What People Need to Know Before Adopting a German Shepherd

"Animal lovers need to have the time and patience to properly train the dog."

The German Shepherd is an incredibly intelligent and loving breed of dog.  This makes them an ideal pet for some families.  Unfortunately many people head to the pet store and purchase a German Shepherd without considering whether or not this breed will suit their lifestyle.  People who want to buy a German Shepherd need to consider a few factors before they purchase one.
Future pet owners should be aware that this is a large dog.  Due to this they are best suited for homes with a yard.  This will give the dog enough room to run around.  Owners will need to exercise the dog frequently.  Those who do not will have to deal with a frustrated dog that jumps all over people. 

Potential owners should think about why they want a German Shepherd in the first place.  These dogs are generally as a family pet or as a guard dog.  Dogs which are properly trained usually do well with the children in the home. 

Animal lovers need to have the time and patience to properly train the dog.  Untrained German Shepherds tend to be difficult to control.  Training is a process which will take up hours of the dog owner's time.

Lastly it is essential to have pet insurance.  While this breed is generally very healthy, anything can happen.  A trip to the vet can set owners back thousands of dollars if surgery is needed.

People who take the time to learn the care requirements of a German Shepherd will generally raise a happy and healthy dog.  Pets are a big responsibility and should be treated as such.

Stubborn or Unintelligent?

I have a German Shepherd named Sasha.  I got her for my birthday early this fall, and she is about five months old now.  At first, she was the greatest dog ever.  She is very intuitive, attentive and easy to work with.  She seems to know what I want before I do, and we were best of friends.  Then, my husband was laid off and I began working full time from home.  Unfortunately, poor Sasha has probably suffered the most with the lack of attention.

I don’t know if it is the lack of stimulation or if she is just becoming a knot head as she gets older, but no longer is she the sweet, enjoyable Sasha she was in the beginning.  She absolutely refuses to accept that she cannot eat food from the kids’ hands or snatch things from the counter to eat.  Without fail, if there is a kid snack on their little table, she will walk by and snag it, even when we are right there watching her.

Our Rottweiler is absolutely perfect with the kids.  She maintains awareness of where they are and doesn’t run over them or knock them down.  By contrast, Sasha pushes them over, runs into them and bombards them with nips and licks which makes them crazy (they are two and four so not very well-balanced yet). 

We have tried positive reinforcement, discipline and a range in between, but that darned dog refuses to learn not to take food or blow past the kids on the way out the door.  In other areas, she seems highly intelligent, so I am left to assume she is just being stubborn on these points.

Whatever the case may be, we are not enjoying having Sasha around and are at a loss on how to get her to respect the kids more.

Guard Dog Training Your German Shepherd?

"Help your German Shepherd understand his abilities and his limits"

I have heard from people that specific breeds of dogs, such as Dobermans, Rottweilers and German Shepherds should not receive guard dog training.  This seems backwards, as these three breeds are the very ideal picture of guard dogs.  According to one naysayer, the mentality behind not training these dogs to be guard dogs is that it leads to aggression and trouble most families do not want to deal with, that a dog who is trained to guard will not allow any visitors and will threaten anyone who comes close to his family.

I think the very opposite is true, especially of German Shepherds.  GSDs are extremely intelligent, as anyone familiar with the breed will attest to.  They do best when they have a challenge and when they are learning new things.  Having distinct boundaries and rules will help them to feel more comfortable and teaches them their place in the family.

If you can channel the innate protective instincts of a German Shepherd into disciplined, purposeful protection, you will gain an ally that will see your family through dangerous times, and give your companion the knowledge he needs to know when to protect and when to stand by.

Not training your dog to use the abilities he has is like leaving a novice with a loaded gun and expecting them to be safe.  Help your German Shepherd understand his abilities and his limits and he will be more likely to behave as you want him to.  German Shepherds who have a purpose are much more satisfied, too.

German Police Replace German Shepherds With More Agressive Dogs

"Breeders are divided as to what makes a good German Shepherd."

When the average person thinks of a police dog, they picture a German Shepherd.  Unfortunately this is something that is about to change in Germany.  German police have decided to replace the German Shepherd with the more aggressive Belgian shepherd.  This breed is called the Malinois.

Many people believe that bad breeding has led the breed to become sickly and placid.  Experts argue that the dogs had hip and spinal problems which make their work as police dogs more difficult.  They also compare the modern day German Shepherd to the lethargic St. Bernard.

Breeders are divided as to what makes a good German Shepherd.  Some want to see the breed standard return to what it was many years ago.  In the past this breed had a slim and wiry body.  They also had very straight backs.  Others are happy with the current breed standards.  It is important to note that approximately 50% of modern dogs are overweight regardless of their breed and size.  Due to this it is easy to categorize them as lazy and "placid".

Regardless of whether or not the breed standard needs to change, the German Shepherd has many qualities that make them great police dogs.  Some of these qualities include reliability, stamina, loyalty and courage.  In fact these qualities were why the breed was chosen as police dogs in the first place.  Whether or not the Malinois will do well in this role remains to be seen.  Police officers in Germany have high hopes for the breed as they believe it is easier to train than the German Shepherd.

Secrets to Successfully Training Your German Shepherd

Bringing home a German shepherd is an exciting occasion. These adorable dogs adapt well, and can be a great addition to the family. However, there is more involved than just bring them home. Just like any other dog, taking care of a German shepherd is a long-term commitment. The dog will be a part of your family and will need to be trained to encourage proper behavior. Training your German shepherd is a must, as behavior can be a challenge to manage.

It is best to spend adequate amount of time with your German shepherd. This will help both of you to bond with each other, making training an easier process. Socialization with other dogs is also something that should done from your dog is at a young age. When training your dog, consistency is recommended in addition to using simple commands. Simple commands such as "sit" or "fetch" are suitable. Choose one command at a time, then move on to the next. This will ensure that your German shepherd does not get overwhelmed with too many commands at once.

When potty training your German shepherd, try using the crate training method. The crate should be just large enough for the dog to turn around. Since German shepherds grow fast, you may consider purchasing a large crate, then insert a sturdy piece of plywood to separate the training area from the extra space. Give your dog a lot of praises and treats whenever he accomplishes something. This will help to reinforce the training. With constant training, you will eventually start to see improvement in your dog's behavior.

German Shepherd Traits

German Shepherd owners tend to be fiercely loyal to the breed, and many swear off any other breed for life.  It is easy to see why, when you spend a little time with this highly intelligent breed.  Renowned for their fearlessness, loyalty and very high intelligence, German Shepherds are difficult to forget once you have gotten to know one.

German Shepherds are very active and need an owner who will give them a job to do.  Daily walks are the minimum, but a German Shepherd thrives when he can be busy and active.  Dogs who have too much idle time tend to become destructive, chewing on things and digging holes in the yard.

German Shepherds can also be very protective of their families, so socializing is important from a young age.  Your GSD needs to know that aggressive behavior is not acceptable, and he needs to learn how to handle strange people and situations.

German Shepherds are among the most intelligent breeds of dogs, ranking up there with Border Collies.  They are easy to train because they can pick up on things quickly.  Our GSD knew how to sit before I ever officially trained her to it.  They are also very intuitive and sensitive to their owner's emotional state.  If you have a home with a lot of negativity or high emotions, you may find your GSD becoming tense, shy or high strung.

If you are considering adding a German Shepherd to your family, careful research and time spent with an actual GSD are important to be sure you know what to expect and can provide the right environment for these beautiful, insanely smart dogs.

German Shepherd Colors

Most people think of the standard tan and black colors when they think of German Shepherd dogs.  While those are the most common colors, German Shepherds come in several other colors and patterns as well.

The standard colors of tan and black come in several pattern variations.  The typical German Shepherd dog is tan with a black saddle and mask.  This saddle can extend further across the back and is then considered a blanket, or a large blanket if it extends further down toward the belly. 

A bi-color German Shepherd is mostly black, with tan or red points on its legs, tail and muzzle. 

Sable German Shepherds do not usually have the saddle or blanket of black, but will have the colors interspersed throughout their coat, with each hair being tipped in a lighter shade.

Blue German Shepherds are less common, but are a result of a recessive gene that dilutes the black in their coats.  Blue is a serious fault in the show ring.

Solid black German Shepherds are just that – all black.  These are less common and perhaps more beautiful because of their rarity.

Solid white German Shepherds are also very rare.  All white is an automatic disqualifier in shows, but for a person who does not breed or show, white German Shepherds can be appreciated for their unique beauty.

While tan and black is the standard color combination for German Shepherds, you can see there are many variations in colors and patterns.  These only serve to make the German Shepherd dog more versatile and beautiful.

Why You Should not Ignore a Sniffing German Shepherd

German shepherds, often used as working dogs in the past, are faithful, courageous, and intelligent dogs. Although they have a slight resemblance to the wolf, they are far from being related to them. Their intelligence have come in handy, making them the most popular dogs for accomplishing certain tasks. They are generally chosen for careers such as search-and-rescue, police jobs as well as guide dogs.  
I was always afraid of dogs sniffing me since I was a kid. I always thought that somewhere during the sniffing I would be bitten. Well, sniffing may not be a bad thing after all. Over the years, many researches have been done to find out if certain dogs, such as the German shepherd could detect certain types of cancer. In 1989, researchers first found out that dogs may have the ability to sniff out cancers. Other researches were done, and it was concluded that dogs can sniff cancers such as cancer of the skin, breast, bowel and the bladder. A study was conducted using 2 German shepherds, a Labrador, and an Australian shepherd. It was determined that they could use their sniffing skills to determine if a person has cancer.   
In order for German shepherds to sniff out cancers, they have to undergo specialized training. It is thought that they can sniff the scent that comes from chemical compounds, which are produced by cancer cells, and then exits the body through breathing. However, further research is being done to gather more information about the molecules that are released from people with cancer. Until they find out more information, I will never ignore a sniffing German shepherd.

Do All German Shepherds Kill Chickens?

I love my dogs, but sometimes they drive me crazy.  Sasha, my German Shepherd puppy, has made it impossible for my chickens to roam in the yard like they used to do.  Our other dog, a Rottweiler cross, is totally chill with the chickens and is more interested with their output than bothering to eat them.

Earlier this year, we brought home a German Shepherd/Blue Heeler mix who immediately found a new home after getting a chicken and a rabbit in her first week.  She was only six weeks old!  So to replace her, we brought home Sasha.  She is a beautiful, purebred German Shepherd who at least waited to worm her way into my heart before mercilessly slaughtering – and devouring – three innocent hens in my yard.The hens were so good at keeping bugs away, too.  We had a fruit tree near death from a bug infestation (we don’t spray), but it came back to life after the chickens were let in the yard to eat the bugs.  Now, thanks to Sasha’s bottomless appetite, our poor chickens have to be kept out of the yard.  One that dared jump the fence met a sad fate, and the rest have finally gotten the idea.

So, is it my luck, or do all German Shepherds love to eat chicken on the hoof?  Even though she knows she can’t get in their pen, Sasha will stand at the fence as if hoping for a stray wing or other body part to get close enough to nab.  Even the goats get torment as she watches and waits for one to get close.  If I didn’t love the dog to pieces, I would probably give up on the idea of German Shepherds and happily go back to a life filled with rambling, clucking hens instead of buggy trees.

Concerned Parent of a male GSD

About 5 months ago my boyfriend and I adopted a 2 1/2 year old male GSD. I take him for walks that are about 1-1.5 mile long each day, and he loves it. The other day it was our first really nice day of spring so i decided to take Cujo to the public park for a long walk. The trail is about 3 miles long and that day it was reaching 85 degrees. The whole environment was very over stimulating for him, with all the people and dogs there he just wanted to play and was very hyper. So basically he pulls me around the 3 mile trail. Now its 2 days later and he is having difficulties with his back hips. He is not weeping and hes fine when i palpate his back hips but he is moving much slower then normal. Do you think hes just sore from the other day or do you think something is seriously wrong??