My family and I are looking at getting a German Shepherd. We want to do protection training, but have small children. What would you recommend for a beginner? An older dog or a puppy?
I am so happy I found this site! My family and I are looking at getting a German Shepherd for our next dog. I would like to do protection training with him. I have been told to get a puppy and no, get an older dog so you know he is capable of protection work. We brought a German Shepherd home for a trial run from a local trainer. He was 16 months old and had early protection work done. We picked him from 4 dogs the trainer recommended for our family with small kids (2,4 and 6). A friend of mine who is a trainer said I might be getting in over my head and could endanger my kids and I should start with a puppy. So, we took him back even though we like him. Now we do not know what to do. What would you recommend for a beginner? My wife, two older kids, and I really like the older dog, but my 2 year is scared of dogs. If you recommend a puppy, how do I choose? Thank you so much for having the ability to ask these questions on your site!
I wrote an article on how to prevent dog bites in children. You need to read this article and determine if you and your family are willing to live by that protocol.
Your decision comes down to your willingness to not only manage your new dog (be it a puppy or an adult), but to also manage the behavior of your children. No one can answer these questions for you. There are many articles on my web site that may be of help.
Too often management is a one sided issue, which means there isn't enough management and training of the children. In my opinion, this is wrong.
I recently produced a short video on management for one of our recent newsletters. It’s free to watch if you can watch streaming video on your computer. I suggest you watch it. Good management is just as important as good obedience training when it comes to living with a dog.
Before you make your decision you may even want to consider the online Basic Dog Obedience course we released a few weeks ago. It has 150 videos in it and is a 6 week course. In my opinion, it is way better than a local obedience course. There is a course overview available and a video that that goes over what is in the course.
I hope this helps
Regards, Ed Frawley
I have been coming to the conclusion also, as I read through your site. Thanks for the help and the great site! I wish I would have found this a year ago when I started looking. Better late than never! I will watch the videos to help us make the decision.