Hello everyone! I do not currently own a German shepherd, as I live in an apartment where this breed is banned( when my lease is up in December, I'm sooooo out of here!) I have owned German shepherds almost my entire life. Nothing fancy or special. My mom just loved shepherds so she had her two favorites that she would breed once a year( she had good intentions, and loved her dogs, but she probably would have been called a back yard breeder, since she didnt show them or do any kind of sporting events, or even pay attention to bloodlines) But anyway, I have always been surrounded by German shepherds, up until I lived in this apartment complex.
I have been so desperate I have been spending a lot of time at shelters, walking the German shepherds and making sure I spend as much time with them as possible, just trying to give them some time outside of their cages. I'm not officially a volunteer, I go up there strictly to interact with any shepherds I come across, and I try to make sure via word of mouth, Facebook, ect, that the German shepherd finds a new home. My favorite dog was a four year old male German Shepherd called Spartan. I spent hours with him every day while he was in the shelter and put the word out about him, and he ended up getting adopted by this guy who works as a professional body guard for famous athletes, and he takes Spartan with him everywhere, including a meeting with the redwings! Spartans adopter texted me today telling me that Spartan was a favorite of some of the redwings, and he's promised to take pictures the next time he's working with them. How amazing is it that a dog that was nearly put to sleep has such an awesome life now?!
Now the reason I'm here is this: I really, really need to get some professional experience with German shepherds, but where do I go for that? I'm not interested in breeding or showing, and I'm not interested in trying to make any money, I just want to volunteer my time, but I'm very interested in trying to make sure no German shepherds in my area have to ever be put to death again, just because the shelter is full, or the dog is too old, or whatever the reason!
This is so important to me. I know I am a bit naive about how things are professionally done in the German shepherd world. I have trained my own dogs, and worked on basic obedience with some of the shelter dogs, but my techniques are very 'crude', as in there's no theory behind the way I work with GSDs, it's all basically just me using my instincts, and I want to provide better for them than that. I really would like to get some real experience, and to be around people who live and breathe German shepherds every day of their life, to pick up on how they handle their dogs. I know different dogs will probably require different techniques, and I know the showlines are a lot more laid back in general than the working lines, so I realize different handlers will have different opinions, but that's ok! I would love to hear different opinions!
Also, when I do move into my own house I do plan on purchasing a working line shepherd of my own, oh how I have fantasized about it, and I want to be the best owner I possibly can be. I figure the only way to do that is through experience! I know working lines can be a handful, but that's actually why I want one. I don't do schutzhund or agility, but I am VERY interested in SAR, just still a little bit confused as to how I can become involved in it.
I just know that I think showlines are beautiful, but for some reason it's always the East German working lines that make me sit up and pay attention! So I would love some ideas on where I can go to get more experience! Like I said, I'm already spending a lot of time with shelter dogs, but that isn't enough for what I want to do. This may sound overly optimistic, and maybe there's already people out there doing this, but one day I would love to be able to train dogs, mainly shepherds or other working breeds, to do something useful like SAR. The only catch is, I only want to work with animals that are in high kill shelters, so everyone benefits. The shelter benefits, and then someone gets an awesome dog that otherwise would have maybe not found a home, also benefits. Of course the main benefit would be to the dog. It wouldn't just be for SAR, it would also be for maybe even something as simple as a therapy dog. I'm not sure yet, this is all brand new stuff I'm thinking of, so I don't have it refined yet
I just know German shepherds are so amazing, and there's no need for one to ever die.
Unfortunately it's becoming more common where I see people only want a dog if they can figure out a way to eat off of them, like breeding them. And because so many people are breeding, the shelters are overflowing with dogs! I don't disagree with breeding in general; how else can I get my hands on an amazing working line shepherd if someone doesn't create him one day? But I don't believe in just breeding any two dogs because they are purebred. I believe there are people knowledgable enough and experienced enough to breed amazing dogs, but unfortunately they are in the minority. It's the dogs that are a result of back yard breeders that I want to work with mostly. Yes, I am dying for my own personal working line GSD, and I will have him eventually, but I want to work with ANY and EVERY shepherd that needs help. Sorry this is so long, I just don't have anyone to talk to who is passionate about this beloved breed except the people on this forum, so it builds up for awhile