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Schrödinger's Pussy
Observing a box has never been this much fun
26th-Mar-2013 09:18 am
Brian has realized that his animal allergies are primarily with cats, and not so very much with dogs. Couple this with our wolf encounter in Colorado last year, and other encounters with dogs, and we started talking about how we would both enjoy having a dog.

We originally said “when we move to Colorado” and he wanted an “outdoor dog.” This conversation began back in January. Sometime shortly after that, Brian said that he really wanted a female German Shepherd. I know what kinds of dogs I didn’t want (nothing that drools, or is known to be a licker, nothing small). German Shepherd passed my short list with flying colors.

So I bought Brian a Kindle book and I got a different one, and a couple of magazines and we started reading about them. The more we read, the more we find ourselves falling in love with the breed. And it’s no longer being talked of as an outdoor dog.

I discovered some great information about allergies (ours and the dog’s) being greatly reduced by raw feeding. This past weekend, we found a raw food co-op that has a weekly delivery a mile from where we work.

Brian’s been leading folks to believe that I’ve been pushing this along. Nothing could be further from the truth. This weekend, he was prodding me and teasing that I had to contact some breeders. I guess I wasn’t moving fast enough because he sent out emails and had his first conversation with a local breeder yesterday.

Unless we find someone else that fits all of our criteria sooner, it looks like we will be getting a puppy in January. They are planning a litter in November, and at 8 weeks, that would put us into January.

West German Shepherd, female. I’ve already chosen her name: Hexe (hex-ah)
26th-Mar-2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
The Monks of New Skete, who wrote the puppy book I bought, breed German Shepherds. I liked their training style when I read the book.

Good luck! I'm sure you'll enjoy her!
26th-Mar-2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
Witchy puppy!

If you ever have questions that a veterinarian could answer, please feel free to contact me. I don't want to butt in and give a bunch of unsolicited advice (besides the one piece I'm about to say :P)

The only thing I want to say is that this breed is well loved in our country (for good reasons), but because of that has been rampantly (and poorly) overbred in our country - in vet school every time there was a "What breed gets x disease?" question one of the answers was always GSD. So, just research your breeder like crazy (which it sounds like you're already doing, so.... unnecessary advice from me, hehe)! I look forward to seeing pictures in a year! eeeee puppy!
26th-Mar-2013 03:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Lucy! I truly appreciate all your insight!

http://www.langbogenkennels.com/ That's the breeders we are currently looking at. I think they have a good combination. The litter that they are planning for Tara is the one we're looking at.

For the reasons you've said, I am sadly not anticipating that we will do a rescue. We want to know the lineage, even though we aren't so concerned with show pedigrees. They are planning on getting Tara tesed for elbow and hip displasia in May. They anticipate her test being positive. They won't breed her otherwise.

If you had time to look at the lineage/info about the parents and give your opinion, I'd love to know.

Again, thank you so very much for being a trusted resource/friend!
26th-Mar-2013 05:03 pm (UTC)
That is so exciting!!! There are also some all natural wipes you can use on their fur to curb dander and skin allergens. I use them on Stella because if she gets dry in winter she gets a little danderish and it makes me itchy (I test as allergic to dogs but really only react to dander). I'll send you the name of them. They're great! There are also natural additives you can use in the food that help too and have helpful amino acids in them for the pup too.
27th-Mar-2013 02:32 am (UTC)
Oh, I love German Shepherds! They're smart and sweet, and the one my parents had a goofy streak, which was always entertaining. :)
27th-Mar-2013 05:05 am (UTC)
I never expected to become a 'dog person', but I have since we adopted Rowan on 12/31/12. It's pretty great. It's exhausting and rewarding, all at the same time. Just remember that a puppy will dominate your schedule for quite some time, but if you make the investment into them and their behavior, it will pay itself back to you a hundredfold. :)

Most people I know plan to take time off when they get their new puppy, and it's a great idea. Start them on crate training early, and potty training becomes a breeze. Really. Take a week or two off, since you'll be up around the clock with the dog, teaching it to adjust to a feeding and elimination schedule. It was really, really hard in the beginning with Rowan, but it's been worth it. His 'accidents' in the house have been minimal, and I've spent a lot of time bonding with him. Between all that and beginner obedience training (and we're taking it up through advanced, even though I have no plans to show him at obedience trials - he is happy when he can have things to keep his mind busy, and I am happy that he can do stupid dog tricks. Win!), it's been great. Tiring, but great. :)

Then you have nights like tonight, when I'm rushing him to the emergency vet clinic, because he ate a random leftover Christmas ornament. Or you're dealing with pudding poops. Or.. you know. It's complicated. I'm learning along the way. It's a lot like learning to be a parent - you figure it out as you go along.

My best recommendation to you, otherwise? Keep bottles of Nature's Miracle de-enzymer and cans of canned pumpkin handy, as both will help you tremendously in a pinch. :)
27th-Mar-2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
My post is going to be random and hopefully helpful. I'm glad that you and Brian are taking the time to do all the research about the breed and breeders.

Like mentioned above, crate training is the way to go for an indoor-raised pup. Ideally, they'll see the crate as their "cave" and not a place to be punished. Bigger breeds seem take a bit longer to get out of the puppyhood stage compared to the smaller breeds...they like to chew things.

My beagle was crated during the day for her first year of life and she never destroyed anything. My friend's Great Dane "puppy" was crated for the first 2 years; when she wasn't crated, she chomped off a cord from an expensive sweeper, ripped off the AC unit tubing, ate through a wooden swingset leg, gnawed through the trunk of a small tree (and left it on the front porch), pulled siding off the house, and tore the rubber off the car's bumper. >.<

My friend Kristi had 3 GSD girls (Darla, Kasa, Obie). Kristi did what you are doing, and looked everywhere for her breeder. She finally settled on one for her youngest 2 dogs, but as time went on, she wasn't happy with their health once the girls got older. Both of them ended up with bad hips.

Darla was a huge "old school" type of GSD, and Kristi said "they unfortunately do not breed them like that anymore". She never had any health problems that are stereotypical of the GSD breed.

She got Kasa and Obi from the same breeder, and they were the the "current model" of the breed. Both of them had hip dysplasia, and Kristi had gold bead implant therapy done on them to help with the pain. (See below links for science geekery.)

A lady I used to work with has been breeding Newfoundlands for over 25 years. She is a vet tech, and she has her dogs OFA certified for hips, leg joints, and hearts. She will not breed a dog if it does not pass OFA certification; she's one of the breeders that "does it right". She shows her own dogs and is not one of those stereotypical dog breeders that is out to make a fast buck. She works hard to improve the breed, not to make money off of being a backyard dog breeder. Info on what OFA is all about: http://www.offa.org/

Published article on the procedure:

The vet in Indiana that did the gold bead implants on Kristi's 2 girls:

http://gsdca.org/ might also be a good resource for you.
28th-Mar-2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
Definitely helpful! Thank you for the info and the links. The breeder we are considering has posted the lineage of the parents online. They are a small hobby breeder, and they are West German, Not American German, which bodes well. Before they let the female have a litter, they are sending her for genetic testing for hip and elbow displasia on May 3 and they will share the results with us. If she is all set, they will let her have puppies, otherwise they will not breed her. I think that we will have the best chances with this family.
28th-Mar-2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
Back when I was in school, the only way to tell if a dog had hip dysplasia for certain, was to have them anesthetized and x-rayed after they reached the age of 2. We had to make sure that we got the patellas (kneecaps) in the x-ray film, too. The x-rays were then sent off to a vet who was OFA-certified to read the x-rays.

Granted, this was back in the late 80s, so I'm sure things have changed over the decades with the advancement of DNA testing.

It does sound like your breeders are trying to do right by the breed, and are being distinct with saying they are from a West German bloodline. (My friend's oldest shepherd Darla was from European bloodlines.)
28th-Mar-2013 06:30 pm (UTC)
I have a friend who is just finishing up her first year of residency who knew the genetic test for displasia and verified for me that that's what the breeder was having done. She goes in on May 3 for the test.

They actually provided us the lineage for the dogs, and it checks out. So I believe they've done their homework as well as us.
28th-Mar-2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
The vet tech in me is soooo behind on the modern advances of veterinary medicine. Some days I miss it, but then I remember all the negatives of working at a vet clinic. I'm glad I followed the career path that I've stumbled down. =)

The geeky thing that I do appreciate is the DNA testing that they can do for mixed breed dogs. It's a good tool to have for your mutt, 'cause you'll know the various diseases that your dog could be facing because of their DNA.
28th-Mar-2013 03:42 am (UTC)
so excited for you guys! i can't wait until my life is a bit more stable so i can have a dog again (:

curious - will the bird (WHY can't i remember her name!?!) have issues with the dog? any way to tell ahead of time? will you do an electric fence around your property to keep her from getting loose, or a chain/lead?
28th-Mar-2013 06:07 pm (UTC)
NoNaMe will likely be very interested. He's never been afraid of dogs, but he does get a little put off when one doesn't say hello back.

Our goal is to get us and the puppy into training within 2 weeks of when she joins us. We want to be able to train her for "off lead". I imagine that we will keep her on a lead until she gets it. If she appears to be a runner at all costs, we'll figure out what to do at that point. I will also be asking the folks across the street how they manage to keep their dogs from wandering. They have several and they all stay close to the house.
28th-Mar-2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I just realized the name Hexe means "witch" in German. Perfect. =)
28th-Mar-2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
*grins* Ain't it sweet?!
28th-Mar-2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
She'll end up with a bunch of nicknames that rhyme with her name, and they'll all be spoken in a baby voice. Her middle name will be "Dammit", 'cause every pet's middle name is "Dammit"

Einar Dammit...get off the counter

Charlotte Dammit...stop drooling on the floor while I'm eating

Harriet Dammit...stop running through mud puddles

Moe Dammit...stop walking on my head when I'm trying to sleep
28th-Mar-2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
*giggles* I love this...it's so true!

I'm already imagining she'll be my li'l Hexe Beast

It's not crazy to already fall in love with a creature that has yet to be conceived, is it? I have dreamed of her so often lately, that I've actually gotten up groggy in the morning and carefully stepped over a dog that isn't there.
28th-Mar-2013 09:35 pm (UTC)
Not crazy at all. You'll be an awesome dog mom. =)
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