Is a GSD the right dog for me?
Hello! I'm new here and just joined after months of lurking and reading hundreds of threads...
I'm almost finished with college, and when I'm all settled I'm thinking about getting a dog. I'll most likely get a cat first (huge cat lover too!), but I also can't see myself without a dog by my side.
A bit of back story. I've been wanting a GSD for 10+ years now. I've always admired their loyalty, beauty, trainability, and intelligence. My mother loves GSDs, but my father was always a bit afraid of them, he had bad experiences with them as a kid in the 1970s, seemed like every GSD around wanted to chase him and his friends, haha. I've researched dogs ever since a I was a preteen, and could pick out a rare breed from a crowd. A couple I met at our agility class was impressed that I knew that her dogs were Catahoulas, as well as an owner of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever at a pet convention. I grew up with a very energetic Papillon, and as much as I love him, I can't see myself owning a dog like that on my own. He's too friendly with everyone, which made his training difficult, and pretty skittish around certain things, like the teeter todders and ramps in agility.
I'm looking for a more aloof "one person dog" that will focus more on me while out in public training. I'd like for him/her to tolerate strangers and let them pet him/her (with permission of course), but if I wanted an overly friendly dog, I'd get a Retriever. I'm very aloof and solitary myself, so I wouldn't want a super friendly dog that would get me into convos with strangers (though I would have no problem chatting up with fellow GSD lovers!) After seeing some dogs doing Schutzhund, this would be something I'm very interested in doing as well.
I'm a female in my mid 20s, and although I consider myself tough, there's only so much a 115 lb gal like me can do to a person much bigger person who wants to do harm to me, and I'd feel much safer with a GSD around. I'm not interested in having a husband or family, so having a dog willing to protect me and my home will make me feel a bit better, considering people like me can sometimes be a target.
The thing is, I'm an animator, and most of my jobs will be in cities...and after seeing hundreds of threads about having trouble finding apartments that will allow GSDs have me worried. I tried using those pet friendly apartment websites, but since I most likely will be living in Canada, these sites only worked for the States. I don't think I'd have much trouble finding a GSD friendly condo/private home to rent (I've rented private homes before, but none allowed pets of any kind. The apartment I live in now allows pets and no breed restrictions as far as I know because a tenant has a Rottie and a Husky, but I couldn't take care of a pet while busy with classes, and my roommate has a cat that fills that void in my empty soul.) Another thing about being an animator is that jobs tend to be contract based, and if the movie/TV show I was working on is all done with and they have no more work for me, I would have to find another studio elsewhere. If they like my work enough, I would be signed on for another contract and work on another movie/TV show.
The studio I interned at this summer in Ottawa offered me a job, and if I don't find something else, I will be working there. They let you work from home as an option, so this would allow me to raise a puppy without having to be away from home and leaving the puppy alone. I can also bring my dog into the studio, so I would like to do this when he/she is housebroken.
The top breeder I'm interested in has a long wait list for their pups (6mo-1yr) which is no problem with me. There are a few other breeders I'm looking into as well. I'm really interested in a working line dog since I'm very interested in Schutzhund, but is a working line a good dog for a first time GSD owner? How well do they fare in apartments? I'm sure if I found a condo/house to rent with a fenced yard it would be better. I'm also very interested in hiking, RVing, and traveling and would love to bring my dog on all my adventures.
If a GSD doesn't work out for me in this time in my life, I'm also considering a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, my favorite dog after the GSDs. Won't have to worry about weight or breed restrictions in apartments, and they're like German Shepherds with short legs :) I knew one in my dog's obedience classes years ago, and fell in love with that breed as a got to know him.
Has anyone else owned a GSD in a similar situation (possible apartment hopping due to my kind of job, possibly moving across the country at times)? My mother said it probably wasn't a good idea, but I get pretty depressed without animals (when I would visit for the holidays, I was probably most excited to see my cats and dog again haha), and I'm willing to go the "extra mile" for my animals. I'm not much of a people person, I'm more of an animal person most definitely. Sadly my career really limits the other half of me that is a rural/country person (I grew up in small New England towns) and now I have to live in cities where all the studios are, I'm not a city person at all, and I really hope my career doesn't limit me from getting the pet I want either. I won't be getting a dog right off the bat as soon as I settle into my new home, but I do hope to get one within the next year or so.
look into working breeders that produce what you are looking for,
wait till you are done college trust me it will save your life lol
There are lots of good breeders even here that can give you a very nice aloof one person female, just go to a breeder a good one, a good show dog breeder would be a great choice
I personally like this trait and happy you want a well bred gsd.
My aloof female working gsd and my past dogs cannot be an apt dog like it would suck for me and the dogs her drive is too high but people here say their dogs can so.
Most important is exercise snow or rain dont miss a day and exercise your dog hard. Without a yard it is a big tough. You are an active person? you will do well. Dedication.
Some breeders will tell you anything to sell you their dog they want to sell bad be careful.
I own my own home but when i had to rent a few months not many thrilled about having a gsd so get your home living situation cleared first.
Welsh corgie may be a good or a better choice also. I am not experienced with them though. I just remember my girl running circles around one and making it dizzy lol
My dog did not really mature till she was 4 years old. Same with my old west german dog. WHo are suppose to mature at 2. SO slow maturity is not something I want in the future.
I'm hoping more for a townhouse or condo to rent, or a house to rent. They tend to be cheaper and I found quite a few online that have fenced yards and are dog friendly. I also have a car so I'd be perfectly willing to drive to a park to walk and play with the dog if one isn't in walking distance. I'd definitely seek out a GSD friendly place to rent before getting the dog.
I love the cold, so I have no problem walking in snow :)
I have to decide if I want a medium or high drive dog. If my home isn't suited for a high drive dog, I'll settle with a medium. I do want some drive and someday would like a high drive dog, but I think it may be best if I start off with a dog with less drive for experience. Also I would want the dog to be happy.
Can't say I was in a similar situation when I finally was able to get a dog of my own....never had any as a child but loved the heck out of all the neighbor's pooches. I waited until I had a fairly consistent environment which allowed for the privilege of having a dog...finally.
This much I am fairly certain of; all the thought and honest investigation of your situation at hand as well as your future short term state of affairs will most certainly allow you to make the correct decision.
Wish more people put as much thought into this matter as you have.
medium drive dog will lbe more than enough to keep up with you
Even if they are medium drive they are still exceptional compared to the pet dogs you see JMHO
ALso look into good breedeers of show dogs I know some very nice aloof fearless protective show dogs.
IT is all the lines it comes from
Medium drive is what i want next I dont need a dog bouncing frorm walls a gsd is not a mal JMO
ive seen my dog go and last asa long as mals and just as intense and still didntt give up, to me its a bit over kill, so i will look for a more less extreme next time. If i want a higher drive dog I think i may just get a mal for a certain purpose. Very good idea.
single and just out of college would raise a red flag for me, unless you have a good support system. a gsd needs time and exercise and cannot be put off for your social life. dogs nee routine, not something i could/would provide at that time of my life. just food for thought.
The apartment thing might be a problem, the job and everything else sounds fine. I would wait until you find one place to live.
@huntergreen I understand your pov..I'm also a girl with a gsd in my early 20s, I'm still IN college though, and social obligations have never gotten in the way, maybe the op is similar. :)
Routine I agree with, but I think routine would be fine as long as you have a settled place to live.
I wouldn't get a high drive dog in your situation though, that would be pretty difficult to deal with in a city without a lottt of extra effort
I got a dog out of college. It's not the toughest thing, but you do make sacrifices for the dog.
Depending on the area you live in, GSD friendly housing isn't the most difficult thing to find. We lived in two different apartments before finally purchasing a house a few months ago.
The biggest part is what was just mentioned...the social life. We don't really go out anymore (maybe once a week). After an 8 hour work day, you don't want to leave the dog or dogs alone for longer. Someone has to come home after work to let the dogs out, so if evening plans are easier to get to from work, sometimes we end up not going because we don't want to drive back and forth X amount of times just to grab a beer.
You'll also make life decisions differently once you have a dog. Vacations/weekend trips tend to involve going somewhere that the dog can also go to. When you do go somewhere without the dogs, you have to either board (which can add a lot of expense to a trip) or you need family that is willing to take the dog. Luckily we have family that can come stay with the dogs or will take them.
On the bright side, I do make a lot of healthier decisions. Like instead of going to a bar, I'll go to a park with the dogs.
I'd love to have a small house, but I don't think that will happen for a while. If I move up in the job ladder I can definitely afford one eventually.
Yeah I don't have much of a social life, never really have. I prefer to keep to myself. I do have a small circle of friends I will once in a while go out with, but I do see them every day in college and most likely will go our separate ways when we graduate. I tend to drink a beer or two at home by myself watching a movie more than I go to the bar (most of my friends aren't drinkers so going out to the bar is very rare and I don't go alone.)
I can't imagine taking a vacation without my dog. I'm more of an RVer so I don't think it will be much of a problem, just have to camp in places that allow my GSD (if there are campgrounds that ban them.) I'm not one for flying to beach resorts, not my thing, though someday I'd like to see some other countries. But for now I'd rather RV all over USA and Canada first. I've always seen myself traveling the country with my trusty dog by my side, haha!
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