GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

Ever since I was a kid, I was mesmerized at GSDs. I think they are cool looking dogs. I've always want to own one.

Now, I have my own house with a medium size backyard with a significant amount of shade (3 tall trees). I'm close to getting my own dog!

Anyway, I have only a little bit of experienced in taking care of a dog. My sister has two Pomeranians; yes they are a handful but are behaved dogs. I lived with my sister and her husband for about a year and I kinda know what to expect as to how to take care of a dog. Also, I've been reading this forum, checking out Leerburg and other dog training videos. I'm a little bit more confident in taking care of a dog.

I like those Poms but I want a dog that I can jog with, go to the beach with, hike with, and look cool while walkin' down my neighborhood

Here's my situation.

Job:
Stable, might be a little tight on money (recovering from buying the house) but should be ok

Schedule:
Weekends = Available
Weekdays = M-F 8hr work days (but can stop by the house during lunch break if needed)
Business Travel = sometimes (not lately but might go once/twice a year for about a couple weeks at a time)

Family:
Currently live by myself, will get married Jan., plan to have kids in 3years
Family and friends might visit the house (young and old), some have toddlers, my sister have 2 Pomeranians
- I just talked to my parents and are a little freaked out that I'm want a GSD. My mom says she would NOT visit the house (that would be nice if I didn't like my mom to visit but I do ) They said they are scared of big dogs Well, I'll have to convince them otherwise (probably take them to a GSD Rescue Center so they can see more GSDs)

So....based on the info :

1. Is a GSD right for me?
2. I'm opting for a post-teen - pre-adult GSD to avoid the difficulties of raising a puppy (although I want to take care of a puppy). Is a 1.5-2.5 yr age range a good choice?
3. The dog will be primarily be an indoor dog (except hiking, jogging, etc). Is this ok?
4. Should I obtain my dog through GSD rescue or a respectable breeder?

I apologize for the long post but I don't want to get a GSD and end up returning it... Anyway, thanks for all the info.

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 04:22 AM
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Re: GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

It sounds like your mother is primarily the person who is afraid of large dogs, not so much your dad. I don't personally see this as a very big deal. When you have a large dog, especially a German Shepherd, you will find very quickly that there are a lot of people who are scared of big dogs in general and German Shepherds in particular.

This is something you need to be prepared for, because you will get all sorts of stupid reactions when you are out in public with your dog. You may get anything from little kids literally dissolving into tears and wailing upon seeing your dog (even if you're across the street or passing them in the opposite direction), to folks crossing the street, to people telling you your dog shouldn't be out and about and should be locked in a kennel instead because "they are vicious police dogs."

You know what the absolutely best way of dealing with people who are scared of your dog is? Making sure that your dog is calm, well-trained, and well-behaved around them. When people see that your dog will drop into a down on command and just lay patiently at your feet, they quickly learn they don't have to be scared and will warm up eventually. If you can teach your dog any tricks - especially cute stuff like playing dead on command - that really helps break the ice, too. I have had a number of people tell me that they are "actually scared of big dogs" while rubbing my Abby's tummy ... so that approach seems to be working.

One thing I would definitely consider are your plants to get married. If you get a dog now, it'll be your dog. Once you bring a spouse into the picture, the dog will belong to both of you and you'll very likely be sharing responsibilities. How does your future spouse feel about having a German Shepherd in the house, and, particularly, having to vacuum up that dog hair on an ongoing basis?

I think a GSD could be a good choice for you if you are really dedicated to making sure that the dog gets a proper amount of exercise, especially if you're gone for 8 hour work days during which the dog would be home alone. You'd have to get up early to go for a walk or run, and when you get home from work and are tired, you need to go for a walk or run again.

If you're dedicated, this can be done, and your dog would likely just hang out at home and relax or sleep while you're gone. If you're not dedicated and your dog doesn't get enough exercise, then you may be seeing issues such as ... oh ... trying to dig through the side of the house to get outside, or eating the couch out of boredom.

You may want to consider your options for additional exercise, too. Are there any dog walkers in your area? How about doggy daycare where your dog might spend the day every so often while you are at work?

I think considering in adult dog is a great idea and I would definitely keep your options open regarding the age. A reputable rescue can match you with a dog that would be best suited for your lifestyle, but that dog may be older than what you're looking for. Would you be willing to give that a try to find the "right" dog, or are you set on the age?

Being an indoor dog is DEFINITELY okay. German Shepherds are very focused on their people and like to be with them. They don't usually do very well being outside dogs, anyway. They should be inside dogs as long as they get enough exercise each day.

A reputable breeder and a rescue are both good choices. Breeders sometimes have older dogs that they are finding homes for, so that would be an option if you don't want a puppy. A reputable rescue is an equally good option.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 11:32 AM
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Re: GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Historian
I think a GSD could be a good choice for you if you are really dedicated to making sure that the dog gets a proper amount of exercise, especially if you're gone for 8 hour work days during which the dog would be home alone. You'd have to get up early to go for a walk or run, and when you get home from work and are tired, you need to go for a walk or run again.

If you're dedicated, this can be done, and your dog would likely just hang out at home and relax or sleep while you're gone. If you're not dedicated and your dog doesn't get enough exercise, then you may be seeing issues such as ... oh ... trying to dig through the side of the house to get outside, or eating the couch out of boredom.

You may want to consider your options for additional exercise, too. Are there any dog walkers in your area? How about doggy daycare where your dog might spend the day every so often while you are at work?

I think considering in adult dog is a great idea and I would definitely keep your options open regarding the age. A reputable rescue can match you with a dog that would be best suited for your lifestyle, but that dog may be older than what you're looking for. Would you be willing to give that a try to find the "right" dog, or are you set on the age?
I agree, you have to have the time and dedication for a GS. Especially when it comes to training. You will end up with a lot of aggression issues and destroyed furniture if you don't have a well behave dog. You have to be willing to find a trainer, dedicate yourself to going once or twice a week, and also doing the exercises at home on a daily basis. Also, people who do visit you, have to know how to abide by your rules when playing with him. For example, when Shane was being taught not to bite my hand, I would use the redirect method. I give him a toy or something else in replace of my hand. However, when others would play with him, they would grab his mouth and tell him no. That is not what I wanted. I had to let them know...my dog, my rules.

That is if you get a puppy. GS puppies are the cutest little fluffy balls, (I'm sure you seen in the picture section), however, they are also a lot to handle. You will be dealing with potty training, biting, chewing on your favorite pairs of shoes, leash training, teething, etc. It is rewarding but at the same time...exhausting. I remember having to wake up 3-4 in the morning so Shane could go out an pee. And you have to give them LOTS Of exercise otherwise, they get bored and find interesting ways to entertain themselves.

GS are wonderful, loyal companions, but to make sure you have a well rounded GS, you have put the time in it. Also, a well behaved GS may help ease your mom's anxiety.

We are loved beyond our capacity to comprehend ~Jewel

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 11:39 AM
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Re: GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

She did say 1.5-2.5 year old dog, I believe.

Depending on where they come from and how much someone has worked with them (be it breeder or rescue) they can be like a very large puppy though!

Because if they miss out on that puppy attention/training/care, they have to get it sometime. Most are able to do that quickly and well if they have a good temperament. There are a lot of rescues in your area. GSMom might be someone to contact as she is a breeder who works with rescue too.

Start setting aside a little for a vetting fund. Always good to have!

Since you are planning on children in the future no matter what you are looking for rock solid temperament, good bite inhibition, touch sensitivity, sound/action tolerant, etc. I would look for a dog that was raised with children, or fostered with children and a dog that actively seeks kids out. In a good way! Because I have dogs that see kids and are ready to turn the other way, but have seen dogs who seem to enjoy that interaction.

I think GSDs are easier than Poms-if a Pom were the same size as a GSD your mom would likely be terrified of them! I was afraid of the tiny one who tried to bite my GSD on a home check for sitting on "her" couch (Bella was trying to hide behind me to get away from the Pomfromhell)! Of course, people might train them better if they were bigger. But in general, Poms are less biddable/eager to please than a GSD. They are a tiny Northern breed and have those attributes.

Good research! You get a gold star!





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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 11:43 AM
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Re: GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

Sounds like you are a good fit to me. I adopted an adult GSD from a breeder, she was my first dog ever. My mother in law said she didn't like GSDs and was scared of them. Oh well...I don't really like HER dog either.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 12:33 PM
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Re: GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

I recently got my GSD (in January) and he is my first dog ever.

I got Jasper from a rescue and they worked with me and asked me lots of questions about my life and background so that I got a dog that fit in with me (and he has!). I would definitely recommend a rescue dog- my boy is wonderful and the rescue is still there to answer my questions and wants to know updates on him!

I don't have much advice to offer, as other members do, but I did want to say that I think part of the key to managing a dog when you work (in my limited experience) is to also establish a routine that both you and the dog can get comfortable with.

You seem to have done a lot of research and are committed and prepared to handle a dog- I'd say you just have to wait to find "your dog". Good Luck!!

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 01:20 PM
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Re: GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: HistorianI think considering in adult dog is a great idea and I would definitely keep your options open regarding the age. A reputable rescue can match you with a dog that would be best suited for your lifestyle, but that dog may be older than what you're looking for.
I definitely agree with Chris. We were first time dog owners when we adopted Sean and he was between 1 - 1 1/2 yrs. old. We had two children at the time but they were not toddlers. We took Sean to obedience classes but his temperament was ideal for a family. Looking back getting a young adult dog was the best choice for us. You know your situation best and perhaps visiting different shelters, talking with a rescue group could prove beneficial. Best of luck, please keep us posted about your plans.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: HistorianIt sounds like your mother is primarily the person who is afraid of large dogs, not so much your dad. I don't personally see this as a very big deal. When you have a large dog, especially a German Shepherd, you will find very quickly that there are a lot of people who are scared of big dogs in general and German Shepherds in particular.
A few years ago when my dad was coming home to work, my neighbor's two big dogs approached him. Luckily he had an umbrella to kinda scare them off (the umbrella was damaged) and my sister was making loud noises by banging on our security door to get the dogs' attention. Anyway, that's why they are traumatized. I was at work at that time so I don't know what kind of dog it was. I'm gonna reinvestigate tonight (show them some pictures/videos).

Quote:
Originally Posted By: HistorianThis is something you need to be prepared for, because you will get all sorts of stupid reactions when you are out in public with your dog. You may get anything from little kids literally dissolving into tears and wailing upon seeing your dog (even if you're across the street or passing them in the opposite direction), to folks crossing the street, to people telling you your dog shouldn't be out and about and should be locked in a kennel instead because "they are vicious police dogs."
I didn't think about this that much but I will definitely need to train the dog properly.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: HistorianHow does your future spouse feel about having a German Shepherd in the house, and, particularly, having to vacuum up that dog hair on an ongoing basis?
She said whatever I pick is a good choice. But she does like GSDs. A few years back, my fiancee's cousin cousin was baby sitting two large GSDs. I didn't know they could grow that big. They looked like small ponies! Anyway, I was a little freaked out but my fiancee and her cousin was all relaxed and the GSDs were very friendly and obedient. With that said, I'll opt for a smaller versions of the ones I saw.

I don't think she mind using the lint tape but as for vacuuming, I'll probably end up doing all that; I was the designated vacuumer at my parents house. I hated it (until they got tile floors) but for some reason, I don't mind doing house chores in my house.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: HistorianI think a GSD could be a good choice for you if you are really dedicated to making sure that the dog gets a proper amount of exercise, especially if you're gone for 8 hour work days during which the dog would be home alone. You'd have to get up early to go for a walk or run, and when you get home from work and are tired, you need to go for a walk or run again.
I'm thinking that owning a dog is also somewhat of a good practice prior to having a baby. With all the responsibilities of taking care of a dog, I hope I'll be somewhat ready.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: HistorianYou may want to consider your options for additional exercise, too. Are there any dog walkers in your area? How about doggy daycare where your dog might spend the day every so often while you are at work?
There are somewhat close dog walkers/doggy daycare here in Corona, CA according to google.

[quote=Historian] Would you be willing to give that a try to find the "right" dog, or are you set on the age? [/qoute]

My primary objective is to find the "right" dog. The age is a very close primary. I'd like a dog to have somewhat of the puppy crazyness (in a fun way).

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: LiljahI had to let them know...my dog, my rules.
Will do!

Quote:
Originally Posted By: LiljahYou will be dealing with potty training, biting, chewing on your favorite pairs of shoes, leash training, teething, etc. It is rewarding but at the same time...exhausting. I remember having to wake up 3-4 in the morning so Shane could go out an pee. And you have to give them LOTS Of exercise otherwise, they get bored and find interesting ways to entertain themselves.
This is what I want to avoid (if I can).

Quote:
Originally Posted By: LiljahGS are wonderful, loyal companions, but to make sure you have a well rounded GS, you have put the time in it. Also, a well behaved GS may help ease your mom's anxiety.
I will ingrain that in my head!

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2008, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: GSD for a first time dog owner? A puppy?

I'm glad I found this forum. Thanks for all the encouragement folks!

I sounds like I'm heading the correct direction.

If you have anymore thoughts, keep 'em coming.

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown
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