This is a very moving and starkly candid story. Thank you for sharing this. I agree socialization and early training is key.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.
At three months, Denver experienced a lot with me and as soon as his shots were complete, I took him on walks with me to and from the store, on pavements and streets, through many many trails and hikes. After he grew more used to people and other dogs, I kicked him into the gong show of a play pen that is the dog park. He transitioned beautifully and knew all the dog cues and language that then kicked in naturally. He plays very well with other dogs and greets strangers at the door only with one single warning bark.
It is always a work in progress. I find adolescence to be a very trying time and it takes a lot of patience and reinforcement (training).
I know that my GSD looks to me as ring leader and the one that runs the show. It can be no other way. They need a firm hand. It doesn't take much repetition for him to learn something new or reinforce something he already knows. But the patience and leadership MUST be there as a GSD owner. At 100lbs plus, just a few pounds less than me, there can be no other way to have or own a GSD without first having a strong foundation of leadership and respect from your dog. If he were unruly, he has every capability to destroy everything I own and possibly harm others very badly.
Last but not least: EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE !
Dogs look to us to fulfill their exercise. This MUST be done. There is also no other way. A cooped up dog in a backyard is not healthy. Dogs are meant to walk and travel in packs for many miles in search of food. This is what they do. They walk and travel. It's in their blood. Especially for a medium to high energy breed like a GSD.