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After a lot of debate, meeting breeders, meeting dogs, I have put a deposit on a pup. The breeder will be selecting the dog she feels is best for what I am seeking: a low drive family orientated dog. She understands my major concern of my 5yr old daughter being the most important consideration in this decision.

That being said I have committed to several 1+ mile walks per day as well as off leash play, ongoing training/obedience sessions, and plenty of socialization and exposure to ensure I have a stable, even tempered adult. I'm planning on taking half days at work for a little while as I integrate the pup into my life.

What has me second guessing myself is the internet. All I see are stories of GSDs with anxiety, biting, growling, tearing stuff up, needing 4hrs of exercise per day, etc. Much like WebMD says you have stage 4 cancer if you have a splinter....

I'm no stranger to large, strong willed breeds...I had an Akita since she was a puppy and a high energy boxer/pit mix that was a rescue whom I also got as a puppy. But, the internet has me convinced I'm getting a furry Velociraptor that will ruin my life unless I can devote 30 hours a day, 8 days a week to it.

Help set me straight....
 

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On a scale from 1 to 10 you are in for probably a 5-6 headache. LOL

You are getting a furry Velociraptor. There's no way around that. That's why they are called land sharks. But no, you don't have to worry.

They are not going to be that ridiculously crazy. As puppies, GSDs are pretty time consuming bu they start to settle around 1 1/2 to 2 years of age. I'm not saying they turn into couch potatoes or anything, I'm saying the crazy, hyper attitude some of them don as puppies will go away and they will be normal adult dogs.
They need exercise, but certainly not that much. (though they will appreciate it for sure.) It sounds like you are ready for anything. If you can handle an Akita and a pit bull mix, you don't need to worry.
 

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The two dogs you once had have already prepared you for the energy and stubbornness parts of raising a GSD. You already know how much energy to expect, and you already know what a strong-willed dog is like and how firm a hand you'll need. The difference here is: GSDs are energetic, but they like to have a job and will readily expend their energy on any job you give them. So their energy is more easily focused. They're strong-willed, but they bond very closely with their people. They need to learn the rules, and those rules have to be made clear to them. Once they understand the rules, they follow them without much fuss and are generally happier dogs.

Your challenge will be in managing the biting. This is natural to herding dogs, especially higher energy, hard-headed herding dogs. They just don't have a soft mouth like a lab, and they communicate with their mouths far more heavily than other breeds. Just...carry chewable things about with you and redirect.
 

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JMO .... this forum has many threads about dogs from 6 months of age to a year and a half--raised from a pup and now has developed some sort of behavioral issue ... that's typically because the growing pup was not taught boundaries and does not respect the owner even a little bit--I don't post in those threads as much as I did once upon a time because many times telling the truth gets relabeled as "judgemental" or "snarky".. in today's just tell me what I want to hear world.......short story is what you're reading online most times is about a pup becoming a adult--knows no boundaries at all and respects no one in the house OR respects one person and when that person is gone all *ell breaks loose for folks left in the house....

You've done your homework and sounds like you have a good mind set as far as exercise and getting the pup into a routine....I have a very close friend who has always had Akitas much like myself and my love of GSDs... so I know how strong willed and head strong Akitas are as a breed in general.kudos to you.....so don't over think this based on stories you see online most of them are "owner" failures..not a fault of the breed...you've got this -you'll be fine....(y)
 

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I tend to agree with Shane’sDad. I have had two shepherd puppies. One was a WGSL boy, and my current puppy is a WGWL boy. Neither dog is what I would call head strong or stubborn. Both live to work with/for me. Neither were mouthy at all. Neither chewed on anything inappropriate. Yes, I think I may have gotten lucky on that because I know it’s a mouthy breed, but I also think the amount of work I put in has had a huge impact. Neither of the dogs need hours of exercise. If you get a more laid back puppy from a good breeder, you’ve had Akitas, and you’re ready for some work the first year or two, I’m sure you’ll be totally fine. My puppy is a dream to live with, and everyone talks about how hard working lines are. If I’d known that these dogs are actually easy if you put the time in, I would have gotten one sooner.
 

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You'll be fine. I never took my puppies for 1+ mile walks. They were both winter babies and it's dark when I get home. Both are higher drive dogs. Play with them, play games that train them but work their brains. You'll be fine if you get a well bred puppy with balanced drives and an off switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the responses.

I'm still a bit nervous about my decision, pre-puppy blues?, I hope I can do the dog right and give him a good home and give my daughter a cuddle buddy for life.
 

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I have an 8 month old WGWL. This is after having a series of Golden retrievers. GSDs need to be trained and need to exercise. My retrievers, enjoyed exercise, but didn't have the same need for it. My experience is that if you work with the dog (and they are a joy to train) and you give them a reasonable amount of exercise there is not that big of a difference compared to the field line retrievers that I have had in terms of the puppy stuff.

I think the warnings that you read about are due to either a particular dog's issues, a mismatch in the drive level for the placement or an inexperienced owner not providing the leadership and structure required. My feeling is that with a GSD if it goes wrong, it goes really wrong.

Given your experience with powerful breeds, my guess is that you will be just fine. Watch a lot of training videos, read a bunch and i bet that you will have a wonderful experience.
 

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Honestly if you are iffy now DONT do it. I was 100% gung ho on a gsd my whole life. Finally got one. Then around 6 months it got really bad. I thought about giving it away. I even made a post on here about it. But I stuck through it bc I loved my dog. And guess what? My dogs now 1 1/2 and my best friend ever I couldn’t imagine life without him and I want more dogs!! Lol

but it will be a lot of work. A lot of frustration. Your dog May do dumb puppy stuff like eat a mushroom or bite into a glass sitting on the table. And you’re gonna have to pay those vet visit bills and the food bills and the training bills. It’s like having a kid. That’s what I didn’t understand. That’s why it was so hard for me

dint look at is as a dog, look at it as a child that will take time to grow until an adult that understands what you want from it
 

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Look, I'm about 50. People used to get dogs and that was that. I was honestly dumbfounded to learn that people were shocked by puppies biting and peeing and chewing, being puppies. I am glad in some respects that we have evolved and treat our animals different then when I was a child but where has common sense gone? It's a puppy not some rare and fragile species. Feed it, train it, love it. Where does the issue lie?
Twenty some odd years ago I was informed that I NEEDED to take prenatal classes before my son was born. Because apparently we are now incapable of having children without classes. The same thing has happened with getting a puppy. Education is good, but holy crap do we need to overthink every blessed thing we do?
Just enjoy your puppy.
 

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Look, I'm about 50. People used to get dogs and that was that. I was honestly dumbfounded to learn that people were shocked by puppies biting and peeing and chewing, being puppies. I am glad in some respects that we have evolved and treat our animals different then when I was a child but where has common sense gone? It's a puppy not some rare and fragile species. Feed it, train it, love it. Where does the issue lie?
Twenty some odd years ago I was informed that I NEEDED to take prenatal classes before my son was born. Because apparently we are now incapable of having children without classes. The same thing has happened with getting a puppy. Education is good, but holy crap do we need to overthink every blessed thing we do?
Just enjoy your puppy.
I read --re-read--then re-read again.....laughed so hard I've got tears in my eyes....great post..:LOL:
 

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I read --re-read--then re-read again.....laughed so hard I've got tears in my eyes....great post..:LOL:
I think is terrifying! I come on this forum and it's post after post of "attack of the killer puppy" or "am I qualified to own one"
I know that there are humans that should not own fish, but seriously we are not talking rocket science here. If you have a lick of sense and understand that it's a dog, with teeth, that needs access to food/water/shelter and must be taught not to eat the neighbors children then really you got this.
If you are afraid of the 12 week old puppy, probably don't get a dog.
People work, people have lives, people don't wish to hike 20 miles in the dark/snow/rain. Dogs survive. Heck mine can't wait to get back to Northwoods Law most mornings. Fish cops wrangling skunks is way more fun then going on a tour of the neighborhood.
Ever see No Country for Old Men? The sheriff should train dogs. He should give parenting tips.
Deputy: It's a mess ain't it Sheriff
Sheriff : If it ain't it'll do til the mess gets here.
Todays world.
 

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I know that there are humans that should not own fish, but seriously we are not talking rocket science here.
ever try to stabilize the ph for freshwater dwarf puffers in a 5 gallon tank? it IS rocket science! my dogs are much easier... 😛
 

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You can do it! I had a couple of kids raised with shar pei, danes and what not, oh at one point we even had a wolf hybrid. Now we have a couch potato Border Collie that is very rare! And a German Shepherd that I got from Craigslist in exchange for some kids toys. 3 cats as well. Doing just fine!
 

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Over thinking it. It's a dog....I love how some people like to make their breed (not just OUR breed) into these bigger than life kind of animals...they are dogs at the end of the day. Not tigers.

I would not over exercise your puppy. They are like little athletes. The more they workout, the more their endurance goes up and the more they need to workout. Then you end up with a dog that needs lots of exercise to settle down and be happy.
 

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Over thinking it. It's a dog....I love how some people like to make their breed (not just OUR breed) into these bigger than life kind of animals...they are dogs at the end of the day. Not tigers.
lol Right? I was just thinking how people make these puppies out to be monsters that require someone at home to exercise them all day long. Both my dogs are high drive sport dogs. I never needed to do that. If people really need to exercise their dogs several hours a day, either they have a monster of their own making by not teaching the dog to settle or the dog genetically is not balanced and has no off switch.
 

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I can tell you a little about my first GSD, Jupiter, who's now 14 months. We were also a little nervous, not knowing the breed except by reputation, and also since Jupiter's parents are guard dogs and us only wanting a family pet. However we got a chance to pick him out and chose the laziest, calmest pup.

He seemed to be just that the first week, but once he started feeling comfortably, he bit the heck out of us! This lasted 3-4 months, where he'd chase slippers, nip fingers, and clamp down on exposed skin whenever he got the chance. The nickname, "Landshark" was our reality.

As far as our activities, I read Patricia McConnell's Puppy book, and so emphasized socialization--that is, taking Jupiter all over the place and giving him positive or neutral experiences in as many locations, materials, sounds, people, stores, etc. I also immediately enrolled him in Puppy Obedience at a reputable place and afterwards followed that with Obedience 1, 2, and 3.

For exercise, we made liberal use of the flirt stick and taught him to chase/retrieve balls, both activities which he loves. I also went on walks, usually pushing the recommended times a little because I really wanted to tire him out. At about 4 months, I started taking him to the dog park because it's the only off-leash permissible area around here, where I could really hurl the ball far (I don't really recommend the dog park, though, even though it was a good experience all in all for us).

The nipping began to slow down after a few months and he's continued to calm down. I still take him around as much as possible, to parks and on errands. He loves to come in the car when I pick up my daughter from school. On weekends I take him to our local elementary school, where he can play fetch off-leash.

Even though we were a bit afraid of him because of GSD reputation and the terrible nipping, he's really won the whole family over. While Jupiter is not as gentle as our previous Golden retrievers, he's lovely, fun, happy, and reasonably well-behaved toward others dogs (he does hate puppies for some reason, though) and tolerates non-family humans and occasionally seeks them out. He may very well be my favorite dog I've had so far, and you can count me as fan of the breed.
557224
 

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Good for the breeder being on your case. Yes. Pups GSD anyway need attention, need work, need training. One dog sent to the wrong trainer by unskilled short-cut novice owners and being screwed up to the point of no return is ONE TOO MANY. Know your commitment, try to meet it and don't look for short cuts. Be determined to do it and do it. Your dog will be great. It's good for you, good for the dog, good for your daughter, good for your family.
 

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if you have a good trainer mentor to help you out, you should be good. The breeder will start you off with the right pup. If the trainer can include your child in with the teaching and training of the pup, you will be a step ahead of everyone. Check this site out. It is delightful
 
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