Should I Get A Working Line Puppy?

Should I Get A Working Line Puppy?

If you're 90% of people, no, you shouldn't. So if you're a person and you're reading this, the answer is most likely no. I've heard a lot of people advise against it because they think that working line dogs are more aggressive. But actually, the opposite is true. Most dogs bite out of fear, and most well-bred working line dogs don't fear much, so they're far less likely to become a fear biter. Now that that myth is dispelled, why aren't working line dogs for everyone?

Price: A lot of people find it very hard to justify paying over $2,000 for a puppy that they'll never compete with or train to do a specific job. Yes, you'll get a pup that's from health tested parents which will drive up the price a bit, and that's definitely worth it. But what really drives the price up is paying for knowledge. It is far more difficult than one might think to consistently produce puppies that have the drive to make good working dogs as adults. It takes study, training, time and money to pull off. A lot of it. You're paying for that acquired knowledge, a higher chance of getting a healthy puppy, and most importantly you're paying for working ability. If you have no plans to work your dog, paying for working ability feels like an unnecessary feature for many.

Drive: If you've owned any other line of German Shepherd as a puppy, you remember the biting, the chewing, the destroyed shoe, or bite marks on a table leg etc. Multiply that by 10. The same prey drive that makes most puppies destructive, hyper, bitey, and gives them the zoomies is amplified. By a lot. They will play rougher and for longer. The only time they're still is when they're asleep. And if you don't watch them 24/7 when they're out of their crate, they will chew your stuff up faster and with much more enthusiasm than a non-working line dog. If you don't stay on top of things, you will pay a price, every time. And it will be like that for 18-24 months. There's always that one person who thinks their dog is over the chewing phase at 12 months old and comes home from work to no longer having a couch.

Training Ability: If you're unsure if you have the training ability to harness the drive of a working line puppy/dog. You might have a chance. If you have never done it, but know you can, there's almost a 100% chance you can't and never will be able to. A person who thinks they're prepared is often a person who is untrainable themselves. A person who is a little apprehensive is more likely to do in depth research, contact knowledgeable trainers who compete in dog sports etc. The local pet store training program isn't going to cut it. The 4-8 week program they took to become a certified dog trainer isn't enough to prepare them to train your puppy, much less guide you through tough times.

You will have to contact trainers who actually compete and have been working with working dogs for years. They are not cheap. In fact, you're better off joining a club yourself and training your own dog with guidance from experienced club mates. You cannot go half in on training a working line dog. You'll end up with a young adult dog that is completely out of control. It'll act like a puppy, chewing, nipping, jumping up, and barking etc. ... only this puppy will be 65-90lbs of muscle. Knocking your guests and kids over while meaning no harm whatsoever. You will have to have control. You will have to have a strong relationship with your dog. You will have to set and enforce boundaries. You will have to learn to harness your puppy's drive to use it to your advantage.

On a positive note, the easiest dogs to train, if you know how to train dogs using motivation and reward, are dogs with a lot of drive. They'll break their back for a treat or a short game of tug or fetch. If you harness their drive, they make very responsive, obedient dogs.

Work: If you do not put in the work, you will be very unhappy with your working line dog. If you do, chances are you'll be happier with them than you've ever been with any other dog. So one must be honest with themselves: do you have the time to devote? You probably do, because it only takes 20-30 minutes a day of training. But are you going to invest the effort in keeping an eye on the puppy, even going as far as using a leash indoors? Raising a working line German Shepherd puppy is much more labor intensive than raising just about any other dog on Earth, sans maybe a Malinois pup.

If you are still here, and you still think it's worth it, and you already know of trainers in your area who can help, and preferably have found a club to join. A working line German Shepherd pup might be for you. Just make sure you get a puppy from a reputable breeder who actively works or titles their dogs, who has hip and elbow scores on their dogs, has guarantees etc. Don't cheap out and buy a puppy from a guy who just happened to buy 2 dogs with working lines somewhere back in the pedigree. You run the risk of getting a puppy with higher than usual drive who doesn't have a stable temperament, and you definitely do not want that! It's better to buy once and cry once, than to save a few hundred dollars now and spend thousands on training to "fix" temperament issues, or get surgery to correct severe hip dysplasia.

Do you think you could handle the responsibility of owning a working line dog? If so, let us know and leave a like and comment.

You may also like: The History of the Working Line GSD

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