This week kicked off my extensive research into the German Shepherd Dog (GSD)! I have been acting as a sponge and soaking up heaps of information from books like "The Everything German Shepherd Book" and from friends who own dogs. I grew up with dogs, and that helps prepare one, but I am certain that growing up with a dog and owning a dog are two very different things. Now it won't be my parents caring for the dog, but me, etc. But it'll be worth every moment of owning a sweet little German Shepherd pup like one of these:
Which I know will eventually get quite large and look gorgeous like this one:
Why a GSD? Many reasons! A few of the top reasons (not necessarily in order):
1. companionship (I live alone with my cat who, while wonderful, doesn't provide the companionship I could have with a dog).
2. man's best friend (I've always wanted a dog of my own, and now I'm finally able to provide a healthy environment for one; I look forward to working with the pup, training it and taking it to obedience classes!)
3. protection (Living alone in a big city can be scary sometimes, especially at night. While I live in a safe area and a nice apartment complex, one can never be too sure; a dog, especially a GSD, would provide protection.)
4. running buddy (After the pup is a year old I can begin taking it on runs with me!)
I have a lot to prepare for in getting a puppy. Mentally I'm pretty much there. The biggest hurdle was realizing and coming to terms with the fact that during puppyhood I'll have to sacrifice my lunch hour daily to come home to care for the pup. I've realized that this will be very worthwhile in the end, though. In fact, I'm kind of excited about coming home midday through the work week; it'll make for a nice lift in my day, seeing the pup.
I also know it will be expensive to not only acquire but also to own the pet. I'm budgeting $1000 in expenses for the first year, not including the price of the puppy, which I'm not sure about as I've not yet began contacting potential breeders. I'm hoping everything will fall into place (financially and time-wise with the breeder) such that I'll have a puppy by late Summer 2010 or early Fall 2010.
I'm very interested in bringing a GSD into a home where there is already a cat (as in my situation). I know GSDs are have strong herding tendencies, but I also know that they are highly trainable. My plan is to teach the pup early on that Ashes is not to be herded into a corner, etc. Also, while it's a pup, I'll be keeping a constant eye, so I can definitely watch, monitor and control how things develop between the pup and Ashes. I'm still reading up on what experts have to say about GSDs and a cat(s) mixing in the home.
If you have any tips on owning a dog in general or owning a German Shepherd specifically, please send them my way! I look forward to hearing your advice!
PS - I want a female!