So you want a German Shepherd?
Here are some simple facts /common questions / problems that novices have with and about German Shepherds that you should be aware of prior to acquiring a German Shepherd Puppy.
German Shepherds are generally great with children of the household, however children need to understand that they're dogs and children need adequate direction from their parents as to how to properly interact with dogs. Dogs are not people and do not always enjoy hugging, sharing food or their toys like many children and humans do! They're dogs, not people! This is so important to remember.
German Shepherds were primarily developed and bred as working dogs / herding dogs, this must not be forgotten. A good German Shepherd has territorial aggression for guarding their property, family and what they see as theirs. If not properly trained and raised this can become a problem for novice handlers/dog owners so it's important to have a trainer in mind prior to obtaining a German Shepherd Puppy.
Due to being bred for work, German Shepherds posses prey drive which is basically the desire to chase moving things, through training this drive can be channeled and turned into something positive and not pose a problem when the dog's needs are met. At its worse it can turn a dog to chasing cars, bikes prey animals and last but not least running children and people!!! This is generally a problem when your dog's not trained or taught what's expected of them through balanced training (positive and negative reinforcement).
Understand DOG TRAINING is ongoing for the life of the dog. Training does not stop at 1 or 2 years of age. To keep your skills sharp one must practice regularly!
German Shepherd's acceptance of strangers is a common challenge particularly with a dog that was not raised in a town or socialized enough when young. Not exposing your dog to enough friendly and neutral strangers can go many ways and can turn into a liability so please think about this before not getting your German Shepherd Puppy out on the town enough. When I "socialize" I prefer not to let anyone pet my dog and just take them for walks to take the world in. This shows your dog how people act and that it's a "normal" part of their life. If a dog lives on a farm and never learns that other people besides their family exists, then one day a person wants to come over after the dog is mature, this may prove to be very challenging situation! An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!
Often I tell people your German Shepherd Puppy when full grown will be as excepting of social situations as you are. Sure, genetics play a part but environment plays even a bigger part!!! I have seen this time and time again. Folks who are hermits / introverts (I fall in this category, so I know!!!) will have less social dogs and folks that are extroverts or socialites that love going out and having people over often generally have many less problems with their dogs social behavior or willingness to except people in their space.
The singly most impressionable thing you can do with your German Shepherd Puppy is take him/her for walks alone (no other dogs to distract your German Shepherd Puppy) and have fun in the strangest of places to build trust and confidence. Switch up the place you walk as often as possible. One day the woods, another a park, City street, airport, stores etc... It's important to keep this up especially for their first year of life! specifically 16 weeks to 9 months of age!
German Shepherds are not Labradors, so please don't expect lab type behavior from your German Shepherd!!!
Remember, you're still getting a German Shepherd whether its' intended use is a Companion or not so PLEASE don't expect your dog to be what it's not!
My intention writing this page is not to scare folks away but to understand very common problems folks have with German Shepherds, why they happen and the simple thing you need to do to prevent your German Shepherd Puppy from becoming a less than admirable member of the family!