German Shepherd as first dog
When you are adopting your first dog there are a lot of breeds to pick from. Are German Shepherds good for first time owners? Read our pros and cons list to see if this breed is right for you.
Acquiring your first pet can be intimidating, especially if it’s a large breed that requires extra care and attention, such as a German Shepherd.
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Your heart might be set on getting a German Shepherd. Therefore, you must first consider whether it is suitable for a first-time owner and if it will fit into your lifestyle.
Are German Shepherds Good for First Time Owners?
Factors to consider as a first-time German Shepherd owner
If you’re considering getting a dog and have decided on a German Shepherd, there are a few things to consider, such as:
1. Your Work Flow
German Shepherds are a breed that takes a lot of time to train. They need a minimum of 1-2 hourly walks per day and plenty of socialization and exposure. It is unfair on the dog if you work full time and have no other person to stay with them.
They will quickly become bored and not get enough physical stimulation, making them develop behavioral problems.
2. If you’re living with others
You must consider whether you live alone or with someone who will gladly care for your German Shepherd when you are at work.
It’s highly beneficial to have someone who can assist you in walking, feeding, socializing, and training them.
This person could be a family member, friend, or roommate.
3. Your financial status
Just as human beings get sick, dogs can also develop one or more health issues in their lifetime. Often you can’t predict the type of health issues your German Shepherd will have even when you’re fully aware of your dog’s genetic background.
Also, due to poor breeding practices over the years, German Shepherds have developed certain genetic diseases, so don’t be surprised if your German Shepherd has a few issues throughout their life.
Therefore you should be financially ready to cater to your pet’s health issues at all times. I would also suggest purchasing pet insurance to ensure that they are protected in the event of an accident.
4. Your Family’s Safety
German Shepherd dogs are calm, and obedient, and can tolerate both adults and children. However, when they’re not adequately trained and socialized, they can be harmful to people. Your children should feel safe around your German Shepherd, so you must ensure it is appropriately trained and that your children do not cause your dog undue stress.
Pros and Cons of Having a German Shepherd
German Shepherds, like any other dog breed, have advantages (i.e., PROS) and disadvantages(i.e., CONS) that you must consider before deciding if they are the perfect dog for you. A German Shepherd’s pros outweigh its cons when adequately raised.
Pros (i.e., Advantages)
1. Excellent Companions
They are ideal for most families because of their loyalty and calm nature. They can tolerate both children and adults and can provide companionship for people of all ages.
2. Smart and Trainable
German Shepherds can learn new tricks quickly and easily distinguish between good and bad things from an early age when adequately trained.
3. Highly Protective
German Shepherds have a special connection with their families and can be overly protective if they suspect something terrible is about to happen. That is why it’s crucial to give this breed proper training from an early age as they can be dangerous to others if they are neglected or not properly raised.
4. Easily Adaptable
German Shepherds can adapt to any weather condition; they have a double coat which helps keep them cool during summer and warm in the winter.
5. Highly Obedient
They are incredibly obedient dogs who will gladly obey their owners’ commands if they have been adequately trained.
6. Excellent Watchdogs
Even without training, German Shepherds can still be relied upon to be watchdogs because they spend most time checking for threats to themselves or companions and bark when they see one.
Cons (i.e., Disadvantages)
1. Shepherds don’t do well alone
They aren’t the type of dog you can leave at home while you go to work, so they require constant supervision. A German Shepherd puppy can only be left alone for about 2 hours, while adult ones can still be alone for 6 hours.
2. Requires more commitment
Taking care of dogs is not a job for someone who cannot be committed to them, especially when it’s a large breed like the German Shepherd. German Shepherds need to stay active, and they should be with an individual who will devote his time to give them the proper training and exercise they require.
3. German Shepherds are Vocal
In more ways than one, and I’m not just talking about how much they bark. If they’re feeling extraordinary, they’ll howl, whine, moan, or make other strange noises. When you’re around these dogs, expect a lot of noise.
4. Prone to health problems
As a result of poor breeding practices over time, a few of the most common conditions are hip and elbow dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy. However, there is a slew of other health issues that these dogs face. Therefore it is essential to do your research and find a reputable breeder before purchasing one.
5. Can be Aggressive
Like any other dog, German Shepherds can be aggressive toward strangers and animals when they are not properly raised and trained.
6. German Shepherds shed their fur a lot
German Shepherds have a double coat and can shed fur from their undercoats as the seasons change.