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Old 01-04-2014, 05:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
Harmonica
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: USA/Canada
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Question Is a GSD the right dog for me?

Hello! I'm new here and just joined after months of lurking and reading hundreds of threads...

I'm almost finished with college, and when I'm all settled I'm thinking about getting a dog. I'll most likely get a cat first (huge cat lover too!), but I also can't see myself without a dog by my side.

A bit of back story. I've been wanting a GSD for 10+ years now. I've always admired their loyalty, beauty, trainability, and intelligence. My mother loves GSDs, but my father was always a bit afraid of them, he had bad experiences with them as a kid in the 1970s, seemed like every GSD around wanted to chase him and his friends, haha. I've researched dogs ever since a I was a preteen, and could pick out a rare breed from a crowd. A couple I met at our agility class was impressed that I knew that her dogs were Catahoulas, as well as an owner of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever at a pet convention. I grew up with a very energetic Papillon, and as much as I love him, I can't see myself owning a dog like that on my own. He's too friendly with everyone, which made his training difficult, and pretty skittish around certain things, like the teeter todders and ramps in agility.

I'm looking for a more aloof "one person dog" that will focus more on me while out in public training. I'd like for him/her to tolerate strangers and let them pet him/her (with permission of course), but if I wanted an overly friendly dog, I'd get a Retriever. I'm very aloof and solitary myself, so I wouldn't want a super friendly dog that would get me into convos with strangers (though I would have no problem chatting up with fellow GSD lovers!) After seeing some dogs doing Schutzhund, this would be something I'm very interested in doing as well.

I'm a female in my mid 20s, and although I consider myself tough, there's only so much a 115 lb gal like me can do to a person much bigger person who wants to do harm to me, and I'd feel much safer with a GSD around. I'm not interested in having a husband or family, so having a dog willing to protect me and my home will make me feel a bit better, considering people like me can sometimes be a target.

The thing is, I'm an animator, and most of my jobs will be in cities...and after seeing hundreds of threads about having trouble finding apartments that will allow GSDs have me worried. I tried using those pet friendly apartment websites, but since I most likely will be living in Canada, these sites only worked for the States. I don't think I'd have much trouble finding a GSD friendly condo/private home to rent (I've rented private homes before, but none allowed pets of any kind. The apartment I live in now allows pets and no breed restrictions as far as I know because a tenant has a Rottie and a Husky, but I couldn't take care of a pet while busy with classes, and my roommate has a cat that fills that void in my empty soul.) Another thing about being an animator is that jobs tend to be contract based, and if the movie/TV show I was working on is all done with and they have no more work for me, I would have to find another studio elsewhere. If they like my work enough, I would be signed on for another contract and work on another movie/TV show.

The studio I interned at this summer in Ottawa offered me a job, and if I don't find something else, I will be working there. They let you work from home as an option, so this would allow me to raise a puppy without having to be away from home and leaving the puppy alone. I can also bring my dog into the studio, so I would like to do this when he/she is housebroken.

The top breeder I'm interested in has a long wait list for their pups (6mo-1yr) which is no problem with me. There are a few other breeders I'm looking into as well. I'm really interested in a working line dog since I'm very interested in Schutzhund, but is a working line a good dog for a first time GSD owner? How well do they fare in apartments? I'm sure if I found a condo/house to rent with a fenced yard it would be better. I'm also very interested in hiking, RVing, and traveling and would love to bring my dog on all my adventures.

If a GSD doesn't work out for me in this time in my life, I'm also considering a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, my favorite dog after the GSDs. Won't have to worry about weight or breed restrictions in apartments, and they're like German Shepherds with short legs I knew one in my dog's obedience classes years ago, and fell in love with that breed as a got to know him.

Has anyone else owned a GSD in a similar situation (possible apartment hopping due to my kind of job, possibly moving across the country at times)? My mother said it probably wasn't a good idea, but I get pretty depressed without animals (when I would visit for the holidays, I was probably most excited to see my cats and dog again haha), and I'm willing to go the "extra mile" for my animals. I'm not much of a people person, I'm more of an animal person most definitely. Sadly my career really limits the other half of me that is a rural/country person (I grew up in small New England towns) and now I have to live in cities where all the studios are, I'm not a city person at all, and I really hope my career doesn't limit me from getting the pet I want either. I won't be getting a dog right off the bat as soon as I settle into my new home, but I do hope to get one within the next year or so.
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