This weekend I started filling out the GSD Rescue application, then deleted it. I'm not sure this is the right breed for us.
I'll introduce myself by saying that somehow I have had GSDs imprinted on my brain since I was a little girl. I had a large stuffed GSD that was my favorite stuffie, and my Barbie had a plastic GSD that I named "Duke". ( I played with Duke more than Barbie. ) My husband also admires them - they are his favorite breed. So we thought that "someday" we would get a GSD and as we are now middle-aged with children mostly raised, perhaps "someday" is now? But I am nervous about this "high-maintenance, high-energy breed best for experienced dog owners". (sigh, why couldn't I have fixated on toy poodles...?)
ROUGH RANDOM SNAPSHOT OF US:
- My eldest is now driving a car and getting ready to go off to college. Second child is in middle school. Now the house feels quiet & empty.
I work from home in my upstairs studio from 9-3.
- House in small college town with a soon-to-be-fenced yard. (6' wooden privacy fencing)
- First-time dog owners!!! Repeat, never had a dog before!! Have had fish, hamsters, cat, guinea pigs.
- I concentrate intensely while I work (I do design). Doggy disturbance NOT welcome. If I need to crate the dog or shut it out of the studio, I will. But I like to eat lunch on the deck and would be happy to toss ball a bit too, before going back to work.
- I can promise a 30min -1 hr walk every evening. I already go every day.
- I can promise a long hike on weekends unless weather is nasty - hiking is our favorite family activity.
- Very unlikely to get involved in any schutzhund, agility, and other event-based training. ( Daughter busy with soccer games/playdates/school projects on weekends and needs rides.)
- Houses in our neighborhood are close together. Quiet neighborhood with zero barking...
- Financially no worries. Our dog will never lack for vet care, quality food, etc.
- I think I have a small gift with animals? There were 3 of us sharing the cat/apartment & I became the official "cat-washer"...when he looked dirty/greyish, I just stuck him in the sink and washed him. I was mystified that everybody else would wind up with deep bleeding scratches. I tamed my uncle's guard-dog - no one else dared go near her because she was snarling viciously from the back of the cage, and by afternoon she followed me around and showed me that she knew "sit" and "come." I was the only one who could get the guinea pigs to hold still while I clipped their nails (I am quite good! Anyone need their piggy's nails clipped?)
I love animals...
- Training Philosophy: I believe in love/trust/empathy/bonding as the basis for discipline. It worked beautifully with my children. ( For example, some parents "sleep-train" their kids but we rocked ours to sleep and picked them up every time they cried. They were good sleepers. ) I am against "hard" or punishing training methods - if GSDs require this, I will be unable to train them.
So experienced GSDers, that's the good & the bad of it, we seek your honest opinion...
Best to get an "easier, more low-maintenance, starter" breed? Or stick to dream of pet GSD?
Thank you, if you've read all this!