Coming from primarily a pet owner, and not "working" my dogs per say. I have had many GSD's and grew up with them in the family.
These are generalizations from dogs I've owned over the years in the above described environment.
1. Dedication to the dog. They demand it, they require it. They will not respond well to long periods alone or not being by your side 99% of the time.
2. They require patience and understanding. They respond well to positive reinforcement however some level of discipline is required. With that said, they are sensitive animals so discipline needs to be very light. (sorry,but that is the best I can describe it)
3. They do well with an active lifestyle. They need something to do. Work, Training, etc. They are very intelligent and need the mental and physical stimulation. You have to be two steps ahead of them in their mental development. Understanding that development process helps tremendously.
4. The hair. We brush ours almost daily and the house still has to be vacuumed nearly every other day to avoid the tumbleweeds.
5. Training is mandatory. Again, they are intelligent and you will be doing yourself and the dog a disservice by not performing some level of formal training. They learn extremely quickly. That statement includes bad as well as good.
My general recommendation for new GSD owners is formal training as soon as possible. Dedicate the first year to the dog. Everything revolves around the pup for the first year. I personally think they are the best breed on the planet if your dedicated to your dog. If the above is not followed to at least some degree, they can be destructive, fearful, fear aggression, over protective. Maybe that is a little over the top but I have seen so many people that train to overcome behavioral issues after they develop instead of before they develop.
Raised properly they will be a true soulmate and will value your life more than their own. They are full of personality, silly, smart, devoted, social and a sheer joy to spend their life with.
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