Would a german shepherd fit in with my lifestyle?
I hope this is the right place, I couldn't find a more relevant board so here it is!
I am a woman in my early 20's, and am finally at a stable point in my life where I can get a dog. I've put a lot of consideration into what kind of dog would best suit me, and my mom actually suggested I get a german shepherd. Though my family has always had dogs we never had a german shepherd so I'm not really sure if it is the right dog for me. I'm hoping you guys can give me some insight.
I own a house in a nice town, I have a large fenced in yard and I live alone so plenty plenty of space. The main reasons I want to get a dog are for companionship and protection. I'm looking for a dog that is a quick learner and likes to stay busy, and also loyal and protective. I work full time but live 3 miles from where I work, and can easily stop by at home throughout the day to let a dog out or throw a ball for a little bit. I'm not married (though my boyfriend will likely move in with me in <1 year) and I don't have kids (likely won't for 5+ years), so I have plenty of free time to spend on a dog. I would love to have a dog that I could take out and do things with. It definitely would not be sitting around cooped up 24/7. Since I live alone it's important to me to have a dog that will be protective in nature and loyal to me.
My main concerns are making sure that the dog I get will get the amount of attention it needs, have ample space, etc. Just generally be comfortable with my lifestyle. I'm leaning heavily towards german shepherd, but is there anything I should know before hand? Does it sound like a german shepherd would be a good fit for me?
Also, I'm wondering if someone can explain the differences between male and female GS characteristics? Would one or the other be a better fit for my lifestyle?
I think you sound like a great fit for a GSD! I can't really comment on differences between males and females, as I personally haven't found there to be any (everyone's got their own anecdotal experiences of females being more protective, or males being more protective, etc). As for your lifestyle, either sex would be a fine fit.
I think you'd be a fine home for a gsd,,good set up:)
I like both males and females for different reasons..I have to say tho, if I were to have ONE dog, I have loved my doofy, velcro males, easy trainers, biddable.
I love my female (she is my 2nd one, I've always had males), are alot of fun, more serious, I think they mature faster, mine have been more 'guardy' of me than my males .. kinda hard to explain as all dogs are different.
My males were all very mushy, touchy feely dogs, while my females are/were affectionate, there 'hugginess' was kinda on their terms..
Both genders, well lets just say I haven't been in a bathroom alone for many years, very devoted, loyal, ALOOF, (I like an aloof dog! one who is into their owner and the heck with the rest of the world)...always checking in, if your out on a hike, ..
again, hard to explain just what mine have been like..
Owning any dog, but particularly a GSD is about a commitment of TIME. If you have the time, and know you will commit it in dog classes, socialization, and exercising your dog, a GSD is a great dog.
I do NOT think they are the easiest dog though. The level of energy and intelligence that makes them such great drug/police/search/protection WHATEVER dogs is also what keeps us on our toes for the first years.
So lots of time/EXERCISE, tons of time/SOCIALIZATION, and finding great dog classes/TRAINING are key.
First step is to NOT call around and talk to breeders. First step is to educate yourself on the 'flavor' of GSD you would like, THEN what a responsible breeder looks like to give you help and support for the lifetime of your dog.
So much great info on ---> Welcome to the GSD/FAQ's for the first time owner - German Shepherd Dog Forums
And 2 to start are http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ind-puppy.html and http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...shepherds.html
Good luck! BTW, I prefer the girldogs but it's really a personal opinion. Once you do find some good breeders, meet their dogs and then decide which pulls your heart :)
To have a successful relationship with a GSD, you should be active, attentive, determined, and responsible. GSDs do best with a firm, fair, and fun owner. They are not a dog for the wishy-washy; if the owner is a pushover, the GSD will tend to take over. They are dogs that need training and competent leadership. As long as you can provide this, it sounds like your home is ideal! Be sure that you can commit to the time it takes to train your dog. A well-trained, socialized, well-bred GSD is a companion like no other, and as a single woman living alone, you will appreciate the feeling of security that comes along with owning a well-bred GSD.
I can't stress "well-bred" enough. There are lots of BYBs and less-than-scrupulous breeders peddling GSD puppies, and you want to avoid them like the plague. If you can give your location, we can help you find a reputable breeder in your area.
Most important, after selecting the right breeder, is selecting the right pup with the temperament that fits your lifestyle. A good breeder will be able to help with this. Some pups have a lot of drive and energy, others are more laid back. For a companion dog, you'd probably want to go with a more laid-back type. A high-drive puppy/dog can be a challenge for a first-time GSD owner.
As to male vs. female, it really depends. I have always owned females, so I don't have much input on the differences but I'm sure others with more experience will chime in. The biggest downside I see to owning females is the heat cycles. Of course you will probably want to spay at some point, but it's recommended to wait until at least a year of age, as the hormones are important for proper growth and bone/joint health. You must be absolutely certain that you can prevent an accidental litter if you go with a female.
First thank you for taking the time to really consider and investigate if a GSD is the right dog for you. I am a first time GSD owner (as an adult) I knew what I was getting into when I started looking for a puppy and what my goals were. I was side tracked and ended up rescuing a 1-2 yr old GSD from a High kill shelter 700 miles away from me. As I look back I dont know that it was necessarily the correct decision considering he came with a bundle of issues that I have relied heavily on this board to help me overcome. I think that having a puppy would of been easier but I love him none the less.
As a first time owner, I thought I was prepared for the amount of time it was going to take well let me tell you what ever you think it is going to take multiply that times at least 10! Days when you dont feel like going for a walk or playing or you are too tired, basically too bad. The weather is crap too bad, you have a million other things you need to do, too bad. There are days where I have literally fell asleep playing with my GSD.
I dont like the puppy things associated with all puppies (house breaking, chewing up everything in sight (search this board for the term "land shark") biting and quite honestly I cannot go home every hour to let them out so that really played a role in my decision to go for the rescue.
Other key things to remember:
1. They eat A LOT and it should not be your run of the mill kibble you need a high quality food.
2. Training is going to be essential I train horses and have trained all of my dogs previously, I have had to work with several trainers and a good trainer is not cheap!
3. Housing - You state you have a fence, remember a full grown GSD can easily jump or scale a 4ft fence, it could be ok for now but you cannot expect to be able to leave them alone in the yard when you are not home
4. They shed! Non-stop continuously every day you have to brush them / vaccum / sweep you will have hair EVERYWHERE
5. Socialization, socialization, socialization! If you do not do proper socialization it *could* result in a dog aggression or people aggression issue. Socialization is more than taking your dog to the dog park there are some really great resources here on socialization and not over stimulation here.
6 LOVE :wub: your dog is going to love you and give you an unconditional unwavering amount of devotion. Which means they are going to be stressed if you want to go on that 7 day vacation and not take them.
7. When you have kids in 5 years remember a GSD is really hard to rehome and are often the first dogs on the kill list in shelters. I would put effort into making sure that you have your GSD around kids as much as possible of all ages. Would not want to see another GSD in a shelter on the kill list.
Otherwise good luck! Thanks again for taking the real time and consideration to make sure it is the right fit for you. I think you taking this step makes you that much of a better potential GSD owner than most!
You sound like a perfect person to own a German Shepherd, I too live alone and feel completely at ease and safe with mine watching my yard and house. I think the beauty of dogs, really any dog, is that they are so incredibly adaptable to our life styles and the schedules we place them in. I find that dogs thrive on routine, no matter what that may be, I don't have the luxury your dog will have of being 3 miles away, I work 80 miles from my home, yet my dogs stay comfortably and happily in their pens and kennels till I arrive home, no problem. I also have horses at home so my dogs exercise consists of following me around on my chores of cleaning, feeding and exercising my horses twice a day, I guess I have been incredibly lucky because I have had over 10 German Shepherds in my life and NOT ONE was an over the top high drive maniac that required several exercise outings a day, they were/are content to do essentially what I do, they do go for trail rides on the weekends, or hiking in the mountains, but it's not something that HAS to be done, they just want to come along and be with me, if I don't feel well, or the weather is bad, than they hang in the house with me, no big deal. I think you need to express to your breeder exactly what you are looking for in your puppy, they will help select the puppy that best suits your needs.
I have both male and female, I find the males more goofy and playful, the females tend to be more serious and watchful over their person, they are both incredibly loyal to their owners, but I guess if I had to choose one sex to be my companion it would be a female because of the serious demeanor, this is of course my opinion, but it's based on several dogs.
Good luck to you and heres hoping you find the perfect puppy!
I definately think you can fit into a german shepherd's lifestyle :) I strongly believe its important that your boyfriend is on board since he will be joining the pack in the near future. You've gotten a lot of good advice on finding good breeders but just keep in mind there are a lot of young dogs in shelters and rescues too. As far as being "protective" I can tell you that I haven't felt unsafe one day since Mac was about 7 months old haha. Not because I think he'd attack an intruder but because I don't expect any intruders when I have a GSD barking at the door or window :) As far as loyalty and companionship..he's at my side 24/7 :) Yeah its tough sometimes to keep up with them...their intelligent and energy level...they need more mental stimulation and exercise than a lot of dogs...but to me its worth it.
Thanks guys!! Really helpful stuff here. A few questions I thought of today... How are german shepherds with traveling (by car)? Do they typically run away if they have the opportunity to? I have had dogs that run as soon as they had the chance, and some dogs who would never leave the yard even if left alone.
Your first set of questions was answered pretty well, so I'll hit up the next two/
Travel? Just try and keep Cable out of the car, he loves rides. My old GSD loved to ride, was a bit whiny the first few miles, probably excitement. Depends on the dog really, if all the dog ever does is go to the vet after a ride, then it will likely not like the car. If the dog is treated to a nice hike or run on the beach after a car ride then they will associate it with fun times.
The whole running off thing is dependant on the dog, breed-wise is a bit more murky. I'd hazard a guess that a well bonded GSD won't dash off as easily as say an air-head lab or spaniel, but some dogs do like to explore. Banjo(my old GSD) would sit and look at an open gate and not even consider leaving the yard. He wanted to be where I was, not food or other people could unstick that bond.
Something to consider once the dog is acclimatized to your home and schedule is a doggie-door. When you are sure the pooch is happy and not going to wander off a doggie door makes life so much easier on both parties. Potty breaks are taken care of, they can go run off some energy while you are at work(you HAVE to know the dog won't run off, otherwise no doggie-door).
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