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Old 01-30-2013, 07:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default To GSD or not to GSD - I ask for your assistance!

Hello! As stated in my intro post in the Newbies forum, I'm here to learn about the breed and if this kind of dog really is for me or if am I the kind of owner that would be good for a GSD. Suitability works both ways!

I love pets - I have a huge soft spot for pets; cats and dogs. Normally I would consider myself a cat person first, but mostly because I've had "my" cats. The dogs have always been the "family" dog or my brother's, so I think this time around I want a dog of my own - and of whom the dog can claim ownership of as well.

I'm currently getting out of the Army on disability from a Left Ankle/Tibia injury in Afghanistan. I can't run anymore (well, I haven't tried as my profile prohibits it and it's a prosecutable offense if I break my profile in the Army and further injure myself) and my walking distance is significantly shorter than it used to be. Nowadays I'm about a 1-1.5 mile max before it starts to pain - and that's if I start first thing in the morning. I'll be frank - I'm nowhere near as agile as I used to be.

I'm not too concerned about the time commitment for a puppy as when I get out, I'll have a pretty good chunk of money as severance from the Army to live off of while I get settled. I won't be working immediately when I get out but I will be working on my Private Pilots License and after that, moving on to a school to get my Degree and Commercial license.

I have done some reading, including the Wiki and Dogs 101 video on Animal Planet to start.

The reason I'm looking into a GSD (as well as a Doberman) is two-fold - I want an intelligent, trainable and loyal dog as a companion as well as possibly working as an early warning. I'm going to be Bush Piloting which means I will be out in the back country in some remote places. Dogs can so easily see/hear/smell something before I would even notice not to mention this breed would be good for protection in case we can't scare it off or any of the other possible situations where things could go badly for us.

I'm considering a puppy as the Degree/Commercial license will take the better part of 4 years, so this dog, by the time I might take it with me on flights, would be mature and well-trained.

I am concerned about the amount of exercise this breed NEEDS (I fully understand that for this kind of dog, exercise is not "optional" or "suggested"). I have thought of a way to work with this is I'm still good on a bicycle. Is having the dog run on a lead while I'm on a bike acceptable or might there be another way - I've read about doggy treadmills, but that doesn't do much for the attention. I would be living in an apartment - this is a concern to me as my reading says these dogs need a lot of space to run. To that end, would daily bike rides to the dog park to play fetch and bike back be enough exercise for this kind of dog?

I'm also considering a Doberman, but I think and has been suggested, that a GSD would be better suited for possible colder climates as they have a thicker coat than a Doberman.

Also if any of you are from the Columbus, OH area, your knowledge on where to get a dog and where to take them for exercise or training would be invaluable!

I guess what I'm trying to say is I want you folks to know I'm not some goofball who thinks, "ooooooo - pretty dog!" and then will get frustrated and abandon the dog because I wasn't prepared going into the relationship.

To that end, I want to make sure that I'm as informed as I can be and have people vet the idea as you all will think of many things that I wouldn't think to ask.

Thank you!
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Planning is good .

Exercise needs are important, both for draining energy and providing mental stimulation which keeps them out of trouble . A bike is a great idea but I would be leery of using one with a puppy as it might be too much for them to keep up as well as hard on their joints while growing

Have you considered the possibility of hiring a dog walker? That could help until the dog is old enough to handle biking. Or a chuckit could be a great help if you can find a safe open space to get them running with very little effort from you. A good tug game helps get the zoomies out as well
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Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for your input Shade!

How do your dogs handle the cold and snow up in the Great White North?
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Lol Delgado loves the snow, Jazzy's ok as long as she is wearing her coat

GSD have double layer coats so they can take some pretty cold temperatures without flinching
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My Pack:

Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 5 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think either dog would be fine...but I'm not quite sure how someone that wants to be a commercial pilot will be able to have a dog. You're assuming you'll be able to take the dog on the plane with you? Then you're assuming you'll stay at a hotel that allows pets? Packing for a dog is sometimes tougher than packing for a kid...just so much more to think about and have to bring.

I know you said it would take around 4 years to get a license, but what are you going to do with it then? I'm not sure a GSD or a doberman would want to sit in an airplane cabin for hours at a time...also I'm not sure what consistent air pressure changes would do to a dog. You'd have to have one that isn't bothered by it...but you won't know this until the dog is almost 5 years old.

I think you're trying to cover as many bases as possible...which is great, but I'm just not sure how much you'll be able to find out about your future potential career and how a dog would fit into it. If I were you...I'd contact some current pilots and see what they think about owning a dog or a pet. I have a friend that is a flight attendant and posts about his schedule and the places he's at all the time on facebook...I can tell you from his schedule that there is no way he could be a pet owner.

Last edited by martemchik; 01-30-2013 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Bush flying is aircraft operations carried out in remote, inhospitable regions of the world. Bush flying involves operations in rough terrain where there are often no prepared landing strips or runways, frequently necessitating that bush planes be equipped with abnormally large tires, floats or skis.

I wouldn't be flying 747s or the like, I'd be flying Super Cubs and small planes like those.

Since a bushplane is defined by how it is used, a wide variety of different aircraft with different configurations have been used over the years as such, however experience has shown certain traits to be desirable, and so appear frequently, especially on aircraft specifically designed as bushplanes. None of these traits are mandatory - merely that they are commonly seen features of bushplanes.
Designed to be fitted with floats or skis to permit operation from water or snow (primarily for Alaskan, Canadian and Russian use).
High wings ease loading and unloading, particularly from docks, as well as improve downward visibility during flight and increase clearance to reduce the potential for damage during landing or take-off. A high wing is less likely to be damaged during loading or unloading than a low wing.
Conventional or "taildragger" landing gear—two large main wheels and a small rear wheel reduce both weight and drag, increasing the load the aircraft can carry and its speed and it reduces excessive stresses on the airframe compared to a nosewheel. A failure is also less critical as a broken tailwheel is easily repaired and won't prevent the aircraft from flying, unlike a broken nosewheel.
Short runway requirements, typically gained through high aspect ratio wings and high-lift devices such as flaps, slots and slats to improve low speed flight characteristics, allowing for shorter ground rolls on landing or take off.
Very large, low-pressure tundra tires may be fitted to enable the pilot to operate from broken ground. It is not uncommon for a bush pilot to land (and take off) from unprepared surfaces.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default GSD and "Drive"

I would rcomend the GSD, but then again what would you expect. Now, as far as a GSD drive goes, some are higher drive than others. Our breeder matches the pup to the future owners needs. Therefore our younger GSD female was a low drive puppy. Now this does not mean she is lazy and just lays around all day. She is very alert and watchfull, she can be aggresive with a stranger that comes in the yard without an invite. She barks and holds as taught. She gets her workouts and of course thay are required, but in the house and on rainy days, she is quite content to lay around. We do indoor "find it" games and other stuff, but she is generally a very calm dog indoors. I am sure others can elaborate more, but I commend you for doing your research. As a retired Soldier and one that went to college at a school that at the time was one of the few that offerred degrees in aviation I wish you luck. You have a long, but exciting future ahead as a Pilot. I went on many a flights with buddies that were students.
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