I joined this forum to become more informed about the GSD, since I have been referring to these threads anyway over the past few months to try to learn as much as possible.
I'm 22, from California, and I'd like to have a German Shepherd someday, although I really wouldn't go about getting a puppy until I have a stable job, my own place with a fenced yard, and some money put away. That might be about 2-3 years away.
Even still, I do love the breed and am doing what I can to learn whatever I can. I'm doing my best to stay open-minded about everything and become as educated as possible before getting a dog. So far, I know about the history of the German Shepherd, the basics about the different lines, and I've read about drive and temperament, but only online. I also own some Leerburg training DVDs, and have tried out marker training (though I'm still not very good at it).
Currently, I only have experience with helping raise my two family dogs at my parents' house, a Golden Retriever (a rescue from a puppy mill) named Houston and a terrier mix (a rescue from the street) named Oliver. We got both as puppies.
I have never been exposed to "dog people", never been exposed to dog sports or even proper dog training. I had never even been aware that those things existed until maybe a couple of years ago. The only dog people I know are the kind who treat their dogs like humans and really don't know anything about dogs at all, and I still feel like I have absolutely no knowledge myself.
As you can tell, I'm very green, but I don't want to stay that way. I was drawn to the German Shepherd because I admire the strong nerves, intelligence, and loyal nature of the breed. I DO currently feel that this is the kind of dog I want, but I'm here to further investigate that, be honest with myself, and figure out if I can really make a dog like the GSD happy when I have the means to comfortably own a dog.
I'd love it if you guys could offer me books, videos, and websites to study that will help me better understand the German Shepherd and dog behavior/body language/needs in general. I'd also like to know if there's anywhere in Southern California I could go to meet other people who are into dogs (and would be willing to share their knowledge!). Currently, I just volunteer at a shelter because it was the only dog-related place I knew to go. Most of the volunteers don't know much about dogs, let alone German Shepherds, and none of my friends know much about dogs either (and quite frankly, they're tired of hearing me talk about them). So, any guidance would be appreciated!
Thanks for your help!
:welcome: I also had to wait and plan for my gsd. All the preparation really helps and especially the experience with other dogs and your volunteer work at the shelter. This is a great forum to talk about and learn about gsds.
A local Schutzhund club in your area may do you some good. Even if you aren't interested in the sport, the people involved are very dog enthusiastic, and may be able to help you learn more about the German Shepherd breed. Of course, you'd have to find an all breed club or a club with members who own GSDs. I learned so, so much from my local Schutzhund club. I attended all their training days for about a year before I got my second GSD.
I agree with Brittany. Check for local Schutzhund clubs. You can learn a great deal simply watching. Also, local police departments will do the occasional public demo with the dogs. See about any in your area and go watch. 9 times out of 10, the handlers will be more than happy to answer any questions about the dogs they work with and some can even point you in other directions to learn safely.
There's a positive methods trainer on youtube who is really good.
watch the videos. You can learn a lot simply by watching him teach his dog. He also explains things very well and simply so its easy to understand. Bear in mind that I don't support strictly positive only training because training isn't a one size fits all. Each dog is different and the methods needed to train said dog can vary. Some dogs respond wonderfully to positive only methods while others need harder corrections besides a "no" or turning your back and ignoring them for a minute before continuing the lesson at hand or rather paw. The link above should take you directly to the trainers page I'm referring to. You can learn a lot from his videos from simply training to just watching how his dog responds to training.
continue to check out the forum and learn. I was like you when I first joined, only I already had shepherds. Everything I've learned since has been amazing. I'm still learning and looking for more opportunities to get out there and get more experience too.
I've watched almost all of Training Positive's videos before, actually! I really love his videos and have been trying his methods with Oliver, who responds really well to it.
I'll work on getting involved in a Schutzhund club asap so that I can get involved with some knowledgeable people. Thanks for your suggestions!
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