German Shepherd Dog as First Dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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German Shepherd Dog as First Dog

Hello to all members

this is my first post and am quit excited to be part of a GSD forum.

10yrs ago I decided that I was ready to commit to the ownership of a dog and when I was deciding which breed would be right for me I choose the German Shepherd Dog as firstly I was brought up around them so feel settled with them, secondly I wanted a dog who I could have a very close bond with and a I know how close a GSD bond is. also I wanted a dog who is reserved with people as I also liked the Golden retriever but when I read they LOVE everyone I knew they were not for me. I also wanted an active dog who will enjoy long walks, agility, tracking, find the toy game and more. and I have read how German Shepherds love to work with there owners. so one I decided on the GSD in 2006 I then went to discover dogs here in the UK in 2007 to meet some in the flesh and was reading every book and every website I could find on the GSD which was quit a lot of books I think I have read around 20 or more books . after spending 3yrs reading and meeting Germans in the flesh and mainly doing my homework in 2010 until now I have been volunteering for my local GSD rescues so I can get to know the breed even more and to also learn of any downsides of the breed as well as all the good things about the breed.

with the knowledge I have learnt through reading up on the breed as well as my time at the rescue I feel like I am finally ready for my own GSD but I am now not sure as I was talking to a man yesterday who was walking tow GSD and I asked him about the breed and what it is like to raise a GSD and he told me that he was glad he had a Labrador first as he does not thing GSD are a first dog at all and that you would need to own a dog breed like a lab first so you know what to do when you get a GSD.

after this I started thinking and have even put the question in Google and have found many websites saying the same, so I wanted to ask you all if the German Can work for the first time owner or not?

if not why? why are Germans considered a bad choice for a Newbie as I have done my research and know what I am getting into and am going to be going to training class's, I know how important socialization is for this breed as well as physical and mental exercise. I am so dedicated to the breed and have spent 10yrs to really understand what I am getting into and to be sure that the GSD is for me.

what do you all think. I am at home all day, I live alone and I have no kids and don't plan on having any in the future.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 08:00 AM
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Go for it. That's what I say. You have done your research, you have volunteered and been around GSD so go for it. They can be tough puppies and need lots of training. But it's not brain surgery. It's raising a dog.

My first dog as an adult was a GSD.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 09:09 AM
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Absolutely Find the right match and have fun!


My Pack:

Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 7 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 09:33 AM
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Bear is my first GSD, and my first dog on my own as an adult.

He has been easier to train so far compared to the labs, rottis, beagles and mutts I've had.

Is he always easier? No. Is he a giant ball of energy, know matter how much I exercise and train? Yes.

If you have done your research and been working with a rescue I don't see any issue at all. They are incredibly smart dogs, I'm still amazed almost daily with Bear. Go for it and have fun!

Be the person your dog thinks you are

Bear - 02/26/15
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:19 AM
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My first dog as an adult is a GSD. I don't really have a basis for comparison because my childhood dog was a Lhasa and very difficult to train. It wasn't because she didn't want to please - she actually did - but things just didn't really sink in with that one. And I was ten.

I read and heard a lot about GSDs not being for first time owners. I chose not to take that at face value and tried to learn why, and took an honest look to see if those whys applied to me. I reached out to breeders and tried to get a feel for whether those knowledgeable in the breed agreed with my conclusion.

I think if you have done your research and taken a good hard look at your life and how it's set up, that's a great step. You've volunteered and spent time around the dogs, so you are starting out ahead. What was really key for me was an excellent breeder who wholeheartedly supports and welcomes new owners into the extended family, so to speak. I have been just so fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from all kinds of people with more experience. I can't say enough nice things about all of them.

I think the lab comment is really funny! I was just thinking that now I've managed to get a GSD puppy past one year of age, I could MAYBE handle a retriever!
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:26 AM
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Yeah, they aren't always the easiest dog in the world can set yourself up for success!

Next step is to research breeders. Go to shows and dog sport events and talk to breeders and owners there.

Make sure the breeder doesn't just slap any two dogs together, a good breeder will know his/her bloodlines, pedigrees and be competing with their dogs.

Be honest with the breeder about your history. A good breeder will be supportive, available and help you with your puppy and be able to give training advice.

Also work on finding a good trainer with experience with GSDs. You can get recommendations from your breeder on this as well.

Think about participating in dog sports, such as agility or tracking. Being part of a group training in such activities provides not only educational support but also camaraderie.

Good luck in your puppy search!
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:27 AM
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You have done plenty to know what you want. If you start with a GSD you can't compare so it will be your default dog . Nothing will ever come close after a GSD. (MHO). Makes sure you sign up for a good puppy class before he/she sets foot in your house and keep him/her in class at least throughout the first year. If you end up with a land shark, disguised as your cute bundle of fur, don't despair; many of us can help you through this stage. There is plenty of info on this subject here. Have fun with the prep.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:52 AM
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A working line GSD was my first dog. I've wanted a dog my whole life but we could not afford one when I was a kid, so I waited until I finished college and then we were able to rent a house with a yard. I applied through a GSD rescue and the person taking in the applications saw I might be a good match for an adult GSD that had been returned to a breeder she knew. I was given that dog, working line female, 3 years old. She was a very soft dog so I did not do Schutzhund, but we did lots of agility and rally obedience. I didn't have any trouble with her, but I got her as an adult so she was crate and house trained. Since then I've raised 3 male GSDs from puppyhood, raised another male and another female GSD for other people (so I only had them for a few weeks "board and train" type situation), own a large mutt and a small pit mix both adopted from rescues when they were about 1 year old, and have fostered young dogs/puppies for a rescue (all pit mixes).

If you are committed and have done your research, no reason a GSD cannot be your first dog.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 12:07 PM
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I am also a first time dog owner (been raised with dogs though, smaller breed), my gsd is my first own dog. I was like you, read lots of books and articles and stuff about german shepherds and dog training/sports many many years before I got my dog. When I felt I was ready I searched for different kinds of breeders and puppy plans and contacted many of them. Its been a tough time raising the pup (still only 11 mo) and I have put tons of time on training at home and in classes. I am stuck though, dog training and owning a gsd is so rewarding! Even though my pup can be a pain in the ass sometimes, I just love her to death and I dont regret getting her I also think that you are gonna get rewarded for all the training you put on your dog when its a puppy and young dog, then you have an awesome dog as an adult.

I think you should go for it, you seem ready! I think its important though that you take a pup from good genes and from a good breeder. Do research and contact breeders.

Last edited by Factor; 10-15-2015 at 12:10 PM.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 12:45 PM
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I think you'll be fine... my wife and I have a 4 month old GSD puppy (and we both work from home for the most part). We both had a dog growing up, but that doesn't really count IMO (especially since mine was a small dog who slept all the time). So he's our first dog.

Obviously they are a ton of work. You wont get much sleep for the first month or so. They can be really annoying and frustrating at times. I wouldn't recommend this breed to just anyone... but as long as you know what you're getting yourself into, you should be fine.

Do you have a back yard? As long as you have a back yard with grass where the dog can go to the bathroom, you should be alright.

I don't have any kids, but I would imagine that having a puppy is like having a baby. If you're working from home, you'll find it tough to get work done... but they do sleep quite a bit, so you will still get some time to yourself. But if you're trying to finish a report or whatever and your dog is bouncing off the walls and chewing stuff and being badly behaved, it's obviously frustrating. And I'm guessing things will get easier as the dog gets older too. Just be prepared to spend a good chunk of your time with your dog.

And obviously get the dog from a good breeder. I think rescues can be hit or miss.
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