German Shepherd Dog > Adopted 2yo female and have some questions... (19 replies)
Adopted 2yo female and have some questions...
by jra on 16 March 2011 - 21:55
|Came across this forum looking for some info on the newest member of our family. We received her three weeks ago from some neighbors who could no longer keep her and our info is limited. (We have a 5yo Lab, but this is our first German Shepherd, so we're learning as we go. Ideally, we would have been more knowledgeable about the breed beforehand, but she needed a home and we're happy to have her.) |
She's 2 and hasn't been spayed (appointment next week) and at her first vet visit weighed 55lbs. Vet was mildly concerned about her being underweight. Previous owners told us they had a hard time getting her to eat, which we did see initially - although they provided us a bag of puppy kibble they'd been trying to feed her for extra nutrition. After some food trials, she's eating well and seems to be filling out a bit (ribs not nearly as prominent as before).
She has a slight, lean build but appears...weak?...to us. I'm thinking poor or inadequate nutrition has impeded her muscle development, but that's just my uneducated guess. She has great spurts of energy and loves to play, but the stamina isn't there yet. Her movements remind me of a puppy. She's 'floppy' when she plays and is kinda gangly, but to be fair, we haven't wanted to overdo anything with her until she puts on a little weight. (My experience is with the Lab, who is solidly built and has very efficient/effective movement - so my perception may be skewed.) She gets two walks a day and play time whenever she wants it.
We were also told that they didn't feel she was bonding well with their family. Thus far, she's doing well with us. She loves the Lab, is intrigued by the cat, and enjoys being with the humans. Initially, we were mildly concerned that there might be some behavioral issues, but nothing so far.
We're not concerned with anything other than her health and wellbeing, but I was just curious about her physical development or lack thereof, if that's the case. I realize all dogs are different, but I'm just looking for general info. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
by GSDtravels on 16 March 2011 - 22:27
|German Shepherds are not as big as most people think they should be. If you could provide a few pics, that would be helpful, but many times the dog is healthy lean. If you're used to a Lab, it may be that she is just a different body type and you're thinking the best thing is to fatten her up. Many vets are also not familiar with the correct weight for a healthy GSD, so I'd even question their opinion. Typically, you should be able to see the last rib or two. |
That said, it also sounds like she may lack muscle due to not being exercised properly. If they stated she didn't bond with the family, it could well be that she was confined to a crate for a good part of her existence, you just never know. If she's adjusting well and doesn't seem to have any temperament issues, she's probably going to make a fantastic addition to your household and family. I would suggest taking her for walks and also allowing her to run off-lead if you have fenced property. GSDs are wonderful playmates, they excel at fetching and playing ball. I'd get her off of the puppy food and put her on a good quality kibble, not the kind you can purchase in the supermarket. Give her attention, affection an respect, combined with some training and discipline, when necessary. There's no reason be harsh or cruel with discipline, but you must be firm. No means no and there should be no compromise. They're smart and will learn easily as long as you treat them fairly.
It sounds like you've had a good start with her already and I thank you for caring enough to take her in and provide a secure, loving home. She will pay back everything you put into her and you'll most likely become hooked! Welcome to the breed and the forum. Pics are always welcomed!
by jra on 17 March 2011 - 00:05
|Thanks for the feedback. We've transitioned her to adult kibble and after trying a few different add-ins have finally found her preference. It was foreign territory for us to have a dog walk away from a bowl of food (that's NEVER happened with the Lab ). We do portion feeding twice daily to prevent overeating and now that she's got something she likes and knows when she'll get it, she eats. We're cognizant of weight issues and don't want to promote them in either dog, but she just seemed so incredibly thin and fragile. We could easily feel the vertebrae, ribs, and see the hips and had more than a couple folks ask us if she was a 'rescue'. The vet thought she definitely needed a little more weight.|
Here are a couple pics from today - I didn't think to take any the first couple of days when she appeared the thinnest.
We're working on exercising her more to develop the muscles. After seeing the Lab play catch, she caught on pretty quickly to how to play, but she's clumsy - as if she hasn't played fetch before. Like I said - her movements remind me of a puppy, floppy and a bit uncoordinated. I'm sure it'll come in time but I was curious about her physical development. I appreciate the feedback and any more is appreciated.
by unclemick on 17 March 2011 - 00:26
|She is, in my opinion, about 10 to 15 lbs. under weight. Others may feel she looks ok but the bottom shot from the rear tells me she is underweight. The other issues sound to me like she just wasn't handled or played with very much. With exercise, good food, and time to play/hang out with/bond to you she may very well be a different dog 6 months from now. She also sounds like she has a pretty good temperment (I'm not there to see her but this is going off what you said earlier). Good luck with her and enjoy your new dog!|
by jra on 17 March 2011 - 00:43
|Thank you for your input. Your estimate of 10-15 lbs is about what we were thinking. Again though, not having any experience with the breed, I wasn't sure. Were it not for her fur, I don't think there'd be much else there. She just doesn't look or feel....sturdy. Yet :) I feel much better now that she eats two squares a day - and leaves nothing in the bowl.|
And yes, her temperament is great. She's wonderfully sweet, inquisitive, and smart, with a lot of stubborn mixed in - we love it.
by NIKKI04 on 17 March 2011 - 01:01
I agree with UncleMick about her weight ! and with the reason she seems kind of " out of sorts" from the information you have told us regarding her previous family .... sounds like this dog was totally ignored ... hence ...their statement "they didn't think she was bonding with their family " I'm also thinking they probably could not afford her ..... but..... It sounds like she has found a great home with you and your family !!! lots of luck with her and keep us posted on her progress !! she is beautiful ! What is her name ? oh... and PS..... my girl is 6 years old and when she runs to me , she runs and hops almost like a floppy pounce .... LOL
by GSDtravels on 17 March 2011 - 02:35
|I do agree, she could stand to gain some, but not 15 lbs., maybe 10. I think she needs to develop some muscle and that's something exercise will fix. She's pretty and at least her coat looks healthy, which leads me to believe her diet wasn't too lacking. She also may have been fasting from depression if she wasn't getting the attention and exercise she needed. Are you sure about her age? Did they give you any documents, such as AKC registration or even a pedigree? If not, you may want to ask if they know who her sire and dam are, you may be able to find out something about her lineage. Congrats and thanks for sharing her with us, looks like you've got a good dog there!|
by jra on 17 March 2011 - 04:02
|Nikki04 - Perhaps she's just going to be a 'floppy' runner, LOL. We have a small area where she can romp, but I'm waiting to take her out in a larger space to see what she does and what her gait looks like. I'm pretty sure she's got some speed, but just not the power yet. Not that it really matters, other than I'm just curious.|
GSDtravels - interesting you mentioned her coat because it was very dry when we got her and the shedding was unbelievable. However, we've noticed a softening of and shine to her coat lately and while she still sheds, of course, it's nothing like it was the first week or so.
As far as paperwork - I have only an AKC Dog number and registered name from a web registration. I'll admit that I know nothing of the breeding/lineage process and wouldn't know good lines from bad. I was told she was 2yo (this month) and have something listing her 5, 6, 8 week vaccinations, but I don't know that it was from the breeder. The only other info I have is a receipt showing an initial vet visit (with the previous owner) and registration when she would have been 13 mos....which leads me to think that maybe they actually got her when she was a year old (unless they just didn't register her locally right away). Is it unusual that the breeder would have still had her at a year? I have the breeder's info, but wasn't sure if it would be beneficial or appropriate to contact them.
by kaoboy on 17 March 2011 - 04:14
maybe if she has problems eating try orjen fish!!... my husky was picky with his food.
once switched i noticed he loved his meal times, and got a nice coat, good teeth rather then the cheap stuff from walmart or costco.
now for my shepherd he only eats orjen fish formula. and i have no problems with eating, even my yorkie looks his food. and he was the worst of them all.
but for are yorkie we give him acana food, less protein for him!!
hope this helps
by GSDtravels on 17 March 2011 - 04:30
|It's not necessarily strange for a breeder to have a young dog. She could have been kept back as a breeding prospect and didn't mature as they would have liked, for example. Sometimes pups just don't sell and in this economy, that's possible also. Contacting the breeder is a decision only you can make. Some breeders do care about where their dogs end up, some don't. Some even have contracts stating that if the dog doesn't work out, she should be returned. In that case, I don't know if you'd have legal right to the dog or not, but I'd think as long as she's in a good, loving home, that should satisfy anyone truly concerned with her welfare. Knowing her lineage could be beneficial also, for genetic conditions, etc. So, it's a double edged sword, if you know what I mean. I think you would be wise to care for her, love her and let it go. If you ever run into a problem, at least you know where to get in touch.|
If her coat has improved since you've had her, it was most likely a nutritional issue and it should be rewarding to see that improvement already! Good for you, you know you're going in the right direction! Keep her on a good diet, keep at the exercise and be sure of her recall before ever letting her off-lead. It wouldn't hurt to enroll her in an obedience class. With the love and attention she's getting, I'm sure she'll gain approriate weight and thrive in your care. I think her movement and gangliness will change as her muscle tone improves, but it may also just be the way she moves, only time will tell.
BTW, I have a large male and he is a picky eater, so it's not unheard of in the breed and they certainly are nothing like Labs. Enjoy her and please update us on her progress, I'd love to see her once she reaches her potential. Again, thank you for taking her in and giving her a good home! Way too many good dogs end up in shelters because many just don't understand what it is to properly care for them.
by NIKKI04 on 18 March 2011 - 00:47
|Beautifully said GSDTravels !!|
by Uber Land on 18 March 2011 - 01:04
|pretty girl!, maybe could stand about 10 lbs more on her, but please don't get her heavy!|
GSD tend to be aloof, give her some more time to come around. most tend not to be the love everyone retriever type dogs, and it can take a little time for you to be deemed worthy of their affections.
by Kalibeck on 18 March 2011 - 03:10
|She looks like she's going to be a very beautiful dog! She does need to develope muscle. But some German Shepherd dogs take a while to reach maturity. Some lines are not expected to start 'filling out' until they are around 3 years old. She will never get chunky like a lab without sacrificing her health, so a little lean is better. As previously mentioned, you should feel the last rib or two. And my GSDs are picky eaters, too. When they were on Orijen, it was not a problem. Especially right before they come into heat, my ladies will turn their noses up at almost anything. Not my male, he'll always eat.|
I'm so glad that you have given her a loving, caring home. I hope you will all have long, happy lives together!
ps-she looks a lot like my girl did when she was young!
by jra on 18 March 2011 - 04:05
|Thank you everyone for your feedback and compliments. If I might ask another question.... In looking up something about her feet turning out, I came across the term "weak pastern". Never heard of this before, but am curious about whether or not this could be contributing to the 'floppiness' I notice in her front feet. Anyway, had them both out playing today and was able to get a pic that sorta shows what I'm talking about.|
Is this...stance(?)...how a weaker pastern might present or is this normal? Is it something that I should mention to the vet at her next visit?
Oh, and duly noted from everyone about keeping her fit, but lean . Having found out my son has been giving the Lab "a little extra food because she's such a good girl", we're working to get her to drop a few pounds. Kids!!
Thanks again for all the information. It's much appreciated.
by Uber Land on 18 March 2011 - 05:19
|could be a little east and west in the front, but don't see weak pasterns. make sure she has been de-wormed recently.|
but I had to go check to see if my Ezra was still in my yard, lol. same face, ears, color ect as my girl. She's sired by VA Voltan (Larus Batu son) out of a V Yello St. Micheals berg daughter. does your new girl have a tattoo in her ear? and where are you located? that dog looks familiar
by AandA on 18 March 2011 - 17:34
|jra, weak pasterns are seen with the dog in profile and relate to the angle of the first (short) bone coming directly from the front feet with the flatter this been to the ground the weaker the pastern. You can just see in the 2nd photo you posted (with her standing next to the ball) her pastern looks to be at the correct (20 or so degrees) angle from the vertical.|
As others have mentioned the photo of her next to the lab shows her front legs are a bit easty/westy and this could just well be down to her youth (& therefore subsequent gangliness) along with her muscle condition. Strong muscles around the shoulder will tighten & straighten things up and good food and plenty of regular exercise is the key to improvement.
It could also just be that the 'floopiness' you notice in her front feet is entirely normal but just different from what you have previously experienced. When a GSD gaits and moves their front legs forward the whole pastern & foot will swing loose underneath the leg until it finally 'flops' down when it has reached it's maximum forward extension.
I think she's got pretty good structure and has a great expression that indicates a great character. I also reckon she's a very lucky girl to have found such a caring family who, it's obvious to see, have nothing but her best interests at heart.
Enjoy your dogs.
by jra on 18 March 2011 - 19:16
|Thanks for the info.|
Uber - At her first vet visit (with us), she had a complete/thorough check-up, to include deworming. And nope, no tattoos.
AandA - the way you described the gait is what I've been noticing and was curious about. Actually, what got me thinking about it is that I can hear her footfalls at night (initially, I was wanting to make sure I heard her if she needed to go out). Her steps are just heavier and seem to slap the floor, but if that's just the GSD gait, then no worries. I'm certainly not looking for anything to be wrong with her, but don't want to miss any problems she may have.
By everyone's comments, I'm understanding (and becoming less concerned about) some of her characteristics/traits . This is the kind of info I was looking for and I'm grateful for everyone's input.
We are already enamored of her and think she's a perfect addition to our family. We feel like we lucked into her and by all accounts, we ended up with the best end of this deal! Thanks again.
by mirasmom on 18 March 2011 - 19:19
|She is so lucky to have you for her family.|
I breed Shepherds & labs and they are such a great combo for getting along,
the shepherds are serious, most of the time, and the labs are just silly all of the time!
Good luck with your new addition, they both look so happy together!
by beetree on 18 March 2011 - 19:58
|She certainly looks happy! Probably thinks she just won the lottery!|
by Princess on 20 March 2011 - 16:42
|the lab will build her strength and i would just free fee,she is the perfect age for playing and running and will compete for food, as well as proving ( who is the big dog) all good for her, she is light but not bad.Most labs are chow hounds so she will try to out do the lab on all things , let her go for awhile work on the family connection ,the lab can help with that too. Just a tip most young gsd love kids best wishes|