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For me it was getting to know the breed and was I in for a ride the first 2 years. But because of my love for my guy and the respect and loyalty of the breed I have gotten very involved in rescue work. I could not think or imagine any gsd who is so loyal, smarter than most humans, in dire situations. I felt it was my mission to help as many as I can in honor of the guy I have fallen in love with. I have never felt a animals birthday as a bad occasion but with mine its one less year.....
 

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Well, I've always had dogs, and about 25+ yrs ago got my first GSD. No big change, he was easy going and got along with everything/everyone.
When he was 10 we added a golden/border x, no big change in my dog interest, she was part of the family, but we didn't do much as far as classes, my toddlers kept me busy. I felt a bit bad that she had so much wasted potential.
DH surprised us w/Onyx 3 yrs ago, and BIG change!
It was probably the time in my life, I have always been into exotic birds and that interest waned as I raised my kids. So the timing was perfect for me to get interesed in something else.
Because Onyx had some reactive issues, I had to learn how to deal with her. My interest snowballed into a passion(obsession) and now my kids think I am a bit obsessed. Keeps me out of trouble.
I can't imagine life without them.
 

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How much time do you have and how many chapters do ya want me to write? LOL!

I, too, have had dogs all my life - I'm 56 years old. When we decided to adopt Riley, we made a HUGE mistake and considered it as "just adopting a dog." I don't mean it was a mistake to adopt him, I mean it was a mistake to NOT get educated in GSDs before he came to live w/us. I'd had dogs all my life, why should I go learn what I figured I knew enough about? It never even dawned on me, not ever.

He was 7mos old when we got him. I'd say at about a year, he went from being just a pup to being a German Shepherd and the learning adventure began and hasn't stopped since. The time I've spent learning and doing and training and and and the money we've spent in all of that .... if I added it all up I would prolly cry or scream or something.

I used to think people w/GSDs that would say things like "GSDs are different" (that kinda talk) were nuts and probably snooty - like they thought they were better than everyone else because their dog was a GSD. It's a dog ... why would a GSD be any different from any other dog? Why do you think you and your dog are so special? HA! NOWWWWWWW I know, LOL! and it's got nothing to do w/being special.

Now, on the other hand, Nissa is a GSD but she falls into the category of "just a dog." Two dogs, two completely different personalities. Blows my mind. I wouldn't trade either one of them for a million-trillion dollars either. They both teach me different things and I don't think I'll ever stop learning. They're each their own individual learning curves.
 

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Athena has changed my life in many ways. She has made me grow as a stronger person.I haven't had much of a choice if I wanted her to be a better dog.She has put me in some uncomfortable situations that I couldn't turn and run away from.
She has also brought great joy to my life.She makes me laugh everyday for some goofy thing she does.She gives me unconditional love that I have never seen from another living thing except maybe a cat or 2.She keeps me going every day even if I don't feel like it....
 

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Let's see:

Skye is not my first shepherd, but since I have had her the following things have changed:

I no longer wake up without stuffed toys lying all over me

My favorite clothing colors are black and tan

I always feel missed when I see Skye's face in the window watching for me and so happy that once again I came home from work

No dog can ever get out of the TV to come after me - Skye will bark it back in and stand between me and the the TV threat

I can no longer have bleak, lonely evenings - Skye will do something goofy every time and ruin my bad mood by making me laugh

I name toys - how else can I tell Skye which one to fetch to me?

I spend more money on dog food and treats than at the grocery store.

And most of all - she has taught me that if a dog can come from a bad situation, go into rescue and become a beautiful companion and valued therapy dog - I can just get over my hurts, too.
 

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I just got my first GSD a year ago. However there haven't been a lot of changes because Bianca's personality and temperament are very similar to my Golden Retriever's... She is very calm and laid back and was a semi-trained (she was rusty on a lot of obedience stuff) adult when I got her so it has not been a huge difference.
In fact that was why I decided to adopt Bianca instead of getting a young adult or puppy GSD as I had originally been planning... After having lost my two senior dogs recently and having been used to two older well-trained dogs for many years I knew a puppy would be a huge shock! I decided for my first Shepherd I should go with an adult instead...

The main difference is I am much more aware/alert of other dogs' presence when we are out on walks. When I got Bianca she would bark and lunge at every dog we saw on a walk, so I had to be aware of them and avoid them. This was especially true once I started a 'reactive dog' class with her because I had to notice the other dog (and Bianca's body language) before she reacted towards them so I could work on her training. She's gotten a lot better with training but I still am very aware of other dogs on walks...
 

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I'll take the flame but sometimes the 'bigger'the dog the bigger the problem.That said our GSD are MORE the support to thir humans than some smaller/easier to be accepted dogs.Wouldn't trade the problems for the benefits.
 

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Hiking boots now last only six months
I vacuum more than any single guy on earth (ok, maybe...)
I see lots of sunrises since somebody always wants to start the day around 530 am.

Seriously...I do appreciate the little things a lot more...a quiet walk, her (the dog) inquisitive nature, her patience when waiting for me has made me more patient and able to appreciate quiet time with her
 

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Kaylee is my first GSD and first dog as an adult. Since I got her, I no longer get stuck in mopey sit-around time, both because I know she needs me and because playing with her is so much fun. I've gained patience, and lost weight.


Watching her tracking this morning (our first track that was made by someone other than myself or my husband), I was momentarily overcome with pride and love. She's good at tracking, and is a joy to watch. The club trainers say she is excellent and takes the corners "like she has a fish hook in her mouth." The bond required between us for this isn't something I had anticipated, or experienced. I can barely wait to see how it develops.
 

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Hunter is my 3nd gsd mix the other 2 were the family dog Enook and my girl Jessie and has of right now good cause Hunter can help in the pain of my loss with Jessie and proect me cause he gets air when he jumps at the door and my mom is right no one will try to get in this house with two dogs barking and by july Hunter will be the beast that you can see at eye level when you are sitting down.
 
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