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Are you considering adopting a German Shepherd, but you are wondering just how easy (or difficult!) they are to care for before you take the plunge?
German Shepherds are a wonderful breed for any dog lover. Not only are they beautiful, but they are highly intelligent and fiercely loyal to their owners. However, these dogs are large, active, and require a lot of training and maintenance to properly care for. They are by no means an “easy” or ideal choice for a first dog, so you should think carefully and be prepared before adopting one.
The rest of this article will go into detail about what exactly is required to take care of a German Shepherd and some of their quirks that you may want to consider when preparing to adopt one.
Are German Shepherds easy to take care of?
Are German Shepherds easy to take care of? Although they are wonderfully loyal and friendly dogs, they are a bit high maintenance. They require a lot of training and care, and later in life, they run the risk of health issues such as obesity, arthritis, and hip dysplasia. This means that you may be paying hefty vet bills for your German Shepherd as they age.
It is important that you be prepared for all the training, grooming, exercise, and potential vet bills that you will be responsible for if you decide to adopt a German Shepherd.
Are German Shepherds smart?
Yes, German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs! They were originally bred to be working dogs, which means that they thrive when it comes to training, especially when trained to complete specific tasks. However, this intelligence also means that your German Shepherd may be difficult when it comes to training.
German Shepherds’ high intelligence level also means that they must be given a proper amount of mental stimulation each day in order to ensure that they do not become bored. Mental stimulation essentially exercises for your German Shepherd’s brain.
How much exercise does a German Shepherd need?
German Shepherds are large dogs with a high level of energy. This means that they will need quite a bit of exercise every day in order to ensure that they are kept in shape and healthy. The average German Shepherd will need about an hour and a half of exercise per day, though this may be slightly more or less depending on your specific dog.
You can break up this hour and a half into several walks or play sessions throughout the day. However, it is important to ensure that your pup is getting a sufficient amount of exercise. If they do not, then they can become hyperactive and poorly behaved, even to the point of becoming destructive.
How much mental stimulation does a German Shepherd need?
Mental stimulation goes hand in hand with physical exercise. It is just as important to make sure that your pup is being mentally stimulated as it is to make sure they are being physically active. For an average dog, about thirty minutes or more of mental stimulation per day should be enough to keep them happy.
For mental stimulation, you can provide your dog with various opportunities such as puzzle toys or trick training sessions. Some German Shepherds especially enjoy learning to perform agility courses because it provides them with both physical and mental stimulation at the same time!
Does a German Shepherd need to be groomed?
Yes, German Shepherds need to be groomed. Whether you decide to take your dog to a professional groomer or take care of their grooming needs at home by yourself is entirely up to you, but either way, it will need to be taken care of. Grooming needs that a German Shepherd will require to include:
- Brushing and de-shedding
- Nail clipping
- Teeth brushing
- Ear cleaning
All of these are important for the overall health and wellbeing of your dog, so you should be sure that you are not neglecting them. During heavy shedding seasons, your German Shepherd may need to be brushed as many as four to five times per week.
Do German Shepherds have anxiety?
Yes, German Shepherds are a breed that is particularly prone to anxiety, especially separation anxiety when it comes to their owners leaving the house. Because they are so loyal, these dogs can become especially attached to their owners, leading to negative feelings when they are left alone.
You should be prepared for this and ensure that you acclimate your German Shepherd to being comfortable alone from the time that they are a puppy. This will reduce the likelihood that they will develop separation anxiety as an adult. However, you are not always able to control these things, and separation anxiety can be triggered by any major changes later in life as well.
If you plan to adopt a German Shepherd, you should be ready to face the possibility of a dog with anxiety.
Are German Shepherds loud?
As a working breed, German Shepherds were bred to be quite talkative. They will communicate with their owners and other dogs through various noises including barking, howling, whining, and more, such as growling, groaning, or grunting.
These noises are natural for your German Shepherd to make, and it will most likely not be possible to completely train them to be quiet dogs. So, if having a quiet dog is important to you, then a German Shepherd is probably not the ideal breed for you to adopt.
Are German Shepherds hard to train?
Since German Shepherds are so intelligent, their training can easily go one of two ways. Either they will be very easy to train because they are able to catch on to what you are trying to teach them very quickly, or they will be very difficult to train because they are too smart and decide that they do not want to listen to you.
It is important to prepare for either eventuality when you are getting ready to adopt a German Shepherd. Proper training may require a lot of time, patience, and dedication. You are not likely to see overnight results—and even if you do, be prepared to lose those results the moment your German Shepherd decides that they do not feel like doing what you are asking them.
Are German Shepherds good with kids?
Yes, German Shepherds are usually great with kids. This can be a major pro if you are considering getting a German Shepherd as a family dog—and as a bonus, these dogs are so active that they will make excellent playmates for active children!
However, it is very important to keep proper socialization and potential anxiety in mind when getting ready to introduce your new German Shepherd to your children. Ideally, your German Shepherd should be socialized with kids by introducing them to various children from the time that they are a puppy.
We recognize that this is not always possible, especially if you adopt your German Shepherd as an adult. If this is the case, do your best to find out about your German Shepherd’s background. If they are not used to kids, some German Shepherds may become anxious and aggressive when around children.
No matter how old your German Shepherd is when you get them, you should never leave your children unsupervised around the dog. Proper supervision means safety for everyone—both your kids and your pup.
Are German Shepherds good with other pets?
Whether your German Shepherd is good with other pets, like other dogs or even cats, also depends a lot upon socialization.
If you adopt your dog as a puppy, it will be simple for you to introduce them to your other pets from a very young age. However, if your German Shepherd is older when you adopt them, or if you get another pet later in your German Shepherd’s life, you may face other issues.
Although with proper socialization a German Shepherd should do wonderfully around other dogs, some studies show that they do have the potential for a higher level of aggression toward other dogs. You may end up with a German Shepherd that is very reactive, in which case they may not do well around other dogs.
When it comes to cats, the answer is “maybe.” Once again, getting your German Shepherd used to cats is something that is best done from a young age. It is important to keep in mind that German Shepherds do have somewhat of a high prey drive, so they may view cats, especially small ones, as dinner.
You should always supervise your cats when they are with your German Shepherd, especially until you are certain they will get along with no risk of fighting.
Are German Shepherds easy to take care of? The answer is… no, not really. Although they are excellent dogs and incredibly loyal companions, this breed is pretty high maintenance. They require lots of exercises, regular grooming, and dedicated training in order to be the best possible pets they can be. If you are planning to adopt a German Shepherd, it is important to take all of this into account.