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  • Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 11:42 pm UTC
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Here is an article on why not to get a German Shepherd, written by Erik Hoffer Who should NOT adopt a German Shepherd
By Erik Hoffer

Adopting a dog from rescue is a great way to add a family member but be aware that rescuing a German Shepherd or any dog has its challenges.
German Shepherds’ think. If you think for a minute that they are the same as a Golden or Lab for instance you are dead wrong. If you think a German Shepherd is similar to an Aussie or border Collie you are more in the ball park.
GSD’s are a working breed and without a job they are not happy. If they are not happy your won’t be happy either.

Here is the straight story about this amazing breed of dogs and all the reasons why you should forget about getting one if you come up positive on any number of these issues:

1. Do you have time to train your dog. Training requires you to spend at least 15 minutes per day reinforcing what you have learned in your class. Your need to establish rules which the dog must comply with.
2. We require you to take your dog to a socialized training class such that he or she learns to be obedient, social and submissive. That class is usually a 1 hour session once a week or 6 weeks. If you can’t do that don’t even think of applying to us for a dog.
3. Rescue dogs require a master, or in dog vernacular, an alpha dog in the home. You and your family must step up and be that alpha dog. If you can’t do that or if you are not willing to be assertive with the dog, get a foo foo dog and put it in a carriage and walk it around because a GSD isn’t going to be that type of pet. Even the youngest child must be able to, or at least knowledgeable about the breed, and present an authority figure to the dog. That happens through training.

4. If you cannot earn the dogs respect by being a weak indecisive pack leader, then a GSD isn't for you. These dogs give you a few seconds to decide to act on situations that arise. They look to their leader for direction and expect a response. If that response comes, they are compliant and respectful, if that response doesn't come or comes late they will decide how to act and you have a continual problem child on your hands. Most people get rid of their GSD because they are out of control. That was caused primarily by their own weakness and indecisiveness (and lack of training) and not because of the dog. GSD’s think and make decisions readily on everything from who to let in the house, to meeting other dogs and people; from demanding attention or food to coming when called and being obedient, compliant and submissive. Failure of the owner to chart the course make the journey next to impossible.
5. If you are weak with respect to consistency then don’t get a GSD. If they think that they can get away with a behavior (probably a bad behavior) because you will not reprimand them or say ‘it’s OK Fluffy’ but don’t do it again”, then you are not the right person for a GSD. Your dog has no idea what the hell you said or meant by a weak correction, he only hears his name and blah blah blah. If you cannot mead out correction when need be, and immediately when necessary, then a GSD will be all over you and run the house with you and your family in it. GSD’s are not preprogrammed, they will do what they learn or do what they please if no specific learning takes place. If you can’t be consistent in your approach to the house rules then you will be rated second class by the dog and he or she will own you.
6. If you can’t care for your dog by providing the best food, training, medical care, grooming and love then don’t get a GSD. German Shepherds have weak stomachs, at times lousy skin issues and they need monthly heart worm prevention and lots of physical attention. Your dog will expect you to provide all of these things and do it daily. Additionally your dogs poops quite a bit and you are expected to keep your yard (or the street where you walk him) clean and free of old poop. Old poop left around leads to disease. If you can’t afford a quality food, hear worm meds or annual shots and vet visits that could total $3000 a year, then get a fish. These dogs are not cheap to own and maintain.

7. If you can’t spend your evening hours with your pet, why have one. All of us work so the dog will be content to remain in his crate or in the house until you get home; but tired or not your dog expects some attention and play. Your dog needs exercise and should be walked at least 2 miles a day. If you cannot exercise him by a brisk walk, run or bike tag along then don’t get a GSD. If you don’t want the dog on the couch with you at night (or in the worst case) by your feet, then don’t get a dog. He has to be a member of your family. Since your time is the most valuable asset the dog has, you need to make certain that your and your family members make him a part of daily life. If he is a pain in the ass and you have no time for him on a daily and consistent basis then don’t get a GSD. These dogs love their family and become an integral part of family life. If they are somehow excluded by your inability to make time for them they become depressed and may eat your couch or worse, just live in your home in their own pack and exclude you. This is also a reason people give up their dogs. I hear many times that ‘my dog doesn't love me’ which is total BS. Your dog adores you but you need to reward that devotion with your love and commitment. If you can’t commit don’t get a GSD and especially don’t get one from rescue or from us for that matter.
8. Age of the owner is a touchy subject so I will try and be as gentle as possible. If you are 70 years old DON’T get a puppy. You will not have the energy for him. If you can’t spend an hour outside briskly walking the dog don’t get a 90 pound animal. If you won’t outlive your pet then consider the fate of the dog if you pass on. Make sure you have provisions for him or a family to take him if you die. Enough said, I’m almost 69 and very active but not everyone is. I would hate to turn you down on a dog when everything else is good but the energy and age factors present a clear barrier. We are all not 19. Please consider your age in adopting older dogs or less active ones that suit your life style, energy level and age.
9. Last but not least if you can’t commit your heart to your pet get a plant because this breed will literally die for you and if you cannot give them back the same level of commitment through every aspect of your family life together then your are not who we seek as an owner. We love the breed because this breed above most every other, will do whatever it takes to please you and asks only for your approval, time and love… if you lack any of these talents then a GSD isn’t the right pet for your family.

Well enough with the bad stuff, but suffice it to say it is food for thought. I suggest you read about the breed, ask people who own them what they think and audit a training class for them. Don’t go to a breeder and ask him because he wants to sell you a dog and will tell you what you want to hear, go to a training facility and ask them for advice. Make sure the dog you find meets the mental criteria that you have developed with regard to size, gender, color, energy and temperament. Make sure the dog isn’t too much for you or not enough. If you still think you are the right family to own this unbelievable animal we look forward to finding you’re a new best friend.