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Hello everyone! I'm looking at different breeds and am considering the GSD. I baby sit for a family that just recently put down their 13 year old girl Miza who acted like a pup right up until about 2 months before they put her down from non-stop seizures. Miza was an awesome dog, I loved her to bits.
I have heard that if GSDs are not properly trained they can be aggressive. My question is, is it possible to get a properly trained GSD from a rescue group? I plan on adopting but I have an almost 3 year old niece I need to think of. I'll be moving into my first apartment in the next couple years and 2 of my requirements for a dog would be to be great with my niece and if need be protect me when I'm home alone at night. I know GSD are known for their guarding capabilities but I can't have a dog that I can't trust my niece to be around.
 

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It's absolutely possible to get a well socialized GSD from the shelter. I think you're more likely to get a shy GSD from the shelter than an aggressive one, but the shelter would most likely not even adopt out an aggressive dog. And it's never too late to socialize! :) Take your niece to the shelter with you and see how the dog does with her. There are a lot of great GSDs waiting for homes right now.

The look of a GSD is enough of a deterrent for most people, but don't get one simply for the fact that they're known to protect. There are still plenty that would rather lick an intruder to death. (Though it's less common).
 

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Thinking ahead is very smart of you.
Having a large bread dog and finding a place that will let you keep it can be tough.
A non trained GSD may not be aggressive but will be a very large animal doing what it wants inside your home.
Finding an animal who will be fine with your niece I feel is doable but you may have other issues it all depends how lucky you are.
 

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I'm not only looking for a protector, I want a companion, but because this will be my very first apartment on my own, I want the peace of mind that if god forbid someone breaks in and I can't fight said person off, my dog might give me a.. paw! lol The dog will be a companion first and foremost, Protector second. Not looking for an attack dog. Just something that will deter someone stupid enough to break in :)~
 

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A german shepherd may easily fit your requirements, its all about choosing the right dog. Adopting an adult is an EXCELLENT idea! A good adoption/rescue group will often temperament test the dog, and be able to tell you if it's good with children, cats, other dogs, etc. And as they are not breeders trying to make money, they will be very honest with you about the dogs behavior.

Getting an adult has many advantages because the training and socialization are already done (usually) and they've been rehabilitated if needed. Most importantly the dog has already grown into it's personality and you know exactly what you're getting.

Just remember, adult or not, a gsd is still a gsd...it needs exercise, mental stimulation, etc. Make sure you have the time to put into it, and adequate space to play with and exercise it.

Main point though--the right german shepherd can just about fit into anyone's life, and anyone's situation...they're one of the most adaptable breeds there is.
 

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Keep in mind GSDs are a harder breed to find NOT on the restricted lists for MANY apartments and rentals in general. They're great dogs. A GOOD rescue wont place a dog with you that doesnt necessarily fit your lifestyle. There are tons of GSDs in rescues that are fabulous dogs. The good thing about rescues is they are foster run so many of the dogs get training and their personalities are known. If you contact a rescue and give details as to your life they can generally match you with a dog that will fit your needs. They're a great breed... for the right people. They definitely have personality and because of that personality, they can be a big challenge. They're sooooo much fun and worth every bit of effort you have to put into them. You've done a great thing in coming here and asking first about the breed instead of diving right in.

edit: also bear in mind that some GSDs may not step up to the plate if necessary to protect. Their size and breed alone are a pretty decent deterant but in the rare cases you do need that extra help, they may not have it in them. You wont really know unless a situation comes up.

What i love most about GSDs is their great family dogs when handled right. My kids adore ours. The bond the form with their pack is wonderful.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thinking ahead is very smart of you.
Having a large bread dog and finding a place that will let you keep it can be tough.
A non trained GSD may not be aggressive but will be a very large animal doing what it wants inside your home.
Finding an animal who will be fine with your niece I feel is doable but you may have other issues it all depends how lucky you are.
Hi Zayda, I actually already found the apartment complex, the not only allow large breeds, but they allow German Shepherds! I was surprised when they said GSD were okay.
 

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Main point though--the right german shepherd can just about fit into anyone's life, and anyone's situation....
Eh, I wouldn't say that.
 

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Keep in mind GSDs are a harder breed to find NOT on the restricted lists for MANY apartments and rentals in general. They're great dogs. A GOOD rescue wont place a dog with you that doesnt necessarily fit your lifestyle. There are tons of GSDs in rescues that are fabulous dogs. The good thing about rescues is they are foster run so many of the dogs get training and their personalities are known. If you contact a rescue and give details as to your life they can generally match you with a dog that will fit your needs. They're a great breed... for the right people. They definitely have personality and because of that personality, they can be a big challenge. They're sooooo much fun and worth every bit of effort you have to put into them. You've done a great thing in coming here and asking first about the breed instead of diving right in.
I'm good on the apartment end. I've heard so many stories of people getting the wrong breed and then taking the animal back is so heartbreaking. I'm a firm believer in Forever Homes. Oh another question.
"This" dog will be my very first. I've walked them before and have baby sat for families that have dogs and my Grandparents have always had dogs. But this *whichever breed I choose* will be my very own personal very first dog. Are GSD okay for first time dog owners?
 

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Hi Zayda, I actually already found the apartment complex, the not only allow large breeds, but they allow German Shepherds! I was surprised when they said GSD were okay.

thats awesome! part of the work is already done then. Just when the time comes.... make sure you get a copy of EVERYTHING on the company letterhead specifying that you are allowed a GSD and keep it in a file at home thats easily accessible. Just to cover your butt and the dogs. Also if you are able when you adopt, i would look into at least trying to get the dog CGC certified so help encourage good relations as well.
 

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I'm good on the apartment end. I've heard so many stories of people getting the wrong breed and then taking the animal back is so heartbreaking. I'm a firm believer in Forever Homes. Oh another question.
"This" dog will be my very first. I've walked them before and have baby sat for families that have dogs and my Grandparents have always had dogs. But this *whichever breed I choose* will be my very own personal very first dog. Are GSD okay for first time dog owners?
From what I've heard, yes - as long as you keep doing what you're doing and keep preparing before the dog comes home, you're on your way. :)
 

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I'm good on the apartment end. I've heard so many stories of people getting the wrong breed and then taking the animal back is so heartbreaking. I'm a firm believer in Forever Homes. Oh another question.
"This" dog will be my very first. I've walked them before and have baby sat for families that have dogs and my Grandparents have always had dogs. But this *whichever breed I choose* will be my very own personal very first dog. Are GSD okay for first time dog owners?

given you're a first timer and you're interested in an ADULT i would say thats the better way to go. Theres no chance i would ever recommend a first timer to get a puppy. they're just a major challenge because they do a great deal more than most people would expect from a puppy. Also since you're interested in going through a rescue, they should also be able to help match a relatively calmer dog to you.
 

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Any dog, regardless of breed, needs to be trained. I think if you go with a rescue, and find a good trainer who uses positive methods, that you can find just the right GSD for you. :)

I would suggest an older dog that is out of the puppy stage to start with. The rescues, if it is a good one, will do reference checks on you including a vet reference. They will take into consideration what you are looking for and find a match for you.

Since you are in an apartment, I would suggest looking for a lower energy, lower drive GSD. You'll want to ask about health concerns, and do your homework, on things that affect GSDs. A good trainer...even is the dog is already trained, continuing training will train YOU and will help build a bond with your dog.

There are several MI owners on this board so if you post what area in MI you are from I'm sure they would be interested in meeting up with you. :)
 

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given you're a first timer and you're interested in an ADULT i would say thats the better way to go. Theres no chance i would ever recommend a first timer to get a puppy. they're just a major challenge because they do a great deal more than most people would expect from a puppy. Also since you're interested in going through a rescue, they should also be able to help match a relatively calmer dog to you.
I don't know...I'm practically a first-timer and I'm surviving having a GSD puppy. And I believe (although I don't have a baseline for comparison) that Shasta is a pretty high-energy puppy.

That being said, since you're single and don't have the luxury of being home all day, an adult seems like a good way to go, especially one that's been fostered in a home with an experienced dog owner who can give an honest assessment of the dog's temperament.
 

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I'm not only looking for a protector, I want a companion, but because this will be my very first apartment on my own, I want the peace of mind that if god forbid someone breaks in and I can't fight said person off, my dog might give me a.. paw! lol The dog will be a companion first and foremost, Protector second. Not looking for an attack dog. Just something that will deter someone stupid enough to break in :)~
I think there are more questions that need to be considered - instead of only "what can this dog do for me" - you should think about "what can I realistically do for this dog".

Do you have time to properly excercise him/her?
Are you considering any sort of training classes?
What type of grooming effort do you expect?
Have you considered what type of 'job' to provide your herding dog?
Costs....Food, Vet Bills, Toys, Treats, leash/collar, kennel, dishes, etc...

If you have all of that considered and are ready for a great dog, then a GSD would be an excellent companion, protector, entertainer and friend.

Justs my 2 cents ;)
 

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I don't know...I'm practically a first-timer and I'm surviving having a GSD puppy. And I believe (although I don't have a baseline for comparison) that Shasta is a pretty high-energy puppy.

That being said, since you're single and don't have the luxury of being home all day, an adult seems like a good way to go, especially one that's been fostered in a home with an experienced dog owner who can give an honest assessment of the dog's temperament.

Paula i didnt mean to offend. I apologize. When i say a first timer i mean someone who hasnt had a dog before.
 

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I think it is wonderful that you are interested in adopting an adult. And it is great that you're asking questions before you take the plunge.

In a case like yours, I would go with a rescue that has a foster home system rather than adopting from a shelter. Not every shelter has a reliable temperament test, and if you go through a rescue that has their dogs in foster homes you will get soooo much more information about any particular dog and how that dog does in real world situations. I use to work in an animal shelter and I fostered a lot of dogs from that shelter. It was really amazing how different a dog could be once it had settled in as a foster. This was really apparent with GSDs, who (in general) just don't do well in kennel environments.

Maybe you could contact GSD rescues in your area/region and do some volunteer work for them while you are still collecting information and weighing your options? Transportation is always welcome. Maybe you could even foster? You could get some doggy experience and establish a relationship with a rescue!

Good luck!
Sheilah
 

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Are GSD okay for first time dog owners?
My first dog (of my own, as an adult) was a GSD. So was the second, and the third, and now I'm on GSD #4 & #5. :D

I was raised mostly with cats, but we had a couple of (ill trained, badly behaved) dogs through the years.
 

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Paula i didnt mean to offend. I apologize. When i say a first timer i mean someone who hasnt had a dog before.
Oh, gosh, I wasn't offended at all! I was just saying that I think even a first-timer could handle a GSD pup.
 

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If the person is prepared then a first timer could absolutely handle a GSD puppy.

I really like Sit Stay's suggestion on fostering for a rescue. I know there is a GSD rescue in MI. Even if you started off just volunteering at events instead of fostering, it would give you some more exposure to GSD's and their different personalities. :)
 
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