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Old 12-31-2013, 11:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default are German Shepherds the breed for me?

Hi there everyone, I am thinking about getting a German Shepherd as a pet, I absolutely love them! I'm only 16, and have only had one other dog that we have trained and had since a puppy, so i have never worked with a large dog like a German shepherd before although i am confident i could manage one. I have no issues, and am never afraid around big dogs like some younger people are.

We live in a small 3 bedroom house in town with a medium sized back yard and a large school and park across the road. I am willing to walk and let off the lead up to twice a day and train etc. etc. However i am leaving school in 2 years and training to be a vet nurse so would an older dog be a better option if we are looking into the future?

We have a cat, she is old, and has a calm nature, but does not want to play with our smaller dog, so they keep their distance unless food is involved lol. Could this be a problem?

So after telling you this please give me the honest truth, suggestions, opinions on whether you think I could handle a German Shepherd
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Old 01-01-2014, 12:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Raising and training a puppy of any breed is a huge commitment, and raising and training a German Shepherd puppy is even more involved than many other breeds.

Given your age, and the associated fact that in another two or three years your life could under go some pretty drastic changes, my advice would be to do a ton of research now and then get a puppy when you're done with college and settled into an adult life.

Get out and attend as many dog sport events as possible, exposing yourself to as many different "types" of German Shepherd as possible. Find the type that you personally like the best and then find a breeder that is producing the best possible version of your chosen type.

Another option is to look for an adult rescue, one that is settled enough to not need the huge amounts of tine and effort that a puppy requires. Since you already have pets in the house, look for a rescue that has lived in a foster home with a small breed dog and a cat already.

Those are your two best options, in my opinion.
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Old 01-01-2014, 01:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would wait until you are done with schooling and settled into your own place with a yard. You may be able to handle it, but maybe your parents won't want the responsibility once you leave depending on their age/activity/lifestyle.

They are active dogs, not really happy being confined all day to a crate in a house/apt.
For a few months you'll be getting up in the middle of the night to take them outside (housebreaking).

For many more months, hands-on, all the time (unless in crate or kennel outdoors) as you don't want them developing any bad habits early on...and they go through that infamous chewing stage...not to be left alone to their own devices during these months!

By the time they are a year old, all basics should be in place (basic training, etc.) By the time the dog was 2, great...but then you'll be leaving and are your parents on the same schedule as you are? Dogs thrive on standard routines, and when they are interrupted they can become destructive or just a major pain.

Truly they are like having kids if you train/raise them well. They require a lot of time and attention, esp. German Shepherds.

I have no doubts you could handle one if you do your research/train, are dedicated, etc. It's the "what happens to the dog when you go to school part?"

Your parents may have other plans that don't involve entertaining, training, grooming/bathing/feeding, walking, running a dog 2-3x a day.

Our GSD gets run 3x a day...and free runs on property (we are rural) as well, and runs in fenced in back yard. If he didn't get this time, he'd annoy the heck out of you until he got it!

Talk to your parents, see if they will be willing to step up to the task WHEN you leave for school...if they aren't, I'd wait, for the dog's sake and for yours as well. Nothing would be more heartbreaking than to spend 2 years with a dog, training it, bonding with it, then have to leave, and then you get a call from your parent's that they just can't handle the dog anymore.

You have lots of time, no rush, do your research, and do the right thing by yourself, your parents, and the dog.
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Old 01-01-2014, 01:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think it's best to wait. Going through college will take enough effort on your part. Wait until you're done with school, getting settled into a career and a stable home with the space and time needed for a German shepherd. We spend the majority of our time outside of work with our pup playing, training, and bonding. When I was younger, I wouldn't have wanted that kind of commitment (10 years+!)

Puppies, and dogs in general are also a big financial responsibility. As you go through all these new life changes in the next 5-10 years, your financial situation will probably also change a lot. Wait until your life is stable enough to handle this sort of thing comfortably


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Old 01-01-2014, 02:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megjordan View Post
Hi there everyone, I am thinking about getting a German Shepherd as a pet, I absolutely love them! I'm only 16, and have only had one other dog that we have trained and had since a puppy, so i have never worked with a large dog like a German shepherd before although i am confident i could manage one. I have no issues, and am never afraid around big dogs like some younger people are.

We live in a small 3 bedroom house in town with a medium sized back yard and a large school and park across the road. I am willing to walk and let off the lead up to twice a day and train etc. etc. However i am leaving school in 2 years and training to be a vet nurse so would an older dog be a better option if we are looking into the future?

We have a cat, she is old, and has a calm nature, but does not want to play with our smaller dog, so they keep their distance unless food is involved lol. Could this be a problem?

So after telling you this please give me the honest truth, suggestions, opinions on whether you think I could handle a German Shepherd
As someone who got a gsd midway through college, I now recommend everyone wait until after they are done with school. Balancing it is TOUGH.
"willing to walk ...up to twice a day" - twice a day isn't near enough for most gsds. I really really think you should wait, plus it will be really sad leaving your dog in a few years
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When I was 13 I got my first GSD. Our family had never owned dogs before and like you I was aware of the big responsibility that came with looking after a big dog.
But despite this I trained, looked after and raised a beautiful GSD all on my own. If I could manage one I definitely think you could as long as you are a dedicated owner and you think you could control a GSD. The only concern I have is with college. You could be away for a few years and she might get separation anxiety. I would wait until college is finished. You will then have more time for your dog.

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Old 01-01-2014, 05:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree with the other poster about your life stage and going through tremendous changes - like going off to college, roommates, finding a rental that takes pets, etc. Plus, once you have the amazing freedom of young adult life, you will always have to come home after school/work to a dog that has been cooped up all day, and a small little play session before you head out with your friends will not be enough.

I think that it's awesome that you want a GSD - or any dog, for that matter.

Another thing to think about for the next two years, is who will be home with the dog during the day? By that, I mean, you may have all the greatest breeder selection, training plans, etc --- only for the dog to spend most of its waking hours with a parent/sibling who basically un-does your training. If they are fearful of the dog, then the dog will not grow up to be what you want him/her to be. I know this, because I'm CONSTANTLY training my family to train the dog properly. They all mean well and LOVE dogs, but they unwittingly can encourage unwanted behaviors.

All in all, it's your decision (with your family). Whatever you decide, do NOT buy a $250-500 puppy from a back yard breeder! Do your breeder research and get a healthy, mentally sound pup.

Or, for your situation, perhaps a rescue dog would be an excellent choice. That way, you know what they look and act like as adults, and you know what you are getting, in those respects.

Good luck.
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megjordan View Post
Hi there everyone, I am thinking about getting a German Shepherd as a pet, I absolutely love them! I'm only 16, and have only had one other dog that we have trained and had since a puppy, so i have never worked with a large dog like a German shepherd before although i am confident i could manage one. I have no issues, and am never afraid around big dogs like some younger people are.

We live in a small 3 bedroom house in town with a medium sized back yard and a large school and park across the road. I am willing to walk and let off the lead up to twice a day and train etc. etc. However i am leaving school in 2 years and training to be a vet nurse so would an older dog be a better option if we are looking into the future?

We have a cat, she is old, and has a calm nature, but does not want to play with our smaller dog, so they keep their distance unless food is involved lol. Could this be a problem?

So after telling you this please give me the honest truth, suggestions, opinions on whether you think I could handle a German Shepherd
@megjordan

Everybody has different handling abilities for dogs. As someone who is experience with German shepherds for me handling them is easier than training a bunny with candy. I get to know other people's German shepherds, volunteer at rescue organizations, volunteer at shelters, and there is a ton I haven't done yet waiting. Yes it is agree able you wait until college is complete or know your college plans by heart than get a German shepherd. Warning if a close friend you know has a German shepherd puppy don't do frequent visits or you end up having relationship troubles in the future. Mine has gotten to the point to an obsession trying to cut down. Just be careful!
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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if your parents are onboard, yes. a sixteen year old can handle a gsd. study up on the different lines. working show ect.. a high drive wgsd may not be a goo first time gsd pick.
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