Is Your Dog Spiteful, Intentionally Vengeful?


Anthropomorphizing our Dogs:

I hear it all the time.  “Fido is spiteful and gets back at me by destroying the house when I leave.”  “Oh that dog, she knows I hate that.”  “My German shepherd puppy defecates in the house when I leave him to pay me back for leaving him alone.”

First of all, be VERY CAREFUL not to attribute our human qualities and characteristics to dogs, German shepherds specifically.  This can lead you to become personal and lose your objectivity when training.  I have done it too.  I should know better.  Here are a couple of helpful things.

1. Dogs live in the moment.  If we were really able to see the thinking process of a dog, we would realize that they don’t have the capacity to plan out a complicated premeditated payback. They just think in the moment.  Certainly they remember queues about certain smells, sounds, people.  But rather than those being personal vendettas, they become more like programmed scripts.

2. Dogs are very basic and think in terms of a limited set of goals, pack order, food, shelter, defense, mating, sleeping.  They don’t have career goals, nor do they have aspirations.  They don’t read self-help books or worry about what their peers think of them.  They don’t get up in the morning and look in the mirror and wish they looked prettier or younger.  They aren’t looking to improve their socioeconomic status:  Pack, eat, roof, fight, mate, sleep.  We are sooo much more complicated.

3.  Stimulus/Response:  Don’t get personal.   Don’t react out of emotion.  Don’t attribute to your dog more intelligence than he/she has.  Train dogs to develop their programmatic software.  Be deliberate, consistent, disciplined, objective and emotional.  Don’t think they are disloyal when they don’t complete a discipline, just reinforce and go back to the beginning.

4.  STEP ONE:  Do a dog assessment.  They are not all the same!!!  Dogs, including different breeds, have differing levels of intelligence, different skills, different levels of tolerance, physical abilities.  Within the breed, some have more drive, some better noses.  Each is different.  Some dogs will wilt at a harsh word.  Some need a prong to get the idea.  They are not one better than the other, only different.  Certainly some are better at one task than another, but dogs which are better at SAR are not superior to therapy dogs, visually impaired guides.

5.  Don’t expect your puppy to live up to your preconceived ideal:  If you buy a dog for a specific purpose as a puppy, you can’t get personal and lose interest in them when they don’t live up to you.  You need to be flexible and find what they are good and and participate with them in it.  Also, if you are demanding certain qualities, buy from the right lines and don’t expect it all.  Some people buy show lines in hopes of having a gorgeous black and red, but also a top, tough, sharp, sport schutzhund competitor.  That usually doesn’t happen.  Most will do great, but will extra effort.

6.  Dogs, generally, are loyal by nature.  Honoring the pack leader is natural.  What they are seeking is your presence, not your presents.  Don’t try to substitute toys for time.  Dogs want to be with their leader.  If they aren’t loyal to you, one might ask, are you the pack leader or not?

I will write more on this later.  Especially about how treating dogs like humans can have some horribly undesirable repercussions.

I hope these blog posts help you enjoy you German Shepherd puppy or dog to its fullest.  They are truly amazing ANIMALS (as opposed to people) and more easily remain so if treated as such.  Please visit our K 9 University for more useful articles and links.


Megaesophagus in German Shepherds


Megaesophagus in German Shepherds:

It is so sad to see a German shepherd suffering from this crippling disease.  And, yes, one does see this prevalent in German shepherds and German Shepherd puppies.  It is certainly not the only breed.  The AKC lists also the Great Dane, Irish Setter, Newfoundland, Shar Pei, Labrador Retriever, and the Miniature Schnauzer.

What is megaesophagus?

It is a congenital condition in which the esophagus no longer has the muscle tone to move food through it into the stomach.  This is the tube which connects the stomach to the mouth.  By peristalsis (contractions), normally the food entering into the stomach is squeezed incrementally into the stomach for digestion.  But with megaesophagus, as the muscle surrounding the tube become flaccid, the esophagus dilates becoming larger and the food sits in the enlarged area somewhat like the sack below the beak of a pelican when filled with food.

What are the causes?

One of the causes is a congenital condition, although it can also present itself as an adult.  In the congenital case it can be caused by vascular anomalies (abnormal blood vessels that encircle the heart), although many times it can be due to an unknown cause.  In the adult onset it can be the result of a disease or appear inexplicably.  But it could also be caused by a foreign body blocking the passing of the food into the stomach.

What are the symptoms

With puppies, the signs can begin at weaning.  Puppies will initially will approach the food with enthusiasm and then back away after a few bites.  They will regurgitate small amounts of food, which will come out undigested and covered with mucous, and then eat it again, regurgitate again and eat it again until it can pass into the stomach.  This process can lead to inhalation of the liquid and bouts of aspiration pneumonia.  You might hear a “gurgling” sound.  They do not wretch up their food with the kind of heaving characteristic of vomiting of partially digested food, but instead the undigested food is just suddenly expelled.

This is such a tragic disease in German shepherd puppies and dogs.  If you notice these symptoms, see your vet.  They can do a barium x-ray or ultrasound to see if there is a blockage of the esophagus.  Unfortunately there are not many effective treatments for this condition.  Please visit our K 9 University for more useful articles and links.

The Critical Training Tool for German Shepherds: THE WALK

Hello German Shepherd puppies lovers:

Walking your dog is one of the most enjoyable and useful bonding AND training experiences you can have together. It cannot be underestimated. It is tool for correction of bad habits, setting pack order, superior exercise, wonderful for developing your relationship, good for socialization. It is so essential for your dog from German shepherd puppies to older dogs, that I would like to elaborate some important facets of the walk.

First, get rid of the flexilead. This can only lead to less than optimal behavior. First, the dog can wander too far from you. Secondly with the variable distance from you they won’t know the limits and can start learning to pull. Thirdly, unless you have your finger ready at the button, your dog can veer into danger or into a fight with another dog. Flexileads can lead to lazy supervision and getting your German shepherd puppy into trouble such as eating other dog’s feces, poisonous plants, etc.

What you need is a good strong 3-5 foot lead (I like 4). Your German shepherd should always be on the left side, his/her right shoulder on your left hip, on a loose lead. When you head out on the walk, allow them to get excited and dash too far forward. Then quickly yank the lead and pivot to your right and say “phooey”. This will set the tone and initialize training mode. As you walk intermittently stop, they sit, start, you walk. When you stop and they sit, it is time for positive reinforcement. Every once in a while have them platz (lie down). Do a number of reverse turns.

When a dog walks by, tell them “look at me”. And when they do obey and switch attention to their two footed bipedal friend (you) you can reward them for their effort. When you stop to talk with someone who has no dog with them, your dog should sit courteously at your side. If the other person has a pet, your shepherd should be disinterested but pay attention to you. It is not cute to have your dog jumping all around and getting your leashes tangled. If dogs fight, this can make it difficult to intervene and you could end up being bitten.

Do not ever let your dog step out ahead and pull. If they do, use this time to set pack order ad address this dominant behavior before they pull you through the mud. When you round the corner home, they will sometimes begin pulling. But the walk is not complete until the kennel door shuts. Be sure to keep them in order, loose lead, by your left side. Please visit our home page links to our litters and our K-9 University. Most of all, make this a time enjoyable and rewarding for your German shepherd.


CAUTION: Dog Parks

Hello German Shepherd puppies lovers:

Well I feel I should deal with this issue.  A client just emailed me and said her German Shepherd has an aggression problem.  When she brings her to dog parks she can be aggressive with other dogs.  Please don’t blame Hilda yet.

First of all, let me say that taking dogs off leash in dog parks is just a bad concept for dog in general for a couple of reasons.  First of all, as I have written in another one of my blogs, dogs thrive on a clear pack order. In a dog park it is in constant flux and undefined.  For natural dogs, with strong natural instincts this can create a situation where they might feel their position attacked or need to fight for position at any moment as the fluid pack moves around off leash, not connected to the authority of the owner, left to its own to defend itself.   This is a dangerous situation for owners who can be bitten while trying to separate dogs that are in battle for position.  Secondly, you cannot really be certain that other owners discipline their dogs as you do.  Dogs may have developed behavioral problems due to the environment in which they have been raised.  Third of all, not all owners believe in spaying or neutering their dogs.  This can really spice up the situation.  And dogs mate largely by smell.  This smell is a powerful attractor and can be smelled from a good distance and can be irresistible to males.  Also it is clearly unsafe for your German Shepherd puppies.  Can you be certain that all of the owners have had their innoculations up to date?

Lastly, I believe that our dogs should be taught to bond to us as their owners and friends.  We should be their focus, their world.  Playing with other dogs can lead to a redirection of focus to other dogs rather than toward the master.  Playing with unknown dogs can lead them to think this behavior is acceptable in public even while on lead and your friendly Fido could end up dragging you through the dirt to get to that buddy they just have to meet across the street.  Now imagine this happens while you are on inline skates.

It is so enjoyable to take a couple of balls, a frisbee, some things to track with, and take your German shepherd puppy or dog to an open field, undefiled by the undisciplined riot one can find at dog parks, and enjoy come private time with your best friend.  As a common practice I would never let my German shepherd dog play off leash with other dogs.  Please visit our K9University for more useful articles and videos.

DESTRUCTIVE CHEWING: German Shepherd Puppies

Hello German Shepherd puppies owners:

So your German shepherd is mouthy and driving you nuts. Join the crowd. German shepherd puppies are especially mouthy during the teething stage. They are cutting teething and chewing is like rubbing something that hurts until it gets numb. Some people find relief for their pups by getting a teething toy with water which can be put in the freezer. The cold toy appears to give some relief to these burning canines.

But how do you get them to stop chewing on the things you don’t want them to (your new Florsheim shoes) and to chew on what you want them to (click on toy list for some recommendations and advisements)? Redirection. Redirection. Redirection. If you catch them in the act, firmly say “Phooey”. I use this word rather than “no” due to the fact that I do not want to use no which is used often in conversation. Remember, one strong correction is worth 1000 weak ones. If you correct weakly, you will end up having to increase the intensity.  Now, after you say “phooey” then hand them their toy.

An important final step is when they start chewing on their toy, you should praise them lavishly. Please remember, as with a correction which must be strong enough to get their attention, a praise must be lavish.  Make them feel as though they just did the best thing in the world. This will allow the dog to easily differentiate between bad and good behavior.  You might think of it this way if you are squeemish about a firm corretion.  It is unfair and cruel to not let a dog know clearly what is right and wrong. Also, you don’t want to have to correct them over and over again.  That is even worse for them.

So, destructive chewing behavior in German shepherd puppies should be corrected using “redirection” of the behavior to an acceptable object. With older dogs, you can use a leash correct along with the verbal correction for unwanted chewing, and then redirect the behavior to the appropriate object.


Long vs. Stock Coat: Are long coats subpar GSDs?

Hello German Shepherd breeders and owners:

I would like to give  you a foundational understanding of this issue.  Those who see German shepherd puppies for sale might ask the question as to what is a long coat and are they subpar dogs.

First of all, there are really two types of “coats” or long-coated dogs.  A plush coat is not a long-coat but a dog with a full normal coat.  The longer coat is a recessive gene and therefore must be present in both the male and female to get a longer coat.  And this is not always so.  For example, I am not aware of a “coat” coming from VA1 XBox Dei Precision in probably over 100 litters.  It is normal for about 25% of a litter to be “coats”.

The first type of long coat is a long stock hair.  This type, just as does the normal coated shepherd, has both an under coat of softer hair and a denser, coarser outer coat.  But its outer coat is markedly longer, especially around the ears, the flanks and tail.  The second is a true long coat.  This type has not undercoat and when it gets wet the hair parts and you can see skin underneath the hair.

The longer coated shepherd tends to have a bit of a straighter back.  Although they are not allowed to participate in standard GSD shows, they have now been given there own standing and have shows of their own even in Germany.  I haven’t seen definitive statistical analyses, but anecdotal evidence indicates that they may produce on average tighter hips.  Some say they have a more easy going, almost jovial temperament.  But again, this is anecdotal.  For certain there is no evidence to the contrary that they can do just as well in schutzhund events as normal coated shepherds.  They do tend to be a bit larger than the normal coated also.  Also, it is my understanding that they do not shed any more than the normal coated shepherd.

So, in conclusion, other than preference, there is nothing that supports the conclusion that these are subpar GSDs.  There is even some evidence that they might have some superior genetic qualities.  So then, it is probably best to say it is a matter of preference, although I prefer the normal coated shepherd.

I hope this is helpful for all of you considering purchasing a German Shepherd puppy.  If you happen to get a longer coated puppy, don’t fret.  If it comes from normal coated parents, likely it will be a long stock hair and may not have appreciably longer hair.  Also they still have all of the other characteristics of courage, tenacity, intelligence, obedience, trainability, protection instinct, etc, as a normal coated shepherd.  From time to time we do get these rare pups so check our litters page at puppies for sale on the home page of Banffy Haus German Shepherds.

Designer dogs vs. German Shepherds: A Kind of Biased Report

Hello German Shepherd puppies lovers:

This is really quite sickening what we have done with dogs to satisfy our vanity and desire for novelty.  Designer dogs are just that.  Chiweenie, Daniff, Chipoo, Borador, Pitweiler, Newfypoo, Chorkie, Beabull, Mastador, Snorkie, Labrashepherd (how hideous), Golden Shepherd (this is just wrong), Morkie, Maltipoo, Jack Chi, Schnoodle, Boglen Terrier, Chizer, Borgi, what are we doing?  Dogs were originally bred for the purpose of serving mankind.  Most of these breeds have no working or service utility whatsoever.  On the old farm, if an animal could not do enough work to pay for feed, it was sold.  Certainly they can provide joy to their masters.  No doubt.  But, they are only good to be served rather than to serve, pampered and spoiled just as we do our children.  Is mankind now serving rather than being served?

Have we lost our bearings?  Will we eventually lose the elegance of dog in motion, doing what it was molded and refined to do?  Swimming to gather the spoil of his best friends hunt, ratting out rodents that vexed their human companions.  Protecting with valor their flocks that were provision and necessity for their two footed families.

Let us consider the German shepherd for example.  It’s canine Einsteinian intelligence puts it in the top three of all dogs.  It serves as one of the most effective sets of eyes for the visually impaired.  It serves its auditory function as servant to the hearing impaired with skill and aplomb.   It is on the first line as an intrepid searcher and rescuer of those in danger, having saved thousands of human lives, Johnny on the spot, ready to work at any moment, eager to please.  It can smell out cancer in human tissue, find out and thwart the scum that deal death to our children.  It can form such an intimate bond with its human companion that it can sense miniscule changes in human chemistry and alert their charge to avert the danger of an imminent seizure.  And these intrepid beasts serve on the front lines, taking bullets for their trusted masters, sniffing out explosives, lead scouts taking the first fire in the line of duty as soldiers, as courageous care-takers willing to go where no man would.  They will dive into frigid waters to save a sorry soul whom they have never met, catapult themselves through glass or flame with no regard for their safety.  They are civil servants, decorated protectors, soldiers par excellence.   These shepherds are the king of canines, the barons of beasts, music in motion, the prince of protectors, the most fearless of friends, our unflinching understudies.  Ok, maybe I have gone over the top a bit…well, a lot.  But how fun would this blog be if I didn’t?

I thank those German shepherds breeders here and abroad who endeavor to maintain this magnificent breed for our progeny and for the service of mankind.  This is what is dog should and must be. Please visit our K-9 U for helpful informational articles for your German Shepherd.


Getting their due: Puppy Mills and cruelty

Hello German Shepherd Puppies owners and breeders:

On Tuesday Ohio, one of the centers of puppy mill style dog breeders, known for their cruelty to their animals, finally passed a landmark bill.  The bill restricts the ability of breeders to mistreat the dogs they are raising for sale. Ohio had virtually no legal oversight of breeders and became an unregulated epicenter for puppy mills,  They keep their dogs in confined, cruel and unsanitary conditions, a strategy for maximizing profit.   I can’t imagine this happening to these beautiful German shepherd puppies.

The Ohio Law, among other things, “requires state licensing and inspection of breeders who annually sell 60 dogs or at least nine litters; authorizes Ohio’s agriculture director to specify standards of care; and denies licensing to anyone convicted of animal cruelty in the last 20 years.”

We at Banffy Haus only do 4-6 litters per year.  Please take a look at our amazing kennels and nursery, where classical music and hymns are piped in to toasty young pups on sweet smelling cedar chips, fed only the finest, Royal Canin, lounging casually in a large whelping box.  I am so proud of how serious my family is about how we treat our dogs and how much concern they all have for the puppies we whelp.  That is why I want to complete the construction of my kennel design page with videos and articles.  Then hobby breeders can see a reasonably priced way to do it well, and create a superior environment in a well planned micro-kennel.  Visit our home page at Banffy Haus.

Some of these poor animals suffer from dental disease, eye infections, ear infections, covered in feces and urine.  It is about time that the government stepped in to stop this travesty.  There is absolutely no possible rational for this despicable behavior.  We as German shepherd owners need to stand firm against this unforgivable behavior.


Taping German Shepherd puppies ears

Hello German shepherd lovers:

This blog is a continuation of one I began on how to deal with German shepherd puppies ears which do not stand erect.   It will also tell you when you should begin being concerned.

You can see the full article by clicking on my German Shepherd K-9 University.

So you have determined it is time to artificially aid the ears. But first, no matter what technique you use, carefully clean the ears with an ear cleaner.  This can be purchased or at you can consider the solution I offer in the article, but at your own risk.

There are a number of ways to aid the ear including:

1. getting your vet to tape them with a surgical tape, hopefully one that doesn’t stick well to hair.

2. Some people tape foam hair rollers to the inside.

3. Purchase foam GSD ear forms from a friend in Germany (around $20 per set)

4. Moleskin glued to the inside of the ears

But here are a couple of solutions that have worked for me. These have been a real help. First of all you can buy “Tear Menders” glue on amazon. It is actually sold as dog ear glue. I found this glue to be the best glue by far for artificial ear support solutions. Here are two solutions:

1. If the ears are not to large yet and or they only need a little aiding, maybe only the tips, buy Breath-rite strips, the large and stiffest ones. Place them on the inside of the ear to support standing. They may last in the ear without any Tear Menders. But if they keep coming out, you can use the glue. If they stay in for a few days, that is successful.

2. If you need more help, you can use any of the ideas above and glue them in using the glue. You can then wrap tape around the ear at the bottom and top to secure it, although you may not have to.

3. Another idea: I make my own forms out of a piece of leather or gray pipe foam insulation. You can get a nice sized piece at a leather store for a reasonable cost considering how many forms you can make out of it. Wet it, roll into shape, and let it dry. It shouldn’t be too thick to put weight on the ear but just a natural support. You can experiment with different shapes. I got a form from Germany and then used them to make my pattern. But larger ears need larger forms, smaller, smaller forms. Foam insulation also works well.

Make certain to check the ears for infection often. If you smell something foul, it is probably bacteria setting in. Keep them up for a week or two and then see if they stand and stay there. If they begin to drop again, start the process over. The oldest I have heard of remediating floppy ears was around 10 months old. But this is unusual.

Good luck, and I hope this helps those of you who own German shepherd puppies and have to deal with this issue.

CAREFUL: German Shepherd Puppies ears… some advice





Hello German shepherd Lovers. This is Dr. Banfe:

In this blog post I want to help owners of German Shepherd puppies with questions about ears.

Yes German shepherd ears should stand on their own, but don’t always do so.  Some have “soft ears” or soft cartilage.  It is possible they may never stand completely.  But the vast majority do.  And with proper care and intervention even soft ear problems can normally be rectified.

At about 4.5-5 months, if your puppy is not teething, it is time to consider intervening.  If they are still teething or just stopped teething, then you may still be fine and won’t need to support the ears.

If they have been flopping for a while, then the cartilage can become creased and needs to be artificially supported to regain rigidity.  I have posted an article on my k-9 University about addressing these situations.  Just click on the link K-9 U.   But since the writing of that article I have been experimenting and come up with some novel ways to support the ears.  I will discuss those in an article and upcoming blog post.

Always clean the ears, deep in and the folds of the ears and bases prior to any inserts or support. You can read one of my articles on ear cleaning for directions.  And be really careful of calcium supplements as they can cause joint laxity and bowed legs if you are not careful.

Also, besides a good quality food, make certain your puppy is stimulated with sounds and other stimuli to use the muscles around the ear.  And also, be careful that you are not crated them in a crate which does not have enough room for the ears to stand up straight when they are standing in their crate.

The latest I have seem an ear which is not standing be remediated was at about 10 months.

I hope this helps you with your German Shepherd puppy.  For us as German Shepherd breeders, we are concerned that you have information to obviate problems in the future.