German Shepherds Can Change Your Life
German Shepherds have been members of my family for the past five years. Neither my husband nor I deliberately set out to purchase a Shepherd, nor did we want any dog - period. We have, nonetheless, become caregivers of two grown Shepherds. One is a male and the other is his sister. Because we are aware of what will happen if we don't care for the dogs, we made the commitment to parent both dogs.
Our daughter purchased the male dog when we first bought our home. We had lived in apartments during her entire growing up years, and felt with the new house that the time was ripe for her to care for another thing (in this case, a dog). Getting two dogs was beyond what we had bargained on. The people our daughter had bought the dog from could not get rid of the female dog and asked her if she would take her. In allowing our daughter to have her first dog as a pet we didn't think about what would happen to the dogs once she moved out on her own.
Even though we care for them, the dogs actually belong to our daughter who is away at a university where she is earning her Masters Degree. When she left for school, my husband and I had no choice but to take over the responsibility for the brother and sister shepherds. For us, caring for the dogs has been both enriching and challenging. Through all the experiences we have gone through with the Shepherds, I would recommend anyone with a big heart, and a lot of property to take on the same responsibility my husband and I have. However, there are a few points new owners must be familiar with.
As family members, the German Shepherds must be allowed access to the home. I have seen Shepherds kept in a garage so they don't bother other family members or tread on activities taking place in the house. If our dogs are kept too long in the outside kennel, they will let us know when it is time for them to come into the house.
In their youth, German Shepherds need to be enrolled in obedience training classes. When they are puppies, they are cute in whatever they do throughout the house. However, as they get bigger, their mischievous romping turns into playful battles, which resemble fights between wolves, and, as you can imagine, these playful conflicts can cause problems if the dogs are not disciplined.
The male Shepherd has grown more than ten times the weight he carried when my daughter first brought him home. Because he never attended obedience classes, and has gained so much weight, he has led my husband, who is the stronger one with the leash, into a tree when the Shepherd has been distracted by another dog on the street. And yelling, "Halt!" doesn't work. As puppies, German Shepherds need to be trained for what they are - work dogs. As such, they will listen and obey each command. It is also important that Shepherds learn how to get along with other dogs. Through training, the Shepherds will understand there is no need to charge other dogs, and they will be able to be taken to dog parks.
If you had the opportunity, would you choose a German Shepherd as your family pet?
The female German Shepherd is the Instigator. She teases her brother, and charges him in their playful antics in the backyard. She jumps on his back, and behaves as if she is attacking him. The male is content with his favorite plaything, which is usually a squeak toy. But while he is playing by himself, the female sneaks over and steals his toy. She doesn't actually want it. She just wants to pester him. This is obvious by the way she plops herself on the floor, the squeak toy between her two front legs, as glares at him as if saying, "What are you going to do about it?" He does nothing but finds another place to lie down.
The male Shepherd is content with a full stomach, a bowl of water, and a toy to grind his teeth on.
German Shepherds want attention. It doesn't matter what mood I am in. The male Shepherd will plop his body at my feet and will stay there until I move. If one of the dogs feels he or she isn't getting enough attention, that dog will crowd between me and the dog I am petting or between my husband and I as we give one another a hug. They also sense moods. When I am sad, the male dog will find a place to lie down so he can keep an eye on me as I watch TV, cry, or whatever I need to do to make myself feel better.
With German Shepherds in the house, we never have to worry about being alone, feeling lonely, or unprotected. I highly recommend adding a Shepherd to your family.