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Hey everyone!

I've been reading through this forum ever since I stumbled upon it a week ago. My fiance and I are planning on getting a puppy soon and I wanted to get some opinions on whether or not a GSD would be a fit for us. First off I would like to say I am a long time lover of the breed and have tons of respect for the dog. I have grown up with labs and would like to try something a little more, well, smarter. I absolutely want a larger dog that loves to play, especially in water. Although there are a few roadblocks.

My fiance and I currently both work. So the dog would be left alone for a portion of the day. Crating would be necessary for the early months, but after we feel we can trust the dog, I believe it would be able to roam the house during the day. We would both be able to take the dog for a walk each in the morning as we get up at different times. Then after work would be free time. We do not have a huge fenced yard, but plenty of open land and forest preserves, dog parks, beaches within a short walk/drive. Am I crazy for wanting such a high maintenance dog and can it work with our schedule?

We plan on having kids in say the next 5 years. Is introducing babies to a 4-5 year old dog dangerous? Or is it better to wait to get the dog until the kids are older?

Another major item, is that my fiance thinks the breed is a vicious breed. I respect her opinion b/c there does seem to be a lot of biased information on GSD's out there in regards to aggression and bite tendencies. The way I see it, the dog will be a product of it's environment and traning. I plan on spending time to train and socialize so I am not worried but I can not seem to convince her otherwise. Is there any advice that can be shared on this point?

Any experiences/thoughts/criticisms would be greatly appreciated on this. Thank you very much
 

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Hello and welcome.
I myself once thought of the GSD being a mean and vicious breed. Now I don't know if I would ever own another breed of dog. I would try to expose her to adult GSD's. All breeds of pups are cute, but if you can find an adult dog that she can be around that is well mannered maybe it would change her mind. I'm not sure where your located but I think some exposure would help out a lot.
 

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Hey everyone!

I've been reading through this forum ever since I stumbled upon it a week ago. My fiance and I are planning on getting a puppy soon and I wanted to get some opinions on whether or not a GSD would be a fit for us. First off I would like to say I am a long time lover of the breed and have tons of respect for the dog. I have grown up with labs and would like to try something a little more, well, smarter. I absolutely want a larger dog that loves to play, especially in water. Although there are a few roadblocks.

My fiance and I currently both work. So the dog would be left alone for a portion of the day. Crating would be necessary for the early months, but after we feel we can trust the dog, I believe it would be able to roam the house during the day. We would both be able to take the dog for a walk each in the morning as we get up at different times. Then after work would be free time. We do not have a huge fenced yard, but plenty of open land and forest preserves, dog parks, beaches within a short walk/drive. Am I crazy for wanting such a high maintenance dog and can it work with our schedule?

We plan on having kids in say the next 5 years. Is introducing babies to a 4-5 year old dog dangerous? Or is it better to wait to get the dog until the kids are older?

Another major item, is that my fiance thinks the breed is a vicious breed. I respect her opinion b/c there does seem to be a lot of biased information on GSD's out there in regards to aggression and bite tendencies. The way I see it, the dog will be a product of it's environment and traning. I plan on spending time to train and socialize so I am not worried but I can not seem to convince her otherwise. Is there any advice that can be shared on this point?

Any experiences/thoughts/criticisms would be greatly appreciated on this. Thank you very much


I think you would make an awesome owner of this breed, it sounds to me like it's going to be one lucky puppy, the breed needs to be socialized to be at it's best, I have grown up with Shepherds and think they are fantastic with kids. I suggest you do a lot of reading on the breed and if yu choose to buy a puppy, go with a reputable breeder who takes pride in their temperament and trainability, there are a lot of them out there.

Welcome to the boards.
 

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The only advise I give anyone considering a GSD is that you be committed to training your dog. GDSs live to be trained-they are so smart they need the challenge and have pride in their abilities. I am partial to females-especially if you are going to have children. A book on shepherds will help too. Look for a breeder that socializes the pups w/ young children and when you get your pup, expose her/him to children as often as possible. We chose our breeder because every photo of the puppies had a two and four year old around (and they have a great reputation).
 

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I agree with the above. I just wanted to add and reiterate, if your fiance is really NOT on board with a german shepherd, I wouldn't get one, unless you can change her mind and she's comfortable with it.

To many times I"ve seen, even on this board, one spouse is great with the dog, the other wants it 'gone', especially when kids come on the scene.

The majority of them are not couch potatoes, tho they are out there;) and require alot of training and socialization.

Right now I'm down to one gsd and two aussies,,my sister has always been the "lab" owner in the family (we don't live together:) she has told me she could never live with any of my dogs, to high maintenance for her and she does EVERYTHING with her dogs, agility, obed, hunting tests, that type of thing.

My suggestion is, find yourself a good breeder, have your fiance meet their adult dogs, and go from there. If both parties are not on board, it won't make for a good relationship for anyone
 

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I am a first time GSD owner with a 15 week old puppy. It is the most intense, difficult thing I have encountered. HOWEVER the rewards are even BIGGER. I can see that already and I am JUST beginning this journey. The people here are wonderful, don't think I could do it with out them. I am exhausted, I take Jake everywhere I legally can to socialize him, they grow so fast and learn at an incredible speed. I think like GSD MOM said you'll never want another breed again.
 

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I think that you are off to a very good start because you are educating yourself about German Shepherds and you are here, asking these questions before you go out and buy a dog. That's excellent and, unfortunately, not a lot of people do it.

That said, with your limited dog experience and with both of you working, I would probably consider a young adult rescue dog rather than a puppy. If you work with a good rescue, they can find you an ideal "starter dog" that will introduce you to the breed and might have a temperament that will fit very well into your current situation.

It would also give you the additional support that you get from having a network of people at your rescue to ask questions and get help. When I volunteered with VGSR, we used to have a mailing list where we would answer people's questions and help them resolve problems with their adopted dogs. It's a great way to get started with a specific breed of dog or if you're new to owning and training.
 

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Wow thank you everyone for the quick responses!! Any more info on leaving the dog home alone would be greatly appreciated.

In regards to my fiance, I would absolutely not put her in a position to own a dog that made her uncomfortable. We are located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The closest breeder I have been researching is Mittelwest German Shepherds. They are only like 20-30 minutes away and look amazing. My fiance and I plan on visiting next week to see the facilities and meet some dogs. They do tons of onsite traning and shows it seems like. It looks like an amazing place. If anyone has any experience or feedback about Mittelwest please let me know. I am in no way affiliated with Mittlewest. If discussing this publicly breaks forum rules, please private message me to discuss, thank you. If we got a GSD, I would most likely attend training at Mittelwest, but nothing aggressive, mostly mind stimulating.

As far as socializing, I would pretty much take the dog everywhere I could. When I babysit friend's dogs, I take them in the car pretty much everywhere I go. We are a busy couple during the week, but have an aching for another companion in the household.

Thanks again
 

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How many hours a day would the pup be crated? I have always followed the rule "no more hours than months old" . It will be hard for a small pup to stay crated without a break for a full work day plus it will make it harder to house train a dog that learns to soil in his "area". I was able to go home on days Gustav could not come to work with me when he was younger and give a mid-day break. But his first 6 weeks with us, my husband was home for the summer (school teacher). Now if he happens to stay home (which isn't often), he is fine (now he is two) but boy watch out on the pent up energy!! I understand that is not always possible to get home but maybe other options? I had a friend who couldn't technically take her pup to work but she got the pup in the cooler months and kept him crated in her car during the day. That was a safe place for him, comfortable, and she was able to give him several breaks duing the day.
 

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If you get a good GSD, best dog around ever! But if you get a poor one, one of the worst dog around. Choose the breeder carefully OR pick carefully among the rescue choices and you will love your choice!

It sounds like your dog will be one lucky fella (or girl!).
 

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I also once thought GSDs were mean vicious dogs as well. I never really cared for them.

Now after owning one i don't regret it one bit Josie is my first shepherd, who is origionally my husband's dog now has turned into MY dog lol. It really has to do with the amount of training, and socialization to create a solid nerve dog. Of course good breeding is a must too for good temperament too.

They are an active breed, if you're an active person then this may be a good dog for you :). Maybe have you and your wife go visit some rescues to meet some nice dogs, even some reputable breeders too and ask if you can meet with the parents. Usually seeing how solid nerves the parents are is a pretty good indicators how the puppies will turn out. If the parents act like they want to rip your heads off i'd keep on looking. There are good shepherds out there so don't be afraid to be picky and selective, maybe have your wife do the looking if that'll make her feel better. If she still doesn't want anything to do with it then maybe having a GSD isn't the best right now.

I am sure the GSD rescue will be happy to help you and help your wife feel more comfortable.
 

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Please find a reliable neighbor or friend to give breaks (summer = high school & college kids looking for work) during the day...or daycare while the pup is little. I found the summer a great time to work with a puppy-not too cold for those late night potty runs!
 

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We do not have a huge fenced yard, but plenty of open land and forest preserves, dog parks, beaches within a short walk/drive.
I lived the first 37 years of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is very urban. Large yards were not the norm. In fact, a yard of any size was a real luxury in the city. And yet I was surrounded by dog owners who got out with their dogs and were active and involved owners. They trained and socialized and exercised and had very happy, healthy dogs.

It wasn't until I moved here to Idaho that I was exposed to a whole bunch of dog owners that had huge yards. Despite these yards, they had dogs that were overweight and under socialized. For many of these owners the prevailing attitude seems to be that the dog has a big yard to exercise in and they have completely abdicated any interest or responsibility in training, exercising or socializing their pet.

Having a yard is not a necessity. Some of the best owners I have ever seen lived in city apartments. What is necessary is a huge commitment to training and exercising religiously, regardless of weather or your own energy level.

I think it is a good sign that you're asking these questions now! Hopefully your fiance will be able to meet some really nice GSDs and change her opinion of the breed. I babysat my 13 year old niece and 5 year old nephew this past weekend and my older male GSD spent every moment he could playing fetch with the 5 year old. This dog outweighs my nephew by a good 50 lbs. and yet he was very careful with him. When the kids got picked up yesterday my nephew was more interested in knowing when he could come back to play with Jackson than he was in greeting his parents after a 5 day separation!
Sheilah
 

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Hi Mike, as far as leaving the dog inside. In my place I've installed a doggy door from a door in the garage to a small portion of the yard that is fenced in (apart from the rest of the yard which is fenced in) so my dogs can't get in too much trouble or fence fight with neighbor dogs etc. during the day. I leave the door from the garage to inside the house open, tied with a bungee cord, and that leads into the kitchen, which has sliding doors on both sides that I close.

That's a situation I really like-- free reign would include the dogs possibly chewing up furniture, or other valuable items that are not found in a kitchen. If I didn't have doors on the kitchen, I would have gone with some tall, strong kiddie gates to keep them in the kitchen. They can go inside and out, without the ability to chew up stuff in the house.
 

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yes a GSD is right for you. are you right for
a GSD or any dog?

yes a GSD will play in many ways
including water.

leaving your dog inside. i never left
my puppy longer than 4 hours. my
neighbor came in and helped with
our puppy. my dog is 3 years old
and my neighbor still comes in and helps
out whenever necessary. i got my
puppy at 9 weeks old. my GF and i
took a month off from work so we
could have time for the puppy.


high maintenance dog? i think
all dogs are high maintenance.
you have to walk them, groom them,
pay their bills, exercise them,
join a puppy class then OB class
and whatever higher training,
good old quality time and
socializing and more.

GSD's aren't vicious. train, train, train
and socialize, socialize, socialize and
buy from a reputable breeder.

good luck with your new pup.
 

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sit,stay, I think you nailed it on the head. Thanks for the input. If anyone has any further insight, please keep posting. I really do appreciate it.

We are planning to visit Mittelwest next week. I'll let you know the outcome.

Thanks again
Mike
 

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Sinister is my first GSD, he is 15 months old and I can tell you right now that I will always have a GSD in my life. They are the best breed ever, IMO. They are ridiculously smart, loyal, affectionate and energetic. Sinister is by far the best thing that ever happened to me. He is my best friend, my son, my protector, my shoulder to cry on, my partner in crime, my dog. I take him everywhere with me, he is very well socialized, he loves people and other dogs. I got him when he was 11 weeks old and I love that age. They have a better attention span and a better bladder than a 8 week old puppy. Next year in September I will be getting a 12 week old female GSD puppy. I found a great breeder that is willing to hold onto my puppy until I am ready to take her home. 12 weeks is the age I prefer.

Good luck to you, I hope you find the perfect puppy for you. I think you will be a great GSD daddy. :) We just have to convince your girl :D
 

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Wow thank you everyone for the quick responses!! Any more info on leaving the dog home alone would be greatly appreciated.

In regards to my fiance, I would absolutely not put her in a position to own a dog that made her uncomfortable. We are located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The closest breeder I have been researching is Mittelwest German Shepherds. They are only like 20-30 minutes away and look amazing. My fiance and I plan on visiting next week to see the facilities and meet some dogs. They do tons of onsite traning and shows it seems like. It looks like an amazing place. If anyone has any experience or feedback about Mittelwest please let me know. I am in no way affiliated with Mittlewest. If discussing this publicly breaks forum rules, please private message me to discuss, thank you. If we got a GSD, I would most likely attend training at Mittelwest, but nothing aggressive, mostly mind stimulating.

As far as socializing, I would pretty much take the dog everywhere I could. When I babysit friend's dogs, I take them in the car pretty much everywhere I go. We are a busy couple during the week, but have an aching for another companion in the household.

Thanks again

Mike, I have seen dogs from Mittlewest at the big SV shows, they have some beautiful dogs, they are West German Showlines which I am partial to, they would in my opinion be a great place to go and get involved with the breed, and I think this line of German Shepherd is perfect for you.
 
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