German Shepherd Dog > Advice for a first time owner? (24 replies)
Advice for a first time owner?
by happykat on 23 September 2011 - 15:25
|Hello, everyone. I've read several threads on this site, and most of you seem very knowledgable, so I would be very grateful if you would give me some advice. I am in college, and planning on living in an apartment next year, and I have done some thinking and decided I would like to get a dog. I have always admired GSDs, and I have read from several sources that they can do well in an apartment if they are exercised well. Is this true? I go on long jogs everyday, and the apartment complex has fenced in tennis and basketball courts where the dog would be able to run off lead. I am confident that I could meet my dog's excercise needs. Are there any other major concerns I should consider? I have already spoken with the management, and there are no weight or breed restrictions for dogs there.|
Also, do you have any advice on finding a reputable breeder near my area (Florida)? What should I look for in a good breeder, and a healthy pup? I have never owned a purebred dog before, only mutts, so I would like some pointers concerning desirable and undesirable qualities. This dog will only be a pet, so I am not against "faulty" colors like liver or blue. I will be spaying/neutering the pup.
Thank you in advance for taking time to answer my questions. This was not a split second decision, and I am committed to being a devoted owner, and becoming more knowledgable about the breed. Any extra advice or kind words are greatly appreciated. Thanks so much, and have a wonderful day!
by richram on 23 September 2011 - 15:36
I suggest that you Google United Schutzhund Clubs of America. On the left hand side of the page there is a link to all clubs under events. I suggest that you go to or contact these clubs and talk to the members of the club(s) and see what they have and where they got their dog. People on here will help guide you. Good luck in your search! Richard
by happykat on 23 September 2011 - 15:51
|Thank you, Richard, I will look into it.|
by TingiesandTails on 23 September 2011 - 15:59
|Yes, they can live in an apartment, but you have to plan in ample time for exercise (at least 1.5 hrs a day) AND training. Training in a club is a great idea.|
I would check twice about the tennis court. Usually dogs are not allowed on any sports- or playgrounds though.
Puppies can't be alone for an entire day. So if you get a puppy make sure you have someone there to take your pup out of the crate during the day when you are at work.
Puppies are a lot of work and they need a lot of stimulation and socialization. If you don't have enough time, because you are working/studing outside of home 8 hrs +, maybe think about getting an older dog. Adolescent dogs are challenging sometimes because they constantly try to overstep boundaries and rules you previously trained with them, but if you train consequently, this will bring you and your dog closer. Good luck!
by happykat on 23 September 2011 - 16:14
|I plan on spending a good deal of time at home, so I won't be leaving my doggie alone for very long. I have thought about getting a adult dog, though, and that option is not off the table. As much as I would selfishly like a fuzzy little baby, I know many older dogs need loving homes too, and would be easier to handle. In the case of getting an adult dog, where do you suggest I look, and what should I look for?|
by YogieBear on 23 September 2011 - 16:31
|I'm confused - on another post you state you have a 7 month old....|
by HighDesertGSD on 23 September 2011 - 16:32
|No dog really needs 1.5 hours of exercise a day. What is done per unit time?|
In terms of demand on exercise, if a Mal is 10 I think a Husky is 9 and a GSD is 8. GSD is medium high among dogs I believe.
My dogs run, fellow me, on my bike. 2.5 miles at fast trot every other day is enough exercise. I have a set up with an iron pipe at the rear of my bike. My dogs use a harness, not a collar.
If you just walk your dog leisurely, 3 mph perhaps, it may need half hour a day every day, IMO.
by happykat on 23 September 2011 - 16:38
|Yogie - Are you talking to me? I've never posted on this site before, so I don't know what you're referring to. I have no dogs at the moment.|
HighDesert - Thanks for your input. I don't think a 30 minute walk every day will be a problem at all. :)
by YogieBear on 23 September 2011 - 17:29
|Your right HappyKat it was KT484.. Sorry -|
I have pm'd you.
by BoCRon on 23 September 2011 - 18:10
|You can also check out DVG America for a list of DVG affiliated Schutzhund clubs in Florida, there are quite a few.|
by Emoore on 23 September 2011 - 19:45
|"In the case of getting an adult dog, where do you suggest I look, and what should I look for?"|
Look for a German Shepherd rescue group. These are groups of volunteers that pull German Shepherds out of animal shelters and take in ones whose owners have to get rid of them for some reason. The dogs are placed with foster families and fully vetted-- spayed/neutered, vaccinations, heart worm testing or treatment, etc. Most of them require an application telling them about yourself and what you're looking for in a dog, and then you can meet the dogs in their foster homes to find the best match for you. Many dogs in foster homes go to their new forever homes already house-broken and crate trained with some basic obedience. The adoption fee is usually in the $200-$300 region.
by happykat on 23 September 2011 - 22:36
|Emoore - Thank you so much for the advice. Adopting a dog from a rescue group sounds right up my alley. I had been feeling a little guilty about wanting a purebred, when there are so many needy mutts out there who may never find homes. I will definitely look into that option.|
by gaf on 23 September 2011 - 22:52
|>>I am in college, and planning on living in an apartment next year<<|
Good luck with that. Most rescues won't even talk to you if you do not have a fenced yard. Some breeders won't either. I finally got my dog from a city pound; he was found as a stray. We both got lucky that day. I eventually bought him a house with a fenced yard.
by happykat on 23 September 2011 - 23:01
|Gaf - That is quite discouraging. Hopefully I will be able to find a breeder or rescue group who will at least hear me out. I would be more then willing to do anything they wished in the way of assuring them of my dedication to be a responsible owner.|
by minro on 23 September 2011 - 23:15
|Happykat -- |
It definitely can be done. I live in a studio of a high rise in the city of Chicago with two WL shepherds and have never had any issues. As long as he/she will be physically AND mentally stimulated everyday, apartment living is more than manageable. My dogs go out once either in the am or pm for a long session of playing ball, and each of them also get worked in obedience. On top of that, I bring them to a PSA club twice a week. They stay happy and I stay happy :)
by beetree on 23 September 2011 - 23:21
|Rescues can be pretty stringent. Have you a pet history with a veterinarian? That shows you have been a responsible owner? That probably is your only hope. A puppy and a college student in an apartment, (I did it with a lab) but there were two of us... can be daunting. We would barricade the puppy in the "kitchen" area when we had to leave. (This was before everyone had even heard of crate training, lol) When we came home all the cabinets were chewed up from the bottom. Good thing our landlord was blind. |
by happykat on 23 September 2011 - 23:31
|Beetree - I do have a pet history with my vet in my hometown, but it is all with cats. I haven't owned a dog since my freshmen year of highschool, when I moved in with my grandparents. My grandmother is terrified of dogs of all shapes and sizes. I'm probably going to have three other roommates, who may or may not have pets of their own.|
by Two Moons on 24 September 2011 - 01:26
I do not think a GSD in an apartment is a good idea at all.
Yes some pull it off, but so much depends on the dogs temperament and your ability with this breed.
It's a large dog with large needs, not a good dog for limited space and time.
Definitely think this through for the dog's sake as much as your own.
Read some of the nightmares that are posted regarding GSD's kept indoors, GSD's and obedience, maintainance and upkeep.
by cphudson on 24 September 2011 - 05:27
There are so many purebred /mix GSD's in high kill shelters throughout the country. You might have to wait for the right one to come along, but sure you'll find one.
by ggturner on 24 September 2011 - 13:19
|happykat, are you a full time college student? I have 2 kids in college full time and one of them lives in an apartment. We own 3 gsds. I do not think my son's apartment would make a good home for a gsd. My son is a senior and spends endless hours studying and writing computer programs--he has no time for a dog. My daughter is a freshmen in college and she also has no time to devote to a dog. Knowing gsds, they require a lot of time from their owners and I know my kids could not provide that as college students.|