Beware The Land Sharks
German Shepherd Puppies have earned the moniker land shark for their mouthiness. It comes from somewhere deep in their herding heritage, I suppose, but these are very bitey puppies! For this reason, a GSD can be a trying breed with young children, who often become unwitting targets for playful biting. Start teaching your puppy right away that biting humans is inappropriate behavior and channel that mouthiness into heavy-duty chew toys and games that dont involve tasty human hands.
Things To Consider Before Getting A German Shepherd As An Emotional Support Dog
Although German Shepherds can be amazing emotional support animals, they are not for everyone.
GSDs are bred as working dogs, so they thrive in always having a job to do.
This means that exercise and mentally-stimulating activities are a must if you want to keep your GSD entertained.
Otherwise, she will eventually become bored, which may result in wreaking havoc around the house.
If your condition keeps you from exercising your dog daily, perhaps another breed will be more beneficial to you.
German Shepherds also need to be properly socialized, ideally starting at an early age.
While all dogs require proper socialization, this is a must for GSDs no exceptions.
Unsocialized, a GSD may become aggressive to other dogs and even humans something that must absolutely be avoided when dealing with a dog as powerful and potentially dangerous as a German Shepherd.
Consider that it can be quite challenging for a dog owner with depression to muster the energy to train a German Shepherd.
On the other hand, this challenge can turn into an opportunity to take responsibility for something other than ones self, or even become a source of fulfillment, which is good for mental health.
Preventative Care & What To Look For:
Avoid feeding too much, over-exercising or supplementing with calcium in a growing dog due to risk of orthopaedic defects like hip dysplasia or osteochondrosis.Check with your breeder whether their dogs have been screened for haemophilia and hip dysplasia and ask your vet to regularly check your dogs hips.
German Shepherds often are very active and athletic, particularly as youngsters, but may become a little lazier as adult dogs. Care should be taken to avoid weight gain as they age, as this will accelerate osteoarthritis, particularly if your Shepherd has hip dysplasia.
If your Shepherd is prone to scaly, dry skin a gentle oatmeal shampoo and some omega 3 fish oils is recommended . Some Shepherds actually have quite exudative, greasy skin, in which case Malaseb or Sebolyse is recommended.
If your Shepherd swims, or gets frequent ear infections, ask your vet how to do preventative ear cleaning with a gentle ear cleaner.
Read Also: German Shepherd Vs Wolf Fight
Gsds Are Incredibly Smart
If youre a German Shepherd owner, you have a strong suspicion your dog might actually be smarter than you are. After all, what cant your dog do? These dogs are known for their intelligence and many can learn a new behavior in only a few repetitions. In addition, they have a legendary desire to cooperate and work with us, a trait many see as a wish to please their humans. No wonder this breed excels at so many activities and is a top Obedience competitor. Because German Shepherds are one of the brightest breeds, be sure to be consistent, use positive reinforcement-based methods, provide plenty of mentally stimulating toys, and play brain-challenging games.
German Shepherd Dogs Are Known For Their Versatility
If you need any job done, just ask your dog. GSD owners understand their dogs were developed as working dogs. In fact, the ideal German Shepherd has a body and gait suited to the hard work that is considered its primary purpose. This means your dog can excel at almost anything. From dog sports like rally, agility, scent work, therapy work, to service dog work, German Shepherds can do it all. The only thing holding your dog back is the time and energy you can commit to training. Its no wonder people always think your dog is a service or police dog.
Read Also: How To Draw A German Shepherd Dog Step By Step
German Shepherd Breed History
GSDs have a long and illustrious history. Theyre descendants of a family of German herding dogs that tended to vary in specific characteristics from area to area.
However, all that changed when Captain Max von Stephanitz appeared on the scene.
The German Cavalry officer was interested in creating the uber-GSD, and towards the end of the 19th century, he set off on the journey to do just that with the help of other like-minded breeders.
Captain Von Stephanitz bred several strains of GSDs from central and northern German districts and ended up producing the predecessor of the GSDs we all know and love today.
He also went a step further and co-founded the worlds first German Shepherd club that carried his work forward to refine and improve the breed.
The name German Shepherd makes more sense now, doesnt it? Thats where the GSDs speed, stealth, intelligence, and air of authority come from.
German Shepherds rose to popularity in the U.S during the 20th century thanks to Corporal Lee Duncan, who found a small GSD puppy during his time in France during WW1.
He took the pup home with him to Los Angeles after the war and trained him to become one of showbizs most famous canines Rin Tin Tin.
Keep Your Puppys Brain Engaged
Otherwise, you are going to have a little terror on your hands. German Shepherds are large, active, athletic, and highly intelligent dogs. What this means is that if they get bored, you are going to seriously regret bringing this fuzzy monster into your house. A smart dog with no job to do = a mischief-making tornado. Try obedience classes, agility, flyball, Schutzhund, herding, nose work, etc. Shepherds can excel at many canine sports and activities! Start brainstorming now about how to keep your German Shepherd Puppys brain engaged.
Recommended Reading: How To Grow Long Hair For German Shepherd
Note On German Shepherd Colors
German Shepherd puppies come in many colors:
- black and tan,
- black and brown,
- and sable.
Some color patterns are not accepted as standard by the AKC: for example, a completely white German Shepherd. A puppy with tufts of hair in his ears and between his toes is considered a “long-coated black” German Shepherd. Although he is not a standard German Shepherd type, the long-coated black will make an excellent family pet.
Things You Should Know Before Getting A German Shepherd
The German Shepherd or Alsatian is best known for its role as a service dog and is a highly intelligent and loyal companion.
German Shepherds are an incredibly popular breed, known for their bravery and intelligence. They are a breed that needs a job to do, whether as a service dog or as a highly trained companion. If well-handled and socialised they have a lovely calm temperament and make great family pets.
Recommended Reading: How To Potty Train A German Shepherd Dog
What Makes A Good First Dog
Any dog can be your first dog. There is no such thing as a bad dog as it usually comes down to poor training and socialization by the owner, right from puppyhood. Some breeds are easier for first-time dog owners, while others require a little more time and patience whilst training.
It really does all depend on you and whether the breed is suited to your lifestyle. For example, if you are inactive and live in an apartment, then a toy dog such as a chihuahua will be more suitable than if you were looking for a loyal and protective dog that requires a lot of exercise, such as the German Shepherd!
You must be able to provide your dog with all of his exercise needs, play, and care as this will prevent any future behavior problems, for example, destructive chewing.
So, what makes a good first dog, anyway? Well, the best breeds for good first dogs are those that are considered easy to train, highly intelligent, get along well with other dogs and people, are loyal and protective, and have good general health.
Do Emotional Support Dogs Require Special Training For Qualification
Unlike psychiatric service dogs, emotional support dogs do not require specialized training to be qualified as such. Its important, however, that your emotional support dog is well-trained to know basic commands, so that youre equipped to handle her well especially in public settings. In the end, an emotional support dog is there to help you cope with lifes problems, not create them.
Don’t Miss: How Much Do German Shepherds Weigh Full Grown
You Cant Have Just One
Adopting a German shepherd might seem like a harmless decision. What you might not realize is that German shepherds are like potato chips. You cant have just one. You might find yourself owning German shepherds the rest of your life, which really means youve been adopted into the German shepherd family not the other way around.
Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting A German Shepherd Dog
Youve watched the police dog demos at the fair. Your friends own one and you love the way he tolerates your kids. Perhaps youve even seen a highly trained Shepherd tend his sheep. Maybe its as simple as seeing the movie Finding Rin Tin Tin . Whatever it was, youve taken that first step youre pretty sure you want a German Shepherd to join your family.
A German Shepherd can make a wonderful pet, but they can also be a handful if you arent prepared. So before you go and pick up one of those floppy-eared puppies or rescue one from the shelter, ask yourself the following questions.
You May Like: How Much Do I Feed My German Shepherd Puppy
German Shepherds Are Known For Their Intelligence And Trainability
Due to their exceptional curiosity, German Shepherds like to use their nose to get into everything and everyones business. This is why German Shepherds are commonly used for a number of police and military services, including bomb and drug detection. You may see them riding along in the back of a police cruiser, chasing down a suspect while wearing a bullet-proof vest, or assisting with cadaver searches. German Shepherds have been trained for search and rescue missions and were essential during the 9/11 Terrorist Attack in the United States. The first service dog was actually a German Shepherd, who was trained as a seeing eye dog in the early 1920s.
With great intelligence and training also comes a high level of obedience. German Shepherds can be trained to listen, follow, and understand quick commands. German Shepherds used by law enforcement are trained to respond immediately to their handlers in life or death situations, and have the tenacity to work beyond the capabilities of their human counterparts.
In the below video, you can see how quickly and precisely German Shepherds can be trained to act and respond on command.
Expect A Dog Who Wants To Know Your Business All The Time
If you dont like having a dog follow you everywhere, even into the bathroom, perhaps reconsider getting a German Shepherd. These dogs are busybodies, and they want to know where you are and what you are doing at ALL times in the event that your actions could compromise the security of the house and the family. Theyre just doing their jobs, you know. ?
Recommended Reading: Are German Shepherds Supposed To Be Skinny
Theyre Ideal For Experienced Dog Owners
Because German Shepherds need so much training and consistency, they require an owner who has a level of experience that matches their needs. First-time dog owners often dont realize that their new K9 family member requires much more attention than they bargained for.
Seasoned dog owners, however, should have the knowledge base and experience to train a German Shepherd and incorporate it into the family as a productive and valued member.
Youre set on a German Shepherd as your first dog, be sure to read up on each of the items mentioned in this article.
Set your dog up for success by enrolling them in obedience school and training courses right away. Learn from the instructor how you can continue their education at home, so they continue to be stimulated.
German Shepherds Are High Energy Dogs
German Shepherds are no couch potatoes. They have tons of energy and therefore need a lot of exercise!
Before getting a German Shepherd to make sure you have enough time to invest in their socialization and exercise. They need both mental and physical stimulation or they can get bored and destructive.
Read Also: Belgian Malinois Shepherd Mix
Why The Big Ears
Adult German Shepherds have iconic ears that naturally stand straight up. Like most dogs, German Shepherds are not born with perky ears. German Shepherd puppies are born with floppy ears that generally perk up somewhere between 4 7 months. Puppies will sometimes have their perky ears droop during the teething state because the calcium in their body is being directed to their developing bones and teeth. Normally, once the cartilage is fully formed, the ears will permanently stay pointed and upright. So what are those big satellite dish ears for? They enable German Shepherds to have maximized hearing capabilities because of their tall and curved shape. This is why youll often notice German Shepherds perking and flexing their ears when they detect a sudden noise. Besides being genetic tools for survival and efficiency, they add to the breeds regal appearance.
The tall curved shape of the ears enable German Shepherds to have more efficient hearing.
What Are The Key Characteristics That Make German Shepherds Special
The American Kennel Club describes German Shepherds dogs as Confident, Courageous, and Smart. And thats all true!
However, there are lots of other things as well. For example:
- As one of the most popular dog breeds of the last one hundred years, German Shepherds have been professionally bred to the point of developing some noteworthy health risks.
- All people are attracted to smart dogs but many forget that a smart dog is also an easily bored dog.
- Loyalty is another positive trait of German Shepherds but it can be a dangerous trait if the dog isnt trained well.
- German Shepherds are a big dog breed and size matters a lot with dogs. Big dogs need lots of space to live in and even more space to run and play.
As you can see, even pros have their cons and choosing a dog is much more complicated than just saying I like that one!
At the end of the day, getting a dog is a ~10-year-long commitment and thats the sort of decision that should be taken with a bit of forethought.
The 15 things weve mentioned below are not necessarily negatives many of them are positives of the breed as well. However, they are also quite subjective so you should be aware of them before getting a GSD puppy.
So, before buying or adopting a German Shepherd, go over the quick list below and make sure the breed is right for you. Getting a dog that doesnt fit your home and lifestyle is a huge mistake for both the dog owner and the dog itself.
You May Like: Do German Shepherds Ears Stand Up On Their Own
Choose Your New Puppys Color And Coat Type
German Shepherds come in a variety of colors and coat types, which youll want to think about as youre shopping for your new GSD puppy. Their fur may be black or tan, gray, white, brown , or red. Their coats will also vary in length some GSDs have short hair that doesnt require much grooming, while others have long hair that needs to be brushed regularly.
This decision will determine how much time youll ultimately put into caring for your new GSD puppy. Whether you pick a medium or long-haired German Shepherd, be prepared to have them professionally groomed on a regular basisonce every four to six weeks or so is beneficial. Getting this done will cost anywhere from $75 to $100 per session, depending on the breeder and local prices.
German Shepherds: A Fantastic Breed
German Shepherds are a wonderful, intelligent, hardworking breed that is highly intelligent and loves to work. Its important that you give them a job to do and provide plenty of mental stimulation.
These dogs need to work and want to please, making them delightful to train. They are capable of nearly any task they are asked to perform and are incredibly loving around adults and children alike.
While they may not be ideal for first-time dog owners, with enough training, they can be excellent pets. Does a German Shepherd sound like the ideal K9 for your family?
You May Like: When Do German Shepherds Ears Stand Up
German Shepherds Are Sloppy Family Members
Create a set routine and schedule and stick to it to avoid accidents and train your puppy faster.
Say hello to your new sloppy family member
Your German Shepherd!
They not only shed everywhere, but also dump water out when drinking, spill their food and
Have total disrespect for your carpets!
As a first time German Shepherd owner, heres your crash course in house training your new dog:
- Take your puppy out every 2 to 3 hours and especially first thing in the morning, after eating, after play or exercise, and right before their bedtime.
- Puppies, like a toddler, will have accidents because they dont have full control of their bladders at first.
- You must have them in a secure area or watch them all the time to avoid any accidents.
- Dont yell or push their face into the mess!
- Its your fault for not watching your dog, reading their body cues, or sticking to a routine.
Theres so much to know about house training your new family member that youll be surprised what you dont know after you read the full guide to potty training your German Shepherd.
No matter what you will clean up some kind of bodily function when owning a German Shepherd. So, do yourself a favor and stock up on pet stain and odor remover!