Greetings from Colorado Springs
Greetings from Colorado Springs, CO. My name is John and I have been a lover to GSD's from growing up as a child in England - though we always called them "alsatian's". When my wife and I moved to the USA back in 2001 we were fortunate to adopt a puppy, Ripley, from my mother-in-law. She was a beautiful "mutt", a boxer/shepherd mix.
She was my first dog and I do admit that I was perhaps unprepared, even though in my late 20s, for dog ownership. The irony is my wife used to "show" dogs back in her youth and did "warn" me in advance. I think I failed the obedience class, rather than Ripley ! doh !
Over the next decade I learned the true responsibilities of dog ownership, the highs and the lows, the fact that early training is paramount lest you spend the rest of your companions life dealing with the behavioral issues that could result.
In her last years we went camping together, she watched me fishing and "guarded" our tent at night - whilst sleeping warmly on our bed/mattress inside. Sadly Ripley passed away 8 weeks ago, age 12, after many years of coping with Myasthenia Gravis and megasophagus - I had no idea that dogs could suffer from this.
Ripley was wonderful, loving, fun and a headstrong girl. She truly was my companion. I miss her dearly. However my heart is now open and ready to begin the long search for another dog. Here is what I am looking for, I am sure the wise here can advise if I am totally off track or if the "right' GSD would be a excellent choice for our family.
She must be a companion dog first, a strong family member, excellent with small animals. We have 3 cats, 2 of them are "bengals", one a nice fat black domestic boy. Sadly in the past few years our oldest 2 cats also passed (age 14+ each) - yes, not been a great 3 years for our family and pets! I would be mortified if any harm came to them from a new member of our pack - I also appreciate, you cannot predict everything!
I want to be able to take my companion on camping trips and have her behave well and not be a threat to wildlife - the game wardens and park officials really look upset if your dog decides to remodel the wifelife - by chasing or eating it.
I would like my companion to come on my fishing trips, though I fish from the bankside, not a boat. Thus she needs to do well around water and possibly lots of other anglers nearby, small children, etc. Have no fear, she would get to wear a nice life vest.
She (go figure, as you can guess, I would like another female dog) needs to have the mental discipline to stay nearby but also alert to outside dangers - many of the places here in Colorado have a plethora of wild animals I would love to be alerted to their presence or approach.
Finally some of the places I head to on my fishing jaunts are perhaps not the most "safe" and I would like to be confident that such an infraction occur, with other humans, that my companion would assist in my protection as required. Ripley, was a great dog, she was very alert, especially protective of our home and property boundaries. It was rare, if at all, that anyone could approach our home without her alerting us. Then again, in all truth, she was a lover, and all bark and no "bite" 8-)
Hopefully a GSD will be the right breed for us, a companion, a protector and loyal friend.
I have been "lurking" for a while now, reasearching the breed extensively. I have also been scouring the boards for advice, recommendations on breeders, what to look for in a healthy puppy and a reputable breeder. I will for sure post a thread in the "looking for a breeder" recommendation section soon.
Though it will be many months before we are finally ready for our new family member I still wanted to stop by and say hello. These forums are a great resource and the community here is wonderful and very helpful.