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Aspiring GSD owner
I just joined this site and forum so I can do as much research and receive as much feedback/advice as I can, as I look to make my final decision in getting the beloved German Shepherd.
Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Andrew, I'm a 28 year old bartender. I live with 3 other guys who are around the same age. We all live in in a sizeable apartment in a nice, up-and-coming part of Philadelphia. I hold a degree from an accredited university, which I am not really doing anything with (not that that has any relevance to owning a dog, but I figured I'd give everyone a full background on myself.) All 3 of my roommates like dogs, and have no problem with my decision in getting one. I was raised with 2 lab mixes, both of which are still alive (surprisingly), who are great all around dogs and the loves of my life, so I'm no stranger around dogs at all and have experience in living with them.
Basically, in a nutshell, I want to know if I'm getting in over my head in getting a GSD. Or if I should adopt instead of getting a puppy. I'd much rather get a puppy in the sense that I could establish a bond early and avoid developing any bad habits as much as I can. My schedule for the most part, I consider open. I usually have off sun-tues, off wed nights, and I'm home during the day till about 6 thurs-sat. I know being a bartender I have to work nights and I sometimes don'tt get home till 4am (I'm actually writing this now as I get ready for work, so please excuse the grammar infractions lol). My roommates are willing to coordinate with me as far as taking him/her for walks while still in its younger phase until it gets house-broken and able to hold it's bladder for an undetermined amount of hours. I have a pretty active lifestyle...i exercise regularly, run etc.
Is there anyone on here that has had or in a similar situation? Any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'd much rather like to hear from people who are experts in this matter, but anyone can feel free to chime in. Hope to hear from you all!
That's good that you like to run and exercise. The dog will like to do that with you.
If you like dating, girls, going out with the guys, sporting events, and anything else where you can't take a dog, you can pretty much forget all of that for around a year or longer.
Owning and training a GSD is not just another mouth to feed or a new hobby you can put down when you get bored. It is a lifestyle change and pretty much most of your life as you used to know it will be over and will now revolve around your new pup/dog.
Think hard about your commitment to this animal and how it will affect your lifestyle.
Oh, and forget about your room mates helping out. Are they really willing to get up at 0200 to take your pup out in a pouring rain and a driving wind in the middle of March when he has to pee?
They have to get up for work in four or five hours and they are not going to help you when you really need it.
How about cleaning up accidents in the house and wiping up the puke when he eats something he shouldn't have, or hasn't eaten at all.
Sorry for the cold hard facts, but you need to know this. They talk the talk, but will they walk the walk when you need them the most while you are out making a living?
MichaelE nailed it. I have to say a GSD is probably one of the best breeds as far as companionship and intelligence. However, with that comes great responsibility. It is like having a kid. I can say that because I have done both.
This dog will need daily exercise, interaction from you. He depends on you for complete companionship. He depends on you for everything. He will not stand to be cooped up, neglected, forgotten for a minute. He/she wants nothing more than to be with you all of the time.
When I met my wife, I had about a 4 year old GSD. The dog was pissed!!! She did not like my then girlfriend taking more of my time. She would shred gifts my girl gave me. She got between us. etc. They are smart. One night I hear my girl yelling from the other room. I find my GSD standing on her chest in the other room, pinning her to the floor. I had told my girl she played rough.... That was a turning point for the 3 of us. My girl being dog savvy, had a "talk" with her and started spending time with her and finally won her affection.
I'm just saying this will turn you life for the better or the worse. That part is up to you. If your in the city, that makes it even a little harder. Your roommates say they will help, what happens if they don't? Best intentions....
I have a 8.5 week old GSD chewing on my feet as I type this...... I'm not trying to discourage you but you do need to know what your in for. I can't imagine my life without a GSD. I have owned them my entire adult life, over 25 years.
very positive that you're asking!
I'd say you'd be a great GSD person someday. Maybe even now.
I'd have a hard time raising a pup in your circumstances - apartment, time constraints etc... but then, any puppy would be difficult.
Just know that these guys absolutely demand to be worked with and will need the same devotion from you that they freely give.
Make sure your mates are on the same page with your training.
Everyone loves a puppy, but they do grow up.
Thanks for your feedback! Good to see someone actually took time out and read my post. You raise some great points in your response. If I could just take a few mins to elaborate on them. As far as my roommates are concerned, were all friends and have known each other for awhile. They're not just some guys who I happen to live with. I'm pretty sure if I were really stuck they'd help in a heartbeat, because after all, even though I'll be the dogs master, the 3 of them will be living with it as well. That being said though, the assistance I'll need from them will be extremely minute in comparison to the time I'll be spending with the dog.
As far as u saying that the dog is not just another hobby or mouth to feed, you're 100% correct in that statement, and I do believe a common misconception amongst potential dog owners is that they think they can continue on the life they lead without any adjustments to a dog added in the mix. I'm a realist though, and have already accepted the fact that my social life will be non-existent while raising this dog. I'm more than willing to make the adjustments needed. The only reason why I wouldn't be with the dog would be due to work. That seems to be the only issue I can really think of.
But when all is said and done, I will most definitely not be pulling the trigger on getting any dog, let alone a GSD, unless I'm 100% positive I have a support system in place. Hope to hear from you.
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I'm not an expert in the matter at all. The first GSD i've owned is the one i currently have. However at the shelter i work at, ever single GSD that has come in, i instantly love.. There is something about their brain chemistry that attracts mine.
My biggest advice for you is.. Make sure you get your puppy from a well known GSD breeder, who breeds for health and temperament. There is lots of information on how to do that properly. This will save you heart ache, money, stress and years of your relationship for the most part.
Also make sure you do your research on the breed, training and puppy stage. Because i didn't and i'm, for lack of better word, "behind" schedule, with my 1 year old.
You are going to have to rearrange your life and dedicate it to your dog. Especially while it is a puppy! :)
Expect to spend thousands of dollars on vet care.
GSD's are amazing, even my GSD with fear aggression to strangers, HD and lots of bratty attitude- she is an amazing dog and every second with her is priceless to me.
Yep that's why I consulted the almighty message boards so I can get some feedback on what I'm in for! Thanks for your response!
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I disagree a bit with one of the responses. Dogs can expand your social life! Just differently.
Dates? Outdoor cafes. Check.
Sporting events? Rather than buy tickets and watch, partake locally and take the dog! Check.
Roommates ready to help? Check.
Add in all the walks you'll do, neighbors and people "out and about" that you'll meet (that will fawn over your gorgeous GSD) and the training programs, and bammo....lots of social cred.
Just please, please, please....do not get a backyard breeder dog. I just had a conversation yesterday with someone wanting a GSD and, if they select a breeder rather than rescue, they only wanted to pay a few hundred dollars. NO WAY! Sure, there are some questionable breeders that put high price tags on their pups ($1000 on up), but that doesn't mean they are quality. If you don't get a rescue, then make sure the breeder is genetically improving the breed, both parents are on site and welcome you to play with them.
I would never buy a pup from someone whose pups parents were not welcoming of a stranger into the home that their owner clearly welcomed as friendly. Big sign, there. Big.
Make sure PennHIP is 80% or more (some will try to tell you OFA is where it's at; it's not...it's more lenient) on the parents. Elbows dysplasia, DM free, etc. Have lots of conversations about epilepsy and how dogs in their line have died. Any breeder who is defensive has given you a reason to run.
Anyway, money spent up front on a quality dog (health, temperament) is LOTS of money and HEARTACHE saved down the road.
Awesome! Congrats. :)
Agree with MichaelE, i also agree that they can expand your social life!
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