German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
(Warning! Looong post, but it's an important decision:p)
Hi!
I'm 15 year old and I'm really interested in getting a GSD (puppy) as a first dog. My parents work a lot, so it will mainly be me and my sister (who turns eighteen this year) who will be looking after it. My parents will help out with what they can.

If we get it, it's going to be in the summer vacation. NO way I'm getting a puppy unless I can be with it ALL and EVERY day to train it the first months. Also going to take a puppy course (more if needed) and get lots of help from friends with dogs and the breeder we’re potentially buying from.

I know you're skeptical, but please don't judge me for an irresponsible teenager who's looking for a dog "because it's so cute", and who I can just lock up inside a room when I'm tired or bored with it. I know there’s reasons people always advice against a GSD as a first dog.

The dog will be alone home for 3, maximum 4 hours (parents leave for work relatively late, while I and sister come home early), except Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, when there's someone home all day. Also, neither my sister nor I have anything we have to attend (we don't do any sports or play instruments).

Why I want a GSD:
- Companion/friend (I'm pretty bad at making friends and as I've already written; my parents work a lot)
- Someone to be active with (I know one 30 min walk a day isn't enough)
- Someone to warn if there's anyone strangers in our yard late at night
- Someone I can use/“invest” my time on (I'm planning on learning it one or several dog sports, depending on the dog, and advanced obedience)

We live in a house that’s about 200 m2 big with a fenced yard. Parks, the pet store and the pet clinic are 5-15 minutes away.

What I know about GSDs:
- They’re active and will need 1-2 hours of physical training a day (for example two 30 min walk + playtime in the yard, depending on the individual dog)
- They need a job, or something to be mentally stimulated by
- They’re obedient and will want to please its owner
- They’re a one-person kind of dog, though it can be a good family pet too
- They’re not naturally friendly with strangers (aggressive if not properly socialized when young)
- They can be aggressive to animals if not properly socialized
- They need to be combed once or twice a week
- They do not respond well to harsh treatment
- They are working dogs and should work for playtime and food and stuff
- They’re good at remembering mistakes (for example if the owner forgets the fact that they should never use the command come to “yell” at the dog for doing something wrong. The dog will then associate the command with getting yelled at and might not come again to the owner when asked. GSDs are especially good at remembering this, so the training needs to be consistent)
- They’re incredible dominant and will be a nightmare if the owner does not clearly let the dog who’s the leader or “alpha-dog”. This does not mean being nasty to the dog, but calm, consistent and authoritative

I’ve done more research than this, by the way ;) That was just a short overview.

I know they can be a pain in the ass sometimes, and I still want one. I personally think I’ll be able to handle it (with some help).

Also, the breeder wrote that she was willing to sell a dog to inexperienced people who are willing to learn. So I expect the type of dogs she breeds aren’t very energetic working dogs, but ones with a little more family-friendly and calmer temperament.

Sorry I wrote so much, I tried to shorten it as much as I could! ;) Anyways, done lots and lots of research, have lots of time and I’m very determined (especially the not letting the dog dominate over you-part).
And it’s not like mom and dad are just going to ignore the dog and let us handle everything. They are home the whole day on Mondays, btw. And I know I've made it sound like I'm handling the dog alone, but my remember that my almost eighteen year old sister want the dog just as much as me.

But the thing is, even though I’ve done my homework and read A LOT about it (like, incredibly much), we still haven’t got any experience.

So my question is, should I get a GSD as a first dog or not? :confused: I mean, people make it sound completely impossible! Is that true? :(:(:(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
I'm not an expert by any means. That being said, I have had GSDs in my life for the last 20 years. They are very intelligent and loyal where they give their hearts. Being a teenager doesn't exclude you from being a GSD parent.

The breed does require training to be a happy part of your family and not banished to the backyard for being destructive. And I mean alot of training, as in quality time with the pup and dog. Read the posts on this forum and discuss all that you learn with your family so that you can make an informed decision together.

Yes, I believe an inexperienced dog owner can be happy with this breed, so long as they are willing to learn and put the time required into building the bond.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,362 Posts
Assuming the dog lives a long live ,let's say 13 years. How do you make sure you can make a dog's life commitment. If you plan to go to college, how will that affect the dog.
The shelters fill up in the summer when students leave town and can't take the dog for some reason.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,478 Posts
It's not impossible, it just requires and inordinate amount of time, dedication and commitment.

If this is going to be your dog, don't count on anyone else helping you. Especially when you need it most. There's an old saying you may not have heard yet; you'll know who your friends really are when it's time to move and you are doing it yourself.

It could be said about taking care of animals as well. I take it you're in the UK? The UK and Germany are two places that I know of that measure housing area in square meters.

Anyway, here is something to think about for a young man of your age...

You're going to be dating soon, cars or motorcycles are soon going to become interesting (along with the girls), there will be dances to attend and other school functions, not to mention weekends. Don't forget about university in a few years. Can you take the dog with you? Can you find a flat that will accept dogs?

You will have to ask yourself, when no one else is available, who is going to mind my companion?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,360 Posts
I don't see any reason why you could not own one- you probably have done more research than some people that currently own this breed. One thing to take into major consideration, is your age and how your life may be changing in the next few years. I am not saying you are too young by any means, but I remember my life changed dramatically between 14-20 years old. Once you are able to drive, will you be home as much? Will you be going to college away from home after you graduate? Will your schedule in a few years be able to accommodate a GSD? If you move out you will need a full time job. On the other hand, I think this would be a great first dog to have if you plan on getting into dog sports and truly are ready for a dog, they are a real joy to own. Those are just some things to keep in mind before getting your dog! Life can change VERY dramatically at your age, but that does not exclude you from being a great dog owner or being completley capable of having a GSD.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,368 Posts
ok I have a question:)

How do you feel about cleaning up poop/pee? As in, what if puppy has diarhea all over his crate/throws up in it?? Who's gonna be doing the cleaning up??:)

Also, who will be paying the vet bills? Will you be prepared if an emergency crops up and the cost is say, 1000?

I'm also not saying your to young, I had gsd's when I was 15, but in the end, at that age, it was my parents who were financially responsible, and I gotta say, at 15, I did not want to cleanup dog poop in the house:))

Just some things to ponder:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I can't say I'm judging you personally. Just because you're young does not mean by any means that you aren't capable of learning about this breed (or anything). I'm voicing my concern for the dog once you go to college (as wolfy mentioned), once the opposite sex is discovered, just general teenage things. I say this from experience. I purchased my husky, Dakota, when I was 17 (personally purchased). He ended up spending the first 6 years of his life with my grandparents, whom I lived with. I was at school, then out with friends once school was done for the day. I was barely home. Luckily, the husky is a social breed. All the training I had done with him came undone, because I wasn't there. He now spends all of his time with me. You get the point, I'm sure. Anyway, the German Shepherd is a wonderful breed as long as the potential owner understands and is willing to learn about their personalities, being alpha, etc. My advice is to wait on getting a dog (any breed) until you are out of high school, college, etc., and you are on your own. Once you have a German Shepherd, you won't want another breed ever again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,554 Posts
Welcome to the board!

From your post, you sound like a responsible individual with a good idea of what you could be getting into. Age alone doesn't qualify or disqualify someone as a responsible GSD owner - I was exactly your age when I joined the forums and got my first dog/German Shepherd. Now 4 to 5 years later and I think of that decision as one of the best I've ever made. It can be difficult, trying, and completely exhausting (especially if you're looking to get a puppy) but it's definitely doable.

What is your experience so far with the breed? If it's limited, I'd suggest trying to meet more German Shepherds in person and speaking to GSD owners, exhibitors/handlers, and breeders to get a better feel for them. To be honest, I got a lot more in my dog than I had anticipated, and found high energy becoming the least of my worries.

Are you set on a puppy, or would you be open to finding an adult through rescue? Finding an adult with a known temperament from a responsible rescue organization could be an easier alternative in many cases. Plus, you wouldn't have to wait for over a year before you take your new dog running or biking.

Assuming the dog lives a long live ,let's say 13 years. How do you make sure you can make a dog's life commitment. If you plan to go to college, how will that affect the dog.
Quoting this for emphasis. Your future plans should be taken into strong consideration before you consider getting a dog. Depending on where you live and which college you'll be attending, you may have to live in the dorms for your first year. After that, finding a place to rent with a 60 - 80 lb German Shepherd Dog may not be easy.

ok I have a question:)

How do you feel about cleaning up poop/pee? As in, what if puppy has diarhea all over his crate/throws up in it?? Who's gonna be doing the cleaning up??:)
:rofl: Great point there! I've had to crawl under a bed to look for puppy poop, and clean up vomit from my bed more than once. Just the other day I sat in the front yard with my dog all night (until 5 or 6 AM!) because he wasn't feeling well and wanted to sit outside.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,742 Posts
I don't see any reason why you could not own one- you probably have done more research than some people that currently own this breed. One thing to take into major consideration, is your age and how your life may be changing in the next few years. I am not saying you are too young by any means, but I remember my life changed dramatically between 14-20 years old. Once you are able to drive, will you be home as much? Will you be going to college away from home after you graduate? Will your schedule in a few years be able to accommodate a GSD? If you move out you will need a full time job. On the other hand, I think this would be a great first dog to have if you plan on getting into dog sports and truly are ready for a dog, they are a real joy to own. Those are just some things to keep in mind before getting your dog! Life can change VERY dramatically at your age, but that does not exclude you from being a great dog owner or being completley capable of having a GSD.
This!
And life can keep changing dramatically all your life, after college comes marriafge, then kids, the unexpected is always around the corner. If you are commited, and you have already done your homework go gor it. If I were a breeder, I'd sell a dog to you (after speaking with your parents, LOL)

All the world but USA measure in square meters :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,373 Posts
I'm a 21 year old college student who decided to make my gsd my first dog this year. Amazing decision, but HARD. I waited until I knew I would have a stable place to live for the next several years that accepted dogs, and that I have enough money and time. I live with only my boyfriend, so no parental help here - not an option. It's a huge sacrifice, but it is worth it. After the summer is over your dog will still be too young to be lenient with, so prepare to balance school and your dog for the next two years, they will not be mature after the summer.

Like others have said, if you know what you're doing for college etc and are financially capable I would go for it, but remember, they can be one person dogs, so if it is YOUR dog and you have to go to college in a few years and decide to leave him/her with your parents, it might really upset the dog. Also, if you are 'sharing' with your sister, who will get the dog in the end, what if it bonds to your sister, will it go with her?

I know you said your parents work etc and there will always be someone home, but what about YOU? Do you want a part time job, an internship in the future, a car etc? Finances, huge one, seriously, you may need loans for college and stuff, will you have enough for a dog if something major goes wrong?

You sound like a responsible teenager I could actually get along with. Keep everyone updated with what you decide to do. I was the same way 6 years ago, but looking back, I am glad I waited until I had settled down and figured out my life a little bit, but that was just me. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Wow....there are still responsible teens out there haha :)...I was one a few years ago.....I am 25 now and have 4 dogs (2 Alaskan malamutes and 2 Siberian huskies). They pull a sled and cart depending on the time of year. One is an AKC Champion. Dogs are amazing animals as long as you have the time. As others have already said just make sure for the next 6-10 years of your life you will be there for your dog and be able to be financially responsible for it if no one else is willing or able to be. If you can make the time commitment and be able to have your financial situation secure than I say go for it!!! You sound as though you will make a lucky dog very happy. The more you train a working breed dog and the more they work the happier you both will be....don't forget that because if you get lazy it will be very unenjoyable to be a dog owner and especially one with high energy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Hi!
Thank you for all the nice and honest responses! :) I was completely freaking out, thinking you'd all hate me for even considering having a GSD when I'm so young and inexperienced! I've spoken to two of my friends who have dogs, and they were extremely skeptical about my choice of breed... which made extremely nervous (even though both of them said that they think I could handle it).

But anyways, I'm extremely grateful that you didn't judge me because of my age! :)

MichaelE: First of all, I just want to say that I'm a girl :rolleyes: And I live in Norway, that's why I used square metres. Hehe. I forgot when I was writing the post ;)

JakodaCD OA: I'll be cleaning everything after the dog (unless sister volunteers, but that's not very likely, haha). I'm not really that kind of person that minds doing things like that.
The vet bills are a little more problematic. I'd really like to get a part-time job so that I can pay all of my dog's expenses by myself. I hate asking money from my parents. It would in case be a job like delivering the news paper on Sundays, so that I could take the dog with me for a walk in the process. I would make about 10 000 - 14 000 NOK in a year, and google told me that owning a dog would cost about 5000 - 7000 NOK a year, depending on the size of the dog. This includes food, the vet, toys and... everything.

1 dollar = 6-7 NOK :)

But I would really like some answers to this too, though - how much does a GSD usually cost a year? I'd love some answers from people who actually owns a GSD.

Rei: I wouldn't mind finding an adult through a rescue at all! I'd love to give a home and love to a dog that actually needs it! :) But as I've already stated, I live in Norway and it is sort of limited how many shelters that are close to us. I can't force my parents to drive 6-7 hours when they really don't have the energy or time.
There's a shelter in Oslo, which is a 15-20 min subway ride from where I live. Sadly, even though I don't care if I get a adult or a puppy, my heart is set on a GSD :/ And all the GSDs in that shelter needs an experienced owner because of behavior problems... (according to their web-site, anyway).
Also, about my experience with this breed so far - zero. I've only researched it a lot. But we've contacted a breeder already and we're going to meet them this Saturday (only to talk, not to buy!). I'm going to ask a lot of questions then, and I will also meet the GSDs there! :) I will tell her what I know about the breed and that my parents won't have much time to care for the dog. If she thinks our situation is unsuitable for the dog, I will listen to her and probably stop looking for dog :((for now)

Okay! The rest of your responses are pretty much the same: what will happen to the dog when I'm off to study & am I willing to sacrifice social time to be with the dog?

What will happen with the dog when I'm off to study: Well, we sort of have a plan already. My sister is going to study next year, so we will be taking care of the dog together for this year. When she has left, the dog will be one year old. I'll be sticking around for the tree more years before I'm going to the university, and that is when my sister comes home from college and can take care of it again. The dog will then be four years old. Sis is planning on living here for a little while, but then she will most likely move out of the country (probably to USA) and will bring the dog with her. By then she will have a stable job and all that :)
If the dog has bonded too strongly with me and is unhappy with her/the dog isn’t able to adapt properly to the new country, I will take the dog with me when I’m off to study and just live extremely poor. And trust me, I have another older sister who has just finished studying in London, so I’m prepared that my life won’t be, ahem, exactly luxurious.

Please give me some thoughts on that plan, if you think it’s a good one or not! :)

Willing to sacrifice social life: AHA HA. YES. I wrote in the first post that part of my reason to get a dog is because I don’t have many friends. I’m an awkward and shy teenager going to a school where the only way to fit in is to be like everyone else. I do have 5 close friends, though, so I’m not a complete loner. Plus, two of them have dogs, and have said they will help me out! :)
And, as I’ve stated many times before, my parents works a lot. It gets lonely.

Anyway, here is something to think about for a young man of your age...

You're going to be dating soon, cars or motorcycles are soon going to become interesting (along with the girls), there will be dances to attend and other school functions, not to mention weekends.

Yeah, as I’ve already written, I’m not a man :) And also, I don’t attend anything (like sports, instruments, etc). And if I do get a dog, I don’t want to.
I’m just not the type of teenager that likes to go out in the weekends and party. I can randomly have days or weeks where I don’t feel like being with friends or humans at all, but I still feel lonely. That’s times when I think that I want a dog so bad :/

Lastly, SORRY! I wrote too much again! Anyways, please continue sharing your thoughts and give me things to think about regarding getting a dog! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,478 Posts
Sorry, I couldn't tell from your initial post you were a girl.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,895 Posts
Hi Belljar :)

First, let me say I am very impressed with the amount of research you have done, and the extent to which you have thought this decision through.

Next, I wish you all the success in the world with your decision! I think you will make a wonderful GSD owner...if not now, then someday down the road.

Just remember, as the others have pointed out, that you are making a 14+ year commitment at a time in your life when things will change the most. The dog you purchase today will likely be with you through college, marriage, childrearing (if those are your plans)...and people in their twenties are growing and changing a lot. Not all people, you sound a lot more mature and stable already at your age, but you understand my point, I'm sure :)

And since you're discussing co-ownership with your sister, all this advice applies to her, as well. I appreciate that you have a plan with your sister for switching off the university years, but what if she's not as committed as you are. Or what if her plans change. You just need to be prepared to handle it on your own, in any event, so you should make your decision with that in mind. Would you still want the GSD if your sister were not participating?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
Im glad you are here asking these questions and I am impressed with the amount of research you have put into learning about this breed. :)

I think you can do it and be a great GSD owner... BUT, I do have reservations about your future, you seem really mature and I really condone that but nothing is for certain, you could change your mind about a career path and need to go further than expected for school, your sister could also do the same. And is she as dedicated to this as you are?

I guess I just have reservations about you realizing how long this dog is going to be your responsibility and with your plans technically hanging in the balance until you decided where and what you are doing for collage that new pups future also hangs in the balance... What happens if your sister decides not to take the dog on when she is done her schooling and you are away at school, will your parents put in the hours of time to exercise the dog and feed and love it?

As for the cost, Im from Canada, I spend around $300 a month on my dog, that is for high quality food, toppers, treats, chews, toys, flea/tick/heart worm preventative, gas to get to training classes and to puppy play dates to make sure they are well socialized. So I just did the math, that would be $1500 NOK a month and that would equal $18,000 NOK a year. even at the bare minimum if you exclude gas for travel and cut down on price of food I would say no less than $900 NOK a month (equals a little over $10,000 a year)

But if you can get past all the unknown variables I know that you are going to make a fabulous GSD owner, whether you get one now or in 6 - 10 years from now when your life will not be so uncertain (not saying everything will be spelled out stuff happens that we cannot predict but at least having a stable place to live with a stable income and such will go a long way to ensuring that the dog you get will live a long and happy life with you and not be bounced around to a new home/owner)

I wish you the best of luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,895 Posts
Oh! I forgot a very important question that you may have already answered:

What are your parents thoughts?


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,368 Posts
I am also impressed with your research and thought process:)

I guess I would also ask what your parents think? Are they on board with this?

As to cost,,well, it depends, puppies need a series of shots, not sure where your located, but you can always get an idea by calling a vet (or the one you use), to get cost ideas..

Food, well right now I have one gsd, (and 2 aussies), the gsd eats probably a 40lb bag of food, in a month 1/2 plus I feed partial raw , depending on what you feed will figure in cost.

Vet bills, I just had a 3 day "911" with Masi, cost 800$, which is minimal compared to what was done, but it was 'unexpected', and thankfully my vet takes payments:)

You might want to check with whatever vet your going to use, to see if they would offer some type of payment plan should an emergency arise..ALOT of vets will NOT let you pay on time, and some may refuse treatment unless payment is rendered at the time of service..Just something to keep in mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,895 Posts
Will you continue your research and work out an actual budget from the suggestions given here with actual prices from your prospective vendors. And as Jakoda mentioned, plan for unexpected vet bills. Check into whether pet health insurance is available to you :)

Once you work that up, share it with us! :)


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,015 Posts
If it will be a family endeavor and the budget can handle it, you sound like you would give a GSD a very good home.

There is no more committed breed and that calls for a committed family.

If you leave for college, job, or such, would family still carry on?

Do not go for just any puppy. Research breeders.

Health can be an issue and make a pup very expensive.

They are not disposable, but sounds like you know that.

Good luck
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top