I have a pup w/ bad hips. Should I take another from the same breeder?
I have a 16 month old female GSD (Chelsey). At 5 months it was discovered that she had hip dysplasia, but had not yet developed arthritis. So, she had corrective surgery (triple pelvic osteotomy on both hips). The breeder had a warranty on her hips, but the remedy is to give me another puppy (it isn't necessary for me to return Chelsey). I am interested in having another GSD, but I am unsure whether I should accept this free one from this breeder. Chelsey does have a good pedigree and this particular breeder shows many of his dogs. In addition, he has been breeding for over ten years and hasn't had many dogs with hip dysplasia. However, I am still skeptical. Would you advise me to accept this free puppy from him or should I pay the money and go with a more widely recognized breeder (such as yourself)? If I end up with another puppy with hip dysplasia I would not be able to give the puppy back because I would be too attached to it, so I would again be forced to pay over $2,000 for the corrective surgery.
There are two obedience problems that I am having with her. I have taken her to both a beginner and an intermediate training class and I work with her on a daily basis. The first problem is with heeling. She will not heel in the proper position. She always heels slightly in front of me. This doesn't present a severe problem when I am walking her on a leash, unless I want to make a 90 degree turn to the left, (then I end up stepping on her). However, I would like to eventually train her to do off lead heeling and I do not want to begin that until she is heeling in the proper position on lead. How can I get her to heel in the proper position?
The second problem is actually more of a behavioral problem. She is very timid. However, she has gotten better then she was in the past. When a stranger (or even someone that she has had infrequent contact with) approaches her, she barks at them with her hair raised, looking like she's going to kill them. When they come closer to her she runs away and cowers. I am afraid that she will become a fear biter. I know that I am not supposed to comfort her because that will reinforce the behavior. However, I do not know what the appropriate response is from me when she does this.
Thank you very much for your time. Stacie
In my opinion, you should not take another dog from this breeder. Not because of the bad hips but because of the poor temperament. In our breed, (GSD's), bad hips are going to happen. I assume that the breeder only breeds dogs with OFA ratings. Assuming this is the case, that’s about all we can ask.
The situation with the poor temperament comes from the American show bloodlines. When you say that the breeder shows dogs, I assume (maybe incorrectly) that this is a show breeder. What you describe in temperament is what is going to happen in a majority of American bloodline GSD's. They have bred good temperament out of the lines.
The training question about heeling is also another issue. You need to look at my video on Basic Dog Obedience. I discuss these problems in this tape (and a lot more). There is more information in this tape than there is in a 10 week training course. Read about it on my web site. The bottom line is that formal heeling is not used for a normal walk. This is unfair to the dog. When we walk with our dogs I expect them to walk without pulling on the leash - not heel in a competition heeling position by my left side. Sounds like you may be expecting too much. Walks are one thing, competition heeling is another thing.
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