What to know before buying a shepherd - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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What to know before buying a shepherd

Hello all, my last thread was about shepherds and cats. I think i got enough info from that thread to be comfortable having one around my cats.

This thread is basically where i get alot of general info and what you guys think i should know before making my finale decision on buy a shepherd.

To start my questions, what type of exercise requiem should i provide for a GSD? Hoe much, how long, etc.

And also any info you think i should know up front would be great to. Thanks
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 10:54 AM
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I have a thought on this... not sure how to word it. GSD's are very intelligent and very intense at times. The best food, health care and exercise are all needed, but there's something more they need.

They bond to their owner like crazy glue. They need a lot of activity and things that occupy their time and intellect or they can get frustrated and destructive. There are hours in the day that aren't play or exercise time that they will just come to you and sit and stare. They want/need something to do and they make it as obvious as can be that you need to do something. Practically anything will do, they just want to be with you while you're doing it!

Of course, you have things to do and can't cater to them at all times - just beware - there is an insistent focus on you by your young dog and it can get to you sometimes. There is no backsliding allowed with the GSD. If you get lazy, all your training can go out the window in a week or two when they are young. It takes work and patience but when they are adults things really smooth out and then you can give yourself a pat on the back for facing the challenge and realizing a great outcome. It's worth it!
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 12:01 PM
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For exercise i would recommend taking the dog out for as long as the dog wants to be out. You'll need to learn to read its movements and body language.

Some people set artificial time limits but these are unnecessary. As long as the dog is walking or off lead at its own pace and isn't being driven by you, you can walk it as long as you see fit as long as its not showing signs of fatigue.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 12:59 PM
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Exercise needs can vary widely with different lines and different individuals. Not really possible to answer that. Best to talk to a good breeder about what you are looking for. Regarding tips... read the puppy section of this forum... all of it. ;-)

Best.

Karin
Dutch Shepherd - Ptygo (Tee-Go) de las Flores
Rescue GSD - Freyja (Husband's Dog)
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 01:54 PM
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While my dogs like their 6 acre yard, they really thrive with training. If they don't get a short session in once a day, things aren't right. (Maybe 20 minutes a dog, usually more like 10).

I think my past dogs would have liked this level of attention, too.

My two also like being groomed. They vie for the honor of being brushed.

As far as letting the dog determine the amount of excercise - if I did that, I would not have stopped hiking for hours if not days...
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 02:24 PM
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Hmm.. a few random tidbits off the top of my head:

- Basic obedience classes are mandatory IMO. Even if you have experience with other dogs, GSDs really benefit from having an owner who knows exactly what they're doing. Learning to train them on your own is super important too, of course. But classes will help get you on the right track and offer a great opportunity to help socialize your dog.

- On the topic of socialization: it is VERY important for puppies to be properly socialized from the get-go.

- Read up on common issues, like food sensitives, HD, possible aggression issues, and so on. If you're looking to get a puppy, then buying from a reputable breeder should help you avoid most (if not all) of these issues, but you can never be too careful. Better to be well-prepared.

- Exact energy levels and drives vary quite a bit between dogs, but you should expect to spend a BARE MINIMUM of 1 hour a day doing exercise for LOW energy shepherds. And by exercise, I don't just mean a walk; I mean stuff that leaves them all tuckered out. A well-exercised dog should be able to retire in the evening without complaint, and shouldn't act out due to having pent-up energy.

To give you an example: I have a low-energy shepherd. (low as in low for a GSD, not low in general) She gets a minimum of 40 minutes of fetch (split into 2 sessions) and a long, 35-40 minute walk per day. I also do things like scent/nosework to help tire her brain out. Lastly, I try to train at least 10 minutes a day. (not including recall, which I work on during fetch using the two-ball technique)

This works well for my dog, but I imagine that most shepherds would require a bit more than that to tucker them out.

- As others have mentioned, GSDs are velcro dogs. They follow you EVERYWHERE. If you don't like clingy dogs, then GSDs probably aren't for you.

- They are smart cookies. Which is great... but can also be a bad thing if you don't provide enough physical and mental stimulation. These are not dogs that like to just sit around and look pretty. Most like having jobs to do; a purpose. They are eager to learn and to please, so make sure you have plenty of time to dedicate to training, raising, and caring for them.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 10:49 AM
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GSDs are very smart dogs. My dog really likes to make me happy while working his noggin'. Scent training is pretty easy with this breed. I have a few ways of playing this game - least amount of effort for me is to toss his toy, let him see it, and then i start walking away and make him heel. He'll do this until I give him an ok command. We do games like these in all environments.. across a pond has proven to be hit or miss.. lost a couple balls this way.

My dog doesn't quit, I'm usually the one fed up with playing. He's extremely loyal and protective. Quick learner too. I'm adventurous so my next dog might be a malamute or something gigantic (big and slow, physically+mentally).

Enjoy your dog and don't be afraid to give him a hard stern lesson on what you deem acceptable. Whatever your method might be. Dogs will adapt to a strong leader and your emotions. My dog has ADD, figures... cause' i have it too.

Forgot to add: Ferocious and very brave. My boy has chased after wild game and farm animals. Doesn't care much for small mammals though.

Last edited by Gordo Ramsay; 11-25-2015 at 10:56 AM.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by middleofnowhere View Post
While my dogs like their 6 acre yard, they really thrive with training. If they don't get a short session in once a day, things aren't right. (Maybe 20 minutes a dog, usually more like 10).

I think my past dogs would have liked this level of attention, too.

My two also like being groomed. They vie for the honor of being brushed.

As far as letting the dog determine the amount of excercise - if I did that, I would not have stopped hiking for hours if not days...
What type of training do you do for these 10-20mins? With my current dog i take her out and play fetch, then go back over sit, stay, lay down, leave it, come. Is that what you mean?
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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In general how does thier exercuse levels compare to labradors?

How do you discipline your GSD?
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexp08 View Post
In general how does thier exercuse levels compare to labradors?

How do you discipline your GSD?
No clue on the labs, but honestly I'm scared to have a lab puppy. My perception might be off but I just have this picture of a lab pup being so much more of a handful than a GSD.

Discipline? If she does something that she knows she's not supposed to do (like stick her nose in the garbage can), she hears, "No ____!" That's usually enough to remind her, Oh right I'm not supposed to do that and they're on to me. It might take a couple of reminders depending on how hard it is for impulse control to kick in (e.g., continuing to bark at something that went bump in the night after I've checked it out and issued a, "No bark").

If it's something new, I'll say, "Uh-uh - no ____" and may issue a mild correction. Then I put the behavior on the list for the "dictionary." I label lots of behaviors and even praise her for doing whatever that thing is if the time and place is appropriate. For example, she gets a, "No sniff!" and collar pop if she tries to sniff the ring floor during class. (Then she is praised for a "good no sniff" if she desists.) I'm not cool with that during work time. But if we're out on a walk, she's released to sniff for some of it and is told, "good sniff!" if she's doing it at an appropriate time and place (aka, we're on a walk and I've given her the okay). She has learned what "sniff" is and understands that "no sniff" means not to do it.

Last edited by WateryTart; 11-25-2015 at 01:13 PM.
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