Recently, I got loads of questions from friends if the German Shepherds can be good for first-time owners. I researched it, and here’s what I got.
Are German Shepherds good for first-time owners? No, German Shepherds are not a good option for first-time owners. German Shepherds are smart and quick to learn commands and tasks, but they can be a handful. You need to devote time, energy, and consistent training, making them a poor choice for first-time dog owners.
It is not easy for a first-time dog owner to provide these things, but not impossible. To fully understand the German Shepherds and to know if you are prepared enough to own one, we set it all up in this article. So, keep on reading to find out!
Understanding the German Shepherd Breed
The German Shepherds are known to make an excellent guard dog, police dog, military dog, and rescue dog.
They are the first choice of breed for military purposes because of their natural intelligence, courage, loyalty, and guarding instincts they possess. Just name it, they can do it!
Indeed, there is no doubt that they are remarkable dogs. But before jumping around in excitement and adopt a german shepherd, because you have found the dog just right for you, there are still some things you need to know as first time owners.
This kind of breed needs not just extra, but a full-time commitment to parenting.
Just the Right Temperament for You
This type of breed has an array of temperaments. From a calm puppy to overly active ones. I recommend you ask for reputable breeders or someone very knowledgeable about the German Sheperd breed and instruct them what temperament exactly you are looking for.
Analyze what you want, and what you don’t want, before getting one because the worst thing that could happen is bringing back a dog you can’t keep.
For first-time owners, I suggest to look for puppies with even nerves, relaxed, a little curious and reactive, and not overly driven.
German Shepherds Require High-energy Needs
Always be prepared to invest extra energy since the German shepherds require plenty of regular exercises. Plenty, I mean hours and hours of running, jumping, and doing various activities.
They classified as working or herding dogs. In nature, they have an instinct that always wants to work. That explains why they are very active and athletic.
As first time owners, you can put this into consideration. If you are not so active and not fond of exercising, then this kind of breed may not be right for you. You may risk the dog into becoming aggressive and destructive.
Are Your Lifestyle and the German Shepherd Match?
If exercising is not part of your daily routine, you may want to switch to another breed of dog. German Shepherds are incredibly active and full of energy.
Not to mention, they don’t like to run after run continuously. They need variations when it comes to activities. They want to solve problems and play games. Owners need to think creatively about what are a variety of things they can do for fun.
If you live alone and no one is home most of the day, or with someone, and both of you go to work daily, you may consider other breeds like a family dog, Golden Retrievers.
There are plenty of gorgeous breeds out there if you are looking for outstanding physical looks, which is better for most people’s lifestyles.
How Much Time Do You Need To Devote?
It would be best if you had serious hours of devoted time for German Shepherds. They require plenty of hours of hiking, running, and other mentally stimulating activities.
Moments will arise that your friends or relatives will randomly invite you to hang out for dinner or just simply anything. By this time, you need to make a little sacrifice for your dog and refuse leisure times.
A German Shepherd dog owner must have self-discipline and take your dog out for exercise and training.
What Are the Other Options Aside From Exercise?
If you still want a German shepherd dog but does not like doing all the hard work of taking them for a run or exercising with them, then you can consider signing them up for agility course classes.
The agility course includes a series of obstacles for your dog to follow. These are great for them since it helps their physical health and mental stimulation.
It also makes the dogs feel they are productive, making them less active during the night. Your shoes and other valuable belongings are safe from harm.
How to Train Your German Shepherd?
If you have no basic knowledge of training dogs, you may opt for a high-quality trainer. As I have mentioned, even though they are extremely smart, the German Shepherd will not magically know basic commands such as rollover or jump without training.
However, given by their nature, they can be trained quickly and learn fast. They are active, working dogs. If not trained or exercise regularly, they could develop dangerous and destructive behavior. This could also lead them to loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
German Shepherds Eat a Mouthful of Food
If you got no problems in spending extra cash for dog foods, then the German Shepherd might be for you! It is a rule of the thumb that big dogs, big appetite. No wonder that German shepherds devour a high quantity of food.
Given the fact that they are also active dogs, they tend to lose their energy running and doing activities. Therefore, they need constant nutrition to help in sustaining their energy.
If you don’t like spending most of your earnings on dog food, I suggest you adopt smaller ones.
How Often Should You Feed My German Shepherd?
It is recommended to feed German Shepherd 3-4 times daily. However, if your schedule is tight, I suggest you can feed them twice daily, morning, and evening.
This schedule could also prevent them from being bloated by giving them the entire food for a day in one meal. The amount of food you should give to your dog depends on their weight, age, and activities. We don’t want them too heavy or too thin.
The German shepherd dogs eat less as they get old since they spend lesser time doing physical and mental activities. Owners must carefully observe their dogs. This could take time to learn how much they need, but it is worth it for their health’s sake.
What Are the Dos and Don’ts in Feeding the German Shepherd?
- Always keep in mind, you should provide GSD with a rest before and after feeding them. In this way, you are preventing your dogs from getting bloated. Opt for the highest quality dog food that you can afford specially formulated for the German Shepherd breed.
- Always do regular checking of their coat and poop. Poor coat and poop mean poor diet.
- There is no need to constantly change the type or brand of dog food of your German Shepherd just for the sake of changing if they are doing fine and maturing correctly.
- Always consult your veterinarian when making a significant change in your dog’s diet.
- Even it’s not summer, fresh water should always be available.
- You must clean water and food bowl daily to avoid bacteria build-up.
How to Shift From Puppy Food to Adult Food?
Sudden changes in dog’s food, regardless of their breed, can upset their stomach. It would be best if you gradually shifted their diet for a few days.
You can consult your veterinarian or the breeder if possible, on what type of food best for the German Shepherd breed.
German Shepherds Shed a Lot
The German shepherds require little time grooming. Quick brushing will do great already; however, they shed a lot all the time. Most notably during spring and fall seasons.
I suggest frequently brush their hair using a hound glove or a bristle brush to help remove dead hair.
Regularly bathing them could also help not only keep them clean but also loosen dead hairs and prevent them from scattering around your house.
If you cannot stand the thought of continually grooming and brushing your dog, they are probably not for you.
German Shepherds Are Extremely Smart
Calling the German Shepherd dog smart is an understatement because they are highly intelligent and susceptible to people’s moods. In fact, experts consider them the most intelligent breed in the world.
The GSD possesses a sharp mind and retentive memory, making them easy to train. They remember commands and highly attentive to tasks. They respond to outside stimuli rapidly, making them great protectors due to their natural care to protect humans.
The German Shepherd dogs are scary smart. They never let humans fool them or take advantage of them by all means. Nothing I can prove, though; however, I am confident they can almost understand humans when we talk to them.
Other breeds of dogs are nothing compared to the things that the German Shepherds can do if appropriately trained.
Are They Suitable as Apartment Dogs?
The German Shepherds are incredibly active. They, therefore, require a considerable area where they can run, play, and show off their agility skills such as a farm or big yard.
Many would suggest having smaller dogs if you live in apartments. However, I believe that large dogs like the German Shepherds can make great apartment dogs too if they provided with a proper amount of exercise and regular training.
They Need to Be Indoors Too
We all know the German Shepherds are incredibly active and energetic. They love to run and play outside for hours. That is why experts suggest that owners must have a farm or full yard where they can run freely.
Despite all those, they may also need the comfort of our home. Most people believe that large dogs like the German Shepherd can survive outdoors, but hey, let me tell something you might not know yet.
They need to be with you too – literally, side by side. These dogs may act tough due to its natural hard-hitting look, but they love to snuggle with you and show affection all out!
This characteristic is one of the greatest things I love about this breed. So, if you do not want their fur inside, I guess it is not the dog for you.
Are They Good With Kids and Other Pets?
The German Shepherds are natural protectors or guards of humans regardless of age. They are affectionate, loving, and protective.
They are very much good with kids and across all ages. So there would be no problems if you get them indoors and around with children.
But be cautious at all times! Accidents happen everywhere and even inside your house. Supervise and be attentive to your kids when they are interacting with dogs. Never forget to teach them how to interact with dogs safely.
This type of breed has natural protective instincts and tend to be suspicious of strangers. However, they get along well with people and even other pets inside the house if you raised them together.
My Final Thoughts
The German Shepherds tend to be disobedient to their owners if they see themselves as the alphas. You must be confident and show that you are in command, or it could end up a disaster.
They are highly intelligent dogs and can easily recognize who is the alpha if you established boundaries correctly.
A lot of German Shepherds end up in shelters due to unscrupulous breeders and people lacking knowledge acquiring them just for their looks. It is saddening to see that these dogs end up with behavioral problems.
Ultimately, they make an excellent family dog, especially for first-time owners. Before thinking of having one of these breeds, make sure you are prepared enough in all of the things mentioned above.