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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. I have wanted a GSD for the longest time after playing with a few a few years ago (And they are just beautiful animals). I have been around dogs all my life, mostly chocolate/yellow labs as they make great farm dogs. I grew up on a 400 acre dairy farm in Maryland, so I know my way around animals. I did cow showing and all that jazz, so I am quite familiar with training as well.

Now I am located in urban Northern Virginia, a far cry from the farm. I live in a pretty decent sized apartment now and will be moving to a dog friendly one sometime later this year so I can acquire a puppy.

The downsides are 1) I am stuck with apartment/townhouse life for the foreseeable future as a 26yo on a single income. Houses aren't getting cheaper, houses with more than a 1/4 acre run into the millions. 2) I work pretty long hours, but I can switch projects. I have no issue walking the dog in the AM and exercising it in the PM. I'd be able to work with my job and leave during lunch to feed and walk the puppy as well, that shouldn't be that big of an issue. I can even take time off from work and work from home for a few weeks when I get the puppy to acclimate it to me.

Are these two big negatives disqualifiers for such an energetic animal? I did a good bit of searching on this site and read a few people that had GSD's and lived in apartments, as well as stories from people on other sites with GSD's in apartments. Plus, I will be able to take it 1-2 weekends a month to the farm and let it run around a good bit!

Thanks for any insight, I don't know any GSD owners personally now so it is hard to get questions answered.
 

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Hi Smith, welcome to the forum


As you mention, GSDs are very energetic animals. They are also very intelligent animals and need a lot of mental stimulation also. I would not say in any way that should rule you out of owning one.

I have owned GSDs and lived in small houses with little/no yards in the past, and that has not been a problem at all if you are still taking them places for walks and making sure they get good mental and physical stimulation.

Be aware that with a young puppy they will need to go out OFTEN! That is great that you will be able to work it out so that you can work from home for a few weeks. That will make life easier for you. I would also recommend crate training, that will help keep your sanity!

Hope that information helps!

Edit: Oh, forgot to mention! Since the GSD is such a loyal breed (read as Velcro dogs!) the size of your living space probably won't matter at all, as they will always want to be within about 2 ft of you and won't be yearning for more space!
 

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What might be a nice fit is a bit old dog from a good rescue. There are all these great dogs that are a bit older and a lot of people want puppies and younger dogs. I think a dog from 5 years and up would be a nice fit. No puppy needing to go out every 4 hours at the maximum, no teenager that is busting the seams with energy, a dog that would enjoy going for a nice walk and then hang out with you watching football, racing or what every on a sunday afternoon.
 

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Originally Posted By: Smith3 Houses aren't getting cheaper, houses with more than a 1/4 acre run into the millions.
Yes they are, but still high, and nobody's lending money anymore

I think you will be fine- can you get someone to visit and maybe take the dog out on days when you do have to work long hours? That would be my only concern. A dog in a crate or small kennel all day won't be too happy, and loose in the house isn't a good option either.
 

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Originally Posted By: Wisc.TigerWhat might be a nice fit is a bit old dog from a good rescue. There are all these great dogs that are a bit older and a lot of people want puppies and younger dogs. I think a dog from 5 years and up would be a nice fit. No puppy needing to go out every 4 hours at the maximum, no teenager that is busting the seams with energy, a dog that would enjoy going for a nice walk and then hang out with you watching football, racing or what every on a Sunday afternoon.
That might be a good fit for a "first dog of my own" especially since they should have the house broken issues worked out. I will defiantly take that into consideration. I think I will either go with a puppy or an older rescue dog.
 

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Originally Posted By: DannayHi Smith, welcome to the forum


As you mention, GSDs are very energetic animals. They are also very intelligent animals and need a lot of mental stimulation also. I would not say in any way that should rule you out of owning one.

I have owned GSDs and lived in small houses with little/no yards in the past, and that has not been a problem at all if you are still taking them places for walks and making sure they get good mental and physical stimulation.

Be aware that with a young puppy they will need to go out OFTEN! That is great that you will be able to work it out so that you can work from home for a few weeks. That will make life easier for you. I would also recommend crate training, that will help keep your sanity!

Hope that information helps!
I have no issue taking them out in the AM and the PM for runs. I have been looking for a good excuse to start running every day, plus it would get me outside a bit more than I am now. Plus getting out and doing things on the weekends would be a big plus as well.

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Edit: Oh, forgot to mention! Since the GSD is such a loyal breed (read as Velcro dogs!) the size of your living space probably won't matter at all, as they will always want to be within about 2 ft of you and won't be yearning for more space!
That isn't a problem at all!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Originally Posted By: Lucina
Originally Posted By: Smith3 Houses aren't getting cheaper, houses with more than a 1/4 acre run into the millions.
Yes they are, but still high, and nobody's lending money anymore

I think you will be fine- can you get someone to visit and maybe take the dog out on days when you do have to work long hours? That would be my only concern. A dog in a crate or small kennel all day won't be too happy, and loose in the house isn't a good option either.
I could easily have someone come care for it. If I had to have the long hours and my g/f wasn't able to come let it out during lunch I wouldn't have an issue paying for a dog walker to do the lunchtime walk. I'd rather pay the money the first few months if I got a puppy and have it walked than not have one at all.

Having an apartment dog is a bit different than the farm dogs. We had about 6 labs on the farm and they'd just roam wherever they wanted!
 

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Why don't you think about joining up with your local GSD rescue (that would be us - VGSR) and hanging out with some GSDs and even more importantly, you can hang out with a bunch of fellow GSD fanatics! You will have an immediate base of over 100 folks who know and love the breed. We can almost always use "extra hands" at our adoption days. I promise you, we are a very friendly bunch and we like to have a good time at our events while we are doing a good deed by helping the dogs!

If you go to our web site and check out the "events" section, you can see when and where we will be holding our upcoming adoption days.

We have a number of folks in our rescue that got their dogs from breeders, so please don't think we will try to push you into getting a rescue GSD. We just all love the breed - that is our common denominator. The site is http://www.shepherdrescue.org

Another thought is that if you do work a long(ish) day, you may want to consider getting a young adult dog instead of a puppy. It is truly a luxury to get a dog that is already housebroken!

Yours in GSDs and rescue,

Lea
 

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Originally Posted By: RemoWhy don't you think about joining up with your local GSD rescue (that would be us - VGSR) and hanging out with some GSDs and even more importantly, you can hang out with a bunch of fellow GSD fanatics! You will have an immediate base of over 100 folks who know and love the breed. We can almost always use "extra hands" at our adoption days. I promise you, we are a very friendly bunch and we like to have a good time at our events while we are doing a good deed by helping the dogs!

If you go to our web site and check out the "events" section, you can see when and where we will be holding our upcoming adoption days.

We have a number of folks in our rescue that got their dogs from breeders, so please don't think we will try to push you into getting a rescue GSD. We just all love the breed - that is our common denominator. The site is http://www.shepherdrescue.org

Another thought is that if you do work a long(ish) day, you may want to consider getting a young adult dog instead of a puppy. It is truly a luxury to get a dog that is already housebroken!

Yours in GSDs and rescue,

Lea
Lea,

I will definitely look into the VGSR, nice and local. I'd love to see a good few and their interaction with their owners.
 

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Originally Posted By: Smith3I have no issue taking them out in the AM and the PM for runs. I have been looking for a good excuse to start running every day, plus it would get me outside a bit more than I am now. Plus getting out and doing things on the weekends would be a big plus as well.
Also, please be aware that with a young puppy/dog you would not want to be doing any kind of repetitive movement, like jogging, on pavement until they are at least 18 months. If that is what you envision wanting to do "out of the box" as it were, an older rescue dog might be the pick for you
 

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I don't believe in crate-owning, period. People on here will disagree because they do it, plain and simple.
If you want a pet that you can keep caged all day, take out and play with in the eveing, get a hampster or guinea pig.
Some people justify day crating by saying they love their pet and are insuring their safety by locking them in a cage, all day, 5 days a week. Play with them in the eveing if you have the time, and then off to bed. Great life!
And the funny thing is these are the same people that see a dog tied to a leash all day in someones back yard and say, " poor dog, how cruel, at least my dog is safe at home in his crate???"
 

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I live in a highrise apartment with my young GSD. With a huge amount of leash walking, ball-playing, training classes, training homework, etc-- it is do-able. Clearly, your lifestyle would change enormously, due to the amount of time investiture in keeping the dog physically excersised, to avoid the dog chewing furniture and holes in himself in frustration.

Another critical difference between GSDs and those Labs-- the GSD absolutely without a doubt NEEDS mental stimulation. You will need to use much of your free time (and even time you do not normally consider "free") to excersise a GSD's mind. Training classes, training homework, training excersises and games in your livingroom, while on walks, at the park, while fixing dinner-- lots of training involvement needed here. Without an owner tiring the dog's mind, the dog craves mental excersise and can become destructive, a barker in an apartment, etc.

Basicly, plan on becoming another person. That's what happened for me, and for many of us when we got our first GSD. You become: A dedicated packleader who reads up on the internet about NILIF, a committed leash-walker who is absolutely wild about incorperating training into daily living. You get a rhythm going-- living in that apartment means walking, walking, walking... training, training, training... there is time to kick back and just love your dog, for sure! But, these super-intelligent dogs need an owner willing to tire both body and mind.

Rescue is a GREAT way to select a dog! You get to choose the energy level, age, etc.. with what fits your lifestyle!
 

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i just want to chime in a little as ive done the apartment thing for many years with 1-2 gsd.

first thing that sticks out is how extremely difficult it is to housebreak a puppy in most apartment settings. once you finally get them to let you know they have to go out - its hard for them to then hold it down stairs or thru a courtyard, etc etc. so when choosing a place to live, you will have to keep this in mind 500%... its goes alot further than just finding a place that allows dogs.

i think its a general rule of thumb that puppies will have to go out every hour for each of its months in age (2 month old puppy goes every 2 hours... 4mo old every 4 etc).

i fostered for a local shepherd rescue before (being able to) adopt, (i was just 18 and had to build up my credibility after being denied due to age) and it was the best preparation i could have had. may be something to look into.

and just my personal experience, i wouldnt go under 2 as far as adopting. its definitely doable, but tough... these dogs get bored, and you'll pay for it thru behavior issues and destroyed property.

there is so much truth to "a tired dog is a good dog", however i can run my 16 mo old for 2hrs at the park and in 3-4 more hours he can do it all over again!

Originally Posted By: ROYAL_RUGERI don't believe in crate-owning, period. People on here will disagree because they do it, plain and simple.
If you want a pet that you can keep caged all day, take out and play with in the eveing, get a hampster or guinea pig.
to the OP, keep in mind that crating doesnt have to be for life. but i think its extremely helpful with training a puppy, esp housebreaking.
 

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Hi,

Just a word about the mental stimulation part of owning a GSD from a first-time GSD owner.

IT'S FUN!!!

You play games with the dog-you have a partner for all kinds of silliness who absolutely craves it (from my small experience). My dear dog loves to surprise me-I think it must be some kind of predator activity turned into play-but it's fabulous.

You get this majestic, loving, thinking creature and you simply add another dimension to your life.

I really hope it works out for you (do try rescue).

Mary Jane
 

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I would get an adult from a rescue or reputable breeder. Kenya is my first GSD and I got her when she was 3. I was matched to her based on my lifestyle and my goals for the dog. She is from a good breeder and her original home did not work out. I work full time, but since she was an adult, she did/does not need to be crated and has never chewed or destroyed anything in my house. When the weather is nice, I come home for lunch break and sit in the yard to eat while the dogs play. In the evenings and on weekends we do exercise and training. We train and compete in rally, obedience, herding, agility, other one-offs like temperament testing, TDI, and local therapy group classes, and now we are joining a new Schutzhund club, so even working full time I have been able to keep up with training and titling my dog.
 

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Royal_Ruger, It is great that you have an opinion and think that many of us shouldn't own GSD's, but we should have a hampster or guinea pig. Sorry but no where on this thread did anyone talk about crating all day. So you opinion is your opinion, glad to know what you think of me and I am sure other members are enlightened also.
 

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Originally Posted By: ROYAL_RUGERI don't believe in crate-owning, period. People on here will disagree because they do it, plain and simple.
If you want a pet that you can keep caged all day, take out and play with in the eveing, get a hampster or guinea pig
Actually, I disagree because hard crating is required at every dog show (rally, obedience, and agility) I've been to an competing in and is sometimes required at various training venues or for tests and matches. It's also the absolute safest way for a dog to travel.

Ergo, when we are not "on deck" or competing at shows or matches, my dog is crated. She is also crated for travel, and sometimes crated at a hotel if the hotel requires it.

Right now she's in her crate (munching on a raw egg shell I believe) but her crate door is stuck open with a nail in the wall. I guess I'm a horrible dog mom for not telling her to get out and eat her snack on the floor...
 

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Rescues rock! I've adopted 5 and fostered many more over the years. I like the young adults because they've still got plenty of energy but are past the housebreaking and chewing stages. If you have an active lifestyle then a young adult may work just fine for you.

As for the crate argument...Rafi isn't crated while I'm at work or out and he never moves or does anything while I'm gone! I don't think his day would be any different were he crated.
 
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