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Hi everyone,


I'm new here and like my name says, a little nervous. I have three little ones who all desperately want a puppy, and have been reading about different breeds for several months - I really like German Shepherds and hope to have one join our family by the end of the year. But I already have a pretty hectic schedule and know it's going to be harder than I can imagine, so I want to make sure I learn as much as possible before deciding to take on that responsibility.


I've never owned a dog before and have read that other dogs might be easier for first-time owners with young children, and reading some of the posts (land sharks?!?) has me even more nervous about it. This seems like a great community though and I'm looking forward to learning more.



Steve
 

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How old are your children?

And yes a german shepherd puppy is going to be a land shark. We are going through this right now and for a newbie it might be a little overwhelming if you aren’t expecting it. This breed demands a lot of attention, structure, training, and consinsitency.
 

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Hi nervous Steve, welcome to the forum!

Same question, how old R your kids? I'm in my 20s and when I was still living with my parents, we had a dalmatian, golden retriever, welsh corgi, pomeranian and chihuahua (not at the same time). And now I have a 1 year old German Shepherd puppy whom I've had since 7 1/2 weeks. So basically I've had my share of dog breeds.

Based on my knowledge and experience, I wouldn't recommend GSDs as a first time dog owner AND with kids, especially under 13. I chose a GSD because at the time I first got mine, I was still in school and only had 3 classes a week. I spend almost 24/7 with my dog, so I was confident that I can provide him with whatever he needs. This breed is a high maintenance breed, mentally and physically.

How high? A GSD needs a significant amount of exercise in order to be comfortable and behave himself. I walk him, I go to the dog park, I play fetch, I rollerblade, I bike, I swim with him. Obviously not all in the same day, but daily. Walking is NOT exercise for them, it's more of a 'structure' training/exercise. Walking him twice a day for 30 mins each definitely won't cut it for a GSD.

There will be shedding EVERYWHERE no matter how often you groom him. Yes it will reduce, but the 'reduced shedding' version of German Shepherds would still mean your car interior will look like barbershop, even though you have seat cover. I spend 20-40mins/week vacuuming my car with high velocity vacuum they have in car wash places. You would need to groom him (deshed or demat) AT LEAST 3 times a week.

Mentally? GSDs thrive on guidelines, structure, rules. They will look up to you for directions and obedience. They like being told what to do because they are bred for high obedience. You will have to train him (learning tricks, mental exercise by playing, obedience training) at least 20-30 mins a day. And he WILL challenge you if he feels he is smarter than you (yes, he'd know.)

German Shepherd puppies R no exceptions. It took me 1-2 months until I can pet him without him nipping. It took him a while till he stops nipping on people who want to pet him. They are highly exuberant, they will sprint, jump when they are excited... Unless you can get them under control.

I'm a single household in my 20s, so I don't have kids living with me. That being said, I've had my 4 year old nephew stay with me for a week. And my dog has started socialising with kids under 13 too, and he does behave around them. But that took me until he was almost 1 year! Which was 3 was a month 2 months ago! What terrifies me is not him being aggressive etc., what terrifies me is how easy can my dog nip a kid's face because his height is adjacent to theirs, and if he jumps on a kid, that kid will surely fall down. What causes a GSD to act this way? Biologically, it's because they have high prey drive. Chases every little thing that moves, from a fly to a child. Unless you are confident that you can train him and set up some hard rules for him, I would not recommend a GSD. A GSD with no structure and no mental challenge is not a good pet to have around. But if they have what they need, they are the best dogs in the world I swear on my life.

Honestly speaking, I'd rather get a golden retriever or a lab or even low energy dog breeds such as english bulldogs or basset hounds. As a kid, I'd say out of the 5 dog breeds I grew up with, golden retrievers R the best ones for household with kids under 13.
 
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