first time dog owner - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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first time dog owner

hi, im 19 this will be my first time owning a dog, i love german shepherd dogs, i will be buying a male pup soon. how are the german shepherd dogs for a first time owner? i will be excersiing it everyday and also be training it everyday. it was either the shepherd for a yellow labrador reteriver?. give me some advices on being a first time owner.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 11:05 PM
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Hi, I'm a young first time German Shepherd owner too, and I have to say that it's a lot of work raising a German Shepherd puppy.

First of all, you should definitely closely consider the breeder and line that you choose. If you choose a high drive working line, prepare yourself for a puppy that is nonstop. Talos is 11 weeks old on Tuesday, and if I don't put him in his crate for bed, he literally will not sleep. On the flipside, if you go to a backyard breeder you are perpetuating bad standards for the breed and you'll likely get a puppy that doesn't end up being healthy, and you certainly don't want that.

I think that between a German Shepherd and a Yellow Lab, the easier choice is definitely the lab. If you're still making that decision and are just wanting to get your feet wet in terms of having a dog by yourself, then you should go with the lab. If you go with a German Shepherd research, research, and more research. You should already know what sort of training you want to do, if you want him to do a dog sport, what sort of food (and definitely go with good food as good food is a foundation of good health), and vet care, where he'll go if you ever need to be out of town or even out of the house for several hours, etc.

Another thing is engagement. It's a full time job to keep most working and even non working Shepherds occupied. I have to constantly watch him because the moment I turn my back, he'd be into something if he was allowed. His toys amuse him for all of five seconds unless I'm playing with him, and so if he's awake and not crated, all of my attention must be on him. I made the mistake of skipping training one day this week because I thought he'd be tired from his shots, and by not burning off that mental energy, he was all over the place and ornery by the time it was night time.

Expect to get very little sleep in the first couple of weeks, as their baby bladders can't stand very much.

Socilization is key, and as Talos gets closer to the 12 week mark and fear period I'm already glad that I've had him out and about with me almost everyday meeting as many dogs/people that he can. If you don't socialize him when he's young, he's likely to have many many fear aggression or just plain fear issues when he's older.

Constant vigilance! Have your puppy either tethered to you or in a place where you can watch him all the time. Get some Neosporin, because they definitely are little landsharks.

That said, the payout is probably far greater at the end, but the first puppy months are going to be tough. This thread helped me a lot, so

you should check that out and also watch as many videos and read as many articles/books as you can, specifically for shepherds and also just for puppies in general. A lot of people underestimate how challenging raising a puppy can be and emotionally stressful and the lot, and a German Shepherd puppy I think is even more challenging than most, haha.

I'm not an expert, I'm just trying to share from what I'm going through right now. He's actually a lot of fun, so don't take this negatively! I love Talos and wouldn't trade him for anything, even when he's gnawing on my arm or trying to make me share my soda.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 08:22 AM
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I would definitely start by reading all the sticky notes in the various forum sections. Choosing wisely is VERY important as it is all to easy to find a GSD that winds up having fear issues [this is largely genetic and often perpetuated by backyard breeders because they don't know the difference between fear and protectiveness]

At 19, are you going off to university? If so, it may be best to wait. My 27 year old is just now talking seriously about her first dog as she finally feels settled enough to have a dog, period. She has owned a cat for about 7 years.

I have not owned labs before. The friends who have them, they seem to be a more stubborn dog, more independant than GSDs but less likely to have fear aggression. Though the very dog that bit me and broke the skin was a lab who a friend had rescued and I was doing nothing to set it off.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 08:46 AM
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I grew up with Labs and just got my first GSD.

Labs are much easier dogs to own, I have to say. Much more mellow, active, but don't need copious amounts of mental and physical stimulation. Some people think they are stubborn, but I've never found that to be the case, especially since they have SUCH a strong food drive, they will learn to stand on their heads for a cookie.

My GSD pup is a harder type, and she's really been a handful. She's great, but definitely been a learning experience. My biggest challenge is her dog-reactivity. It's really been a lot of work, and I'm not sure if she'll ever be 100%, but we continue to work on it. Still, she surprises me every day with how quickly she figures things out, she loves to work, is really enthusiastic and is growing more confident and independent, which has been great to see.

I think I'd also recommend waiting until you're done school, and settled. What will you do with the dog when you're at work or school? Especially while it's a pup, they need to go outside many times during the day. Doggy daycare and pet walkers are about $15-30 a day.

Both breeds are intelligent and loyal. Are you going to do puppy and obedience classes? They aren't cheap, but are well worth the cost.

I find Labs are happy go lucky. GSD's are amazing, intelligent protective and independent thinkers, but tend not to be overly social with strangers, whereas Labs will pretty much welcome anyone into the house.

But all those things come at a cost too, you really need to work hard with them, because those qualities can work for you, but can also work against you.

Also, think about what lines you're going with. GSD's themselves are broken into several 'types' working, American Showline, WGWL etc. All have different characteristics.

Von hmke - German Shepherd Dogs

Labs are Show lines, smaller in stature, but bigger boned/boxy in appearance, and I find are more mellow. This is the Lab I grew up with.

The Field lines of Labs tend to be bigger, personally I don't like their heads. I find they are more hyper, and the only dog aggressive Labs I've ever met have been the field lines, but maybe it's a bad coincidence.

Whatever you pick, make sure you go with a reputable breeder. They do all the appropriate health checks and will be there to support you throughout the life of your dog. Their kennels will be clean, they can answer your questions and you should be able to meet their dogs (they may not own the sire).The dogs will be expensive. Plan on spending $1000-$1500. If a breeder is selling for less, I'd be suspicious. Not that more $$$ means a better dog, but less $$$ often means a lesser quality dog.

Last edited by blackshep; 01-28-2013 at 08:52 AM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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thank you guys for the help, this really helped me out. i do go to college but i go for 2-3 hrs a day, i live in long island so i attend suffolk college and its 5 min away from my house. german shepherds are alot of work in the beginning. im at the choice between a shepherd and yellow lab and i think i will go with a yellow lab. you guys helped me out alot. thanks
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 10:22 AM
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Make sure you take the hours needed to run thru --> Welcome to the GSD/FAQ's for the first time owner - German Shepherd Dog Forums

I've raised a yellow Lab and 3 GSD's and have to say it was much easier with the Lab. So I was lucky that the first puppy I raised was a Lab before jumping into getting a gsd.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 11:47 PM
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@shepherd193 all dogs are there own individuals. I'm sick so I might not answer well enough as I would when I'm up right. My Labradoodle was more handful than any pup I seen even more than a GSD. It's normal for pups to be stubborn and a handful. Some people I know didn't really seem it get it. I think I'm going to do the same as you. I will go to my community college than get a GSD than go to a CSU to get a bachelor's in something than go to a UC if I can. Just socialize your German shepherd everyday go to play grounds have kids around him. How long did it take to find a GSD for u? I'm a GSD master believe it.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 12:04 AM
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I got my first dog (a GSD puppy) at 24 when I was graduated from college and moved into a house. Some people are able to do it I am sure but there would be absolutely no way that I would have the time or the money to take care of a GSD puppy/young dog when I was in college. It is a big time and money commitment and it was hard for me to wait to get pets, but I'm glad I did. Here it is also impossible to find a rental that will allow dogs over 40 lbs (or allow cats at all).
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