February 6th 2010 10:32 pm
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Ryleigh is my first German Shepherd, and I did a lot of research before I got her. I researched for at least a year on several breeds trying to decide which one would be good for me. I would not trade her for anything in the world, but there are a few things I wish I knew to be better prepared.
1. "Tired" is not in their vocabulary. "Bored" however is, and they will let you know the second they are.
2. Just how much they really shed. I knew they shed all year round, and blow coat twice a year. However, I did not know shedding all year round meant I could make a Pomeranian with the fur that came off of her every day. Ryleigh doesn't even have her full adult coat yet. Her coat keeps getting thicker and thicker every day.
3. I wish I had learned about positive reinforcement earlier on. Even though I learned about it when she was about four months. It would have made the first couple of months with her a whole lot easier.
4. Just how much exercise they really need. Most websites made it sound like a nice game of fetch, or a daily leisurely walk would be enough for this breed. How they could be recommended for apartment life is beyond me. Our daily routine if I don't want her to drive me crazy is; an hour of fetch in the morning, hour long walk, half hour or more of training, an hour of fetch in the afternoon, who knows how long of rough housing at night, and then chewing a bone/kong/toy/whatever I give her until she finally falls asleep. It is a good thing we live in the country.
5. German Shepherds are not cuddly velcro dogs. They will love you unconditionally, but in their own way. For example, Ryleigh gets very excited to see me when I come home, but that lasts maybe five minutes. She then goes to her "spot", lays down, and watches you. Like a shepherd watching his flock =P. You never trip over her walking from room to room, but she will also never curl up next to you on the couch.
Of course not all German Shepherds are the same. Ryleigh is also from working bloodlines, and still a puppy. I wanted a big, furry, energetic, affectionate, and very smart dog. A dog that could do anything, and still have an off switch. I got what I was looking for, and I love her to death. Hopefully the off switch will come with time ;-)
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