Kaiser's personality is very laid back and the key word for him is MELLOW. When I first got him, he was needy of my attention all the time, but now he's truly adapted to the ranch I'm on, and is content to sit on the couch (monitor the outdoors by looking through the window), and is an excellent guard.
Here's something of note: when I first got him, he used to sleep on my bed or in my room the whole night. Now, he stays with me for about 1 hour (usually snout buried in my chest), then retreats to his couch and spends the night there. Whether I get up at 7am or 10am on a Saturday, he stays on the couch until I'm up. When I get up and go to the living room, there he is, content and resting. It's only after I give him his morning hug is he ready to go outside. This tells me that even when I'm home, he likes his couch and doesn't need to be next to me all the time. So, when I'm away from home, it's probably not THAT big of a deal to him anyway. And if I were home, he'd be doing the same thing anyhow.
When I'm home, he does get to roam the ranch, all 5 acres completely fenced. He's quite independent, and sometimes when I look out the window he's usually sniffing here and there, roaming through the grass or snow, etc., this tells me too that he's more or less happy and content, and doesn't need more stimulation. Sometimes I'm concerned that he'd go better with a family around him, but from what most of you have responded so far, that's not necessarily true.
I guess my concern is that I'm keeping a such a magnificent dog without allowing him to fulfill his complete potential. But that concern may be unfounded. What that potential is, I don't know, which is why I'm seeking advice on what the "typical" GSD life is all about. When I first met Kaiser, he came to me immediately, lied on his back at my feet, and we've been two of a kind ever since. This is why I say he's "into me," because he has a keen sense of my energy, and how to respond to it. In the evening, while he's on the couch, I'll stand and look at him, and he'll know it's "bedtime" and retreat to the bedroom. I don't even have to say a word. Or, I can tell him to march 30 feet to the "pen" in the yard, and he goes. That's why I believe we're good together, and if I did give him up, it would break my heart if he ended up with a human he didn't "click" with or someone who didn't understand him. At the same time though, I want to make sure I'm not just being self-absorbed about it, and feeling like I have a "dog quality" he detects. I want to be realistic about it. He's also the most forgiving being I could ever even dream of, and he's super-protective of me.
I appreciate all the comments, and truly value all of your inputs on this. It really means a lot to get the opinions of GSD owners who love their dogs just as much. I can't put the issue to bed until I make peace with it, but your feedback and thoughts have been very helpful.
By the way, there have been no signs of separation anxiety when I'm gone, other than the other day he took something from out of the trash (but I think he was just being a bit snoopy, I don't think it was a "complaint.") Even when I left this morning to come to work, he had his head on the edge of the couch, almost "enjoying" the routine of seeing me go (kind of like, "It's that time of day, I get it, this is where you go, see you later friend."). And when I say "stay home," he shuts off all other mental considerations (even as I'm putting on my jacket, getting the keys, etc.), and doesn't get up to watch me go. So, I have no indications of overt behavior that he's lonely, or doesn't like his life. I guess I just want to make sure in his mind he's happy and content. And if I'm at work wondering if he's content, it makes me miserable, so it may just be something I need to get over.
Last edited by kaiserdog; 02-08-2011 at 07:39 PM.