German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 74 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I are flip flopping back and forth re buying a GSD pup. I finally found what I believe is a trustworthy breeder. We are retired and very active 55 year olds with spare time to devote to the dog. We live in Ct.4 months and Fla-8 months- so the dog must be transported twice a year. We have never had a dog but I grew up with shepherds. It seems like such a BIG commitment-10 years- and lots of work- it is hard to weigh the pros vs cons-we now have complete freedom to come and go but we both love the GSD. Do any other dog owners go thru this internal conflict????? I speak to many current dog owners of various breeds and they would say this is their LAST animal.....

Love to hear if any other owners go thru this conflict and if and how they resolve it ----we dont want to make a mistake !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,888 Posts
Well, these are NOT my last animals! I cannot imagine how miserable I would be without a dog - without a big dog. Sure travel is more cumbersome. I just drove 2 days instead of flying, rented a car so they (my 13 & 10 yo GSDs) would be more comfortable... And next month I will have to board them for three or four days while I am out of town on business.

I think it was February where just routine vet care (dental +) cost more than my mortgage payment.

If this concerns you, if you'd rather travel without dogs, if it's too burdensome to take them to the vet for boarding when you do have to travel without them, if training is going to be a PIA instead of fun, if you really don't want to walk the dog at least once a day... then you probably don't really want a dog. There's nothing wrong with that. I don't understand it ofcourse, but there's nothing wrong with it.

Good luck!


BTW here's the story on a few friends:

1 has just retired and has one cat and one dog. She's readying her house to add another dog and another cat.

Another is still showing her Akita and Cannan Dog. And she wants another! She's in her mid 50s.

Another was recently and suddenly widowed and is having health problems. She'd be lost without her doberman.

A retired couple had to put their old cat (formerly kids' cat) down a few years back. They went without a cat for a bit and then got another formerly kid's cat from her son. They couldn't be happier. They would like not to board him but when they travel (and they travel quite a bit) they do it. Or have someone come in.

Yes, I too know people who have sworn this is their last animal... I don't understand that at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Maybe fostering a GSD would give you a better idea if you're ready to make a longer-term commitment. You could find out how your lifestyle would be affected and if having a dog is a right fit for you at this stage of your life.

Also, you might want to add a few years to your 10-year estimate. My pup lived for 14 years! ...and that still wasn't long enough for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,015 Posts
Any dog is a big responsibility but I do think the GSDs need more commitment than some other breeds.

They thrive on interaction with their family - no ignoring their need for exercise and the necessity of training.

An ill mannered small dog (and heaven only knows there are too many of those) is a nuisance but an ill mannered GSD is a liability.

Not trying to dissuade you - I hope to always have one or two in my home, but think you're wise to make sure you want to make the commitment.

Now if I started on why you'd love a GSD -- well, it'd be a very long post...


Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,782 Posts
I would say if you are feeling "conflict" DON'T get a dog.
Those folks that say this is their LAST animal really AREN'T "dog people"

I only "travel" places my dog can come too. I DO NOT fly so that isn't an issue. (Probably stemming from the fact that the FIRST time I flew, I SAW a MAJOR plane crash. As in SAW it happen. You know the kind, jumbo jet crashes and kills everyone on board.)

Dogs ARE a big commitment and a LOT of work. If you are a true "dog person" like most folks on this board, it is SO worth the effort, and really doesn't seem like "work" at all. If you aren't a dog person, it can seem like some form of torture. Especially when a puppy is chewing up everything that comes close enough to it's mouth, including your SKIN, having "accidents" in the house because you weren't watching it close enough. Having to get up a few times a night to let it outside. Then there are those that don't "listen" when the pup TELLS them they have to go "out" and the puppy poops in the crate AND gets it all over themselves. SO not only do you get to clean a poopy crate, you get to bathe a poopy, squirming, puppy that most likely WILL shake and spray you with poop water. Sound like fun?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
when we bought beamer (whos 11 months old) at 12 weeks, we really jumped into it & i personally had some conflicted feelings over the first couple months. she defiinitely is a BIGGGG dog & i was wanting a smaller dog, shes VERRYY active (& we didnt have 100% free time which left me guilty) & the cost is definitely alot.

but, months later, i could not possibly live without my baby girl. she is an AMAZING puppy. we've gone away overnight a couple times, & once for two nights, she stayed with family. if we were traveling somewhere for a family vacation i would fly her. i LOVE my pup & i wouldnt trade her for the world. she def is NOT my last dog!

but i agree with someone above, get a foster dog first to see if its something good for you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,209 Posts
Originally Posted By: armauro. It seems like such a BIG commitment-10 years- and lots of work- it is hard to weigh the pros vs cons-we now have complete freedom to come and go
it is a big commitment. i had never had a puppy until about a year ago, and i definitely did give up certain freedoms during this first year. it was a spur of the moment decision (friend of my mother irresponsibly let her dog get pregnant and pups needed homes so i just said "ill take one of the girls." no matter how much sleep i lost or frustration i felt, i knew with 100% certainty that this girl would be part of my life until it was her time to leave this earth. i wasnt prepared for the amount of work that would be involved in raising a puppy. but, the joy that my pup has brought to my life makes the commitment very worthwhile to me. i didnt have time to have any internal conflict, but i always understood that all the dogs ive gotten from shelters were a major commitment for life. there is a difference between liking the "idea" of having a dog and the reality of making that commitment in your everyday life.

it sounds like you're not quite ready to make that commitment and alter you current lifestyle as you would need to, especially during that first year. i wonder if an older gsd might make more sense for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
We have considered an older pup ie nine months with some training- the breeder has some very nice potential dogs which fit our needs ie pet/companion . It is just when your youngest child finally moves out after graduating from college- there is this empty nest feeling but also much more freedom not being tied to schedules etc., I guess for most of you- the commited-- the PROS far outweigh the CONS.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
the pros definitely outweigh the cons for us.

no matter what our cons are (money, commitment, etc), at the end of the day having a big, cozy puppy snuggle up to you makes it ALLLL worthwhile. =) not to mention watching her grow up! she keeps smiles on our faces.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,301 Posts
Cons can include-
Shedding in the house and the car.
Running in for trips to the vet for chronic conditions sort of common in GSDs with their digestion, skin, eyes, etc. (take some time to read the health boards) as well as regular vetting. These things are on their own schedule, and certainly change plans. Are you prepared for a dog you need to give eye drops to 2x a day for the rest of their lives? That's a schedule changer!
Poop pickup-always, no matter where or when.
Yard quality decreases.
People who don't want to interact with your dog (just in general) so you have to make arrangements if you are close with these people (or just ignore them).
Having a dog in nice weather is great, having a dog in bad weather-not so great.
Good quality food that agrees with your dog can take time to find.
Vomit-on the rug, in the car.
Time involved in training and socialization.
Vacations-like BlackGSD I don't go without the dogs so I don't go.

Basically, being a good dog owner is similar to being a good parent. All the negatives can be positives if looked at with a different twist.

Mine are required to pay me back in laughs per day. They are ahead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
It is a HUGE lifestyle change. During the puppy period you can't leave them for very long, you have to take them out every hour, you are constantly cleaning up pee and poop, dodging crocodile like teeth, retrieving objects out of their mouth that they shouldn't be eating or chewing up...it's a lot of work. I was in tears more than once with my first puppy.

It's also a huge commitment. Dogs can live many years and can have all kinds of health and behavioral problems, even dogs from reputable breeders. They need a consistent schedule, lifelong training, exercise, love and attention and lots of special accommodations.

If you have serious doubts as to whether you're willing to make the above commitments then I would pass on getting a dog. Volunteering at your local shelter or humane society might be a way to get your dog fix without the responsibility.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,782 Posts
Originally Posted By: BowWowMeow I was in tears more than once with my first puppy.
I've been in tears with more than once with most puppies I have had. Especially when you are trying to figuer out which "STOP CHEWING ME TO SHREDS" method works for that particular pup. Because god knows the method that worked on the last one almost NEVER works on the current one. And I have arms that look like they have been run thru a meat grinder to prove it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,040 Posts
GSD puppies are time consuming, expensive, and you will have to learn to live with little sleep for the first few months. You need to socialize the puppy as early as possible (as soon as you get it) to people (all ages all nations), places, things and all animals (domestic and farm - if you can) and work on socialization every day for first year or two (my GSD goes to doggy daycare one day a week and has developed great dog socialization skills) as well every day we go somewhere new. You need to commit daily exercise (no days off) for 10-14 years. (i.e. my GSD gets 3 walks a day plus lots of fetch). Raising Jesse (for me) has been a wonderful experience and I have gotten so much more back from him then I have put in him. I work only 18 hours a week and I have no children so I have been able to devote a ton of 1 on 1 training and bonding and exercising and playing with Jesse (I am almost 43 myself and sometimes his energy level is more than I can handle and I have to dig deep in myself to find it). Up side I am more healthy and thinner having him. I wouldn't give him up for the world and he is a great companion while my husband works shift (police officer). I would not fly Jesse I would drive to locations. As well all our holidays revolved around all our past and current dogs - camping/hiking

Below are parts taken from Julie Connolly for German Shepherd Rescue about GSD breed (reality check)

"(GSD are a wonderful breed, but it is a "high maintenance" animal not suited for everyone.

German Shepherds require a serious commitment, in socialization, training, exercise in physical and mental stimulation.

These dogs have a high energy level.

German Shepherds are highly intelligent. If they are not given a job to do they will often come up with their own.

Like any dog, the German Shepherd is a social animal and needs to be part of a family. The loyalty that endears this breed to many requires that it not be banished to the backyard.

German Shepherds are large dogs.
These dogs shed non-stop.

They can be vocal, often whining and barking to communicate. If left alone for prolonged periods of time they may become problem barkers.

If you don’t like doggy smell, consider a different breed. Also, bathing can be challenging due to the dog’s water-resistant outer coat.

A German Shepherd must respect its owner. This is not accomplished by heavy-handedness; it is only achieved when its owner treats the dog with equal respect. "
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,415 Posts
I can't even imagine life without a dog or two (or three or four - my current number). But that's MY lifestyle and isn't necessarily for everyone. It's really great that you're thinking ahead and realizing what a commitment you're facing. Too many people jump in without thinking of a decade+ of dog care.

My Mom, who is 82, just got a GSD mix from the pound. Eddie is probably 2-3 years old and is really more energetic than she probably needed or wanted. But he is SO grateful for having a home and a chance and he tries hard to do what you want. She didn't want to go through the puppy training again, which can be quite draining. I got a working line GSD pup last fall and she about did me in (I have rheumatoid arthritis). But we stuck it out and she's starting to settle now and grow into her brains. I don't know that I'll do the puppy routine again, at least with this breed. My other breed (chows) are MUCH easier to deal with as puppies.

Transporting from CT to FL shouldn't be a big deal. Do you drive or do you fly? Either way, you'll want to teach your dog to kennel so that he can relax and accept being kenneled as necessary. I can't imagine going on a cross-country trip without my dogs (we've even gone from Alaska to Missouri and back by auto). You learn to deal with the hair and the nose prints on the windows .. *L*

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,637 Posts
Quote: It is just when your youngest child finally moves out after graduating from college- there is this empty nest feeling but also much more freedom not being tied to schedules etc.,
I say live YOUR life for a bit!! Have fun and enjoy your freedom!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,764 Posts
i would say if you are retired and want to travel getting a gsd is a big commitment. not that it can't be done, but you will definitely have to make alot of adjustments in your life. there is also a financial aspect of it.
if you really think you want one maybe a rescue or an adult would fit better.
puppies DO take alot of time/work/money, etc. if its been a while since you had a puppy you forget how much is involved. its like having a human baby but worse, because you can't put a diaper on a puppy,
the first few months are constant.
at this point if you are questioning getting one or not, and looking at it as more of a restriction in your life instead of a positive thing then i wouldn't do it. adding a pet to your home should be a joyful event.

debbie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
964 Posts
I think if you plan on leaving the dog a lot then I would get another breed. Typically shepherds do not do well being boarded. They really thrive ith their owners.

Maybe a smaller dog that can fly in the cabin of the plane with you.

My brussels Griffon is my first small dog. She is a rescue and I ADORE her. Lots of fun with half the work. LOL.

Seriously all animals are a huge commitment. I wouldn't say do not do it just because you are conflicted. Might just mean you are serious about what a life changeing commitment this is. I had second thoughts on all three of my dogs either before or after. I love them and wouldn't be without them but the commitment is huge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
598 Posts
I am at home w/3 small children all day, and I still got a GSD puppy. I wouldn't trade him for the world. It is a LOT of work, especially at first, but frankly, for me personally, training is not work so much as a fun challenge. I am aiming to train Kodee to be a certified therapy dog, and taking him out with 3 kids on a regular basis is a lot of work, but it's so much fun I don't mind. He rides w/us in the car, pretty much everywhere we go. He's big, and takes up as much space in the car as an adult (or an adult who's laying down LOL). I just recently looked into trading in my minivan, but decided to keep it so the dog would have plenty of room. Ha!
The salesperson thought I was nuts, I could see it in her eyes.

The upside to me of a GSD is they are very intelligent and (mine, at least) is eager to please. He still gets into trouble on a regular basis (counter-surfing, nagging me to throw his ball everytime I sit down, etc), it's getting easier already, and he's only 10 months old. There was a time when I thought he was never going to stop chewing on my pant legs, shoe laces, body parts, but I just realized a while back that he hasn't done that in a long time.

He is mischievous, but not bad, and he is gradually becoming more aware of people/animals around our house. he is starting to "keep watch" out my bedroom doors onto the deck at night...which makes me sleep better.

If you are worried about the length of commitment, or dealing w/the puppy stage (which is more work than adults, IMO), I think getting an older GSD rescue could be the best thing to do. However, once you fall in love w/the dog, you'll wish you had more time w/him, so be prepared to be heartbroken sooner than later when your dog passes away from old age.

Good luck and have fun, whatever you decide!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
One thing we have considered and the breeder has a couple of "good fit" older pups ie 9 months with some training albeit not housebroken but crate trained- they are kennel show dogs.
 
1 - 20 of 74 Posts
Top