC brain. I can still see him crouching at my feet while I tried to watch a movie, eyes LOCKED to mine waiting for the next movie. thinking

"I had one I fed, I trained, I treated....the whole nine yards. Didn't matter. She fancied my husband."
Noooo, don't say that! My SO is 'the fun one' that all the dogs love [to steal food from big laugh]. Definitely noted.

Breed-typical DA.. I'm leaning toward that being a big deal for me. My Akita is managed. He will, out of respect for me, graciously decline to end a dog if it crosses him.. which I APPRECIATE.. but I think I appreciate that my other two don't think about doing so just a bit more. I'll have to put a lot more thought into this one.

Re your note on smart but easy.. I can live with that! I'm willing and able to take attitude and trouble, but another perfect wonderful dog is fine too, I guess, sigh. laugh out loud
I DO like the wily feisty thinkers.. but maybe that's best left to my little basenji types who can't get into TOO much trouble.

As for your caution, I absolutely don't mind, not at all. I hear and respect the experienced feedback. I'm trying to temper my excitement (Want to run out RIGHTNOW and get a mal puppy OMG) with time and knowledge, so I'm not doing a disservice to myself, my partner, my current dogs, a new dog, etc.

As goosebumps, starry eyed, yesplease, BEAUTIFUL in appearance, movement, attentiveness, and training, as the Mals I've seen and met have been.. I do realize the breed isn't a realistic introduction into that level of dog. Still, even if I'm shopping for a celica nothing stops me from ogling the corvettes, right? wink

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!
Kodiak CGC

Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 6:12pm PST 
Mulder's person -

"a good GSD will forgive you for being an idiot"
That would be nice. :]

"They are a breed for those with an immense love for TRAINING, above and beyond all else"
That was actually a reason I like them. I do love training. LOVE IT. My boyfriend plays video games, my other friends go to concerts and get together to drink, I harass my dogs. (playful wording only! I don't really harass them!) My experience so far has been a lot of rehab type stuff (fosters and friends.. I'm the go-to person for free dog advice) and routine CGC-level household pet OB. I dabbled in Agility and will likely dabble again with my husky if I can get him to learn to focus a little. (I sort've let him down growing up, let him be a wild-child pretty face.. so now he gets to be my project dog. I figure until I can shape THAT, I have no business considering getting another dog.)
I am by no means a professional, but I'm not completely novice either.

"a dog who doesn't know how to back down in a pack made mostly of primitive-type dogs is, I'm sorry, going to lead to some #### going down in your house that you AREN'T going to want to deal with."
I think it's easy for me to feel like I'm immune because I haven't had conflict yet, except with fosters. I hear your wisdom, I'm trying to NOT be young and stupid and sure I know everything.. haha.

Of my current dogs, though, the only one I'd be concerned with is the akita.. and within our 'pack' he's the least confrontational (Dogs outside the household are a different matter, and he does require attentive management until he knows a dog. He will absolutely not START a fight, but he won't go out of his way to avoid one either.) The husky is 100% submissive to dogs and is masterful at diffusing conflict. The little terrier mix will start trouble, but is smart enough not to get himself in too deep and is also very good at soothing other dogs.

"have fun with the dog and explore the sport and what you are capable of, and work up from there"
That's the #1 thing.
I would rather wind up with a good dog who isn't cut out for the sport than a great working dog I couldn't bring to his full potential.

Edited by author Thu Nov 8, '12 6:13pm PST

Kodiak CGC

Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 6:25pm PST 
Excuse my typing! "more dog than I can handle"* "waiting for the next MOVE"* not movie.. laugh out loud I'm sure there are more in there that I didn't catch.

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 6:27pm PST 
I think you are off to a good start, asking questions and being open minded- that is so very important!

You mentioned you have been to a local club- have you spoken to anyone there about what might suit you? More importantly, have you observed any dogs specifically that you liked and talked to their handler? This may be the best way to get a very good grip on what it is you would like and do well with. Being is they are the ones you will be going to once you get the dog, their input should be invaluable.
Kodiak CGC

Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 7:47pm PST 
I'm still getting to know them and them me. Once there's more rapport there, I'll be hanging on their advice and recommendations, I'm sure.

All I know of them so far is that the general training atmosphere is positive with treats and generous amounts of play, lots of happy (Some naughty! but good spirited) dogs, beaming proud and gentle handlers other than imo very fair light and quick prong corrections that the dogs barely noticed.

They all have sheps and mals, but they told me right away that any breed was welcome there. Everyone was very nice, asking about my dogs. I explained that my husky is the closest thing to workable, and they chuckled and said to bring him. big laugh Nah, nah. lol

Edited by author Thu Nov 8, '12 7:58pm PST


Spooky Mulder
Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 8:57pm PST 
If they are very R oriented, then maybe not too bad of a scene to try a Doberman with. Just be wary of the overly traditional types... people who are in it for the wrong reasons. Remember always, Schutzhund is a sport, albeit a specialized one, but a sport just the same. Its never worth it to ruin a dog.
Kodiak CGC

Barked: Fri Nov 9, '12 6:56am PST 
I am first and foremost my dogs' shield against the stupidity of this world.

I nearly got in a physical conflict with a trainer and pulled my akita out of an OB class (that we were just taking for fun anyway) because they were using Leerburg slip collars, fit to sit like show leads, teaching puppies to sit by lifting their front paws off the ground by the live ring. shock

One of my akita friends, when I mentioned wanting to do sch, warned me off of it and recounted some of the crappy ppd methods the trainer she found tried to use, pinching her dog through car windows and such.

Let's just say it wouldn't be my dog they'd have to worry about.

If the dog isn't having FUN, it's no longer a SPORT and I'm no longer interested. I admire sch because imo it's the apex of dog-handler cooperation. I don't think you get that by anything but teamwork and mutual respect.
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