The German Shepherd Dog is a large, active dog with a dense double coat. This double coat sheds year round, and produces even greater volumes of fur when the dogs "blow coat" in the spring and fall. Some shed more than others. For some owners, this is not a trivial point.
The breed was developed for service as a herding and general purpose working animal. The desire to "work" or do something is genetic and is stronger in some GSDs than in others. Most adult GSDs are loyal, loving, protective, and intelligent. Without proper training, GSDs can also be rambunctious, destructive of property, and exhausting to live with. It is up to you to guide your dog to suit your lifestyle and that of your family. Most, if not all, GSDs need training and a structured lifestyle to thrive in the home and become a canine good citizen.
You should consider the following recommendations as your basic commitment to your new GSD. Take an obedience course to assure that you are the dog's leader. Be prepared to socialize your dog by exposing it to as many people and situations as possible to develop its confidence. Vigorously exercise the adult GSD at least 20 minutes daily. Brush the coat often. Trim nails, clean ears, and brush teeth as needed.
If a change of residence is required, make sure that your GSD is welcome at the new address. Realize that a GSD is a very social animal and should not be left alone for long periods of time. Before a problem gets out of hand be willing to call a trainer, a behaviorist, or a member of the local rescue group for help.
The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is a wonderful breed, but it is a "high maintenance" animal not suited for everyone. If you are unfamiliar with the GSD breed, please take the time to educate yourself about it. You can start right here by reading the following.
10 Considerations Before Adopting a German Shepherd Dog
1. Do you have time to train the dog? German Shepherds (GS) require a serious commitment. Many of the dogs that come to rescue organizations have no training and behavior problems. It is important that the new family commit to the time and effort required to train their rescue dog.
2. Are you willing to exercise the dog regularly? GSD’s have a high energy level and are desirable for police, search, guide and herding dogs. If you’re looking for a couch potato you need to consider a different breed.
3. Do you have a job for the dog? GSDs are highly intelligent. If they are not given a job to do they will often become anxious leading to behavior problems.
4. Do you have the time to create a bond with the dog? 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. This is not a dog that can be “put away” without resulting in behavior problems. This bread is best suited with families that will include their dog in as many activities as possible, including family trips, camping, boating etc.
5. Does you landlord permit owning a large dog? German Shepherds are large dogs and a common reason for surrendering a GSD is moving. Usually apartments do not welcome these dogs. If you don’t know where you will be a few years down the line it is not the right time to adopt a GSD.
6. Can you deal with the constant shedding? These dogs shed non-stop and could affect people who suffer from allergies. A common quote with GSD owners is “everything tastes better with dog hair in it”. Brushing, grooming or shaving your dog regularly is required to manage the shedding.
7. Are you ready to have a dog that might make a lot of noise? They can be vocal, often whining and barking to communicate. If left alone for prolonged periods of time they may become problem barkers.
8. Are you ready for the smell? 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 and large size.
9. Can you get your new dog to respect you? 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 and leadership. Daily walks are a requirement to build this respect.
10. Do you live in an area where they will thrive? These dogs originated as herding dogs and is a heritage they still carry. Keep this in mind if you or your neighbors have livestock. Remember that in the state of California a dog harassing livestock may be shot.
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