Is This Breed Right For Me? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-29-2017, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Is This Breed Right For Me?

Hey guys, I've been researching for my future dog and was wondering if any experienced owners could give me some insight. It is a few years away still, but I am dedicated to making sure I do this right - I enjoy planning future things out carefully . I have done a TONNE of research on GSDs, but I'm sure that there are endless amounts I still don't know.

Things I'm after/love in a dog:

- I love a one-person dog. Loyalty is a highly valued trait for me, and a dog that reflects that would be really amazing. A dog that is dedicated to me, listens only to me, looks at me for direction. I'm the kind of person who isn't super extroverted, but extremely dedicated to those close to me. As a young woman I'm really after a dog who will be my best friend, companion, partner in crime.

- A dog who has a protective streak is valued, but not absolute. I love the idea of a dog who will stand by my side, watch me, always be close to me, not leave me when new people approach me etc. Again, as a young woman this would be a great factor, although this gets tricky as I do not want an aggressive dog (I know socialisation is the key). I'd prefer the intimidating kind of guardian almost, not an aggressive defender.

- Trainability and intelligence are an absolute must. A dog that has a strong desire to please, genuinely looks to me for guidance. I have an experience training a current dog, but never a GSD. I am aware GSDs require a lot more 'boundary' training, which I will need to learn more about, but as a person who isn't a complete softy I think I can definitely become an authority figure for a dog.

The main breeds I have looked into are GSDs and Golden Retrievers (and recently Swiss Shepherds, which I am still trying to research how they differ from regular GSDs). I love Goldens, but they obviously lack that protective streak I desire. However, I know that they are better for first timers and are a lot less 'risky' in a sense with aggression (It will be my first dog by myself, but I have had family dogs). They aren't really a one person dog, which always leaves me torn between the two breeds.

For a little info on me; I have experience training a dog, I plan to have no children (I do have a younger brother, but most likely will not be around all the time), I will most likely be in uni and working part time but I do intend to dedicate at least 1-2 hours per day for training / play / exercise etc. I live in an area where socialisation opportunities are pretty good.

So is this the right breed for me? Any owners that can give me some insight into what its really like, how much time (whether I can put in enough), what GSD personality is like at home??
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-30-2017, 09:43 AM
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Well I'm no expert, And my ruka is 4 months old now she is also my first dog on my own as well seeing as me and my wife are both still young. The only things I can really say from my 4 months is I thought I wouldn't need a trainer seeing as my wife's previous rescue dog was the most trained I have seen them. She is 4 months now and while the breed is smart in a general sense it is taking a whole lot out of me to keep the training constant. I still only work on basic sit stay down and up command and she will do them with a treat present. Distracted or with out a treat is a Little rough. So I'm planning on taking her to classes for obedience. She has the biggest heart and from the post I have made a lot of people recommend letting them be puppies and as they get older the protective instincts come natural with a bit of nurturing. She can be a bit destructive in the sense that she is still young and teething. From what I gather the breed hates being alone. So crates and constant potty breaks are a must at least in a puppy sense. I asked around if it's wise to let her sleep in an extra room I have and some people say it's a little young to give her that freedom. So as a student it might be a little of a challenge. When me and my wife work in the day I have family come over take her out and keep her food schedule. They swear she is the best. So I keep her in her crate between potty breaks every 2 hours and at night for 6 hours. She doesn't have accidents in her crate. She does however have accidents when roaming the house freely even 5 mins after being outside. Right now I don't give her a full your exercise a day it's more potty for 10 mins fetch and training for about 10 minutes every 2 hours. They get big fast i could swear everyday she looks bigger than the day before. Health concerns as of long term I'm still doing my fair share of research as of what to watch for and feeding and all that food stuff. So far the only negative feed back from my vet was to feed her a bit less nutritious food so she doesn't grow the fast cause they are susceptible to hop problems. They melt your heart every day as a pup and from what I gather as they mature they will be very protective. As a kid our family had a gsd and let me tell you she scared the life out of me. Because I was running with a stick bent like a gun and she jumped up and swatted it right out of my hand. So I would love to hear other people's insights and stories as well.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-30-2017, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HERNAMEISRUKA View Post
Well I'm no expert, And my ruka is 4 months old now she is also my first dog on my own as well seeing as me and my wife are both still young. The only things I can really say from my 4 months is I thought I wouldn't need a trainer seeing as my wife's previous rescue dog was the most trained I have seen them. She is 4 months now and while the breed is smart in a general sense it is taking a whole lot out of me to keep the training constant. I still only work on basic sit stay down and up command and she will do them with a treat present. Distracted or with out a treat is a Little rough. So I'm planning on taking her to classes for obedience. She has the biggest heart and from the post I have made a lot of people recommend letting them be puppies and as they get older the protective instincts come natural with a bit of nurturing. She can be a bit destructive in the sense that she is still young and teething. From what I gather the breed hates being alone. So crates and constant potty breaks are a must at least in a puppy sense. I asked around if it's wise to let her sleep in an extra room I have and some people say it's a little young to give her that freedom. So as a student it might be a little of a challenge. When me and my wife work in the day I have family come over take her out and keep her food schedule. They swear she is the best. So I keep her in her crate between potty breaks every 2 hours and at night for 6 hours. She doesn't have accidents in her crate. She does however have accidents when roaming the house freely even 5 mins after being outside. Right now I don't give her a full your exercise a day it's more potty for 10 mins fetch and training for about 10 minutes every 2 hours. They get big fast i could swear everyday she looks bigger than the day before. Health concerns as of long term I'm still doing my fair share of research as of what to watch for and feeding and all that food stuff. So far the only negative feed back from my vet was to feed her a bit less nutritious food so she doesn't grow the fast cause they are susceptible to hop problems. They melt your heart every day as a pup and from what I gather as they mature they will be very protective. As a kid our family had a gsd and let me tell you she scared the life out of me. Because I was running with a stick bent like a gun and she jumped up and swatted it right out of my hand. So I would love to hear other people's insights and stories as well.
Ah yes, the puppy stage. It tests you, but gotta love it. Thanks for all the insight, I remember when my current dog was a pup but she's a spaniel so slightlyyyy different ay

Good to know that I'm not the only one on here who is still learning, knowing everything still wouldn't be enough with this breed. Your pup sounds like she's in good hands though, all the best!
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-30-2017, 07:36 PM
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I think personality wise, you would be a good fit for a GSD!

However... Working part time, Uni... That's not the best lifestyle fit for a GSD pup. TBH 1 - 2 hours wouldn't be enough for my dog. At two years old he needs that in exercise alone. Add in feeding, training, grooming, etc... and it's going to be tough.

I saw in another thread you were looking at puppies... would you consider an older adult dog? A middle aged dog with basic training under his or her collar will fit into your life style of working through school MUCH better than a puppy. It sucks to think about, but by the time your adopted older dog was ready to cross the bridge you will be out of school and have had a little time to settle into a career... Much better for successful puppy rearing.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by voodoolamb View Post
I think personality wise, you would be a good fit for a GSD!

However... Working part time, Uni... That's not the best lifestyle fit for a GSD pup. TBH 1 - 2 hours wouldn't be enough for my dog. At two years old he needs that in exercise alone. Add in feeding, training, grooming, etc... and it's going to be tough.

I saw in another thread you were looking at puppies... would you consider an older adult dog? A middle aged dog with basic training under his or her collar will fit into your life style of working through school MUCH better than a puppy. It sucks to think about, but by the time your adopted older dog was ready to cross the bridge you will be out of school and have had a little time to settle into a career... Much better for successful puppy rearing.
Ah yes, I understand. But that 1-2 hours I refer to I mean that would be dedicated exercise and training. I would most definitely NOT only be spending two hours a day with them, especially during puppy years! I'm keen to spend many weekends, days off etc + any time I have around my schedule with the pup somehow. I plan to get the pup on a uni break or gap (3-6 months at least hopefully) to ensure it has the best possible foundation. I'm also looking into a White Swiss Shepherd opposed to a regular GSD, which are known to be calmer.

I do know an adult is a better fit (as it usually seems to be for most questioning getting a puppy), however I am quite set on a pup - and please don't misunderstand, it is definitely not just for the cuteness attached. I just wish to raise it, connect with it, train it and while I know that is possible with an adult I'm sure it is just different raising a dog from a baby.

Thanks for the insight, do you still think it is a bad idea?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 12:52 PM
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Thanks for the insight, do you still think it is a bad idea?
Yes. I do still think it is a bad idea.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 03:36 PM
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Honestly, it isn't just thinking you will spend spare weekends. If you want to raise a puppy right it is being willing to put your schedule around the pup. Including your social life.

At least that's how I feel about it.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 05:44 PM
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My SIL is a perfect example of how difficult it is to raise a puppy while in university. She got her Golden last year, and the pup came home in August the week before school started up again. Needless to say, she cried every other day from stress for the first semester. This while working part-time, maintaining a high average, 5 class course load, and volunteering/participating on boards for the university. And playing soccer. If it weren't for her parents, chances are she would only have time for school and for her dog. She 100% needed her family because she couldn't be home in time to let her pup out to potty, to play, to eat, etc. on certain days. Plus she had to worry about trying to study while keeping her puppy entertained. And this is a Golden, while from excellent show lines (sire is the first triple titled Golden in Canada), still had crazy amounts of energy because it was a puppy.

Now that she's a year old, she's awesome and calm in the house. But I don't know how many times I had to calm her down and how many times we talked about how tough and hard raising puppies is. If she lived on her own, I don't think she could've done it. And if her parents weren't willing to help, I think both her and the dog would've been miserable. I don't know if there's ever a perfect time to get a dog, but you have to have backup if you're not in an ideal situation from friends or family. Otherwise it's just unfair for both of you.

So IMHO, if your family is on board and is as willing to raise the dog as you are (because trust me, as a puppy it will end up being as much theirs as yours while you're in school), and if you trust them to train the dog the way you want it to be, then you could definitely think about it. But it will be exceptionally stressful for the first year.

The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 06:20 PM
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I think a GSD sounds like a good match for you. Having a p/t work/school schedule like you described, your personality preferences, and your willingness to educate yourself about all the necessities that the breed demands is evident of your readiness. Based on the companionship and bond you are striving for, I would recommend you getting a puppy and not an adult. With my experience with any of the dogs I have owned the deepest bonds were formed with those I owned from puppyhood.

I myself am a GSD newbie owner. My puppy is only 7 months old, but the intelligence and trainability is far surpassed any other dog I have ever owned. I am completely in love with my pup and the breed, and I hope you find the same joy my puppy has brought me
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 08:13 PM
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I never wanted a Shepherd but this breed just gets to you so I am now the owner of a third Shepherd. so here are my views as just an owner.

Regarding trainabilty, you will ace puppy class but these guys need to be 'trained' throughout their lives. They can quickly untrain themselves and are masters at reading body language and finding short cuts. Which means a quick walk around the block does not work for them.

Loyalty, my girls have always had enough love to share around my family but at the end of the day, they look to me to make the final call.

Protection, I think that is up to the breeding of the dog. Still not convinced that my current girl couldn't be bribed with some food. However having a Shepherd by your side does make people think twice.
Shepherds are still viewed with mistrust by a large proportion of the public. Which means they need to be the most well mannered, best trained dog. They just can't get away with what other breeds can.

Regarding your proposed situation with Uni, part time job, that could work. My girls were brought up around babies, then children, constant moves and an OH being deployed. It was **** hard work but if you are willing to put the time in.... and if you can't they will find some other way to entertain themselves and you won't like it.
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