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Introduction and questions.

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isbelljc
Just Whelped
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:25 pm
Tell us about yourself: Longtime owner of performance bred APBTs, very interested in the DS. Here to inquire, discuss, and learn.

Introduction and questions.

Post by isbelljc » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:17 pm

Hello to all. I'm not sure if the entirety of this post should go here (in introductions) or elsewhere in the forum, so please redirect me if I'm in the wrong place. Also, apologies in advance for the wall of text. EDIT: Tried to break this up to make it more manageable.

Introduction:

My name is Jason. I am extremely interested in the Dutch Shepherd breed and have some questions. I suppose I should provide some relevant background first so that I can get the best-informed opinions possible:

Most of my adult life has been spent with performance-bred American Pit Bull Terriers (APBT). I know this breed is "controversial" to say the least so I hope I'm not judged prematurely. :) My dogs were all down from highly respected breeders within the community (i.e., not backyard breeders) and were lines known for very high drive. (Man... I could tell you some stories.) :)

I always loved the breed for it's temperament and abilities. Despite stereotypes, my attraction was not one driven by machismo, but rather driven by an admiration for an animal that could do nearly everything asked of it. I have always been a dog lover and a very active person, hence my attraction to working dogs. I am a "hobbyist" dog trainer, in that I read up on it extensively (some might argue compulsively), have put in many hours to training my own dogs, and I have a strong grasp on learning theory thanks to my doctorate in cognitive neuroscience. (I really hope that last bit doesn't appear pompous--hopefully it is interpreted as relevant background.) My own dogs (five over the course of over twenty years) have been nothing but sweet, stable, and extremely well-behaved, thanks to my spending many hours working with them. I'm proud to say this has won over more than a few people on the breed, having seen their potential for obedience, physicality, and most importantly, goofy, loving affection.

Anyway, I have been without a dog for a couple years now. It's been painful. :) My wife and I have a 7-year-old daughter who has caught the puppy bug. That's all it took to push me over the edge. It's time for a new dog. Unfortunately, breed-specific legislation and other issues of breed discrimination have made owning an APBT much more difficult. Finding a rental home, for example, can be nigh impossible once they learn what breed you have. Further, I feel inclined to try something "new". I've never owned a shepherd of any sort, for example. So I've been doing my homework (again, compulsively) for the last few months and a Dutch Shepherd is extremely appealing.

That was my background. Here are my plans. Please let me know if I'm barking up the wrong tree. (Dog pun, hyuck, hyuck.)

Question for this community, with (hopefully) relevant details:

Can I, and my family, provide the right home for a Dutch Shepherd?

I have a teaching position at a nearby university. On M/W/F, my dog will come with me to work, spending only a few hours (a little less than three, ideally with a food-filled kong) in a crate in my office. The rest of the day will be walking around campus being socialized to as many people as is comfortable for him, and then playing, exercising, etc. at home. On T/Th I may have the occasional grading to do, but generally I'll be spending all day with him, again exercising, training, socializing, etc. Weekends will be more of the same, but added hikes around a nearby lake. More importantly, I am hoping to get into Search and Rescue, so this pup will be my SAR prospect. In short, he will be exercised, trained, and formally worked (assuming we make the SAR cut), but he will also live in a family environment.

Some people online seem to convey the dog as a hyperactive lunatic of an animal, only a few steps removed from a rabid wolf. (Malinois owners really seem to convey this sentiment.) I do want a driven, capable working dog, but I don't want a nervy, reactive liability for my family. I'm trying to wade through the murky waters of dog culture and its associated mythologies, so any input that will clear the waters would be much appreciated. And thank you if you've read this far. :)

User avatar
centrop67
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1907
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:42 pm
Tell us about yourself: Accidental DS rescuer. Human companion to Radar and Leela. Owner of the site, looking to make this the top site for information and discussion on Dutch Shepherds.
Location: Cutler Bay, FL, USA

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by centrop67 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:59 pm

Welcome to the forum.

Thank you for all the background information, as well as taking steps to research the breed before proceeding.

Hopefully, some of the more experienced members will chime in, but I want to talk about two important aspects.

First, I recommend reading the post here on Selecting/Researching a breeder. This is probably going to be the most important part of your journey.

Second, there is one concern in your situation: having a 7-year old in the mix. I would describe the Dutch Shepherd as a "serious" dog. By serious, I mean that they can give as good as they get in terms of punishment and/or play. The question to ask is whether your daughter is mature enough in mental capacity to understand what that means. The dog would be a family member requiring extreme respect. It's not a horsey or a play toy. Rough play would be met with rough play.

Also, because you would be spending the most time with the dog it is likely to generate a very specific and protective bond with you. There must be a plan in place to work around this with your family
Michael
The pack -> Radar (DS), Leela (Mal?), and Karen (Human) - Cutler Bay, FL USA
RIP: Tequila and Snickers
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. - Will Rogers

isbelljc
Just Whelped
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:25 pm
Tell us about yourself: Longtime owner of performance bred APBTs, very interested in the DS. Here to inquire, discuss, and learn.

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by isbelljc » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:11 pm

Thanks for the feedback!

I have already read that link you provided (did I mention I'm "compulsive" yet?). :) It is nonetheless very useful and I'll give it another look since you took the time to provide it. Having seen it a few weeks ago, I realize I overlooked a few parts anyway.

Your second point is particularly noteworthy to me. My previous dogs would match my intensity when playing/rough housing. I had no problem with that since they'd stop as soon as I said it was time to stop. But you seem to suggest something different. With them, it was play, no matter how intense. You seem to suggest that with a DS it may not be "play" but rather could go from play to "real fight". Am I reading too much into what you said?

My daughter is fairly mild. I mean, she is quite courageous and active, but not a "jerk". She knows not to pull ears or hit, bite, etc. LOL. But this notion of "serious" and phrases like "extreme respect" and "protective bond" and "work around" sound more like we'd be living with a land mine of sorts... which is definitely something I don't want. My previous dogs were extremely stable, but it sounds like you're suggesting the DS is much more prone to reactive aggression and has a much smaller circle of "people I like". A shorter fuse...?

Am I getting this right? And thanks again!

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centrop67
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1907
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:42 pm
Tell us about yourself: Accidental DS rescuer. Human companion to Radar and Leela. Owner of the site, looking to make this the top site for information and discussion on Dutch Shepherds.
Location: Cutler Bay, FL, USA

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by centrop67 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:30 pm

I am sure you can appreciate the difference between anecdotal and peer-reviewed research, so I am going to admit that my response is based solely on hands-on experience with one dog as well as anecdotal information I gained from interacting with other DS owners here on the forum and other places.

I am working behind the scenes with a few other forum members on a relatively comprehensive post regarding all the things to consider if you're considering a Dutch Shepherd. My thoughts on the "serious" nature of the DS breed seem to be shared among us.

Individual dogs, even within a breed, can have variances, but I believe that the DS breed of dog has a high tendency to be protective to a single person in a pack and can react to uncomfortable situations in a severe manner. In my opinion it should be a consideration when researching the breed.

On the flip side the DS owners groups on Facebook are filled with pictures of DS and children (and cats???), so there's that.
Michael
The pack -> Radar (DS), Leela (Mal?), and Karen (Human) - Cutler Bay, FL USA
RIP: Tequila and Snickers
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. - Will Rogers

isbelljc
Just Whelped
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:25 pm
Tell us about yourself: Longtime owner of performance bred APBTs, very interested in the DS. Here to inquire, discuss, and learn.

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by isbelljc » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:47 pm

centrop67 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:30 pm
I am sure you can appreciate the difference between anecdotal and peer-reviewed research...
Sadly, based on some "behind-the-scenes" experience, I waver in my confidence that there's actually a distinction between the two... :roll: :)
centrop67 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:30 pm
I am working behind the scenes with a few other forum members on a relatively comprehensive post regarding all the things to consider if you're considering a Dutch Shepherd. My thoughts on the "serious" nature of the DS breed seem to be shared among us.
I am excited to see what you produce. However, at the risk of being obnoxious, I'd like to explore this intuition for a moment. I'm wondering how much selection bias (and maybe some confirmation bias) plays into this consensus. Here's a hypothesis: People into protection work (and associated sports) want a "serious" dog. So they're attracted to a breed or a handful of breeds that are currently fashionable in a given sport. Then they set out spending a great deal of time building drives, encouraging protective and/or "aggressive" behavior, often not allowing their dog to play with others (for training purposes), and insisting on becoming the source of all goodness for the dog (also for training purposes).

At the end of a couple years of this, they no doubt have an intense, focused, and extremely capable canine athlete. However, solely as a function of their training regimen, they also have a dog who is "serious, protective of a single person, and severely reactive to uncomfortable situations". So, when asked what a DS is like, they (entirely understandably) respond accordingly.

Whereas, people who acquire one as a family pet don't spend hours a day building drives, encouraging mouthiness, and the dog spends a lot of "soft" or "sweet" or "fun" time with various people. Could this account for the discrepancy between the experience/input of people on a forum (no doubt waist deep in protection sports, etc.) and people on a Facebook group (who may be interacting with their dogs differently)?

I'm really not trying to split hairs or anything here, but honestly trying to get at bedrock. I hear such conflicting information and am simply trying to suss out from where the variability comes.
centrop67 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:30 pm
Individual dogs, even within a breed, can have variances, but I believe that the DS breed of dog has a high tendency to be protective to a single person in a pack and can react to uncomfortable situations in a severe manner.
Yeah... see, this is a deal breaker if true on the aggregate. I appreciate your patience and input thus far, and I'd like to hear your response to the idea I posed above. But even if you don't have time, you've given me something very important to think about. Thank you. :pint:

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TimL_168
Training Dog
Posts: 864
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:11 pm
Tell us about yourself: I am: a father of 2 boys, a carpenter, hunter, runner. We have extensive experience with sled dogs, shepherd mixes, a wolf hybrid, and our current dog a 95# long haired Shiloh Shepherd. We added Endeavor in April 2016. She was not working out in HRD. I train for game recovery and general utility.
Location: central MD

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by TimL_168 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:02 am

Ugh...Where to start.
1) I don't train bite work. My DS does not need any kind of encouragement to be mouthy. It's her go-to. En can easily get over her threshold and BITE whatever she can get to. We play. I work up to that threshold and try to keep control. I'd I didn't have good, experienced eyes on us from time to time, it could go wrong.
2) My DS bit my kid. Right in the face. I think there's a post on here about it. I was out of my mind with anger that my family let her out of the crate when I wasn't home. It wasn't bad. You can see the pics of them now. That was after weeks of daily work together. It needs to keep going.
3) I get your point about sport dogs. You're probably right in some ways. However, I think my family exists on the gray area in between sport and pet. I want and got a dog that gets serious about the work at hand, first and foremost. I ended up with a dog that can hang out loose in the house all day if need be. It's dog AND training.
4) En listens to everyone in the house. It's shocking. She actively seeks affection from everyone in the house. But, she is MY dog. She's always at MY side. She'll guard my kids from strangers, but I'm her priority. That's just her nature.
Tim L.
Aurora(Shiloh) Endeavor

isbelljc
Just Whelped
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:25 pm
Tell us about yourself: Longtime owner of performance bred APBTs, very interested in the DS. Here to inquire, discuss, and learn.

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by isbelljc » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:19 am

Thanks Tim. You've definitely provided another data point.

These kinds of behaviors (biting kids in the face, growling and snapping at owners, and other odd stories I've heard about some DSs) are utterly foreign to me, regarding my previous APBTs. And while I may have been spoiled, it's increasingly sounding like my tolerance for human-directed aggression would have to go way up for me to consider a DS. If I lived alone I might consider the trade off for a driven, athletic dog... but with a daughter, no way.

I've been around many dogs from a multiple breeds down from working lines (APBTs, Catahoulas, American Bulldogs, etc.), with high prey drive, intensity, etc. and although many could be trained for protection, very very very few of them ever showed frequent or "inherent" human-directed aggression. It required notable effort to get them there. With respect, it seems that inherent human aggression, particularly towards children, would be breeding flaw... no?

User avatar
TimL_168
Training Dog
Posts: 864
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:11 pm
Tell us about yourself: I am: a father of 2 boys, a carpenter, hunter, runner. We have extensive experience with sled dogs, shepherd mixes, a wolf hybrid, and our current dog a 95# long haired Shiloh Shepherd. We added Endeavor in April 2016. She was not working out in HRD. I train for game recovery and general utility.
Location: central MD

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by TimL_168 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:25 am

I really can't say. I have zero knowledge of the subject other than that many lines of DS and Mal are bred specifically for subduing humans.
Tim L.
Aurora(Shiloh) Endeavor

isbelljc
Just Whelped
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:25 pm
Tell us about yourself: Longtime owner of performance bred APBTs, very interested in the DS. Here to inquire, discuss, and learn.

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by isbelljc » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:47 am

Fair enough. Thanks again for your input.

User avatar
centrop67
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1907
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:42 pm
Tell us about yourself: Accidental DS rescuer. Human companion to Radar and Leela. Owner of the site, looking to make this the top site for information and discussion on Dutch Shepherds.
Location: Cutler Bay, FL, USA

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by centrop67 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:59 pm

You may have already made your decision and left the group, but I would like to add that my DS is the most affectionate, clingy, and cuddly dog I have ever owned. Except when he's not.

I'd be willing to bet that most, if not all, of the bite stories are (at the core) humans being stupid.

Run away from a dog with high prey drive and you'll be chased and possibly bitten. A lesson that my first trainer had to learn the hard way. Luckily my Radar just grabbed her jeans and didn't bite her flesh.

Invade their space or punish them harshly and it's likely to come back to bite you - literally.

Try to get between a DS and a loose dog on a walk and reflexes can produce a nice big bruise on your thigh from a bite.

I wish you luck on your journey to a new puppy. Don't hesitate to pop in and tell us how it's going.
Michael
The pack -> Radar (DS), Leela (Mal?), and Karen (Human) - Cutler Bay, FL USA
RIP: Tequila and Snickers
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. - Will Rogers

ICE
Green Dog
Posts: 190
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:32 am
Tell us about yourself: I have a 12 week old dutch shepherd that my trainer got for me to train in schutzhund. This is my 1st dutch shepherd, I have always had german shepherds. Currently, I have 4 dogs.

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by ICE » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:27 pm

I would like to jump in on the bite work sports. It does not always make them a "serious dog". My dog loves the sport, loves the biting but its just a fun game. He enjoys having someone stronger than me to fight with. With the bite sports comes very detailed and intense obedience. I only train sport not personal protection. I think personal protection takes it to the next level. I personally don't want ICE to be the one deciding if its ok to bite. Point being, I do train bite sports in addition to other non-bite sports with ICE but, he is also my pet. He lives in the house, has house manners and plays very sweetly with my 6 year old granddaughter. The Dutch Shepherd is a very physically and mentally active dog but they are a dog. They can be enjoyed by regular active families. You just need to have training knowledge and/or a training group that will help you. They will outsmart you if you don't keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
Patty and Ice

isbelljc
Just Whelped
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:25 pm
Tell us about yourself: Longtime owner of performance bred APBTs, very interested in the DS. Here to inquire, discuss, and learn.

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by isbelljc » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:20 pm

centrop67 wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:59 pm
Except when he's not.
And therein lies the rub. At no point ever in the history of all my dogs was it even conceivable that they'd bite me, and even less so a child. I'm being a bit hyperbolic, of course. It was conceivable, in the sense that any responsible dog owner isn't going to leave children alone with a dog. But for my dogs to attack a child, or me, under almost any circumstances would have led me to believe they had a brain parasite. Yet from what I'm gathering here, with a DS in your home, someone simply needs to make a "mistake".

I don't want to overstate this or be misinterpreted; I'm sure they're a great dog for some people and they no doubt accomplish certain jobs few other breeds can. But I have realized from our dialog that they are not a good fit for my situation. I think I simply misunderstood what type of selection criteria went into the breeding of these dogs. I thought "shepherd" meant intense, athletic, protective, intelligent, "all around" working dog. I didn't realize the (apparent) extent to which human-aggression was tolerated or even possibly encouraged.
centrop67 wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:59 pm
Run away from a dog with high prey drive and you'll be chased and possibly bitten.
All of my dogs had fairly impressive drive. Chasing balls to exhaustion or raw pads. All day. Dragging logs around the lake for miles. One would hang from his rope by his jaws, shaking it, for hours at a time if I didn't intervene. I once came out to him hanging there, covered in blood, and I panicked only to realize he had bit clean through his own lip but still would not let go of his rope. Yet with all that drive, all that intensity, at no point did I need to fear that if I ran from one of them I might get attacked. Over the course of 20 years and a few APBTs, I broke up a couple dog fights and dove into the fray with impunity. I had that much confidence in them, and I was never betrayed.

I hope I'm not appearing contrarian. I'm just trying to wrap my head around this different perspective on dogs. Living with an animal that may bite you if it's having a bad day or doesn't like what you did is truly unique to me. No doubt it is due to the breeding history behind the two breeds--some overlapping criteria, some orthogonal criteria. But I don't think "high drive" necessarily needs to be swallowed along with "might attack me or my child". But I digress.

In any case, I came here for important information and got a lot of great feedback. The Dutch Shepherd appears to be a brilliant, beautiful, and capable dog, accomplishing all it was bred to do. I just realize that it is not the breed for me. I'm thankful to all for their honest input!

Joxgirl
Working Dog
Posts: 1106
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:38 pm
Tell us about yourself: Loving every crazy day with my DS.
Location: Southern California

Re: Introduction and questions.

Post by Joxgirl » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:33 am

:pint: I remember being at the point of thinking of getting a DS or not.
My girl is so sweet and affectionate, but early on she started protecting us. I can say it started at about 15 weeks of age. She doesn’t mess around. The DS is a dog that should not be taken lightly.
Saralee
Rogue (Dutch Shepherd) 1 year old
Joachimstaler @ IG

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