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Why are people discouraged when thinking about getting a GSD a their first dog? I think it may be because people are surprised by the amount of time/work/money required but don't those apply to all dogs in general? Is it mostly because some can have dominant tendencies? Thank you.
 

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My GSD pups take a lot of work to keep up with and train properly. And older GSD might be just fine for a first time dog.

Honestly I have spent much more on these dogs than I have on other dogs. We do IPO and any animal sport can really rack up the bills.
 

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Why are people discouraged when thinking about getting a GSD a their first dog? I think it may be because people are surprised by the amount of time/work/money required but don't those apply to all dogs in general? Is it mostly because some can have dominant tendencies? Thank you.
I think part of it is the commitment. Part is myth.

IME, Boxers take much more. High energy! Neither of my GSDs were destructive. All 3 of our Boxers were. I don't believe it has anything to do with "dominant" tendencies.
 

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They tend to be really big chewers as puppies...mine wasn't but I hear they can be, nipping on everything and everyone. Mine is a "show line" which are low drive, "working line" dogs I think are a much bigger commitment. The house training was a breeze tough, she's so smart that she figured out very quickly. I wouldn't discourage a first time owner, they are great dogs, just read up a bit so you know what to expect and choose wisely. No backyard breeders, these guys are prone to lots of health issues too, you need a good breeder.
 

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They're sensitive and emotional, and sometimes also shy and reactive. That doesn't leave much room for handler error...if you're going to make mistakes, better to do it with a more resilient breed. That would be my guess as to why.
 

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I think they are bad for a casual owner,not necessarily a first time owner.
 

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Older GSDs can be amazing first dogs, a great introduction to the breed for people who've never owned a dog before and haven't a clue where to start. One that's already house trained, with some leash manners, and some basic OB can make a newbie owner feel like a rock star as they go through their first group classes. They don't have extreme exercise needs beyond a normal walk. Most are no longer into destruction of sofas and landscaping. They don't have any interest in biting your pants or nipping your hands. They're generally sane, and what you see is what you get.

As puppies and adolescents, they're often pretty stinking crazy. I don't even particularly enjoy fostering them temporarily at that young age, at least compared to older dogs. They're bonkers. I'll take a 6+ year old foster dog over a 4 month old ANY day.
 

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Most people know nothing about dogs, or regurgitate whatever petsmart feeds them.
They shed more than most dogs.
They eat more than more 'manageable' dogs especially if working line.
They have finicky stomachs and someone unfamiliar with handling this might find it incredibly daunting.
They're typically more active and require consistency and can become aggressive, destructive and depressed if their needs aren't met.
Most first time dog owners are young, living in apartments most often and very few apartments allow the breed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys, these are all really great answers. I hear people being discouraged over and over but felt like I wasn't sure what the reasons were behind it.

@car2ner - Oh man I have spent so much money on this puppy already & I've had her for a month. crates, gates, food, toys, vet, etc… & yes she is a lot of work!

@AnnaBirdie - my puppy is so mouthy, its ridiculous. Its nice to hear that there are some people that don't discourage it though. I have at least 5 years to go before I get another dog but when the time comes, Ill definitely be putting more thought into the lines it will come from.

@solo93 - Your completely right. I feel like I HAVE to get her into training classes right away so that I don't handle situations poorly without realizing it.

@Magwart - Our puppy is stinking cranky! I almost adopted an adult dog but my husband convinced me that our bond would be stronger if we raised it from a puppy. So we did that but I won't be getting a puppy while I have young kids ever again. Its too much. We've been handling it well only because Im a stay at home mom but Im seriously on duty 24/7. Bonkers is exactly the word for GSD puppies! Although, even with her going nuts most of the day, I know for a fact that I want more GSDs at some point. Fostering could be the perfect way to accomplish that!

I got my first puppy a month ago and we did enough research and prepared mentally long enough that we haven't been completely surprised or taken back yet. But I will agree with everyone that they are a lot of work. I have two kids already and I feel like I just had a 3rd baby. She needs me just as much as my kids and she depends on us for everything. We love her so much that it seriously amazes me. She is challenging but we are up for the challenge.
 

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I got my first puppy a month ago and we did enough research and prepared mentally long enough that we haven't been completely surprised or taken back yet. But I will agree with everyone that they are a lot of work. I have two kids already and I feel like I just had a 3rd baby. She needs me just as much as my kids and she depends on us for everything. We love her so much that it seriously amazes me. She is challenging but we are up for the challenge.

Be careful when this pup gets to be about two years old or so. After all the work and training you will realize what an awesome dog you have...and then you'll find yourself thinking about getting another one. Beware of "puppy fever" (grin)
 

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Sounds like you guys will be fine.
The problem as I see it isn't with first time owners it is with some people in general. Some people will do exactly what you are doing. It is a lot of work. It takes a cash commitment but they do exactly what needs to be done because they love their puppy and they are willing to put in the hours to make it work.
Some people on the other hand go out buy a gsd. Put in no training, don't socialize with dogs or people, never really developing a bond. They are either ignorant or just plain lazy. So at some point when the dog gets a little bigger and starts to become too much of a bother they drop off at shelter, or just dump off, etc...
 

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My husband and I are first time owners and we went the breeder/puppy route. Given how extensively I researched prior to deciding to go ahead and then before picking a breeder, I think going to a breeder was actually what made it successful for us: We started out with a high quality puppy, we received great guidance and advice on raising and training her, and she's grown up to be a great dog for us. Given our lack of experience, we were not equipped to handle the surprises that can come from an adult rescue (and yes, I maintain that even if the dog is a good, stable dog, there will be surprises that can crop up, and less data based on close relatives to inform an approach).

We also went into it just assuming that the puppy was going to change how we lived, and to a large extent she has. They're mostly good changes.

So based on my own experience, I think potential reasons why a GSD might not be a good idea is if there's: 1) lack of knowledge about what you're getting; 2) lack of good support (whether that's continued guidance from your breeder or rescue, or training resources in your area); 3) lack of commitment to the dog; and 4) lack of realistic expectations.
 

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I got my first puppy a month ago and we did enough research and prepared mentally long enough that we haven't been completely surprised or taken back yet. But I will agree with everyone that they are a lot of work. I have two kids already and I feel like I just had a 3rd baby. She needs me just as much as my kids and she depends on us for everything. We love her so much that it seriously amazes me. She is challenging but we are up for the challenge.

Be careful when this pup gets to be about two years old or so. After all the work and training you will realize what an awesome dog you have...and then you'll find yourself thinking about getting another one. Beware of "puppy fever" (grin)
It's true. My girl is coming up on 2, and she is awesome. And I'm already starting to think how if one GSD is so much fun, two would be even BETTER! Not rational for our situation right now, so no second pup for me, but that didn't stop me from melting all over the place when somebody brought a litter of puppies to the training club to socialize in an empty ring. They were so stinking cute.
 

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I think the reason why it isn't a good first time dog is that when a GSD is poorly bred, poorly socialized, not trained, the problems have more consequences. The protection breeds were bred to be confident and use their mouths to make things happen. So the risk is increased that if you don't take it seriously you will have a dog that might be dog or human aggressive. If border collie is poorly trained, etc, you will have a dog that doesn't stop moving and probably runs away to find someone more suitable to them. A poorly trained labrador, etc... will run around like a crazy man and swim in every mud puddle within a mile. A poorly trained poodle... you get the point.

The risk and liability is greater I think. I also think training and handling a confident and smart dog takes consistency, clarity and structure that humans, as we project fur baby stuff, are not always that good at. Then we get posts on here that say things like, "he is deliberately defiant."

Morning Blab. Have a good day everyone.
 

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Why is the GSD a bad choice for 1st time owners?

Hmmmmmm....since the question is a sweeping generalization of sorts, I guess many of the replies will be sweeping generalizations as well...including mine.

GSDs, along with numerous other breeds have characteristics which might not make them "plug and play" dogs. My limited experience ( 3 GSDs..17 years worth ) suggests the basic nature ( drives, temperament, bite strength, size, intelligence, exercise requirements, etc.) of a GSD can be too much for some, if they are not up to the task. If the first year of having a GSD pup as it develops is squandered and the owner is not committed to the development of the dog, it can become a nightmare of sorts going forward. IMO, a GSD along with other certain breeds require the human to invest a significant amount of effort in order to ensure the long haul. I kind of think it's just that simple.

If a person is honest about their intentions, as well as educated on the breed and follows through on the requirements to raise a GSD, for whatever purpose intended....a GSD is a wonderful choice for 1st time owners....and in my biased opinion, one of the best.


SuperG
 

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My take, from my experience with wonderful Dynamo aquired as a six month old pup is this.
Regular "pet" trainers know nothing, and if you follow their advice you'll end up with an out of control brat that they would declare a "bad dog".
Dynamo needed a lot of motivation and a little bit of discpline. "Pet dog trainers" won't even let you play tug as a reward, they don't know how to handle it, and physically lack the space in their facility.
Aversives of any kind are considered cruel so halti's (dangerous to a boisterous dog) are recommended.
I would have been dragged into traffic a million times, would have had 3 dead cats, would have never let her off-leash, if I'd follow the "pet flavour training". Instead, I educated myself here, took her to various different trainers (a schutz/protection place to gain control), then later an open-minded pet trainer, then on to agility.
So I can see how gsd's are different, and I 1st time owner might end up thinking their wonderful dog is a monster.
Dynamo--you are missed, you were awesome.
 

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The flexibility of the GSD sets it above many other breeds. The intelligence that allows this can also show itself itself in negative ways if the drives and needs are not met. They must have what they must have. You can provide enough exercise but if their "intellectual" needs are not met - there could be problems and visa versa.

lol - also, I've never heard of another breed that is quite as enthusiastic for the wonderful sport of landsharking and velcro-ing. Some people get bothered by that. IMO the GSD is a more intense breed. They want to go everywhere, know about everything and really live life outloud and they want a deep relationship with their owner. You pair that up with someone who would better suited to a more sedate breed and you have problems.
 

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What Kasalkaos said….
A 'pet trainer' is a crap shoot when it comes to training a GSD. We wasted a lot of time/money during the first year with our pups, taking advice from "pet" trainers and even a "behaviorist". In hindsight, these trainers lacked knowledge/expertise of GSD's and many of their suggestions were not very helpful. By far, the most helpful information came from this forum. Because of the abundance of information and expertise, I was able to sort through and pick and choose what I believed would be most appropriate for our two pups throughout their quickly-changing/evolving developmental stages. We did some things right and some things not-so-right. And, because of a suggestion/recommendation from a member of this forum, we reached out to a reputable GSD trainer and are now enjoying (for the first time) working with a trainer who understands GSD's. Training is on track for the first time. Best advice: 1) research breeder, 2) only one GSD at a time, 3) find an experienced GSD trainer and 4) socialize, socialize, socialize your pup!!!:)
 
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