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Selzer is completely right. It's all well and good to do a ton of research before getting a GSD (or any dog), but it doesn't compare to the sink or swim experience of actually being responsible for a living, breathing animal. Sometimes you have to completely revise your game plan because the dog in your living room isn't responding to you the way the dog in that book responded to his trainer.

That being said, the knowledge you gain from books and forums will give you a good base. It's a heck of a lot better to know a bit ahead of time than to jump into dog ownership completely unprepared.

I also agree that it's best to dispense advice when you have practical experience, rather than theoretical. I waited until I had the puppies for a year before I started posting. And I still feel like there are many, many people on this board who are miles ahead of me in experience and knowledge. I still consider myself a beginner.
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