The German Shepherd is really a wonderful animal and makes not only good working dogs but also excellent family animals. However, they are very different from other breeds of pets and need to be treated and trained with a different approach, such as your average Labrador or Poodle.
The GSD is a large, strong, athletic dog that needs a lot of mental stimulation and exercise, but a well-trained shepherd can learn to do almost anything. These dogs thrive positively on challenging activities and are ready to serve and please their master. As a working dog used by most police forces, the appearance of a GSD is usually enough to act as a deterrent, but when used, there are few dogs that can compete with the German Shepherd as an all-rounder.
If you are considering becoming the owner of a GSD, you need to consider your commitment to training so that you have a happy, well-trained German Shepherd that you can safely take with you in public.
If you have never owned one of these dogs before, please do not take a youngster lightly. Since I am involved in the GSD rescue, I have lost the number of young dogs I had to put up again because the owners bought them without doing any research beforehand.
As teenagers, they can be very wild and easily knock over children or older relatives, especially if you don’t stop the dog from jumping up in excitement. A bored GSD can be very destructive and will easily devastate your house and contents with its large teeth and claws if not left alone. Unfortunately these dogs do not really mature until they are about 3 years old, so in the long run, you are there to get through the puppy and youth stages.
The German Shepherd must be well socialized from early childhood and needs a lot of contact with people and other dogs so that they do not develop aggressive tendencies in old age.
The attendance of a dog training from small on is a good idea and most associations accept dogs starting from approximately 4 months in the puppy classes. This should be fun for your puppy and allow him to play and make contacts, but it also serves to teach him or her what is acceptable and what is not. This will prove to be a valuable basis for your training as a German Shepherd.
If you decide for a dog training lesson, look first at a few, since not all classes welcome German shepherd dogs and if an association asks you to muzzle your dog, please give it a chance and go on and look for another club. No serious dog training would require a dog to be muzzled. If your dog is aggressive towards other dogs, there are better ways to control the dog safely, e.g. with a Canny Collar, a simple, effective collar similar to a horse’s collar.
The earlier you start training and socialization, the better, as GSD’s often develop a tendency to be aggressive towards other dogs and also towards strangers, and they can become very protective towards their owners and property.
Another important part of your shepherd’s training is to get him used to care because he loses a lot of hair and although he molts only once a year, it takes 365 days. So be prepared for dog hair in the whole house, your clothes, in your food and buy a very good vacuum cleaner.
The training of your German shepherd dog should be a lot of part of everyday life and be fun, so stick with it, because in the end, it will really be worth it.