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What You Need To Know Before Getting A German Shepherd

They Love To Be Vocal

What I Wish I Knew Before Getting a German Shepherd.

While it may not be the case for every single dog in this breed, German Shepherds are known for being very vocal. Moaning, groaning and barking will become a normal part of your life. Some people may misconceive the barking as an aggressive act, but more often than not, its just their way of striking up a conversation. This may not be the best breed for you if youre the type of person that enjoys peace and quiet.

What Health Problems Do Czech German Shepherds Have

A healthy Czech has a lifespan of 12 15 years, the same as any German Shepherd from other lines.

They dont come with a whole lot of health issues, and the only concerns are eye problems, ear infections, bloating, and hip dysplasia.

Since they dont have the extreme angulation of show dog lines, they are clear from skeletal and spinal problems.

To learn more about what problems affect this breed, you can read our guide to German Shepherd health here.

They Dont Have A Stop Eating Button

This is a food toy called a Kong Wobbler. It slows down your GSDs fast eating habits.

Your German Shepherd really doesnt know when to stop eating or how to slow themselves.

Dont just keep filling up their bowls when they finish or just let them free feed all day. Keep to a schedule so that you can control their food intake and watch their weight.

Your breed is notorious for bad joints and hips when they put on weight too quickly, but it doesnt have to be this way!

Instead, use rubber toys in which you place part of their food to help control their voracious eating.

Benefits of feeder toys:

  • helps your GSD cope with separation anxiety problems
  • prevents destructive behavior
  • stimulates their brilliant minds
  • keeps them busy when you need time to yourself

Use feeder toys at least a few times a week to keep them occupied with their food longer.

I like to use a Kong Wobbler for both puppies and adults. Its a pleasurable distraction for puppies to concentrate on, instead of eating your furniture or expensive designer shoes.

Once you get your first food puzzle toy I think youll be as hooked as I was. Youll want to read my post of exciting Food Puzzle Toys for German Shepherds to see which ones your GSD will love!

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They Are Susceptible To Health Problems

Just as all dogs are susceptible to a host of health problems, GSDs also have the potential for some general health problems as well as some problems more specific to the breed.

Hip dysplasia: You may have heard this about GSDs. Hip dysplasia often occurs with larger dog breeds and especially with GSDs. This condition develops because of uneven growth of the ball and socket joints in a dogs hip. Hip dysplasia can be a very painful condition, and it tends to develop as the dog ages. While it can be treated and managed, this requires medications, possible surgery, and in extreme cases a dog may even need a specialized wheelchair to get around.

Dilated cardiomyopathy: This is a heart disease. It causes a dogs heart to inefficiently pump blood, and because of this necessary oxygen is not adequately distributed through its body. This inefficiency leads to an enlarged heart, which will then lead to a number of other health problems for a dog, including trouble breathing, coughing, difficulty exercising, fluid in the lungs and even fainting. In some cases, dilated cardiomyopathy is fatal. Even though it can be managed with medication, it is a chronic disease, meaning that it will not just disappear. It will instead require lifelong management to keep it in check.

German Shepherds And Other Pets

Everything You Need To Know Before Acquiring a German ...

To help them be calm and patient, it’s best to socialise your German Shepherd with other dogs and pets from a young age. Some can be a bit bossy with other dogs as they get older but with proper care, training and socialisation this is unlikely to become a problem. If youre having issues with your German Shepherd around other pets, the best thing to do is get advice from a trainer or behaviourist.

German Shepherds are usually fine with other family pets they have grown up with. If they havent grown up with a cat or other smaller pets, though, they may have the urge to chase them so any introductions later in life should be done very carefully.

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Theyre All So Sweet Which Rottie Pup Should I Chose

If youre choosing your pup from a litter, stand back a few minutes to observe them. Youll want a pup who is active and not lethargic. One who isnt showing signs of aggression or extreme timidity. One who is interacting well with his siblings, or the other dogs around him.

Often youll hear someone say I didnt choose him, he chose me!

And sometimes that is certainly the case! If possible, spend some time with a pup youre considering. Youll discover distinct personality traits in this meet and greet even with a young pup.

Youll Say Goodbye To Your Cozy Couch At Least For A Few Hours Every Day

All dogs should exercise to stay healthy and fit, but this hybrid, in particular, is full of energy and needs a family with an active lifestyle.

Youll have to walk her for at least one hour, twice a day, then play with your dog to stimulate her both physically and mentally. The good news is shes a good companion if youre into running or hiking, and she can be trained for dog sports.

Lack of exercise can cause depression, destructive behavior, and medical issues, so if youre a sedentary person or youre already too busy, then you should consider other breeds with lower energy levels.

Besides being active, you should have a large house, with a yard to provide her with enough space to move around.

However, I wouldnt just quit on the idea of such a great dog just because of a small house, as theres always an alternative when were ready to adapt our lifestyle to a dogs needs. The Labrador Shepherd likes cold climates rather than hot weather, so be sure to have the ability to keep her comfortable all year.

Further Reading

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They Are Called Land Sharks

This is an important point to consider if you are planning to buy a German Shepherd. The German Shepherd dog puppies bite or nip anything that comes their way. You should train them from a young age that even a nip isnt acceptable behavior. While they will still be young and the nip shouldnt hurt too much, they wont stay small for long and their bite will get more painful with time.

The American Kennel Club

Things to know before getting a German Shepherd puppy

Locating a good breeder is one of the main considerations. The breeder should be very knowledgeable about the breed and the American Kennel Club .

The American Kennel Club tries to regulate all registered puppy breeders, but because there are so many breeders, it is difficult to watch over all of them. But if you know what you are looking for and ask the breeder a lot of questions, you will soon know whether you have found a good breeder.

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Australian Shepherds Have The Potential For Health Problems

Aussies are, unfortunately, not the healthiest of breeds, and there is the potential for certain health problems that are common in the breed. These include allergies, tumors, eye diseases and epilepsy.

The Australian Shepherd Club took a health survey and found that approximately 28 percent of the owners surveyed reported that their dogs had allergies, which caused skin infections and itchy skin. A further 19 percent reported cancer or tumors.

Eye diseases are also a concern in the Australian Shepherd breed, and about 18 percent of dogs will develop cataracts or coloboma of the iris. Most Aussies develop cataracts by the age of three, but they can develop as late as seven years old. These can develop to a fully blind dog. Other eye diseases found in this breed include persistent pupillary membranes, eyelash abnormalities, retinal dysplasia, collie eye anomaly and progressive retinal atrophy.

Aussies also may develop autoimmune diseases including hypothyroidism, demodectic mange and lupus. Orthopedic diseases are also common in the breed, which include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis, and luxating patella. Approximately 22 percent of this breed develop hip dysplasia, which is high. Dogs that develop hip dysplasia often require surgery, and in some cases, the dog must be put to sleep.

Epilepsy is also a serious health issue with Aussies, and approximately 12 percent of Aussies develop these seizures.

Your Landlord And Neighbors May Not Be Happy With You Getting A German Shepherd

As much as GSD owners love their dogs, their neighbors and landlords arent usually as thrilled. There are several reasons for this:

  • The frequent barking we mentioned above. Yes, you can train that behavior away but your landlord may still forbid you from getting a GSD.
  • The fact that GSDs are often used by the military and the police has made the breed appear scary in the eyes of many people.
  • If you have downstairs neighbors they likely wont enjoy the noise of a 90-pound dog jumping on the floor all day long. Getting a carpet or another type of floor insulation will help here. Giving your dog enough playtime outside will also alleviate this problem. But you may still get in trouble with your neighbors.
  • They are just a large breed and many people, including parents of small children, are afraid of large dogs.

Read Also: White German Shepherd Growth Chart

Australian Shepherds Sheda Lot

There is no denying that an Aussie is fluffy and hairy, and you will love to pet and scratch your pup. However, with all of that hair, you have to know that these dogs shed, and they shed a lot! If you are opposed to brushing your dog at least two to three times a week, or you dont want to see a lot of dog hair on your clothing, carpets and floors, an Aussie is probably a bad choice for you.

Aussies have double coats, which helps to keep them warm. These coats do not often require a lot of trimming, but they require a lot of brushing in order to remove the mats that naturally form. You also have to take care of specific areas of the dog. For instance, Aussies often get long hair around their feet, so you may have to trim around them in order to keep the dog more comfortable and for a neat look.

You will also have to take care of the ears of an Aussie. This usually requires the use of thinning shears to remove the long and thick hair from the ears. By thinning the hair, you will be able to get a blended look instead of one with any abrupt edges. Also, keep in mind that the back of the ears are prone to matting, so make sure to brush this hair regularly.

If you must trim the coat of an Aussie, you might want to consider a professional groomer due to the complexity of the double coat.

Training Goal #: Crate Training

What You Need To Know Before You Get A German Shepherd ...

This is also a good time for crate training, which Adams recommends as well. GSD trainer and dog sports enthusiast Alexa Hagood, LVMT, agrees: Crate breaks, even when brief, can help the puppy become acclimated to going in the crate and having some alone time. She notes that this can help reduce the risk of a puppy developing separation anxiety, and recommends beginning with using the crate for feeding times , and at times when the owner needs to do daily chores.

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Your German Shepherd Dog’s Health

We know that because you care so much about your dog, you want to take good care of her. That is why we have summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Shepherd. By knowing about health concerns specific to German Shepherd Dogs, we can tailor a preventive health plan to watch for and hopefully prevent some predictable risks.

Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pets breed. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers and veterinary practitioners that the conditions weve described herein have a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have these problems it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most common issues seen in German Shepherd Dogs to give you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we cant cover every possibility here, so always check with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.

From 9 Months To 24 Months

Dogs of different breeds and sizes mature at different ages, and while one year of age is commonly considered the end of puppyhood in general, a German Shepherd Dog may not reach an adult level of maturity before the age of two or three . So continuing to work on impulse control, improve obedience skills, and advance to training in more focused activities like tracking, scent work, protection work, agility, and herdingall of which are capabilities of this breedmust continue throughout this period and then be reinforced as your GSD reaches adulthood.

Keep in mind that this is a breed that thrives on constant and consistent work and training, and loves to have a jobor many jobs!to do. If you can provide your GSD with outlets for their intelligence and versatility, both you and your dog will reap the rewards.

Yasmine S. Ali, MD, is a cardiologist and writer based in Tennessee, where she lives with three Canine Good Citizens, including an AKC-registered German Shepherd Dog.

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If You Do Get A Gsd You Will Be In For A Life Full Of Love And Companionship

These dogs are amazing, loyal and loving creatures that only want a long life filled with cuddles and cookies. If you can put in the time and effort to shape your dog into an outstanding member of your family, you will be in for an amazing life with your fur baby. Dogs are a huge responsibility but the end game is so worth every stressful day and chewed shoe. If you’re keen on taking on a puppy, there are so many rescues that foster amazing dogs just waiting for a forever home. You can be matched with the perfect pet for you.

If this list didn’t scare you, congratulations! The GSD is the perfect breed for you. Although needy and high maintenance, adopting one of these amazing dogs could be the most amazing experiences of your life. Remember to always do as much research as possible before accepting a new member into your family. There are so many animals in shelters due to lack of knowledge by their previous owners. It’s your responsibility to ensure a good transition when bringing home a fur baby for you and your family to love.

Training Goal #: Socialization

5 things to know before getting a German Shepherd

Puppies of all breeds have a critical socialization window that closes at 12 to 16 weeks of life, and your GSD puppy is no exception. In fact, for GSDs, who by nature are protective guardians, socialization is extra important so that your puppy learns which strangers are friendly and not a threat.

GSDs are very observant, and your puppy will pick up on your cues and reactions around new people and new situations. During this critical period, having exposure to many different kinds of people in non-threatening situations will help your puppy be confident among friendly strangers rather than fearful or aggressive. And even during times of social and physical distancing, you can still socialize your puppy safely.

Proper socialization cannot be overemphasized for this breed as Adams notes, The foundation for most training is confidence. It is critical that the GSD puppy is well socialized from an early age onward. Safely exposing the puppy to new sights, sounds, and smells is absolutely critical for development. Good socialization translates to confidence.

Certified dog trainer and CGC evaluator Jacqui Foster, CPDT-KA, echoes this sentiment: I tend to lean more towards developing self-confidence in the puppy. For this I recommend short, fun, three-minute games that engage the puppy with the owner as well as in noises, weird and uneven surfaces, family members, etc., throughout the day. A confident puppy is a happy puppy.

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Selecting A Rottweiler Pup

In your desire to be a responsible pet owner, you have contemplated all the questions provided above and decided that indeed, you and a Rottie would be perfect for each other!

Now its time to pick out your new best friend! If youve decided on a pup, surely youll want to pick the right one!

Here well go over a few things that will make picking your pup much easier

Gsds Are Loving Companions

These are very social dogs who want to spend time with their humans. The more time your dog gets to spend with you, the happier your companion will be. They may exhibit aloofness with strangers rather than immediately adoring everyone they see, but that only makes their love even more special. Plus, these loyal and dedicated guardians and gentle family pets are willing to put their life on the line to protect their loved ones. And you cant ask for a more loving best friend than that.

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