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      Schonwasser Shepherds                                 (850) 478-3725
                                                                                                                      German Shepherds from West German Imports & Offspring                                        
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   Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are your puppies able to be registered with the AKC? Yes, all our puppies will be registered with the AKC. Some of our litters are also registered with the SV and dual registered wtih USCA.
  • Are your puppies purebred? Absolutely yes. They are 100% German German Shepherds from West German showlines with an ability to work. Note there are differences genuine German Shepherd gene pools: Czech German Shepherd looks different than an East or Dutch German Shepherd. In show lines versus protection lines, you will see slight differences in size, coloration, and coat. Look at the STANDARD for the GSD and compare our dogs to the standard. Please note: there are some people in America who promote their own "version" of the German Shepherd and mix in other breeds (such as super-sized "Shiloh Shepherds" or hybridized wolves like "Timber Shepherds", or White Shepherds (white is considered a pigment flaw according to breed standards). None of these are real German Shepherds. 
  • Are your puppies "in-bred"? Absolutely NOT. We carefully check our pedigrees and follow the advice of breeders (mentors) who have been doing this for decades. We check our breeding outcomes on Pedigree Database with serious consideration before breeding.  
  • Can I see both parents? Yes, if we use a stud from nearby. Currently, we have all females at home and are using outside males (studs). We are happy to meet you off property so you can see our dogs "gait" --a German Shepherd is a herding dog and should be viewed in action. Also it's fun to meet at a store so you can see our dogs "find" things or people in the store. We have limited vistation before puppies are born in our house, however, and after we have puppies at home, we have a strict 'no visitors' policy. Sorry! We are germophobes! 
  • What about their hips? All our dogs' hips and elbows have been x-rayed and certified by the OFA. Our German imports were xrayed and certified in Germany as "A-normal". There are fewer hip and elbow problems with import German Shepherds than there are in Americanized Shepherds (the oversizing of these dogs has contributed to the structural problems). German breeders are scrupulous about genetics, where dogs are bred to be the correct size.
  • Can you ship a puppy? Yes. The cost is about $200-300. We would prefer to drive and meet you if possible or fly and carry the puppy as carry-on luggage in the airline cabin. Check on a round trip airline ticket--it may  may be less than the cost of shipping, and if you fly here, you can meet your puppy's family. 
  • Where are you located? Pensacola, Florida. Don't think "Orlando" or "Miami"...we are 5 hours southwest of Atlanta, 2 hours south of Montgomery, Alabama, and 3 hours east of New Orleans. We are due south of Detroit, so Pensacola is a reasonable drive from much of the South and Midwest. It's only 6 hours to Nashville, for instance.  
  • Are the prices of the puppies negotiable? The puppies in each litter are priced according to the pedigree, titles, and training of the parents. There are no "pick" prices; there are no "clearance puppies" (like Marley!) Our goal for our litters is consistency in size, health, smarts, trainability, and temperament. Special prices are sometimes given to law enforcement or military. 
  • Why does my puppy's name have to start with a certain letter? Oct 2014 is our E litter...It is expected that the puppies from the first litter of a breeding should have names that begin with the letter "A", the second litter with "B" and so forth. All progeny have the kennel name in their registered name so they are immediately identifiable. Thus, all the pups from a litter will be registered (for example) "Abigail von Schonwasser" Go online and search for German names or baby names--Be creative!! Some breeders choose the name for you, but we want our owners to be happy with their name choice. Ultimately, a dog can have a registered name as well as a call name (see below).
  • Can I call my pup any name I like? Or do I have to call my pup by their registered name? Of course you may call your dog any name you like. Your "Call Name" can be ANYTHING. Our dog Rommel was registered as "Buddy vom Freibele FBO2" but his call name is "Rommel". (see "My Story" page for the reason behind this). Any dog show paperwork will ask you for both the registered name and the call name. Your dog will learn to come to the call name, not his registered name. 

Personal Note: It is the practice of some breeds in the AKC to register dogs by ridiculous fancy names. The German Shepherd dog is a dignified dog. This method of naming dogs with kennel names and by alpha makes tracing their pedigrees much easier. You may want to google "Kirshental" or "Friebele" or "Zenteiche" and see the extended family of our dogs--suddenly having the breeder's name in your dog's registered name makes complete sense. And families who have chosen to purchase their puppy from us are very proud to tell others that they own a Schonwasser Shepherd. 

                                            Scroll below the photo for answers to TRAINING QUESTIONS  


 Rommel and Meika on the Bay Bluffs Beach, Escambia Bay, Pensacola.

Training Questions:  Please note--I am not a "professional" trainer. My answers are based on years of experience.  Be sure to sign up for puppy classes and obedience classes and find what works for you and your puppy.

Be sure to "friend" us on Facebook. The Schonwasser Shepherds page has a wealth of information under "Notes". I have written short articles with week by week notes on raising a puppy from birth through 1 year. Someday it may be a book!.   ~br

How long will it take to housebreak my puppy? Puppy will come to you partially housebroken. 
It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days. Don’t use ‘puppy pads’ or allow the puppy to urinate or defecate anywhere in your house, ever. BE consistent: if you feed them at the same time every day, you should be able to anticipate when they need to do their business. When the puppy wakes up—outside! Food, drink—outside! Put your pup on one spot of grass and say "Hurry up." No playing or distractions until they ‘perform’. Then make a BIG DEAL out of their tinkling and reward with play. Then go right back into the house. It won’t take them long to figure out where they are supposed to do their ‘business’. The whole family must be diligent to keep the puppy to a schedule and take responsibility for house training. And when nobody is watching the puppy, he or she MUST STAY IN THE CRATE

Isn’t locking a puppy in a crate kind of mean? Absolutely NOT. 
A puppy MUST have a safe, quiet place that is "theirs". The crate is not only for down time, it is where the pup sleeps at night (he won’t make a mess in there) and during the day when you are gone. Do NOT leave your puppy out loose in the house. You are putting their life in danger and you’ll come home to a mess. They don’t mind their crate, it is their cave. Remember, puppies get tired of interaction and you’ll find them in their crate with the door open. Make it so they can come and go as they please and never put them in there as punishment. From little on, give them the command, "Kennel up!" and they will learn to run into their crate and flop down and chill.

Should I train my puppy in obedience? Absolutely YES. All puppies and dogs should receive basic obedience. Your dog is a representative of your family and his breed family. You may choose to compete in obedience, rally, agility or flyball. There are so many great activity sports today in which your family may choose to participate and compete. Remember, your dog is always a representative of the breed and this is a SMART dog. You owe it to them to train them.

 Can I show my puppy or dog for conformation in an AKC show?
You may choose to compete in conformation but please read up on the American German Shepherd versus the truly German Shepherd. At smaller AKC shows, your dog may win a ribbon or two (depending on the competition), but the style being promoted by the AKC still leans toward the shallow bodied dog with deeply angulated hips and sloping rear, a narrow face (more like a collie) and an impaired intellect and temperament. Don’t be disappointed if your beautiful real German Shepherd is snubbed by the AKC judges. (see "My Story" for my experiences at AKC Shows--also see Rommel's page).

Can I show my puppy in UKC show? You may find that the UKC is more open to the West German style of the real German Shepherd. Earning a "Champion" title in the UKC is also an easier goal than earning a Champion title with the AKC.

What about the USCA? Our puppies are currently being shown under the USCA shows and our D and E litters are registered with USCA.

Should I train for Schutzhund?  
If you want to compete in the sport, buy some books and videos and study the sport first. Then find a reputable group of experienced enthusiasts (not "my dog's tougher than yours" amateurs). They should and will welcome you to multiple visits. Membership fees should be a set annual or monthly amount and most of the membership fees go for facilities and (unfortunately) liability insurance. Watch and ask a lot of questions before you join. Your dog will require ONE YEAR of consistent training to earn (at a trial) his or her Sch I. You may have to drive some distance to trials. Schutzhund is not an inexpensive pursuit, but the people involved are knowledgeable, love their dogs and welcome newcomers.

What is Schutzhund?
Schutzhund has three components: obedience (off leash), tracking, and protection. It is significantly is MORE demanding than AKC Obedience (CD, CDX or UD) or AKC Tracking. It is not recommended for novices to attempt to train in Schutzhund on their own. There are exercises that can be done with your puppy that will increase his or her chances of success at earning a SchH1 title, but you already have the most important component--a REAL WEST GERMAN PEDIGREE. Schutzhund is preferred for genuine German Shepherd dogs since the sport was developed FOR them and the points are not just subjectively awarded to ONE dog at a trial (notice it is not a "show"). At a Sch trial, the dogs are judged against a standard of performance and not against each other. The Sch Club Members encourage each other and assist in each other's training and development at this challenging man + dog or woman + dog sport.

Can I train my puppy for Search and Rescue?  
Yes. Again, find a reputable group who will help you with your dog. If you choose to make your German Shepherd a SAR dog, they should not be trained in any protection work (in Schutzhund). People with SAR Dogs are volunteers who are called upon by their local Sheriff's department or police force during searches. Sometimes they are called upon to travel to areas of natural disasters to use their dogs’ skills for humanitarian purposes following natural disasters like earthquakes and the like. This is a great hobby and should be highly encouraged. As an added bonus, SAR dogs have special passes to go into places where other dogs are not welcomed!

Will I need to train my dog to defend the house?
No, German Shepherd dogs are naturally territorial. You will have to teach them manners, and keep them socialized so that when visitors arrive, they are given the opportunity to discriminate between friend and foe. Dogs should NOT be kenneled up and never given the opportunity to be present when friends or family arrive. They will never learn to perceive the difference between a "threat" and a "no threat" without practice.

How much time a day should I plan to spend training my dog?
You are ALWAYS training your dog!!! 15-25 minutes per day of formal training is all that is required according to most dog training experts, followed by "play" as a reward. But informal training is ALWAYS going on. Remember: it is your dog’s goal to figure out how to make you do what THEY want you to do! (Go back and read that again!) They are always learning and listening and watching your every move, trying to anticipate outcomes.

Should I spay or neuter my puppy? Yes.  Dogs are happier, healthier and more contented without the issues that accompany breeding urges. A responsible person is well aware of the implications of breeding and of the overpopulation of dogs (and cats) in America. So, YES, spay or neuter...BUT only if you are NOT going to show for conformation (AKC, UKC or WDA) in an attempt to title your dog. You may show for obedience, rally, agility or flyball with a "fixed" dog, but the purpose of conformation is to show that your dog CONFORMS to the standard and should be included/considered as a dog that could improve the breed.  Your puppy will be registered with the "limited" registration meaning they must not be bred without contacting the breeder (Schonwasser Shepherds).

Purchasing a puppy for potential breeding stock must be negotiated. All puppies have limited registration until the age of 2. Breeding rights incur an additional cost and must be included in your contract at the time you purchase your puppy. 

Remember, having a litter of puppies is a huge commitment; no one should ever have a litter just for the "fun" of it or just so their kids can see puppies born. If that is your goal, go get a video. You should never breed a female as a method of securing income to "pay" for the original cost of the dog. If the original cost of purchasing a dog is an issue, find a rescue organization and provide a home for a dog in need--there are unfortunately plenty of them out there.  Talk to your vet about the safest time to alter your female or male. We prefer AFTER 24 months for both males and females.   See my article "Breeding Rights: Who hold the keys to the next generation?" on Facebook (Schonwasser Shepherds' page) 

Do I have to speak German to my dog?
No, but in order to compete in Schutzhund, a dog must learn and respond to only commands in German (or Dutch). So it’s easier to start with German and stick with it. There are only a few simple commands (sitz for sit, platz for down, bleibe for stay), and they’re easy to learn. As an added bonus, remember this: your dog will only obey you and your family because nobody else will know your German commands! Google "schutzhund commands" and teach them to yourself. Just be consistent and only use one language until the dog knows the behavior. Once they are grown and know their "primary" command, you can actually add a second command and have them respond to both.

Can I make up my own commands?
Sure! We say "Kennel up" (get in the kennel) and "Cookie!" when it’s treat time (even if it’s cheese or a hot dog). We say "Ally-OOP!" (jump up into the SUV), and "Boo-boo" when we need to do a little doctoring (scraches and the like). Your puppy will learn what you teach them consistently. Our dogs know commands as well as phrases like  "Go lie down" (if they are bugging us); "Knock it off" (if they are playing too roughly with each other); "QUIT!" (stop whatever you are doing); "Drop it" (drop anything right now) and their least favorite, "You can’t go" (when we are getting out car keys and they are hoping for a car ride). You may find that you have to resort to S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G in front of your dog—Rommel has trigger words like "fly" (go chase it all over the house and kill it); "cat" and "squirrel". Remember! this is a really SMART DOG!!

Why do you say "ah-ah" instead of "No"?
This is so that your puppy has his own special "no" word that is used ONLY for him or her. Since we use the word "no" in the house all the time in normal conversation (Do you want a hot dog? No) it’s possible that a puppy will be confused (No? What did I do wrong now?). They are always listening! It’s better to have a word of correction that is used JUST for them. As your puppy grows, can add a stronger NO word: phooey!! Don't ever shout or berate your dog--speak firmly and authoritatively but don't abuse them verbally or bully them. They will learn with consistency and time and love. Remember, they are your FRIEND.

What if I already have an older dog? Just be sure your older dog doesn't bully your German Shepherd puppy. Your puppy was separated from his or her littermates between 5 and 6 weeks of age so that his personality would be bold and self-confident. Don't let your older dog "undo" your puppy's impression of himself.  Introduce them slowly, feed them separately, and don't tolerate any behavior by your older dog that attempts to put your puppy in the "Omega" role. YOU are the ALPHA. Be sure to LEAD your dogs, don't let them take over and do what dogs do and that is dominate the newcomer. Be sure your older dog has "alone" time with you (after all, she has earned it, right?) and let the puppy have family time without the other dog butting in. If you love them both, give them room to grow. They will accept and love each other eventually; don't rush it. By the way, dogs in general are happier with a buddy of any size and gender!

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