If you are going to get a dog, (say one of those adorable German Shepherd puppies you've been
eyeing because your girlfriend/boyfriend said they looked 'adograble' - you poor sap!) there are
quite a number of things you need to consider. Probably, the very first thing you should ask
yourself - and this is the most important question of them all, is 'are you a dog person'?
If the answer to this is anything other than an uncontested 'YES', then maybe you should get a cat instead, or a Bengal Tiger, if we are going big.
If you are not a dog person, you might want to reconsider getting yourself one of man's best
friends. Because, as furry and as cuddly as they generally are, dogs are a good bit of work too.
And if you are not totally committed - which comes about with the love of something - then this is not the 'pet-keeping' line you should be towing!
Ergo, before we go any further, we should make sure that we are all on the same page.
How Do You Know You Are A Dog Person?
Well, for starters:
- You would never date a cat person
- You do not support any sports team that has a mascot from the 'cat family'
- You are friendlier to dogs than you are to your fellow-man
- You are contemplating becoming a country singer just so you can sing the blues - all centered on your love for dogs
- You hardly know any of the neighborhood kids, but you can name every dog around and you even know which one belongs to which family/house
- You'd give your left kidney to spend one day as a dog
- You already have names, and back-up names, picked out for each one of your future dogs you would only date a vet if he/she exclusively catered to dogs and a lot of other dog-centric things, in a normal world, would be considered crazy!
But honestly, you know you are a dog person if the thought of committing to one does not send you gunning for the hills. Everything else you can work around.
Should You Consider Getting A German Shepherd (GSD)?
The one thing you should know is that, a German Shepherd is not a dog for every family. This
particular breed of dog was built for activity. GSD's where initially developed for general purpose work. They were, and still are, mostly used for herding and as guard dogs. This innate need to move about and be active is within the dogs genes. You therefore cannot expect to keep them cooped up without adverse effects to your furniture, household items and irritating the living daylights out of your pet.
Additionally, this breed of dog is really big. Honestly, this is no Chiwawa! The German Shepherd is a large dog with a rather dense double coat. You should know that they tend to 'blow coat' during Spring and in the Fall. This is a huge deal breaker for many would-be GSD owners.
Before Going For a GSD, Ask Yourself:
- Will you have time to play with, walk and socialize the dog? They need the activity in their lives.
- Do you travel often for long periods of time? You will need someone to care for them when you are away.
- Do you mind dog fur all over your stuff? They shed - a lot!!
- Do you already have kids and family members who take up all of your free time? Your dog will demand a lot of your free time as well.
- Are all these family members okay with getting a GSD or would some rather have a Pet Anaconda? Caring for the dog will demand a joint effort from your family.
- If you are getting a puppy, have you done everything to puppy proof your home? (Read more on how to puppy proof your home here!)
Your answers to the above questions should favor getting the dog. If not, maybe you should get a pet Parakeet, or pick up stamp collecting. But, if you are hell-bent on getting a GSD, then here is why it is one brilliant idea.
Why You Should Get A German Shepherd
- They are extremely loyal.
- They are very active, which means the kids will have something to keep them busy while you catch up on some TV.
- They are fiercely protective. Your dog will be your personal body-guard, security and even gate-keeper (if you cannot stand those pesky Joneses from down the street, just train your dog to wildly bark at them whenever they come around. I assure you, they will stop coming around)
Additionally, you will need to get yours house trained. If they are not well-mannered, they tend to be rather destructive, rambunctious and above all, very exhausting to have as a housemate. Here are a few things you will need to do before you can say that you are capable of owning a GSD that will not be a menace to both you and the society at large.
What To Do Before and After Bringing Your Dog Home
- Take an obedience course. This will ensure that you learn how to put your dog in its place and establish yourself as the leader. Believe me, you will need this!
- Exercise your dog daily. GSD's have the innate need to be active - walk your dog for at least 20 minutes everyday.
- Socialize your dog. Expose him/her to as many people, situations and environments as possible. This will help develop its confidence and keep him/her from periodically mauling the 'Joneses' from down the street!
- Brush his/her coat every day.
- Make a habit of brushing his/her teeth weekly. As well as trimming his/her nails, and ear cleaning.
- Be ready to deal with a host of health issues from mild allergies to serious conditions such as, osteosarcoma, German Shepherd Neuropathy and hemangioma.
When all is said and done, you should get a German Shepherd because you want to get one. As Captain Jack Sparrow and his band of merry pirates would say, 'to the depths with everyone that says otherwise!'