A Cautionary Tale
I'm sitting here, watching my 12 week old puppy for the last time before I take her back to the breeder. It breaks my heart to do it, she's an adorable dog, incredibly smart, and hasn't been a hassle at all compared to the horror stories I've heard (not a single accident housebreaking, took less than 36 hours I kid you not). I'm returning her for largely selfish reasons and because it's what I think will be best for the dog in the end. I don't want to get six months down the road and have to do the same after we've already bonded or even worse give her a terrible life because I can't dedicate the time necessary for her exercise and training. I wanted to post something here before leaving the site in hopes that my story might prevent a repeat with someone else. All the information here has been an incredible help and resource. I wish I could've seen through my own cloud of excitement to heed some of the advice posted by you wise owners.
For the last several years I've wanted a GSD. I love dogs, I love playing with dogs, I love walking dogs, I always had dogs growing up. I did all my research, found a great breeder, moved to a house with a big yard, and got an absolutely beautiful puppy. The problem: I'd convinced myself of a lifestyle I'd fulfill with my dog instead of realizing the life I actually lead. My desire had clouded my better judgement and I really, really want to encourage any of you looking to examine yourself as objectively and fully as you can before leaping into adoption -- I don't want you to go through this inner turmoil of feeling like you're betraying a dog, knowing what you're doing will be best for the animal even though it's torture for you both.
I work from home, have expendable income, a big yard, and abundant free time. It'd appear, on the surface, that I have everything in alignment for raising a dog. In reality my work requires long stints (4-10hrs) of concentration, my yard is only good if I can spend time with the dog in it, and my free time is so sporadic that setting up a schedule for the dog is impossible (they need that structure). I'd convinced myself I could rearrange and juggle all of this to make it work because I wanted a dog so bad and I thought my desire could shine through all of that. It doesn't work that way. Don't be heartbroken like me. Be brutally honest with yourself.
Please, take a step back and really think again before you adopt. You might be like me and need to realize that being an owner isn't a good thing for you and it may never be. I'll continue to march through life alone, but at least I can do that knowing I won't be leaving a loving animal unfulfilled.