About Grasso's German Shepherds Training and Experience

Erich Grasso

Born into a household already occupied by three dogs, I unconsciously began my journey and lifelong passion into the world of German Shepherds.  It is my strong belief, as with many other exceptional dog people, that to truly be “one with dogs,” it is vital to grow up with and live alongside them.  My introduction and immersion into a life shared with canine companions came at an early age.  Just like in sports a child develops fundamental skills at an early age that can’t just be taught later in life. As such, it was through my dogs’ teachings and companionship along with many great mentors that I developed and honed the instincts and skills I now utilize in working with all canines.

Ermin GrassoA pup named Rocky was my first official introduction to the breed.  Through my grandfather, an officer with the Bridgeport Police Department, it was my great fortune to be introduced to Lieutenant Angelo Fiorini, head of the Bridgeport K-9 Unit.  Even though I was only 7 years old, Lieutenant Fiorini took me under his tutelage for several years to work with the Unit.  I realized even at such a young age, as did those around me, that my interest in dog handling was more than just a hobby.  After all the years gone by, I still recall and repeat many of the Lieutenant’s words of wisdom that he so generously shared with me in my youth.

At 11 years of age, under the guidance of Judge Chernak (German Shepherd Dog Club of America), I achieved 2nd place in an AKC obedience trial with my second shepherd, Sheba.  The AKC environment was very different from what I was accustomed to in K-9 training.   Realizing there were beneficial dog training methods being employed within both arenas, I eagerly put this new combined knowledge to work.  By age 14, I felt confident to train my own dogs and at my friend’s and family’s requests, I began training their companions.

Sheba 1991Throughout my high school years, I continued pursuing my ambition to work with dogs and dedicated my free time to canine training and behavior evaluation.  Fate once again smiled upon me, and I began to mentor under the wing of professional trainer, Justin Rigney.  Traveling throughout the East Coast, Justin and I attended numerous seminars and events.  It was during this period that I realized the value of knowing what not to do was just as important as knowing what was correct.  Together, we trained a multitude of dogs in many different environments resolving many owner-canine conflicts.   Justin Rigney is truly a very unique and talented individual.

After high school, I was afforded the opportunity to study under renowned trainer, Mr.  Rodriguez.   This was truly a great privilege as many wished to work under the auspices of his expert authority.  For nearly ten years, Mr. Rodriquez shared his knowledge with me bringing my skills to a new level. 

There has never been a doubt in my mind that Justin Rigney and Mr. Rodriquez are two of the best trainers within New England.  I will never forget their generosity in sharing their time and energy with me, but I am most thankful for the gift of their knowledge.  I take great pride in and feel deep gratitude that I am now recommended by both these gentlemen.

My success in the dog world is a classic example of truly pursuing a passion.  I was very fortunate to meet some excellent mentors along the way who have given me much of their time and energy.

Special thanks to: Justin Rigney, John Rodriguez, Mike Bortnick, Linda Chernak and Melinda Miller

For over 15 years, Grasso’s German Shepherds has been committed in their involvement in the importation, breeding, and training of premium quality European German Shepherds.

german shepherdsIt is our strong belief that ethical and reputable dog breeding is the work and effort of a true dog lover.  As such, this has been and always will be a great passion for us.  We only import proven German Shepherds from Europe and work with the dogs daily to evaluate, train, and care for them.  Our dogs never sit in runs or kennels all day; they are involved in the normal everyday activities as will be expected in their new homes.  Grasso’s German Shepherds is located in a tranquil setting bordering over 53 acres of wooded terrain interspersed with accessible hiking trails.

Training - Click here for some training pictures

Our training methods are proven, and we are constantly striving to provide our Grasso Dog Trainingcustomers with top-of-the-line Shepherds. Whether they come to us as puppies, adolescents, or adults, the dogs we import and breed are trained from the beginning to be stable, neutral pack members who co-exist with various types of dogs and livestock located at our home. We focus and strive to be different, all of our dogs learn to be “livable”. A basic term that is so over looked now a days.

Affectionate Companion

Affectionate Companion

When you visit, you will see how all of the dogs are very safe, come when called, and follow humans as they are used to being led by a human master. Living in that setting becomes a huge asset to any new perspective owner. Our dogs go on car rides to the park, visit friends' homes and are exposed to public places. Many larger operations have no idea how one of their dogs for sale would react if brought to a pet store or an outdoor sporting event, because they are too busy to do so. This is the main difference between us and a large facility that has ten or more dogs anxiously waiting for a home while being kept in runs for their entire stay.


Police K9's

Many certified K-9's lack the vital drives, courage and soundness to be a truly trustworthy K-9 partner. All police dogs are not created equal. Let us show you an example of a police dog candidate. Again, unlike other vendors because we operate on a personalized level we buy they best and offer the best. Unlike most other breeds, the German Shepherd can work the streets as a canine officer and still be sound and trustworthy with their family, including children and other pets. Other than his loyalty and stunning looks, the most valuable asset a good German Shepherd can have is his clear head, power, stability, and the ability to rationalize to a point of disbelief. Only quality bred European German Shepherd dogs will consistently have these traits, which we can depend on.



Different levels of training are available, from basic obedience to Schutzhund work. Please contact us to discuss your individual needs. (203) 913-6585 you about them.

Our Guarantee

We offer our clients a 14-day money back guarantee. Not, "we keep your money and you get a replacement" but your money back. Purchasing a dog is a commitment we take seriously. Even after careful consideration there are some circumstances in which the dog you’ve selected may not be right for you. We understand and are willing to provide you with our guarantee that after 14 days of having the dog in your home, if you feel that it is not a perfect fit, we will refund to you 100% of your purchase price. After the two weeks, if any issues, a replacement dog that fits your criteria will be given when one is available.

Acquiring a Grasso Shepherd

Step 1
After a lengthy conversation, if we don’t have a dog that fits your requirements we will locate dogs that fit your general requests shortly.

Step 2
You are given a thorough video of the dogs, which include training, exposure of the dogs with children, people, other dogs and animals, and the dog in different environments.

Step 3
Once you have narrowed down your search you will be introduced to the specific dogs that you would like to see. You will meet with these dogs a minimum of two times before any decisions are made. Once a final purchase decision is made, the dog will remain at our home for a few weeks in order for us to fully evaluate him and allow him/her time to live with other dogs and livestock, thus creating a stable, social animal. This time frame is very valuable, our expertise in animal behavior helps us to create a stable, reliable family companion.

Step 4
Everything stated in our conversations is put in writing you will leave fully understanding every detail of your new purchase.

A non-refundable $1000 deposit is required to prepare adult dogs. ​


Choosing your dog


Selecting a German shepherd that will suit your needs and your lifestyle is a daunting process. With so many options available to you, it is often difficult to make an educated decision. Allowing us to assist you in this process ensures that you will receive a Shepherd that is stable, yet protective. We take the time to listen to your needs, answer your questions, and provide you with a dog that will exceed your every expectation. It is this hand-selected service that sets us apart from the rest.

The differences among German Shepherds are so drastic that is has some actually boycotting the breed. Unstable temperaments have led to many people fearing and disliking the breed all together.
The dogs we deal with are not those dogs. Stringent European Pink Pedigrees make sure the dog you're purchasing has a perfect track record for many decades. Unlike the AKC, that organization can not be tampered with easily. Backyard, everyday litters lack the ability to consistently produce sound animals. Purchasing those dogs is a gamble, with a powerful animal as such, it is a risk worth thinking about considerably.

Actual Selection of the Puppy

german shepherdFirst, you should decide if you want a male or female. Males and females are similar in many respects but there are marked differences between the sexes that you should be aware of. Males are generally larger and heavier (24-26 inches at the highest point of the shoulders and 65 to 90 lbs). Females are somewhat smaller and lighter in weight (22-24 inches in height at the top of the shoulders and 50-70 lbs).

Temperament, Character, and Abilities

Sound nerves, alertness, self-confidence, trainability, watchfulness, loyalty, and incorruptibility, as well as courage, fighting drive and hardness, are the outstanding characteristics of a purebred German Shepherd Dog. They make this suitable to be a superior working dog in general, and in particular to be a guard, companion, protection and herding dog. His ample scenting abilities, added to his conformation as a trotter, make it possible for him to quietly and surely work out a track without bodily strain and with his nose close to the ground. This makes him highly useful as a multipurpose track and search dog.

American vs. European

The differences between these two types of German Shepherds are dramatic, not only in appearance but also in quality and stable temperament. The European dogs we import are bred on the fact that they are worthy of breeding. Stringent European Pink Pedigrees ensure the dog you're purchasing has a stable background and a strong bloodline that can be traced back for many decades.

American dogs frequently lack the stability to be consistent, safe pets. Backyard, everyday litters are unable to consistently produce sound animals. Purchasing those dogs is a gamble, and is a risk worth thinking about considerably.

Like any other purchase, research and previous performance should be a huge deciding factor when you are choosing a dog. As with all of our clients, we are confident that we will provide you with sound, competent Shepherd that will suit all of your specific needs. From the moment you receive your dog, we are always here to guide and assist you with feeding, training and medical decisions in the years to come.