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I did sooo much research before getting Wolf, my first German Shepherd. I can't even count the number of books I read before I got him. NOT ONCE did I read ANYTHING on all the hard times every GSD owner goes through while raising a GSD. I'm very thankful I stumbled on this forum. SOOOOO many times I thought my dog was INSANE and I couldn't handle it...but you all reassured me that it was normal, typical behavior and it would pass. I'm so so so so glad I stuck it out, and honestly in hind sight it was TOTALLY worth it...but alot of people (like me) have no idea what they're getting into and unfortunately that's why so many GSDs end up dead or in shelters or neglected/abused. I found this book that tells of all the horror stories we all go through lol and I think anyone thinking of getting a GSD should read it beforehand. It IS such a huge commitment and SOOOOO much work-I'm not kidding you I can NOT emphasize how much work and patience goes into raising a pup. They truly aren't like any other dog lol. But in the end it's worth it...I just think more people need to speak out so people know what to expect, that it'll suck for a while, but it'll pass, you'll get through it, and in the end you will have the best dog ever.

Amazon.com: Don't Give Up on That Dog!: Raising a German Shepherd Dog: The Many Lessons Learned (9780615559223): Denine W. Phillips: Books
 

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I did sooo much research before getting Wolf, my first German Shepherd. I can't even count the number of books I read before I got him. NOT ONCE did I read ANYTHING on all the hard times every GSD owner goes through while raising a GSD. I'm very thankful I stumbled on this forum. SOOOOO many times I thought my dog was INSANE and I couldn't handle it...but you all reassured me that it was normal, typical behavior and it would pass. I'm so so so so glad I stuck it out, and honestly in hind sight it was TOTALLY worth it...but alot of people (like me) have no idea what they're getting into and unfortunately that's why so many GSDs end up dead or in shelters or neglected/abused. I found this book that tells of all the horror stories we all go through lol and I think anyone thinking of getting a GSD should read it beforehand. It IS such a huge commitment and SOOOOO much work-I'm not kidding you I can NOT emphasize how much work and patience goes into raising a pup. They truly aren't like any other dog lol. But in the end it's worth it...I just think more people need to speak out so people know what to expect, that it'll suck for a while, but it'll pass, you'll get through it, and in the end you will have the best dog ever.

Amazon.com: Don't Give Up on That Dog!: Raising a German Shepherd Dog: The Many Lessons Learned (9780615559223): Denine W. Phillips: Books

I agree. I find it alarming that gsds are so popular with the general public. To me there are not a ton of people who have the time and want to put in the effort to raise a gsd properly. I guess this fact is born out by the number of them who are in shelters.

Enzo (our dog) is the easiest in the world to train, but the boundless energy was challenging. But in the end, it is all worth it, I would never own another breed.
 

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Thanks for the book suggestion.

I volunteer at our local shelter to be an advocate for this breed. There are two recurring patterns I see at the shelter: (1) they get dumped when they hit adolescence and are gangly, energetic, out-of-control and no longer "cute," and (2) they get dumped when they are full-grown (2-3 y.o.) because the bad puppy habits that were once allowed when they were small and cute (nipping, jumping, chewing on things other than toys, barking nonstop) have become obnoxious and unacceptable in a large, powerful, 90-pound dog. There's almost always a story about the dog having too much energy.

A gorgeous young working-line-looking 2 y.o. GSD was recently returned by an adopter for being "out of control," "not eating dog food, only people food," and "not doing what she was told." That family gave her no training and no exercise, and they apparently expected her to be a couch potato. (She's now with a great family that has her working with my trainer, bringing her to socialization events with other GSDs, and doing everything right--so she's finally getting what she needs...she got very lucky).

Not a GSD, but a there's an adolescent malinois that the shelter keeps mistaking for a GSD, who has made a few round trips with failed adoptions. Every time there's a story about him being "more dog" or "too high energy" than the family can handle (no one ever took him to training...and he's smart as a whip, and desperate for a "job" and some serious exercise...I've never seen him happier or calmer than after my DH took him out for a good, long run one evening at the shelter).

I also think the shelter adoption counselor volunteers mean well, but they don't know the breed. I heard one of them tell a prospective adopter at an adoption event that a 1 y.o. GSD pup was an "easier" choice than a smaller mixed breed dog because he'll be "lower energy" and "less work." I wanted to throw something at her.

I've have found that these dogs are more likely to have good interactions with prospective adopters if they've been well exercised. They are loonie when they first come out of the kennels. At one adoption event, there was a lovely young GSD girl who was too high energy, too dog reactive, just too much, so DH and I removed her and took her for a run. She came back with great, easy-going energy, plopped on the grass with the other dogs, oozed into the lap of a guy who promptly fell in love with her, and found herself a very good home. She would have been an obnoxious brat at the event, without the run. Her adopter saw her before and after, so it was crystal clear how important the exercise was to her, and he was on board to give that to her.
 

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I just added it to my Nook book wish list!! I will probably end up spending the whole $4.95 and buy it before I leave for vacation. (need something to read on the plane) I just hope it doesnt make me miss my boy too much while I'm gone!!

Thanks for the suggestion!
 

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everything i read said that training and exercise was important....but it never emphasized how much. i had to practically rearrange my life and habits to make sure wolfy got all the attention, training, and exercise he needed. but even the landshark phase was just god awful! there were times where i couldn't even pet him lol. i look back and laugh now, but back then my husband and i were ready to pull our hair out. don't get me wrong, i absolutely love my dog and would die for him lol he is the love of my life :) but we just didn't know that it was all normal. he's 14 months old now and ALOT better-of course after lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of proper training...OH that was another thing!!!! we kept finding trainers that claimed to have lots of experience with shepherds but clearly didn't. they all sucked hahaha except for the guy we have now. he's done wonders with us and wolf and has helped us soooo much along the way.
 

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everything i read said that training and exercise was important....but it never emphasized how much. i had to practically rearrange my life and habits to make sure wolfy got all the attention, training, and exercise he needed. but even the landshark phase was just god awful! there were times where i couldn't even pet him lol. i look back and laugh now, but back then my husband and i were ready to pull our hair out. don't get me wrong, i absolutely love my dog and would die for him lol he is the love of my life :) but we just didn't know that it was all normal. he's 14 months old now and ALOT better-of course after lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of proper training...OH that was another thing!!!! we kept finding trainers that claimed to have lots of experience with shepherds but clearly didn't. they all sucked hahaha except for the guy we have now. he's done wonders with us and wolf and has helped us soooo much along the way.
So funny, cause Kaleb is not like this at all. Very minimal mouthing and very easy to settle. He has great food and toy drive, and seems to love our training sessions. I don't know if it helps having the older dogs, but he has easily adapted to our daily routines.
 

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Would you really expect a book about GSDs to try and scare people away from owning the dog? Of course they will only say the best things about the dog. Also, something that might take you a while (first time owner) can take a more experienced owner a much shorter time to train and so not as much time spent. It's also partly finding the right exercise or thing that really gets your dog tired, or motivated, depending on what you're trying to do, which can take some time.

But to add to this...have you ever watched Dogs 101 on Animal Planet? They make it seem like every dog is the greatest thing since sliced bread. They'll give small warnings like "not for apartments" or "needs to run" but not really push it. But for most people, they won't care. There are plenty of people that will tell you that you can't raise a large dog or a working dog without a yard and a house. Mine hasn't lived in anything bigger than a 1 bedroom apartment since he's come home with us, and he has better manners than 95% of the dogs I see. Dogs 101 even had a show about "designer breeds" (made me sick) they were pretty much putting on a commercial for people breeding mutts with no particular goal but cuteness and possibly hypoallergenic.
 

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i totally expect books to be honest. if i'm researching something like trying to figure out the right addition to my family (my GSD), i expect everything to be laid out. people should be scared. if they were, we wouldn't have so many poor dogs in the shelter or neglected. i won't watch dogs 101 because it's NOT imformative. i think it's irresponsible for the writer/publisher to give half truths and only some imformation.
 

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I KNEW exactly what I was getting into. Jasira and Xerxes were my 6th and 7th german shepherds. My first german shepherd dog, Sarron, was the absolute best this breed could offer. He loved people, he loved other dogs, he was SO smart it was unbelievable. I could teach him new things in a matter of HOURS not days. I fell in love with the breed and would never own a different breed of dog. ( I'm not cutting any other breeds down. I see wonderful dogs of other breeds all the time; just saying this is the only breed for ME.)I knew what I was getting into and i dove in head first and never regretted it. ( Well , ok Jas is my problem child but God made up for it by sending me Xerx.) I have never given any of my pets away and never will. If any of my pets are doing unacceptable things, I see it as MY failure as a responsible owner not theirs. I was under tremendous pressure to give up the first dog i ever owned, an Irish setter named Casey, by my family and others around me. I never gave up. He died of old age with me.
 

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i totally agree:) and i don't see myself owning anything but german shepherds from now on :). and (just saying for the record hahaha) i wasn't putting my dog down negatively-he is/was amazing. lots of work, but amazing! it still amazes me how smart he is and easily trained! and i would totally die without him! he is seriously sooooo spoiled and the love of my life hahahaa. even if i did read the WORST stories EVER i still would've gotten him, i just would've been more prepared:p
 

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So funny, cause Kaleb is not like this at all. Very minimal mouthing and very easy to settle. He has great food and toy drive, and seems to love our training sessions. I don't know if it helps having the older dogs, but he has easily adapted to our daily routines.
That is how Karlo was as a pup....a breeze to engage and a joy every moment. I think the older dogs had much to do with his stable energy, oh, and his great breeder starting him off on the right path.
 

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LissG's pup is from the same sire/dam combination, just a previous breeding. I know there are always more drivey pups in every litter, so it always makes me wonder how much influence my two older dogs have had. I've only had him 4 wks, but he's pretty much been this way from day one. I'm still surprised by it as I was fully anticipating the crazy little shark monster that so many describe in their WL pups. I feel really lucky though that he has been so easy breezy. It really takes a load off pup rearing and makes this stage so much easier to enjoy.
 
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