German shepherds are one of America’s favorite dog breeds. In fact, they’ve ranked in the Top 5 breeds in the U.S. for decades. America’s love for the breed makes sense too. German Shepherds are highly intelligent, loyal and loving.
Yet, German shepherds do have unique requirements as a breed, and if you’re considering a German Shepherd puppy, it’s important you understand these needs.
For example, shepherds require consistent mental and physical exercise and prefer not to spend long hours alone. If you travel regularly, a shepherd might not be the best breed for you. Additionally, German shepherd puppies require consistent socialization early on and throughout their lives. This ensures problem behaviors do not have a chance to develop.
In other words, buying a German Shepherd requires commitment on the part of the owner. Yet, that commitment pays off in years of loving and loyal companionship. Are you considering adding a German Shepherd to the family? Here are three considerations to make:
- Choose Experienced German Shepherd Breeders
Due to German shepherd’s popularity, many people try to raise and sell German shepherd puppies. Yet, when you’re looking for a puppy, be sure to use only qualified German shepherd breeders. Experienced GS breeders have in-depth knowledge of the breed and are committed to producing top quality pups. Like all purebreds, German shepherds are prone to genetic disorders. Experienced breeders, therefore, take precautions to ensure they’re producing healthy animals. Shepherds, for example, are at a high risk for hip dysplasia. The best German Shepherd breeders will have their dogs OFA certified, which is a test that measures of the health of the dog’s hip joints. Ultimately, choose a breeder that you can trust, that has references and a clean facility, and that has years of experiencing breeding German shepherds.
- Plan for Consistent Training and Exercise
German shepherds are smart – very smart – and they’re happy to put that intelligence to work. Problems arise when shepherds do not have an outlet for their intelligence. Fortunately, training and regular physical and mental exercise will ensure your GS pup is happy and engaged. Start by having a training plan in place prior to purchasing a German Shepherd puppy. Obedience classes too can be a helpful bonding experience that will keep your puppy engaged and build trust.
Additionally, plan to provide regular exercise for your dog. German shepherds love long walks and opportunities to expend pent-up energy. If you live in an apartment, you’ll need to take extra steps to ensure your dog gets enough time outdoors to play, socialize and expend energy. Dog sports and agility classes are one choice for helping your shepherd burn some of that unused energy.
- Nurture Your Shepherd’s Temperament
Often, first-time German shepherd owners expect their puppy to have the temperament of a Labrador or golden retriever, i.e. a pup that’s sociable with every person it comes in contact with. Yet, German shepherds do not behave like this. In fact, they’re much more one-person or one-family types of dogs. They show loyalty to a particular person but are suspicious or indifferent to strangers. This shyness can develop into aggressive or territorial behaviors if the dog is not properly socialized.
Fortunately, socializing your dog isn’t a difficult task. Be prepared to introduce your shepherd to different situations, people and other animals as a puppy and continually throughout its life. In fact, some experts recommend introducing your GS puppy to up to 100 new people and 50 different locations within the first 12 weeks of life. A German shepherd that has not been properly socialized may wrongly assume a delivery man or lawn mower is a threat. By introducing your puppy to a range of stimuli, you’ll familiarize the animal with common situations and routines.
Bottom Line: German Shepherds Make Great Companions
German shepherds require consistent attention and training. Yet, that hard work pay offs; shepherd puppies provide years of loving companionship and serve as a loyal and devoted family members.
But before you make the leap, make sure you understand the unique needs of the breed. First, choose a reliable German shepherd breeder with a track record of producing top quality dogs. Then, be prepared to provide consistent mental, physical and emotional stimulation throughout its life. If you’re committed to providing your dog with the consistency that it needs, you’re ready to bring a German shepherd puppy home.
For more information about German Shepherds or if you’re looking into a German Shepherd puppy, please contact us here. In addition, Misty Ridge boards all dogs & cats at their animal resort in Maryland.