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Beginning the search for a German Shepherd breeder in Michigan/surrounding states. This will be a minimum of 3 years out but I feel like it's never too early to start looking and also, I love looking at puppy pictures.

My husband and I are looking to add a GSD to our home. We currently have a cat and a female golden retriever. Because our golden is female, we'd be interested in a male GSD in order to avoid any potential same sex aggression. Moxie, our golden, will be 3-4 years old at the time we are hoping to add the GSD. We're an active household and yes, I have prior experience with German Shepherds through work (L.E.) Moxie is estimated to be 70-80 lbs when she's full grown.

We're looking for ethical breeders who promote the betterment of the breed and breed to standard. We want a healthy male GSD from OFA tested parents. Titling would be nice in the parents but not necessarily a requirement. We'd like a breeder who can work with us and answer our questions and who's not just out to make money but is actually invested in the pups produced.

We're a very active household and we enjoy hiking and will be taking our dogs on said hikes (when old enough, of course). Moxie is 5 months old currently and is well behaved. We've invested a lot of time in training her and keeping her mentally stimulated. We would do the same for the GSD. We have no interest in showing/breeding this dog but the dog will be an active pet.

Hit me.
 

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Reach out to Xeph (not sure if she is active on this forum anymore). She is Marcato German Shepherds in PA. She health tests all of her dogs, shows them and even does herding with them. She is definitely very involved with her puppy buyers. I like how ridiculously open and honest she is.

Even if she didn't have anything around that time or you weren't the right fit for each other, she would be able to give you lots of information and send you in the right direction.
 

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Marcato is definitely one I'd check out.

Quellwasser is a kennel I was considering when I was looking at a GSD as a possible breed. I think they're in IN? I haven't been able to find a website but they do have an active FB. They are breeding for working ability, so their dogs may be a little more than you're looking for, but they do regularly advertise puppies as suitable for non bitework sport/AKC sport and active pet homes, so my impression is that they do produce a reasonable number of puppies with less intense drive.

Feurgarten was another I was considering. They do have a website, as well as a fairly active facebook page. There was a poster on this forum that has a female from one of their earlier litters that I believe was named "Trash". She had really good things to say about the breeder, who she knew personally from the sport world I believe, and especially about their foundation bitch for their program (mother to her dog, Carma). Again, their program focuses on working ability for sport work, so they may be producing dogs with a bit too much in the tank for a pet, but if you're open to considering a lower drive working line dog (which keep in mind is still going to be A LOT of dog), then it may be worth a chat.

If you've been around GSD in law enforcement, conceivably you've some idea of what a working line dog really entails, and can make a more educated decision on whether that kind of dog fits your wants, which is why I mention the working line breeders.
 

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Christina O'Kane (Quellwasser) is an excellent choice but she is in Indiana. I would also check with John Bochenek who is the contact for Metro Detroit Schutzhund Club. Another good source is OG Indianapolis Schutzhund and Polizei (Michael Diehl) also in Indiana. Jody Potter and Debra Zappia (Proformance K9 and von Sitz Von der hose and Olgameister kennel) are top drawer but they are in NY.

Good Luck!
 

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Leerburg (WI). The training principles alone are worth investigaing. It's not just about "protection" work, they've incorporated practical (family) obedience training, meaning sound principles in terms of developing relationship and bonding. Working with a puppy from 10 weeks out. The home of "marker" rewarding & incentivizing. They can also explain about adding a dog to the household. Housebreaking issues.
 

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Leerburg (WI). The training principles alone are worth investigaing. It's not just about "protection" work, they've incorporated practical (family) obedience training, meaning sound principles in terms of developing relationship and bonding. Working with a puppy from 10 weeks out. The home of "marker" rewarding & incentivizing. They can also explain about adding a dog to the household. Housebreaking issues.
I'm from that area. I'm not sure I'd take one of Ed's pups for free. On the other hand, I've been away for quite some time, and he's produced literally thousands of pups by now, though, so maybe practice makes perfect? He also sells a cool product which is a collar designed to choke a dog out. He markets it as a good alternative to a shock collar for people who live in countries where shock collars are illegal, or who just don't want to look like the sort of person who uses a shock collar. It starts in 6 inch size, in case you have a Pomeranian that's just super freaking dangerous and needs choked out routinely!
 

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Appreciate the update, local people know the real deal. But no breeder ever escapes negative opinion, for differing reasons. I don't know his origins but his niche seemed to be in teaching dog protection training and competition work. During the past few years he's greatly expanded his circle of trainers (son, Michael Ellis, etc.). And admitted (on video) his original mistakes in training style, how methods moved from correction to incentivizing. Now people writing in to the website are sincerely asking ... is it ever okay to correct my dog? In any event he seems like a formidable "personality" to avoid getting tangled up with in disagreement. But that's the nature of running a business and dealing with the public (who're steeped in emotion).

(Not in defense of any of this) one of the collars is a dominant dog (fabric) collar. Prong collars have been around for years. And I still see a lot of very thick coated, large muscled dogs wearing chain collars. My cousin and neighbor (who spoil their large dogs rotten) used an E-Collar just a few times, so they wouldn't run into danger and come when called. Better than scooping your dog off the roadway and avoiding snake bites. You know .... breeders & trainers see the worst & best of dogs, it's just a reality of nature. But even worse yet, are the kind of knuckle hard-headed owners who never listen to advice and support. Until it's too late. Then resort to physical abuse, because they haven't/don't invest in the work. Deep lasting training takes time and consistency. But if you've missed the right opportunity with your dog, it's going to be really tough going.

(Along with other experience) where I came in, focuses on the relationship building part! Starting with puppies, as young as 10 weeks (marker training) teaching engagement and incentivizing! Not because of a particular use, but just learning how to make training fun! To create a bond of trust! Which makes living with a dog a pleasure and not filled with tension and issues and reacting to problems.

The site I referred to, has hundreds of hours of training information and demonstrations! I only focus on the positive, effective recommendations! If you observe the overall philosophy, it's actually all about preventing issues!
 

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No breeder is perfect. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. If you are looking for a nice pet, say that. If you are looking for an agility dog, say that. If you want to start IPG (formerly Schutzhund), PSA or ring sports, tell the breeder. ASK how many of their puppies have SUCCESSFULLY competed in those sports and at what level. When you look at the United Schutzhund Clubs of America list of National Competitors (who must attain a score of 270 or higher out of 300 possible) look at the kennel names of the dogs and see if there are any repeats. If 3 or 4 dogs are competing with the same kennel name that says something.

If you want to do agility, then see what those GSD's competing are doing and where they came from. Oddly, the same dogs that are good in IPG have the same drives as those who do well in agility.

There is a tremendous misconception about training a German Shepherd in the three phases of Schutzhund-IPO-now IPG. Somehow it is believed that the phases in this sport are only tracking, obedience and protection and that each phase is not obedience. Somehow "protection" is believed by many to not be obedience. All three phases are first and foremost obedience.

Tracking footstep to footstep and indicating articles is obedience. EVERY dog can smell the track and the articles. The test is if the dog will be able to do it confidently under the rules placed on them for scoring in the sport. A dog that is very nervy, lacking confidence, lacking work ethic and drive will start to fall apart when the rules go on and there is less food reward on the track.. and may actually find stopping and indicating an article very stressful and cease to perform the exercise. A good trainer may get the dog to track and do the job at home club but may never get past that to Regional or National level where the pressure and activity surrounding the job becomes too much.

Obedience is precision and self explanatory. The dog needs to show focus, power and drive. The position of the dog's tail is judged. Is the dog happy or neutral? He better be or he will score poorly. You cannot get happy or neutral and focused with power through abuse. You can only get that through anticipation and clear handling and clarity in training.

Protection is also obedience with the dog in very high drive. As the dog's genetic intensity increases so does the exacting nature of the training. YES some dogs need an E Collar to train in this phase. These dogs are genetically programmed to be powerful and confident enough to engage in a fight with (usually) a man. The fight is real to the dog. Deep grips and desire to stop the man are genetic in their basis but are controlled through obedience. The dog is high drive and various drives are shown in the protection routine but NONE of it is any good without balancing it with obedience. Obedience is part of pack drive and the dog's genetic predisposition to partner with the handler to neutralize a threat. The dog that excels enjoys the work and shows the drives well with power but is also obedient.

In the rule book the dogs wear chain collars. They have a specified link size. The collar is a "choke" style collar and you NEVER attach to the live ring so it does not choke the dog. You are not allowed to attach to the live ring. I never attach to the live ring in training. You cannot go on the field with anything but that collar in a competition EXCEPT in tracking where a special tracking harness may be used. The chain collar is called a "fursaver" and it is a required.

E collars are a different discussion. They are used and not always. There are other ways. Sometimes the e collar is the best way.

Choke collars and choking with collars is not used by anyone I train with.

In places where e collars are illegal trainers will use something else that may damage a dog far more than an electric stim.
 

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Appreciate the update, local people know the real deal. But no breeder ever escapes negative opinion, for differing reasons. I don't know his origins but his niche seemed to be in teaching dog protection training and competition work. During the past few years he's greatly expanded his circle of trainers (son, Michael Ellis, etc.). And admitted (on video) his original mistakes in training style, how methods moved from correction to incentivizing. Now people writing in to the website are sincerely asking ... is it ever okay to correct my dog? In any event he seems like a formidable "personality" to avoid getting tangled up with in disagreement. But that's the nature of running a business and dealing with the public (who're steeped in emotion).

(Not in defense of any of this) one of the collars is a dominant dog (fabric) collar. Prong collars have been around for years. And I still see a lot of very thick coated, large muscled dogs wearing chain collars. My cousin and neighbor (who spoil their large dogs rotten) used an E-Collar just a few times, so they wouldn't run into danger and come when called. Better than scooping your dog off the roadway and avoiding snake bites. You know .... breeders & trainers see the worst & best of dogs, it's just a reality of nature. But even worse yet, are the kind of knuckle hard-headed owners who never listen to advice and support. Until it's too late. Then resort to physical abuse, because they haven't/don't invest in the work. Deep lasting training takes time and consistency. But if you've missed the right opportunity with your dog, it's going to be really tough going.

(Along with other experience) where I came in, focuses on the relationship building part! Starting with puppies, as young as 10 weeks (marker training) teaching engagement and incentivizing! Not because of a particular use, but just learning how to make training fun! To create a bond of trust! Which makes living with a dog a pleasure and not filled with tension and issues and reacting to problems.

The site I referred to, has hundreds of hours of training information and demonstrations! I only focus on the positive, effective recommendations! If you observe the overall philosophy, it's actually all about preventing issues!
So, just as a one illustration of Lord knows how many, here's actual advice Ed Frawley (Leerberg) currently gives on his website to a person who writes in asking what do do about their snappish 20 lb beagle mix:
Have the dog wear one of the dominant dog collars we sell with a drag line or leash in the house. If it acts aggressive to you, lift its front legs off via the collar the ground so you take its air away. Remain calm when you do this. DO NOT ACT MAD! There is no pain involved here but it tells the dog that you control it's life and if it displeases you, you can take its life if you want. People (like yourself) with a soft temperament have a problem with this concept. Dogs do not. They clearly understand the concept. It's called being a pack leader and a higher rank within the pack.
Even if this wasn't bad advice in and of itself, it'd be hugely irresponsible for a trainer to give this sort of advice sight-unseen (not even based on a video or a pic). There are plenty of other trainers who have hundreds of hours of material and AREN'T volume-breeding, irresponsible brutes.

3GSD4IPO gives a good explanation of how "choke" collars are safely used. This isn't it.

Pacificsun, I've asked you before: what have you done with dogs? Like, trained them for any practical applications? Done any rehabilitations? Participated in dog sports? How many dogs? Any particular breed or type of dog?
 
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