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My wife brought home a "german shepard shar/pei mix" from PAWS...

35302 Views 26 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  DaySleepers

She is about three months old.

Once she got here, she doesn't look to me to be a german shepherd.

My wife's criteria for a dog:
1) not too expensive and/or fragile
2) short hair which won't shed in the house

Here's the rest of the story.

We've had a couple of minature Schnauzers, one lived about 10 years, and the other died of kidney failure from a parasite infection about a year-and-a-half ago. ("shisto" I think the vet called it?), so my familiarity with dogs is limited to them.

I live in the country, (5 acres) but the neighbor across the street is known to shoot dogs that wander onto his property. Our family consists of Mom (who works out of the house) Dad (me - who works at home) two teens, and an autistic 8-year-old who is skittish around animals.

The puppy's name is Abby, she's about 3 months old and cute as can be. She's a bit of a chewer and is a lot more independent-minded than the dogs I'm used to.

We've only had her a couple of days, but the more I look at her, from her coloration and her eye position, I think she's a rottweiler/boxer mix.

I have major concerns about her ability to fit into our family/neighborhood. Also, I'm not lazy, but I'm realistic about my committment/ability to train a breed like that, particularly in the context of having kids who can't/won't appropriately socialize a working dog.

Advice please? Pretty please?
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It's too bad that you all didn't discuss what kind of dog you wanted before the dog came home with you, but now you've got it and you want to know...what, exactly? Are you looking for training tips or for advice on whether or not to keep her?

You talked a lot about her supposed breed in your post. I dunno what your pup is, aside from very sweet looking :) She looks like a serious Heinz 57 girl to me. (Those ears are WAY too big for a Shar Pei, though...) I think it's important to let go of the breed issue, to be perfectly honest. You're not concerned about a breed standard, you're concerned about this particular dog.

When you say she's a bit of a chewer, what are you talking about? She eats your carpet and shoes or she likes her Nylabone? At three months old, she's still a tiny puppy. She needs to be taught what is okay to bite and what is off limits. She is also likely to be teething either right now or very soon. You will encounter a chewing problem with most, if not all, puppies. There are a couple of stickies here on this site that talk about chewing and biting.

I'm not exactly sure what the "independant minded" part means, either. Do you mean she isn't a velcro dog? She doesn't follow you around and hang on your every word? Or do you mean she is defiant, agressive, or unwilling to listen to your commands? Whatever the case, I suspect that, at three months, all she needs is a basic obedience class and some work on her manners. Even if one of the breeds in her background is notoriously hard to train, you can probably get around it since you're starting so young with her.

The dog-shooting neighbor would be a serious concern to me, but I would be concerned about this with any dog, not just this girl. I assume you either have a tall, sturdy fence, will be getting one in the immediate future, or will never let your dog out of the house unsupervised. How has this man gotten away with shooting other people's dogs? Is this not illegal?

I'm just rambling...If you give us a clearer idea of your question, we may be able to give you better answers.
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Definitely find a puppy school in your area ASAP. Hopefully there is one in your area, Good luck!

Living with Kids and Dogs - Parenting Secrets for a Safe and Happy Home
2) short hair which won't shed in the house
When I went from an Irish setter to a lab I, too, thought short hair meant minimal shedding.

Wrong. The lab shed MUCH worse than the setter.

I hope that isn't a problem for you.

You will never know what mix that dog is and it doesn't matter. Most behavioral issues aren't genetic.
When I went from an Irish setter to a lab I, too, thought short hair meant minimal shedding.

Wrong. The lab shed MUCH worse than the setter.

I hope that isn't a problem for you.

You will never know what mix that dog is and it doesn't matter. Most behavioral issues aren't genetic.
I agree - I had a lab and thought it wouldn't shed because of the short hair. WRONGO! He shed like crazy!

Anyway..........what an ADORABLE puppy!!! She is a cutie!! Enjoy her!
But if the lab shed, then how could it have any fur left? :p
But if the lab shed, then how could it have any fur left? :p
Labs have very thick coats. Short hair does not mean thin hair.
That is one seriously cute puppy. I hope you will be taking her to obedience classes. She is a mix breed and will hopefully be extremely healthy as many or even most mixes tend to be healthier then Pure bred dogs. (That is what many of the vets around here say.) Puppy stage can be trying but it is fairly short and then you will have a wonderful dog for hopefully another 12 or so years. Dogs are often used for Therapy for children with Autism. Take the time to train this puppy. She will be as good as you make her. Don't compare her to a mini schnauzer she is a completely different dog and will have her own strengths. I do hope you will fence your yard or tie her out to keep her safe. Just like one has to do with children, it is your responsibility to keep her safe. She is counting on you now. Good Luck. What did you name her? Keep reading and asking questions. I am sure there are many people on here that would love to help you.
I'm just going to echo everyone else here and say first of all, she's absolutely adorable.

Secondly, it doesn't matter what breed or mix she is. Getting her enrolled in an obedience class is so important. Just as important is that the whole family needs to be involved in her training so that there is consistency. You can't have Mom taking puppy to class and the rest of the family doing whatever they want. It just confuses puppy.

It is your responsibility to keep this puppy safe. If you are insinuating you intend to just let her roam free - well, I won't even go there. A fence, a leash and constant supervision are the only conditions puppy should be outside. As already asked, why is this neighbor getting away with shooting dogs?

She's independent - that probably comes from not having the opportunity to bond at the 7 - 8 week period that is just so important. Given time, she will bond, it will just take a little longer.

As for being a chewer... well yeah... she's a puppy. It's what they do. They have an incredible need to chew. It's your job to teach her what is appropriate and inappropriate to chew. Give her ice cubes or crushed ice... this will help with the teething pain. When she's chewing something inappropriate, tell her NO, take it away and give her a toy and a 'good girl'. Kongs are great chew toys and they come in so many shapes and sizes, raw frozen bones, rope toys soaked with water, placed in freezer bags and frozen. There are so many hard rubber toys appropriate for chewing they are just too numerous to mention here.

The most important thing is to have fun with her. She's a baby and will only be a baby for a short time. Make the most of it. Teach her now and you will have a devoted, loving family member for many years to come.
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That is one seriously cute puppy.
Thank you, her name (given by PAWS) is Abby. She's cute as can be.

I'm wary of her breed for behavior/disposition reasons - a dog in this family will have to be sweet-natured and patient, and those are not traits that are generally promoted among security breeds. I couldn't care less about her genetic mix except as they pertain to her temperamental ability to fit with us.

You bring up another important point about fences, both of my previous dogs were successfully border trained, and didn't stray far from home. The last Schnauzer, Max, never crossed the road without me. I had hoped to find this trait in our new dog. We have 5 acres, but it backs up against literally thousands of acres of forest - wandering isn't really a problem provided she can be trained to not cross the road.

I ask because I can still take her back to PAWS to be adopted by a better suited family, if that is wise and appropriate. If this is necessary, it's better to do it now while she's still a puppy. What I'm hearing here suggests that her behavior is not preordained to the degree that I should be especially concerned.
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Again, She is a mix and God does it better from a genetic stand point so that is a good thing. If you are concerned because you are thinking she is a Rottweiler as I think you questioned. Let me say this. I have had Rottweilers for over 25 years. Mine have also all been rescues from some horrid situations. With training they have all been wonderful dogs. Most of mine were trained to be Therapy dogs. They go to nursing homes, Day cares, hospitals etc... Train and socialize your puppy and you will be just fine. No matter what breeds are mixed into that cute package. My dogs are all just as trustworthy as any other breed and I would actually put them in front of many breeds for being mentally stable. Just don't panic. Take it one day at a time and all of a sudden you will look back and wonder what you were worried about. A dog that cute and with such a sweet name can't be that bad. LOL
I think Abby is adorable! She looks like a very sweet little mutt. If you are concerned about the breeds that are in her because of your family, I understand that, however as people have said when you have a mixed breed dog, you never know what behavioral traits you will have. It sounds to me like you are not completely sold on this dog, and if you're not ready to make the committment to train this dog properly and feel comfortable having her around your family, I suggest you take her back to PAWS. It's better to return her now, when she's still an adorable young pup, than when she gets bigger and older and possibly develops behavioral issues. With a face that cute, someone else will be bound to adopt her now, so don't feel bad about returning her. So if you still feel iffy, do it the sooner the better.

If you are really concerned about the breeds, there are genetic tests available, one in the form of a mail in kit and another that is supposed to be available this month from your vet. Not sure how long either of these will take, and they probably won't be a good predictor of your dog's temperament anyway. I plan on asking my vet to do the DNA tests on my mutts, but simply because I'm curious. http://www.whatsmydog.com/

I reread all this thread and have some more thoughts for you, as a mutt owner:

It seems to me what you want is a predictable dog that you can fully trust around your family. I know one of your wife's criteria is that the dog not be expensive, but if you desire certain personality (good with kids) and physical (low-shedding, not fragile) traits you should really look into pure-breeds. It would be worth saving up a little bit of money each month for peace of mind. If you're not stuck on the idea of a puppy, you could adopt an adult dog with your desired features from a breed rescue.

Even if you determine what breeds are in Abby, chances are she wasn't bred from the ideal representatives of those breeds. Generally people don't let their show dogs whore around :p So with mutts you *really* don't know what you're getting. I have two and I love them both. But they're both a little wild and a bit unpredictable. They work fine for my lifestyle, but I don't have any kids. I have had pure breeds (collie and bernese mountain dog) in the past and I would have trusted them enough to lick an infant on the face.

On the other hand, you seem like you would be a responsible dog owner, since you had the cognizance to research and ask questions about your dog. I have faith that you could give Abby a good home, and I'm sure your kids are already attached to her by now :p You need to ask yourself if you're willing and ready to make the commitment to a puppy, especially one with unknown traits. If you decide to keep her, there are lots of people here who can give you good advice and support while you raise and care for her.

Do you know anything about Abby's life for the month prior to when you adopted her? Generally pups are 2 months (8wks) when they are separated from mom and you said she is 3 months. This is an important imprinting period for pups and her experiences during this time might help you get a better idea of her behavior. For example, was she around children? did she have a bad experience with water? was she completely isolated in a kennel? See if you can find out about her life in between the time she was separated from mom and began living with you.
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Abby looks like a doll.

If she IS a rott mix- congrats! I find that rotts are one of the best breeds out there with kids, and their physical tolerence and typical lack of sound sensitivity can make them a GREAT match for families with autistic kids. That said? Go ahead and get her into puppy class, and plan on doing at least three rounds (puppy, 1 round as a 'teenager' and 1 round around 18 months) of obedience with her- with an autistic kid in the household, it's REALLY important that the dog be well trained and well-socialized. Breed is actually less important, really, then the training.
Whether she has GSD or Rotti I can tell you from experience that BOTH breeds are GREAT with kids. Ill trained and poorly bred Rotties with Gangster type owners have given the breed a bad reputation, but I've been around them most of my life and have only seen a couple that that weren't good around kids and those were abused.

Get your pup into a GOOD positive based puppy class and teach her from day one the life skills she's going to need to be a well adjusted happy part of your family. Here are a couple of training excercises you can start her on now to teach her manners.

Remember that behavior is 20% genetics and 80% ENVIRONMENT. It's YOUR choice how this pup turns out.

Doggy Zen

Rev Up Cool Down

Bite Inhibition


Greeting People Politely

As far as the neighbor issue goes, Fence in an area of the yard close to the house to allow her outside time in. Be sure you or your wife can accompany her outside of the house (you need to do this for housebreaking anyhow.
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Hi there. She is a beautiful dog. I personally see no shar pei or boxer, maybe gsd, lab or rotti, but most likely she is mixed with way more than two breeds. I don't think her breed will matter though, if she is gsd or rotti they are highly trainable dogs. I agree with everyones suggestions of getting her in a training class and getting the whole family involved. I recently took in a stray mixed breed, no idea what, but she is so smart and tries so hard to do what I want, she has really been a pleasure to work with, so my point is any breed that is in there is likely in too small an amount to dominate her personality.

About crossing the street, I wouldn't take that chance with any dog, regardless of breed. I'd fence or leash walk. If your previous dog never wandered or crossed the street, imo you just got lucky.
I agree that the pup is very cute. That said, dogs this age are a force to be reckoned with. I rescued a 4 month old female last April, and boy did I ever discover things, and I've had dogs for 15 years (although they were at least 9 months old).

I agree that you should have discussed all of the issues before you got the dog. Not doing this could cause a strain on you and the dog. You simply must get the dog on a training schedule if you have any hope of this project being a success.

You have a situation that seems difficult, you have just added a major commitment to this mix, the dog will take time until she is at least 9-10 months old to adjust. You must decide if you can commit to this process.

Lots of people get frustrated when dealing with a new pup. Initial bad training which causes bad habits are a major reason so many dogs wind up in shelters. Keep in mind, that when the dog does something wrong, it's not her fault, it's yours. She is simply doing what comes naturally to her and it is up to you to gently correct her.

I think this dog will be a tremendous plus for your family, especially your autistic child. She is perfect for this because she will be able to grow into your situation gradually. She will teach everyone new things and connect you with things you never dreamed of.

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Sorry to resurrect a dead thread, but I want to let everyone know how it turned out.

Abby grew to be the sweetest, most tolerant, best behaved, most playful and intelligent dog we've ever had. She was as close to effortless to train as is possible. It was as if she trained herself. Further, she was perfect for my son with autism, they became best friends. Nothing that he did could annoy her.

We never did determine her breed. Part rottweiler, I think. Probably part boxer too. Whatever. I've come to appreciate the wisdom of the advice that it's not the breed that determines the behavior.

Unfortunately, she darted across our dead-end country road today at precisely the wrong time. The driver of the truck that hit her was beside himself with grief.

As are we.

This is the message in a bottle... just casting it out there. I'm not checking for replies. I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring them, so let me just give a preemptive 'thank you' to those of you who see fit to offer your condolences, as well as to everyone who provided advice when she was a puppy.

It will be some time, if ever, before we get another pet.
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Such a sad ending. And a warning beacon to all of us to properly contain any dog, even the best behaved, most well trained one.

My condolences for your loss.
Wow. I'm so sorry for your loss... But at least you and your family had the time you did with her... It's better to have to loved and lost then never loved at all; Especially when it comes to animals, despite the sadness right now, you'll look back and see how happy and how she touched your family- versus had you never had a family dog at all...
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