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Hi All,

I am very new to the whole dog keeping thing and was wondering how difficult it is to keep a German shepherd as a pet ? Where can i find more info ?

I have some basic questions like ? :

1) Which is better ? to get a puppy or a young dog ?
2) Do we need to have medical insurance ?
3) What is a rough expenditure i am looking at per month ?
4) What other responsibilities come into picture apart from basics like taking good care of the dog ?
5) What change you see in your life without a dog and with the dog as a pet ? :)

Thanks for reading.
 

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A german shepherd is not a good choice for a first time or even novice dog owner, imo. They are a total handful, much more so than most other breeds. I suggest you do some serious research on them and be very honest with yourself about what you truly can do/handle and not. I state all that because you seem a little new at this based on your questions. It's a much better match to get a less demanding and intense dog, if I'm right about where you are in experience. Do your due diligence, be honest with yourself and seriously maybe consider an easier dog to raise, like nice hound breed. Personally, I high;y recommend Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They have the size and some of the smarts of a GSD, but they are much more easy going. They are also very protective, loyal, strong and great looking... all the stuff you may be looking for. Just be careful and do the right thing. I'm personally very glad that I had the years of experience with other large breeds before I got a GSD.
 

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My family is a first time GSD owner, well my mom had one when she was younger. We had Sheltie Mixes before. But we researched the breed to see what we were getting into.

Do your research, talk with other GSD owners. Ask questions. If you feel comfortable in getting a GSD, go to a shelter or rescues, and get an older dog. They are already trained and basically ready to go and are ineed of a home. GSDs are not for everyone, so get a GSD mix. GSDs are not for everyone. Just do the research, talk to people, and ask questions.
 

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well I'm going to take the opposite position:))

I think for a first time dog owner an older easy going GSD would fit the bill. What you see is what you get:)

You can have medical insurance if you choose.

Monthly expense depends, food is basic, any medical things that crop up, heartworm preventative is a must, daycare if you choose, dog walker if you choose.

I think the most responsible thing ANY dog owner can do is find a good obedience class, socialize socialize and then socialize some more..Be ready to get up and get OUT with your dog, walking, hiking, swimming, the majority are not 'couch potatoes', and do require a good amount of exercise,,and that's exercise WITH their people:)

Without dogs in my life, it would be pretty boring, unfulfilling, and lonely;))
With them in my life, keeps me busy, keeps me laughing, always like a challenge.
 

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:welcome: I'm going to put my replies in bold

Hi All,

I am very new to the whole dog keeping thing and was wondering how difficult it is to keep a German shepherd as a pet ? Where can i find more info ?
You can find info to all of your questions here, use the search feature or ask a question in the appropriate section

I have some basic questions like ? :

1) Which is better ? to get a puppy or a young dog ? For someone who's never had a dog before I would suggest an adult dog, but if you have the time to put into a puppy or young dog and have done research into what will be needed from you, its your preference. I would not recommend a dog with high drives.
2) Do we need to have medical insurance ? Some people have pet insurance, I do not. Its not a requirement. I do save money every month for my dog incase he has a medical issue but if I never need it then I haven't wasted any money. If your dog has medical issues then it would be worthwhile IMO.
3) What is a rough expenditure i am looking at per month ? For a new dog you'll need bowls,leash,collar,crate,toys etc..then you have medical care shots for puppies, boosters for older dogs. Monthly preventatives for heartworm and fleas. Once that is covered basic monthly expenses will depend on how much you spend on food,training, and toys/chews. I spend about $100 a month not including vet care and training.
4) What other responsibilities come into picture apart from basics like taking good care of the dog ? Depends on what you consider taking good care I guess. Grooming, picking up dog poop, cleaning up messes it makes, training, socialization, providing mental and physical exercise for the dog, bonding with the dog, making sure the dog is fed/watered and given potty breaks when you have to be away for extended periods of time...probably forgetting some things.
5) What change you see in your life without a dog and with the dog as a pet ? :)
I spend less on myself, I have new hobbies, met new people, much much happier and busy, I have a dog with me all the time, I have gotten used to dog hair getting on everything no matter how much I clean, I get more exercise, I have a different social life now, mostly only go to places where my dog is welcome. :)

Thanks for reading.
 

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I am very new to the whole dog keeping thing and was wondering how difficult it is to keep a German shepherd as a pet ? Where can i find more info ?
Hi! Welcome to the forum. :) I think you've come across a great resource for information. There's nothing better than talking to GSD (German Shepherd Dog) owners for getting a first hand account of what it's like to live with a Shepherd.

I would suggest looking for a local GSD rescue and volunteering for them. This will give you personal experience with GSDs (and you just might fall in love with one and adopt!). If you don't have a GSD rescue in your area, consider volunteering for a local shelter. They get in GSDs from time to time, and all around dog experience will be a good thing!

1) Which is better ? to get a puppy or a young dog ?
It's personal preference, really. :) I will caution you, puppies are A LOT of work. They don't have very large bladders and when they're little, they have to be let out every couple of hours to potty. This includes the middle of the night! If you work a job that wouldn't allow you to travel home every other hour our so to let a puppy out to potty, an older dog would be a good idea.

Puppies potty on the carpet, they chew on things (including people... I've heard them referred to as "carpet sharks" and it's pretty dang accurate) and they are very time consuming. They're also a lot of fun... but I personally won't have another one until my life is a lot more flexible than it is now. My husband and I both work 8-5 jobs that are 35 minutes away from our home, and the only reason we were able to get a puppy was that my brother lived with us and goes to college with a light schedule.

If you do ultimately decide on a puppy from a breeder (rescues and shelters do get in puppies from time to time... I got my Luna from a shelter), please do your homework so you buy one from a reputable breeder who health tests (check the OFA website to verify)... buying from a BYB or puppymill comes with great risk of health and temperament issues.

2) Do we need to have medical insurance ?
Again, a personal preference, but I will say that if you decide on pet insurance, get it right away. There is usually a waiting period. My dogs' medical issues cropped up before the insurance kicked in, unfortunately, and that means all of their issues are now "preexisting conditions" and therefore not covered. Also, pay attention to exclusions. Many companies do not cover hereditary conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia (I had VPI, and they do cover those conditions, with a 6 month waiting period).

Also keep in mind that, even with insurance, you will have to pay the vet bill first and then get reimbursed (hopefully) by your insurance. It's a good idea to start an emergency fund right away... I'd start it now!

3) What is a rough expenditure i am looking at per month ?
It depends on what you plan to feed and what activities you will participate in your dog. Keep in mind that emergencies rarely happen at a convenient time... in our household it always happens about a week or so from payday when the emergency fund is depleted.

4) What other responsibilities come into picture apart from basics like taking good care of the dog ?
As someone already suggested, obedience class is a great idea. You and your dog will both benefit greatly and learn a lot... plus it will help you create a great bond. Obedience class is a lot of fun, too, and offers a great opportunity to socialize your dog with other dogs and humans.

Plan to do a lot of research. There is so much information out there about nutrition, vet care/vaccinations, pest control, etc. and it's up to each individual dog owner out there to make the decision that is best for their dog and their family. Example: my dogs are rawfed, get titer tests instead of vaccinations, and I use only natural flea/tick repellant. This is my choice, but it doesn't mean it's right for everyone and every dog.

5) What change you see in your life without a dog and with the dog as a pet ? :)
A HUGE change is time. We used to be able to just go out to eat with friends after work, etc. but now we cannot. We have to go home and take care of the dogs, and we really don't feel it's fair for them to be without us all day at work and then have us leave in the evenings. My husband and I generally take turns doing things away from home so one of us can be home with the dogs.

Vacations are an issue, since you have to find a reliable pet sitter or kennel for your dog if you aren't going someplace that allows pets. We generally go camping for vacation because we can take them along.

If you own your own home, homeowners insurance can be an issue. Certain companies discriminate based on breeds and not all will cover a home with a GSD. Make sure you find an affordable company that covers GSDs prior to bringing one home. If you rent, you'll find the same discrimination: many places open to pets do not allow large dogs or specific breeds (like the GSD).

Another issue is when the dog gets sick/needs to go to the vet, you'll have to take time off of work. Not everyone's employers will understand taking off time for a dog (I am lucky that mine does... we've had our share of veterinary issues/emergencies!).

Here is just some general information about GSDs that you should be aware of before bringing one into your home:

1) They shed a lot. My house is continually covered in hair.

2) They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. I have a 3 acre fenced in yard, but that's playtime, not exercise. My dogs still need daily walks/jogs/bike rides, and we also do obedience work, agility, and soon we'll start tracking. A tired dog is a happy dog... and it takes a lot to tire many GSDs.

3) They tend to be "velcro dogs." They will love you so much, you just may have a dog staring at you while you sit on the toilet if you don't order them out of the bathroom.

4) They need structure and rules. If you don't make it clear that they need to follow your rules, they'll make their own and expect YOU to follow them.

5) They have strong prey drive. If you have kitties or other small animals, you'll need to teach them that the cats are friends, not playtoys. They can hurt or even kill small animals without meaning to, when that instinct kicks in.

Hope this helps!
 

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I would correlate the degree of responsibility and work of owning a dog comparable to that of having a child. If you're not looking for that level of commitment....you might want to reconsider dog ownership.

Puppies are great and adorable, but they're also a lot of work. While I loved my dogs in their puppy stages, I can't tell you how nice it is now that they're grown and nobody messes in the house or chews up shoes, furniture or the occasional cell phone.

German Shepherds are a great dog as long as you're willing to invest the necessary time and commitment, and as long as you're ready to say goodbye to having clothes (or anything) that is free of dog hair.....because they shed something fierce. They are also very intelligent and, without proper training and leadership, can run all over you.

This board is probably the best resource you'll find as far as questions on GSD's. There's a plethora of information available here.

If you decide you are ready to own a dog and a GSD is the dog for you, I would recommend contacting a local rescue. They generally have a lot of knowledge and hands on experience with the dogs in their care and can point you in the right direction for a dog that might work for you. There are a lot of wonderful, fully trained dogs in rescues waiting to be adopted into good homes.
 

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There are books available that rate dogs to your lifestyle (big yard, no yard, home alot, away a lot, have kids, time for grooming, etc). These type of books may direct you to your perfect pet. I agree that GSDs are the greatest of dogs, but you must be really good at training and really good at being the pack leader. That can prove to be a challenge for first time dog owners.
 

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Hi All,
I am very new to the whole dog keeping thing and was wondering how difficult it is to keep a German shepherd as a pet ? Not difficult but is a lot of work!
Where can i find more info ? Good place is on this forum and references from people here. Second place is your breeder (if you have one)
I have some basic questions like ? :
1) Which is better ? to get a puppy or a young dog ?
Neither is "better' - really a matter of preference with advantages to each. One advantage of a puppy , esp. for a first time GSD owner, is that if you get him/her as a little puppy you will not be as likely to be afraid of your dog when they get big.
2) Do we need to have medical insurance ? For what? You will need to make sure that you can add dog coverage to your home owner/renter insurance. Some companies will NOT cover some breeds so check and make sure your company will cover a GSD before you get one, or else change the company.
3) What is a rough expenditure i am looking at per month ? Don't want to add this up so I will leave it to others to relate this but I will say it is not cheap to cover the expenses of a dog although if the truth be known many but not all of the expense is optional (i.e. toys, and chew things!)
4) What other responsibilities come into picture apart from basics like taking good care of the dog ?
Training is a MAJOR one, so your dog is a good citizen. This is one where GSD's are a tougher dog that a lot of breeds because of the protective and suspicious nature of many of our breed. Most GSD's can be very good doggy citizens but do need constant training and direction - they are VERY smart dogs.


5) What change you see in your life without a dog and with the dog as a pet ? :) Total change (almost like a kid!) Another life who is totally dependent on you! Training and playing etc. etc. every day no matter how you feel that day! On the other hand it is very nice to come home to the dog and see his/her greeting to you! Brightens up your day!

Thanks for reading.
Good luck with your GSD!

BTW, our first dog ever was a female GSD. From a BYB no less, but she did have a lot of German breeding altho it was a few generations back - turned out to be a wonderful specimin and example of the GSD breed!
 

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There are books available that rate dogs to your lifestyle (big yard, no yard, home alot, away a lot, have kids, time for grooming, etc). These type of books may direct you to your perfect pet. I agree that GSDs are the greatest of dogs, but you must be really good at training and really good at being the pack leader. That can prove to be a challenge for first time dog owners.
Can be true - depends on the individual dog to a very large degree. If you decide to get a puppy from a good breeder then they should be a BIG help in picking a puppy with a personality suitable for you and your lifecycle.
 

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it's easy to keep a GSD as a pet. you have to be consistent
in whatever you're doing with your dog.

there's books, videos, cd's, magazines, breeders, this forum
and other forums, talk to owners of GSD's, etc.

1. if you have plenty of time for a dog i suggest
getting a puppy because they're so easy to train.
find a puppy class, OB class, private trainer.

2. medical insurance is a major plus.

3. the first couple of years and the last
years are the most costly.

4. what other responsibilities, everything
is a responsibility. think of it as taking
care of a child.

5. having a dog or any other pet
adds to my life. without a pet (dog)
i miss the companionship.


Hi All,

I am very new to the whole dog keeping thing and was wondering how difficult it is to keep a German shepherd as a pet ? Where can i find more info ?

I have some basic questions like ? :

1) Which is better ? to get a puppy or a young dog ?
2) Do we need to have medical insurance ?
3) What is a rough expenditure i am looking at per month ?
4) What other responsibilities come into picture apart from basics like taking good care of the dog ?
5) What change you see in your life without a dog and with the dog as a pet ? :)

Thanks for reading.
 

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Lots and lots of good information, man i never knew all this.

Thanks all for all the information.

Looks like i will become a volunteer for GSD rescue here in washington state and will see how it goes, BTW i had a question.. is there any issue with the home insurance if you get a dog from the rescue as a volunteer?

Thanks.
 

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Lots and lots of good information, man i never knew all this.

Thanks all for all the information.

Looks like i will become a volunteer for GSD rescue here in washington state and will see how it goes, BTW i had a question.. is there any issue with the home insurance if you get a dog from the rescue as a volunteer?

Thanks.
No, but some Insurance won't allow certains breeds, no matter where they come from.

My family's insurance doesn't allow us to own Dobermans, Rottweilers, and Pitbulls. But I think you should be allowed to own a GSD no matter where he/she comes from.
 

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If you get a an older dog say a year or two old try to make sure you spend enough time figuring out how well you gel with the dog and get an idea of the dog's tempermant and manners etc. I got my GSD because I wanted a GSD based on look big dog the intellegence protective nature. LOL I knew next to nothing about GSD's. I am not dog novice I had dogs all my life but as far as getting a GSD I was below novice. LOL Heck Roscoe my GSD bit me in the stomach when I first met him. He had reall bad fear agression which now has been broken from 6 months intense training..more so the training was for me. Time and committment are a HUGE deal imo when condsidering a GSD.

Here is a link to the story I wrote about him and my experience...hope it helps you out.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-information/138207-i-truly-had-no-idea-what-i-getting-into-gsd.html
 

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I really loved seeing all the answers on the pages. I really loved the term carpet shark!!! I remember my pup discovering the carpet around the fireplace handle on the floor, which became a lack of carpet. I remember the couch that used to have arms, the phone book that used to have pages, the table that used to have feet and an incredible mudfest when our GSD discovered that bringing in a clump of grass, dropping it into a water bowl and then throwing it in the air was entertaining!

they will challenge your every step because they are smart and energetic. They will make you laugh hysterically and shake your head in frustration (i.e. digging the old water bowl)

one thing I know is that they are different than raising all other dogs. And even after having other dogs, you will learn from your first GSD and most likely make alot of mistakes along the way and learn along the way.

There are a few basic rules never to be broken:

1. socialize, socialize, socialize to places, people, clothes, etc. Hit at least 100 new people by the time they are 14 weeks or so. This will help avoid the fear aggression and other temperament issues

2. Stimulate their minds. Playing in the backyard is great but that is not the same.

3. Train, train, train. Hit that puppy kindergarten, obedience, etc. Not only does it provide good socialization, but it will TRAIN YOU! See in a way training wth a GSD is more for oyu then them. They can figure out what to do in one try. You are being trained to be a good leader. German Shpeherds need a consistent leader. You confuse them, they will try and lead and you do not want that.

3. Walks and outings. It does not matter how much of a yard you have they like and need that pack outing DAILY.

4. Find a job for your dog. They need something to do. They are working dogs. This may be as simple as carrying a backpack when you do your daily pack walk or it might be agility.

A GSD is not a dog. They are a part of your life from day one. Your life will change, your schedule will change, you have a responsibility for many years.

After we lost our GSD last year we said to ourselves that we would have no more dogs for a long time so we could travel and do what we want......10 months later our new GSD will be coming home.

Maybe being a GSD owner is an identity.....

As for some of your questions:

Medical: If you do get it, get it early. If you dont and even if you do, ask yourself if you are willing to spend a few thousand is ever needed....vets are not cheap. The full day of testing when we found out our dog had cancer was almost $1000.

Over her lifetime (9 years), if I included the cancer, the TPLO for an ACL tear (chased a stupid cat up a berm) and other treatments for an aging shepherd....maybe $12,000 for medical in chunks of $2-4 grand.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. She gave us more than we ever could have given her.

Per month? Depends. What food are you buying? The better stuff can cost more. Toys, training, etc. It really depends on you. Save for vaccinations, heartguard, new harnesses, clippers, beds, etc. Plan on increased costs as they get older.
 

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Most homeowners policies in our state do not cover german shepherds. If that's a concern of yours, you can certainly find out easily enough by calling your insurer.
 

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I bought the dog first (I was renting a apartment) and then I bought my house and then I looked for home owners insurance. They asked me right away what breed of dog I had. They do not cover Rottweilers, Pitbulls, Pit mixes, Wolf mixes, Akitas and Chows.
 

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Lots and lots of good information, man i never knew all this.

Thanks all for all the information.

Looks like i will become a volunteer for GSD rescue here in washington state and will see how it goes, BTW i had a question.. is there any issue with the home insurance if you get a dog from the rescue as a volunteer?

Thanks.
If you are looking to foster for the rescue (vs adopt), the rescue's insurance should cover the dog while you are fostering because the rescue owns the dog.
 

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I bought the dog first (I was renting a apartment) and then I bought my house and then I looked for home owners insurance. They asked me right away what breed of dog I had. They do not cover Rottweilers, Pitbulls, Pit mixes, Wolf mixes, Akitas and Chows.
It's sad to think of how many insurance companies are practicing breed discrimination. The lists will likely keep growing and growing. :mad:

Before we ever adopted Apollo, we decided to go with an insurance company that does not have a list of restricted breeds. When I called to cancel my Progressive car insurance, they asked me why, and I told them. The representative was actually really nice.. it didn't seem like he agreed with the policy, either, and he said he hoped the policy would change in the future.

I simply refuse to give money to a company that breed discriminates. There are only three insurance companies in my area that do not: State Farm, Farmers, and Auto-Owners. Our State Farm agent brings his dog to work with him: a pittie mix. :D
 

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It's sad to think of how many insurance companies are practicing breed discrimination. The lists will likely keep growing and growing. :mad:

Before we ever adopted Apollo, we decided to go with an insurance company that does not have a list of restricted breeds. When I called to cancel my Progressive car insurance, they asked me why, and I told them. The representative was actually really nice.. it didn't seem like he agreed with the policy, either, and he said he hoped the policy would change in the future.

I simply refuse to give money to a company that breed discriminates. There are only three insurance companies in my area that do not: State Farm, Farmers, and Auto-Owners. Our State Farm agent brings his dog to work with him: a pittie mix. :D
Yeah breed discrimination is bad.

I am kinda in the process of contacting my local GSD rescue and i will get a GSD as a foster parent. I don't know how it works .. so can anybody pls give me some details ?

Their website says that they provide everything and we just need to take care of the dog and give him a good home for some time.. but how does this work ? do we need to buy anything ?

Thanks.
 
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