Many people wishing to buy a puppy wonder if they should get a German Shepherd as their first dog.
German Shepherds have long been in the top five of the popularity rating of dog breeds, held by various canine associations. This is quite explainable since these dogs are incredibly intelligent, obedient, very affectionate to their owners, and perfectly cope with their work in the army, the emergency services, and the police. As pets, German Shepherds become both reliable family defenders and the best friends and gentle nurses to their owners’ children. It’s hard to resist the desire to buy a GS puppy when you’re choosing a family pet, but is it right for you?
A Good First Dog for the Right Owner
As a versatile breed, German Shepherds are good first dogs. If you are an energetic person with a strong personality, if you have time for training the dog, enough finances to keep it, and, most importantly, a great desire to spend a lot of time with your four-legged friend, you are the German Shepherd first time owner who will eventually get a loyal friend and guardian. However, you need to realize that it won’t happen in one day. Owning a German Shepherd for the first time is quite a challenge.
The very traits of the German Shepherd we admire might be a problem for the first-time German Shepherd owner. This dog is intelligent and understands a lot. If its owner is an efficient leader, his demands to his dog are consistent, he knows how to get his way and is fair to the dog, his dog will have its position in the pack as it should be, it will obey its owner without doubt and try to please him. If the owner has a soft, compliant personality and is inclined to make concessions to the dog – “OK, just this once”, then he will no longer occupy the position of the leader in the dog’s mind and, accordingly, the GS will not obey him, and may even try to become dominant over time. Taking into account the size and strength of the German Shepherd, this is unacceptable.
Proper Use of the Dog’s Resources
The German Shepherd as the first dog might surprise its owner with its energy and stamina. This dog needs physical exercise and movement, so be ready to spend no less than two hours walking your GS daily. No couch potato will endure such a lifestyle, but if you are quite sportive and energetic, consider your fitness partner to be found. You might take up agility with your GS and enjoy it together. And for the German Shepherd, agility classes will fill two needs at once – movement and work. After all, this dog should not sit idle: unspent energy will lead to destructive behavior. In addition to sports, any joint activity with the owner allows the dog to develop its abilities and intellect and relieves the animal of excessive energy. If you enjoy spending time with your dog and teaching him new tricks, you will get great pleasure from communicating with your German Shepherd.
Socialization Is a Must
If one witnesses instances of aggression by these dogs, he can have doubts and ask: Are German Shepherds good first dogs? These cases are usually caused by fear of the unknown. Any GS puppy should be socialized from a very early age to avoid it. In most cases, German Shepherds get along fine with other animals, even cats. They make friends with children and are neutral to neighbors if they are consistently and calmly introduced to them from the first months of life. Any first-time German Shepherd owner should remember that his dog is very protective. He should gradually introduce the dog to people and children around it. Children should be taught to treat the puppy gently, without causing discomfort or pain. Never raise your voice to children in the presence of the dog. It may misinterpret your behavior and think aggression toward the child is acceptable.
The German Shepherd’s appearance also explains the breed’s increasing popularity. A beautifully built dog with a muscular body covered with a thick, double coat is an eye-catcher. Its standing ears give it a wary look. Its coat color is bright and beautiful. And it just is this coat, a joy to the eye while it covers the dog’s body, that can upset a German Shepherd’s first-time owner when the dog begins to shed. These dogs shed twice a year, and the process is very intense. During this period, the dog owner will need a special comb called a furminator to get rid of the dog’s dead hair. You will be surprised to see the size of the dead hair pile at the end. This procedure will make your furry friend, as well as your home, look tidy. However, regular brushing of the German Shepherd should not only be done during the coat-shedding period. The dog should be brushed with a standard comb and stiff brush for the rest of the year. Thanks to this, the dog’s hair will have a healthy look and shine. Of course, this will also take some of your time.
So, answering the question posed at the beginning, we can confidently answer that the German Shepherd is an excellent first dog. However, not for everyone. A future happy and proud owner of the German Shepherd is an energetic person leading an active lifestyle. He has a strong-willed personality. He loves sports and movement, has enough free time for activities with the dog, and finances for its maintenance. If he has kids, they are taught how to behave with a dog so that it becomes their best friend. Ideally, a German shepherd first-time owner plans to work with the dog, but if not, then at least engage in sports or other joint activities together. He has enough time, energy, and patience for his GS grooming. If you recognize yourself in this description, feel free to buy a German Shepherd puppy, and we are sure you will never regret it!