YOU NOW UNDERSTAND THE PROS AND CONS of the breed, and you’re aware of the range of German shepherds you will find for sale. Before you begin your search for a canine companion, it’s time to take a look at what you are willing and able to offer your German shepherd. This breed does not thrive in all environ- ments. The shepherd needs physical exercise, training, good nutrition, love, and attention, as well as an owner who is confident, consistent, and trustworthy.
Time and Money
While the compatibility of a shepherd with his owner depends partly on an emo- tional or social connection, time and money are also important parts of the equa- tion. Even if you find a shepherd with a great temperament that meshes well with your ideals for a pet, if you don’t have the time to train the dog, or your economic situation cannot support a breed with so many needs, both you and the dog will end up unhappy. To prevent this, you will need to plan carefully, make certain changes in your life, and mentally prepare yourself for a new and exciting chal- lenge. Finding Time
One of the most difficult aspects of owning a shepherd is the amount of time these dogs need with their owners. German shepherds simply cannot thrive physi- cally or emotionally without nearly constant interaction with their owners and other people. This is one of the reasons why the shepherd makes such a great service dog or police or military K-9. These jobs provide the shepherd with the opportunity for exercise, continuous mental stimulation, and the chance to work with and please his handler. The dog’s sense of purpose is what helps him succeed. Most people are not in a position to have their dogs with them twenty-four hours a day, so you’ll have to do your best. This means spending an hour or more exer- cising and training the dog in the morning. Another hour around midday is ideal, and an additional hour or more should be invested in the evening. A shepherd that is tired out at the end of the day is a very happy dog.
The Price You Pay
As the saying goes, money can’t buy love. However, where your German shep- herd is concerned, a certain amount of money is needed to provide your puppy or rescued adult with a baseline level of health care and safety. First-year expenses are naturally the highest. This is largely because of a puppy’s vaccination requirements, which will require an office visit every two to three weeks until the puppy is sixteen to twenty weeks old. If nothing goes wrong and your puppy remains healthy throughout the first year, you can anticipate a $500 to $750 veterinary bill for the pup’s first twelve months. Adult dogs—if they’ve come from a breed rescue or a well-funded shelter—are usually spayed or neutered and up to date on vaccinations prior to being released. That means an adopted dog should have a smaller initial veterinary bill than a puppy would incur. However, a rescued adult may have other health issues (skin allergies or heartworm infestation, for instance) that may require special or regular veterinary care. Both a puppy and an adult dog will require a crate to call home, comfortable bedding, high-quality food, bowls, leashes, collars, grooming equipment, sham- poo, lots of safe chew toys, and a full year of obedience training classes, which you must also attend. Depending on the area of the country in which you live and the resources available to you, your first-year supplies and training costs can reach $1,000 or more.