A German Shepherd Dog is a strong, intelligent, naturally protective companion. But it is not a dog that fits into everyone’s home and lifestyle. Before choosing a German Shepherd, learn as much as you can about the breed and talk with other German Shepherd owners.
Part of the Family
It is important that your German Shepherd be allowed to interact with all family members and other pets so that he may be a full member of the family and learn to know his place in his “pack”. German Shepherds do best when they are allowed indoors to be with their people. If a German Shepherd is left to an outdoor-only existence, your dog will be incredibly unhappy and will engage in nuisance behavior (barking, whining, digging, other destruction). Most German Shepherds are happy to be with children if they are properly introduced and supervised by an adult. A securely fenced yard is a must so that your dog can enjoy freedom of movement in a safe environment when outside. Protection from the elements (shade/shelter/water) is required for outdoor time. Daily exercise is critical to help your dog burn off excess energy and stay fit.
German Shepherds must have training. An untrained German Shepherd is likely to get into trouble. Good news! German Shepherds are easy to train because they are eager to work and learn! Puppies can begin formal puppy training after all puppy shots have been completed – as early as 4 months. We usually recommend that an owner allow a newly acquired adult dog to get used to the household rules for a month or so before starting formal dog classes. German Shepherds love the attention and “work” that training provides!
German Shepherds need socialization – outside walks, controlled exposure to new situations, introduction to people and other dogs – so that confidence is robust.
A German Shepherd is happiest when he has a job to perform. There are many activities that you and your dog can enjoy as a team. Taking classes and practicing helps you bond with your dog and provides good socialization. Examples of dog activities include obedience, dog agility, canine good citizen training, therapy dog training, herding, scent discrimination & trick training.
Health & Care
German Shepherds are prone to several health problems. The most common are hip and elbow dysplasia (a malformation of the joint), hypothyroidism, bloat (common to all large deep chested dogs), and subluxation of the pasterns.
German Shepherds shed. Typically spring and fall are the times when shedding can be more intense. Regular brushing helps keep the coat in good shape.