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Considering a GSD from Rescue
Well, I said I would post it in my intro post, so here goes....
I am considering adopting a dog in a few months, and I am strongly considering a GSD or a Black Lab.
First, about me:
I am currently single, and will be turning 33 next month. No kids, No plans for them either. My career is a 9-1-1 Dispatcher, which provides an 8 to 12 hr shift, (12 hrs only if I get ordered Overtime). My schedule is 4 days on and 2 days off primarily on the afternoon shift. I plan on moving to a Large 1 bedroom (800 sq ft) in a decent sized complex that allows large dogs.
I'll admit, I have zero experience with the GSD. My parents did adopt a GSD for 2 days from a humane society, but returned him because he bit my cousin. From the research I've done here, and on some rescue sites, my parents and even I (8th grade) didnt prepare for or research the breed properly.
A short time later, we ended up adopting a Black lab, so I do have basic experience with labs. This would be a slight lifestyle change for me, since it would be the first dog of "my own"!
Whats my Game plan with the lucky dog?
There is a dog park thats less than a 5 minute drive away, so there would be frequent if not daily visits to the park for an hour or more before I leave for work. Until they are settled in and I trust them being home alone, they would be crated while I'm at work. When I get home from work, we'd likely go for a walk together. Im sure there would be times to visit and play with other dogs in the family as well. I also plan on some basic obedience classes and such.
What am I looking for in a dog?
I definitely don't think I currently have the time for a puppy, so I'm thinking a dog that's 2 to 5 years old. I don't have any plans to do "work" (Tracking, herding, Protection) with them, but I would like to do basic obedience with them, and create a happy, loyal and loved family member!
I currently have a vet picked out, and have been drooling over both breeds on petfinder!
Your input and advice is appreciated!
By browsing around on the forum you can learn what a GSD needs in terms of exercise and mental stimulation (don't underestimate the latter) and see if that fits your life style; rain, snow, wind or shine. Good luck on your search! Make sure your new dog doesn't suffer from separation anxiety as that is hard to fix with your schedule.
Have you thought about a retired breeding dog from a breeder?
Kudos on thinking things through!
My 2 cents... alot of GSDs don't do dog parks very well (not to mention alot of irresponsible idiots tend to hang out there with badly behaved dogs), so have a back up plan to cover dog park time. A long line leash and a good long walk is enjoyed just as much for mine.
I wouldn't worry about crating while at work, an older dog should be fine with that schedule. I always leave mine something to keep busy (knuckle bone, or other chew toy). Currently, mine are trustworthy loose when I'm gone. I have a security system with a camera that I can keep an eye on them when I'm gone too... it's funny sometimes when one is doing something crazy, and the other is just sitting there looking at them like "what are you thinking?!"
Anyway, good luck! Hope you find the perfect pal! And then you must post pictures... ;)
Both dogs are demanding physically, so you might want to find some areas that have LOTS AND LOTS of open space ... hiking / jogging / biking ... something like that to really tire the dog out!
The only other consideration I would think about is when you are doing 12 hour shifts ... would you be able to have someone come in and take the dog out? Once dogs are about 8-10 months (depending on the dog of course) they can hold their bladder for up to 8-9 hours ... after that ... I'm not sure. I don't know how many dogs can go 12 hours or more.
I'm lucky in that my dad lives upstairs / I'm downstairs and he comes home for lunch so Kyleigh's never really had more than 3-4 hours in her crate at a time (without a pee pee break). Now, she can hold it all night (which in my world is NOT long) ... from 11 pm to 5 am ...
Just something to consider given your shift work.
Good luck with your decision!!!!
Where are you located?
Wolfy, I had not considered a retired breeder, didnt know that was an option.
msvette, I'm in Madison WI.
Thank you very much for considering rescuing a GSD -- it means a life saved from a shelter, as even the ones who are safe in rescue were pulled from a shelter somewhere, freeing up a cage so that a dog wouldn't have to be put down when the next dog arrived at impound.
My recommendation would be to try to find one that's been fostered for at least 3 weeks. It takes at least 2 weeks for the "true" personality and energy level to become apparent in foster--before that, they are still working through the stress of the shelter. You'll know a lot more about a dog's personality that way.
You'll have plenty of options for great rescue gsds in Madison and getting an older dog seems like an excellent choice for your lifestyle.
You've also got Patricia McConnell's training school right there: Classes | Dog's Best Friend Training
And you've got lots of nice dog parks to choose from. I used to live over by Warner Park and volunteered with a (now defunct) gsd rescue. I took my dogs over to the Warner Park dog park pretty much every day and often to Verona, Token Creek and other parks as well. There are tons of nice places to walk and hike!
Some of my fosters could not handle the busy dog parks but others were fine, it just depends on the individual dog and the particular park as well.
12 hours is really too long to leave a dog so I would recommend finding a friend or neighbor who could let the dog out for you on those days.
If you want to get to know gsds and other breeds better you might consider volunteering with GSRAW or the humane society.
Dogs are different. Axel would not have a problem with 12 hours, although alot probably would need a break in there. I can swing by my house and let them out if I work more than a 6 hour shift now... but when Axel and I were in the semi, alot of times he would not even want to go in less than 8 hours... and we got "trapped" a few times at shippers/recievers that would not allow us to get out over 10 hours. (they did not provide HUMAN restrooms either). Trucking can be the pits... Axel has a huge steel bladder. He will however pee for a REALLY long time when he goes...over a minute at least solid peeing.
Bowwowmeow, The apt I hope to move to is about a 3 minute drive from the Sycamore Dog park!
Magwart, thanks! I am being honest in saying I don't have the time to invest in a pup right now!
I feel pretty confident if things line up correctly, I can do it! Just need to figure out, do I want a boy or girl? LOL!
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