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The Pros and Cons of German Shepherd Dog Ownership
The decision to adopt any dog should be seriously considered, especially if you are considering a large breed dog like the German Shepherd. As the third most popular dog breed in the United States for the past 10 years according to the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd attracts attention with its good looks, intelligence and strong personality. However, this classic and beloved dog breed is not an easy or low-maintenance pet. There are many pros and cons to owning German Shepherd dogs.
For the happy owners of these powerful dogs, the inconveniences become just part of an interesting routine, but for other potential pet owners the challenges of a large breed can be prohibitive. As a German Shepherd owner for the past six years, I can credibly share my experience with this exceptional breed.
Pros: As a large breed dog, a German shepherd presents a robust and energetic animal that allows its owner to make a bold statement with their pet and enjoy the company of a dog that adds security to the home.
Against: This breed can easily be too much of a dog for some people. They are strong, and often strong-willed, and any large breed owner has a responsibility to control their dog. When visitors to your home are barked at incessantly by a Yorkshire Terrier, they’d be annoyed, but visitors who get an unrestrained barking session from a German Shepherd will suddenly feel like they’re in the middle of a civil rights protest. In addition to controlling the barking, you need to teach your dog not to jump on people. Getting hit in the chest by a 70-90 pound animal with big claws is painful.
Pros: A German Shepherd is an intelligent, even mischievous, animal that will respond well to training and be fun to play with. You will enjoy the interaction with your dog during formal training and feel proud of the learning progress your pet shows. German Shepherds require mental and physical stimulation, making them an excellent choice for an individual or family looking to integrate a pet into an active and fun lifestyle. A German Shepherd is an excellent motivator to keep you active and healthy.
Against: A German Shepherd should not be left alone for long periods of time (more than a few hours). This applies to any dog, but as an original working breed, the German Shepherd is geared towards a high level of animal herding activity, assisting in search and rescue and as law enforcement dogs. law You have to commit to exercising and stimulating your dog every day. In a German Shepherd reference by Dr. Caroline Coile, Ph.D., the author reported that this breed was bred to move for hours over large territories. Daily walks and play sessions along with several hours of attention are essential. It is of the utmost importance that you commit to training your dog during adolescence and maintaining an exercise routine throughout his life. If this is too much for you or your family, do not adopt this breed.
Pros: As a German Shepherd owner, you will receive countless compliments on your pet’s beauty throughout his life. They are beautiful animals and you will be proud of your dog, especially if you train it properly. You will admire and love your pet for its many abilities and charms.
Against: German Shepherds will be mischievous, especially in their first two years. My dog ate my birthday cake when she was two. In general, be prepared for the things you love to be destroyed by chewing, digging, and playing hard. Flower beds in the mind of a German shepherd look like a soft and cool playground. Packages delivered to the front porch are turned into chewy cardboard balls. All manner of possessions such as clothes, remote controls, books, walls, doors and garden tools will be crunched between powerful jaws.
Pros: Being a very intelligent breed, the German Shepherd can get away with inappropriate behavior. Have plenty of toys and chews available at all times. When your dog chews the wrong things, give him a chew or toy and positively reinforce chewing the correct objects. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, these strong-willed dogs will never give up digging altogether. Their taste in landscaping won’t win you any home and garden awards. I had to settle for a dog trained not to dig up the vegetable garden.
Against: German Shepherds in general are susceptible to genetic conditions that can be annoying or even debilitating. Hip dysplasia, panosteitis, and degenerative myelopathy commonly develop in this breed, and you should learn about care and possible prevention. This breed can also suffer from various allergies. My dog has food and environmental allergies that took me months to get relief. Good breeding can limit the frequency of these conditions but there are no guarantees.
Thinking about how you will respond to the challenges of dog ownership before adopting will significantly help you enjoy your pet. Dogs, especially German Shepherds, need your attention, formal training and constant exercise. Ignoring these needs will lead to a negative experience and an unhappy dog that could end up in the shelter. The joys and challenges of owning a German Shepherd overlap with the needs of most large breeds, but it is essential to recognize that a German Shepherd is not a gentle breed. He is an active dog who will always be looking for fun. Depending on your situation and lifestyle, these traits can be ideal or burdensome.
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