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Nash would love a home where he could be with his person every second of every day, and doing fun things every second of every day, like playing fetch and being off leash at the park and eating yummy things and where he was allowed to boss around the other dogs and any other animals to his hearts content.

Now what he wants and what he needs as a minimum to be happy and content with life are two different things, lol.

What he needs, as a minimum are 1-2 hours of good exercise a day (we do this in the form of walks, jogging, fetch, swimming when its warm enough, running on a treadmill, off leash hikes through the park with a backpack on). Food, limited or he would eat himself to death probably. Mental stimulation, we do a track or cadaver work daily, as well as a couple of short obedience sessions (10 minutes or so) and he gets 1 meal a day out of a toy at least. Rules, without rules that are enforced . . . he would not be very fun to live with, especially for the other animals in the house, lol.

I spend most of my time when I am not working or sleeping entertaining my dogs (my mutt is just as high maintenance, but he at least can go to dog daycare with me).
 

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I'm getting my third GSD (a puppy just born last week!) hopefully after Christmas. My first was a rescue, she was a GSD-mix and was already an adult when I rescued her. No one knew her background, but she was a definite learning experience for me! She was my first 'big dog', and my first dog on my own - I'd grown up with dogs under 10 inches tall. *grin* I tried to keep her in an apartment, with little exercise and little mental stimulation. She was wonderfully patient with me ... she tried her best to train me ... but I eventually ended up rehoming her to a family on a farm, with another dog and kids to play with, and room to run. She stayed with them until she passed away last year (we stayed in touch).
Several years later, after I'd bought my own house on a fenced-in acre and done some more growing up of my own, become active with training and rescuing, I got my second GSD - my most recent experience - was the White GSD in my avatar. She was 8 weeks old exactly when I brought her home, and she was pretty much sick from day 1. We experienced life and needs of a 'special needs' dog for 8 years, but those needs were met in every way possible. I was prepared the second time around - to meet her physical and mental needs. She had limitations due to her health.
I had her put to sleep in May.
Now I'm preparing for my third GSD ... I'm lining up training classes, socialization sessions, games, things to do, places to go ... researching what type of food to use ... and the puppy is only a week old. *grin*
You have to be prepared for a GSD. They are big dogs with strong personalities. You can't know exactly what your next experience will hold ... you could turn out to have a 'special needs' fur kid on your hands, you need to prepare yourself to handle it. You can do everything perfectly, and like someone mentioned - the dog could still develop a phobia instantly that you'll have to work through. GSD's are working dogs, so be prepared to work! ;)

Just realized I rambled on a bit much ... probably too much coffee this morning ... and been a bit too excited about the birth of my new puppy last week ... *bounce* *chases her tail* *wait, I dont have one*


Carol
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Hi All, This is a checklist posted by a memeber in another thread with my comments added. Please feel free to add to it.

1. What can I handle?
2. How much time can I devote to the dog (training, socializing, excerise, etc.)?
3. Was I looking to get into any specific sport/venue?
4. What did I want (in terms of temperament, drives, nerves, structure, etc.)?
5. What did I know about each line I *thought* I was interested in?
6. Did what I *think I know* and what the more expereinced people/breeders/owners/trainers/handlers know correlate? Basically, did I know about that line or did I think I know? Two totally different things.
7. Are the other people in my house on board with the decision to get a dog?
8. Do my partner and I agree on how to raise and care for a dog?
9. Can I afford the vet bills? Both standard and if a medical problem arises?
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
What about the aloofness & affection aspect. Some people may expect more of hugs & kisses than the average GSD gives. I've seen some posts by people who think the dog doesn't like them because they are not lovey dovey.
 

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I think my dogs would be looking for first and foremost is a good, strong, confident, consistent leader.

Second on the list is cuddles and treats!

I think my GSD (and my rescue) are looking for someone that will love and accept them for who they are, and won't try to make them into something that they are not.

They are looking for someone who understands that they have a lot of energy and drive, and need positive, fun, and productive outlets for that energy and drive. They are looking for someone that will recognize their inner worth and reflect that great worthiness back unto them to build their self-esteem and overall confidence. They are looking for someone that can show them the big wide world, and by example communicate to them that it is a good and safe place.

They are looking for someone they can trust and follow, someone who will challenge them and encourage them to reach their highest potential.

And they are looking for someone they can easily train to throw a ball for them whenever they want - (that, they got! - the rest I'm working on ;) )
 

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This is what we did in preparation for Jordan...

1. Researched the breed - we learned they are very very smart and make great working dogs.
2. Found trainers (multiple) that have experience not only in training service dogs but in working with GSDs!
3. Found and bought about 25 durable toys (which wasn't a cheap feat in itself!)
4. Read everything we could find on the breed and on positive reinforcement training.
5. Cleaned. We cleaned everywhere the puppy would be.... we chose not to move things like shoes and cords knowing we would be supervising all out of crate time and knowing she is going to be a service dog and will be in places where she will have to know better than to "take" things without permission. Anyway, I didn't realize how dirty my house was... and I clean daily... but cleaning was a big deal before bringing the baby home.
6. Checked the fence so she has "wide open spaces" to run and romp off leash, safe from other dogs and cars!
7. Did the yard!
8. Researched training! (Methods and how-to so we could begin shaping her asap)
9. Researched food... like seriously, I dont think as a new parent I need 8 million food choices! Like, it isn't complicated enough!!
10. Spent LOTS of time with our other kiddos, knowing that the puppy would steal the spot light from them even though we intended on it not happening!

Now. What we did when she came home to make her comfortable and safe was more in depth...
1. took her to the vet right away
2. started training the first night (no bad habits allowed!)
3. cuddled and bonded
4. introduced her to the family (furr kids included!)
5. finally chose a food
6. bought an insurance policy for her
7. named her in our WILL and whom we want her to go to (god parents) (As the other kids are) and named a percentage of our savings & life insurance policies to go WITH her for expenses so she can maintain the same level of care in case of our deaths.
8. socialized. Boy she gets me out of the house more than I ever would have without her -- we socialize a minimum of ONE hour per day in public.
9. Set a schedule and stuck with it! Potty, food, training, play, etc.

Now, this is what I considered but not SERIOUSLY enough (no matter how much research you do, there's nothing like reality to smack you in the face!)

1. I am home all day with her, I love her to death, but having a 14/15 week old puppy in the house is like having a 2 year old. She wreaks havoc if I let her, and often the only time my eyes arent on her is if I am sleeping (which please take in to acct doesnt happen often) or Im taking a bath (in which case hubby gracefully takes over the puppy watch). The only time I am not scrambling after her saying leave it, gentle, good puppy, or clicking and dispensing treats is when she naps! I wouldnt trade her for the world but she takes A LOT of energy.... more than any other PET we have ever had. It is something to be aware of... this dog doesn't have a "slow down" button...yet atleast.

2. Please take in to account the size of these dogs.... 30 pounds sounds like nothing to me ....but Jordan is 14 almost 15 weeks old and she is ALREADY 32 pounds.... she is going to be gigantic.

3. And because of the size you have to be more persistent about the training! Nothing like a 80 to 100# untrained dog in the house (that would be very hard to live with!)


I hope I didn't repeat too much, sorry it's so long, but I hope that helps someone : )


-Jess
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
This is what we did in preparation for Jordan...

1. Researched the breed - we learned they are very very smart and make great working dogs.
2. Found trainers (multiple) that have experience not only in training service dogs but in working with GSDs!
3. Found and bought about 25 durable toys (which wasn't a cheap feat in itself!)
4. Read everything we could find on the breed and on positive reinforcement training.
5. Cleaned. We cleaned everywhere the puppy would be.... we chose not to move things like shoes and cords knowing we would be supervising all out of crate time and knowing she is going to be a service dog and will be in places where she will have to know better than to "take" things without permission. Anyway, I didn't realize how dirty my house was... and I clean daily... but cleaning was a big deal before bringing the baby home.
6. Checked the fence so she has "wide open spaces" to run and romp off leash, safe from other dogs and cars!
7. Did the yard!
8. Researched training! (Methods and how-to so we could begin shaping her asap)
9. Researched food... like seriously, I dont think as a new parent I need 8 million food choices! Like, it isn't complicated enough!!
10. Spent LOTS of time with our other kiddos, knowing that the puppy would steal the spot light from them even though we intended on it not happening! -Jess
Wow. I'm impressed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Now. What we did when she came home to make her comfortable and safe was more in depth...
1. took her to the vet right away
2. started training the first night (no bad habits allowed!)
3. cuddled and bonded
4. introduced her to the family (furr kids included!)
5. finally chose a food
6. bought an insurance policy for her
7. named her in our WILL and whom we want her to go to (god parents) (As the other kids are) and named a percentage of our savings & life insurance policies to go WITH her for expenses so she can maintain the same level of care in case of our deaths.
8. socialized. Boy she gets me out of the house more than I ever would have without her -- we socialize a minimum of ONE hour per day in public.
9. Set a schedule and stuck with it! Potty, food, training, play, etc.

-Jess
All extremely helpful advice. Thanks for taking the time to post it. I think #7 would make a great thread. My husband and I talked about who would take care of Mac if we died but never thought about having it in a will. Wow, you blow me away. I wonder how many other parents have done this.

#8 I like this. Mac has also forced me to get my lazy butt off the couch and get some exercise. So even if I wasn't GSD material when I got him, he's definately training me to be :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Now, this is what I considered but not SERIOUSLY enough (no matter how much research you do, there's nothing like reality to smack you in the face!)

1. I am home all day with her, I love her to death, but having a 14/15 week old puppy in the house is like having a 2 year old. She wreaks havoc if I let her, and often the only time my eyes arent on her is if I am sleeping (which please take in to acct doesnt happen often) or Im taking a bath (in which case hubby gracefully takes over the puppy watch). The only time I am not scrambling after her saying leave it, gentle, good puppy, or clicking and dispensing treats is when she naps! I wouldnt trade her for the world but she takes A LOT of energy.... more than any other PET we have ever had. It is something to be aware of... this dog doesn't have a "slow down" button...yet atleast.

2. Please take in to account the size of these dogs.... 30 pounds sounds like nothing to me ....but Jordan is 14 almost 15 weeks old and she is ALREADY 32 pounds.... she is going to be gigantic.

3. And because of the size you have to be more persistent about the training! Nothing like a 80 to 100# untrained dog in the house (that would be very hard to live with!)

I hope I didn't repeat too much, sorry it's so long, but I hope that helps someone : )

-Jess
Jess-All of the information in your post was fantastic but this section I relate to the most. I have a spoiled but highly intelligent and strong 75# toddler in my house. Training him to give me a kiss was cute at 10 weeks but now it could break my nose :). If I would have taken seriously and followed advice like what you posted in the other 2 sections, I'd be in better shape. I hope this post as well as all of the posts people took time to write help people make better decisions and be better parents.

Me & Mac would be screwed w/o all of you!
 

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Mac's Mom
We don't think we will both die at the same time but if we did... I wouldn't want our kids put to sleep or in a shelter. We know all their quirks and special needs (Milo the cockatoo throws his food and water dish if you dont take them away in the morning; Corey and Annie (the chi's) can't be split up they get depressed and cry and refuse food!, etc) A lot of ppl wouldn't be willing to take them and we fear they may be put to sleep or just "given away" to anyone. We tend to take on the "hard cases" - all our animals are rescues except Jordan. They come from foreclosed homes, stores that didn't want them, the streets, and the euthanasia list. We figured it is our job as their parents to do our best to make sure they lead happy fulfilling lives even if we arent here. The little dogs and the kitties would go to my mom, Milo and Wyatt would go to good friends who have lots of birds and experience, Jordan would go to a friend who is looking at getting a service dog in the next 5 years and her husband, the lizards go to another friend's son.

We just figure when we bring them to our home it is our responsibility to care for them regardless of what happens to us. We even have emergency plans "just in case" for if the house burns down (how to get them out, how wed split them off while we relocated, etc) or if we had to go in to foreclosure. Unlikely events but being safe, is better than regretting not taking the day or 2 to plan out these things if they do happen! : )

PS. it probably helps that the pets are our kiddos... we arent planning on having human children for a long time - it makes it easier to put them first I am sure... and when we choose to have human kids we will stop adding to our fur family. It's important to us to spend quality time with everyone and be able to provide for them all.
 

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As a first time German Shepherd owner I have learned a lot, really fast, from Sasha. I was lucky in that I found this forum before I got Sasha, so I had some idea about some things. Here's a small list of what I have found:

1) You'll never find anything that loves you more...
2) They're smart enough to outsmart you if you aren't on your game (example: Sasha knows I don't allow her to eat from the table, but my brother does. She will sit directly behind me, so that I can't see her, and my brother will feed her behind my back if I'm not paying attention lol)...
3) They love to learn, but need a lot of consistency...
4) Perhaps the biggest thing I learned, that I wish I would have known beforehand (not that it would have prevented me from getting her, but it would have been nice to know) They shed SOOO much! I was shocked, and continue to be shocked at the amount of hair my girl can lose and still not be bald :eek:
5) Mental stimulation is almost more important than physical, and if you can combine mental and physical stimulation that is the ultimate good/fun.
6) People have a lot of preconceived notions about how your dog will be (vicious, overprotective, etc.) This can be good and bad. Good when you've got someone creepy around you. Bad if it's just a normal person. So you have to work extra hard to make sure they aren't that way.
7) Not every rental place will let you keep them, either due to size or breed. So if you rent be committed to finding a place every time you move that will allow you to keep them. Recognize that this can mean paying extra. When they have a person, they love them will all their heart, so it's not fair to give one up just because you didn't think about housing before hand.
8) They have a lot to say. Not necessarily barking, but just talking.
9) Once you have one, you want another one haha! Their loyalty, willingness to learn, love, quirky personalities, are more addictive than anything I've ever come across. :)
 

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We got Abby in the heat of the moment. Came home, picked up my wife, and went to get the puppy. Had no clue what I was in for. Didn't have puppy dishes, toys, food, etc... I just loved the way they looked and always heard great things about them. I might have rehomed her if it wasn't for this forum with their great tips and help. I was learning about the breed but at the same time, applying my knowledge to Abby.

Now, I've been getting such great feedback from friends and family that I have a well mannered dog. They all want one now that they saw my dog! I told them to make sure they're ready because it's ALOT of work! The high energy levels are to be expected from this breed which I LOVE!
 

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when i was very young in michigan my dad bred english springer spaniel hunting dogs, excellent dogs. loved 'em to death. but my first personal dog was when i was 4yrs old, a gsd/collie mix. all of my dogs throughout my life have been either collie or gsd or a mix of the 2, with some other breeds living w/us along the way, but always some semblence of the other 2 there also.

my husband on the other hand never in his life even had a pet of any kind until he met me. now in 25yrs, he hasn't been w/out one. we got our gsds now because he decided he wanted something that would be naturally protective of the family and look good too. of COURSE i'm gonna say gsd :D, but when i tried to explain all the reponsibility and care and work that goes into having them. he really didn't want to hear it. and i think that's what happens w/alot of ppl that just go ahead get a gsd w/out really thinking it over. it's pretty, it's protective, it looks good on the front lawn, it's scary looking when it barks.

but no one ever considers how easily those scary teeth can break down a leather sofa, a rocking chair, charge thru a front window, bite an innocent bystanding IF IT HAS NO TRAINING. that's why there's always 8-20 gsds/malinois/shepherds in the Miami-Dade animal control center. cuz no one takes the time to research or look at forums like this one. what's funny, is it's sooooooooo easy to get information these days. it's all right there at our fingertips and no one looks. lol so many suffer for that lack of care.

maria
 

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Getting Daisy was a rash reaction to losing my husbands lab mix Sassy. No thought ,very dumb.She has been a learning experience and a half. We were not prepared and she was badly spoiled. I grew up w/ outside dogs and my moms side of the family all had labs,springers and brittany's w/ the occassional collie thrown in. I knew jack about GSDs or raising a dog.. Daisy got Parvo. we then found out her dad was super aggressive w/ people,She got kicked out of basic obedience class twice.They said she needed to be in asmall class for very aggressive dogs ,then we had issues w/ her and small children . She as I have said in other threads rounded up riders on horseback from a renactment group ,chased down a guy who used our phone ,didn't bite but broke through the storm door jumped on him ,knocked him down stood on him. There are so many things I didnt know. We did alot of training at home ,modified the enviroment ,and tried to find ways to help her learn.She got better ;Igot greyer My husband was told and according to AKC papers she is of championship lines he thought we could breed . Her puppyhood made me wonder if she would live. Her first heat at 7months happened only becausese the parvo delayed her getting spayed. Sometimes when new people get on here (im a new person) and its their first GSD I recognize the panic ,pride ,loveand bewilderment they feel. What I know now isSocialize,Socialize ,socialize,train ,train .train and first and foremost research. I look back and realize it was my mistakes that lead to alot of Daisy's problems.Now my issue is she's calmer and easier to deal w/ but at 11 she's at a different stage and meeting her needs still keeps me jumping. I love all dogs and would like to have adifferent breed but I picture a German Shepherd when you say dog.
 

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Training, Training, Training! My Shadow is very quick to learn, but she still tests ME to see if I'll correct her. It's funny, I go for walks and get LOTS of responses from other dog owners - one lady was walking two Labs and said to me " the BEST dog I ever had was a Shepherd!" Good thing her labs didnt know she was dissing them!

We had GSD when I was a kid, but that was a few years ago and I just got a puppy - WOW I forgot the puppy stage and all the work it involves!!! It's crate her or watch her, there are no other ways till she gets older ( She is 14 weeks now).

LOVE this forum and kudos to all of you who so freely give us relative newbies your advice!
 

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I would also say that they need you to understand that what they tolerate, and maybe even enjoy, from you (excessive cuddling, rough-housing, being in their space, etc) they can't be expected to like from others. kind of a, "I know you let me get in your face and give you kisses and hugs because you trust me, but I won't ask you to let other people do this to you as well."
 
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