German Shepherd Dog

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 our favorite breed, please take the time to educate yourself about it. You can start right here by reading the following.

The German Shepherd Dog is a wonderful breed, but not the dog for every family.

Top 10 Reasons Why a German Shepherd
May Not Be the Dog for You

  1. German Shepherds require a serious commitment. Many of the dogs that come to rescue organizations have no training. It is important that the new family puts time and effort into training their rescue dog.

  2. These dogs have a high energy level. The very energy that allows these dogs to be police, search, guide and herding dogs is often the reason these dogs are surrendered. If you’re looking for a couch potato you may want to consider a different breed.

  3. German Shepherds are highly intelligent. If they are not given a job to do they will often come up with their own.

  4. 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.

  5. German Shepherds are large dogs. The number one reason given by people surrendering German Shepherds 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.

  6. These dogs shed non-stop.

  7. They can be vocal, often whining and barking to communicate. If left alone for prolonged periods of time they may become problem barkers.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. These dogs originated as herding dogs. It is a heritage they carry still. 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.

Behavior:

Housetraining with adult dogs needs to be approached the same way as with a puppy.  Even housebroken adults can have accidents.  Stress from change can also cause accidents.

The German Shepherd is a social animal and needs to be part of a family.Teach your dog where you want it to eliminate.  Take it to the same area every time using a command like “hurry up & potty”, “outside & go potty” or “go potty”.  Praise the dog for sniffing and offer lots of praise after. 

You will need to take the dog out every couple hours, after meals, upon awaking and immediately upon coming out of the crate.  Meals should be 3 to 5 hours before bedtime to allow plenty of time to eliminate before you retire for the night.

Preventing mistakes is the most challenging part of housetraining.  You must supervise the dog constantly.  When you cannot do so confine them in their crate to avoid accidents.  Always take them out to eliminate before confining them.

Punishment is the least effective and overused approach to housetraining.  A correction should only be if you catch the dog in the act and no more than a distraction then immediately take them outside to finish.

Physical exercise is vital to your dog's well-being.Chewing is natural for dogs.  This is how they explore their surroundings.  Puppy-proof your house.  New dogs need to be treated as puppies and gain freedom as they earn it.  Throw rugs, wires and cords, shoes, toys and paper products seem to be the favorite in terms of taboo chewies.  Limit the number of toys the dog has until they learn what is theirs and what is yours.

Activity:

Physical exercise is vital to your dog's well-being.
GSDs require lots of activity to burn off their energy.  Being such an intelligent breed, they require challenges in order to keep them alert. If German Shepherd Dogs become bored, they can turn their energy toward more destructive ends.  We recommend keeping them mentally and physically stimulated with lots of daily exercise.  Consider getting involved together in Obedience, Rally, Flyball, Agility, Herding, Search and Rescue & Therapy Work.

And please remember that Heartworm Preventative is a year-round responsibility.


from SaveOurShepherds.org