ARE GERMAN SHEPHERDS GOOD FOR FIRST TIME OWNERS
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Firstly, I encourage you to check out all the videos on this channel and stay tuned for new ones coming out every week since we take a more in-depth look at many of the factors we're talking about today in those videos. Let's get right into everything you need to know as a first-time canine leader before bringing this impressive canine into your home.
Let's jump right in and go over the German Shepherd's exercise requirements because they are as demanding as you would expect from the favored police and military dog. The German Shepherd has a moderate to a high energy level, which is, of course, higher until they reach maturity. Once they are fully grown they are still high achieving canines that need a job to do. They aren't going to exercise themselves since they are quite bonded to their family, which means you'll need to spend at least 2 to 3 hours a day working off their mental and physical energy. You need to be mindful of their joints their whole life, but especially until they are fully grown.
You're probably aware that the German Shepherd is a large breed with impressive guarding instincts and is quite intelligent. But did you know that intelligence goes both ways? Sure, it can make them easy to train, but they can also train you just as easily if you're not experienced with working-class canines. Your German Shepherd may refuse to eat one night, so you add something different to make it more appetizing, and they happily eat it. The next night, same story, and on, and on until you're cooking a whole dinner for them. I know it sounds silly now, but I promise things like that happen far more often than you think with this breed.
You might be considering a German Shepherd because they are known to be excellent family guardians both in instinct and sheer size. And while they are wonderful protectors, their instincts and size can put them at risk in everyday situations. People who are afraid of dogs, or even just not comfortable around them, can set their instincts on edge as they seek to always protect their family. You should absolutely not consider bringing a German Shepherd, or any large guardian breed, into your home as a first-time canine leader. I don't say this to be dramatic, but it's a sad fact that so many beautiful canines, German Shepherd and others, end up in shelters because they require more time and training than their family could give them.
German Shepherd's are laser focused on their primary person and very aware of everyone else in the home as well. Moving from room to room, sitting on the couch, in bed, and anywhere else you go, they'll be as close as they can get. It's easy for boundaries to blur when their affection melts your heart, but their devotion and willingness to please are satisfied best when they know what's acceptable and what isn't. Another massive consideration with this breed is their affection because it means they won't be happy being outside only or if their family is gone for most of the day. They can be prone to boredom and will destroy even the toughest kennels if they aren't thoroughly exercised multiple times a day. It's not a requirement, but German Shepherd's do best when someone is home at least several times a day.
To say it plainly, German Shepherds are NOT good for first-time owners. They might not even be a good choice for experienced owners if they haven't developed the skills to be the calm, consistent canine leader this breed demands. There are many wonderful breeds out there that are better suited to inexperienced owners, and jumping right in with such a demanding and large breed like this is a recipe for disaster. No matter what breed you choose, or your experience level, seriously consider your lifestyle and how happy the canine you choose will be with it. If you've decided the German Shepherd isn't the best choice for you, make sure you check out the other videos over on the Fenrir Canine Show and round-ups of the best breeds for first time canine leaders.