Re: German Shepherd in an apartment?
In Germany I lived in a 3 bedroom on the 4th floor with 3 big dogs. Letting them out into the stairwell, hiking down the flights of steps, and then out the front door every so many hours was rough. But neat too, because we lived on a dead end road that only had 3 buildings, and it was fields from there they could run through. I didn't even bother with leashes unless it was a quick pee trip close to the house. All the people in the building knew them, and it was funy when a door would pop open and the dogs check it out.. like "Hey! Can we come in?" On the other side of the small town was water ways and ponds, and everyone in town would take their dog there, so it was like an unfenced dog park.
Here we're in a two bedroom on the second floor with private access to our own spot of grass, and there's a network of sidewalks for walking and a dog park two blocks away. They don't get off leash much unless we're at the dog park, but the space we have is working. I think you'd call this place a townhouse more than an apartment, there's a garage and yard for each unit.
Ideally I would like a 3 bedroom house with a large fenced yard. For days when it's raining, really cold, it's hard to muster up the willingness to dress warm and walk the dogs. In a house you put them outside, throw a couple balls while standing in the doorway relatively warm and just do that like 3 times in the day.
What you have to think about, is how much spare time you will have, and if you will really get out there and walk EVERY day after work regardless of how tired you are. On Fridays, will you spend 2 hours with your dog before going out, and then get up early Saturday to spend time with the dog? EVERY weekend?
What about in the winter when it's dark at 5pm, will you be out there walking?
Are you on the 2nd floor, where a inside came of fetch will tick off the neighbors below? Shepherds also scratch themselves, and their back knee thumps the ground. Who all will hear that? My neighbor can hear it, so I stop my dogs and send them to a carpeted area to do it. Think of Thumper the rabbit only it's a 60-100 pound dog doing it.
What happens in most cases, is after the newness of the dog wears off, people become lazy and they don't want to walk in the wintertime darkness, they don't want to spend their whole weekend with their dog anymore, and they realize that a house with a yard is best, so the dog is listed for sale/rehome with these house/yard demands of the new owner.
You have to think about if after 6 months, you'll be just as diligent as when you first got the dog, and at 1 year... and at 3 years, and so on.
With you working, you'll either need to take your lunch break at home to take a puppy outside, or start with one older than 5 months of age. Starting with an older puppy also means training begins as soon as the puppy arrives in your care. Or, you may be able to find an adult that's already trained.
But there is nothing worse than a large, untrained, unexercised dog in an apartment who won't allow you to watch evening TV because it wants to play fetch or tug.
What do you want to come home to after work? A crying pup who wet in it's cage because it's too young to hold it the 6-8 hours? An older pup who greets you like you've been gone for weeks who now needs dinner, a brushing, a game, and an hour walk before you can feed yourself and settle in for the night? An older dog that greets you, eats calmly with you, then takes a leisurely evening walk with maybe a game of fetch afterwards? By older, I mean over 2-3 years old.
And the shedding, no one has brought that up yet? LOL... they shed and shed and shed. Daily brushing helps if you get a good professional quality brush designed for dogs with under coat. But you can't forget to factor in the additional house cleaning GSD owners endure.
And the water bowl... puppies will knock it over and attempt to swim in it. They'll string drool/water in a 5ft radious around the water bowl. They're drop food into the water bowl if you feed them near it. Depending on the space of the house/apartment, it will be obvious what sort of dog lives there.
But as far as companions go, if you're willing to put the time in they're way more intuitive to their owner than a lot of other breeds are. They know how to relax when they get older depending on what they were bred for. It's worth the mess, the work, the hair, the food/toy bill. But for some people it isn't, so that is what you have to think about.
Aga Vom Kleinen Hölzchen aka Ricca
Logan aka "Logi-Bear"