To get the adoption process started, whether you are interested in a dog that we already have in foster care, or would like for us to find just the right dog for you, we must first receive an adoption application from you.
The adoption application tells us what type of dog you are looking for, and it also gives us some general information about your family and lifestyle so that we are best able to place the right dog into the right home. No need to go into great detail on the application, because we will go over it together.
After we receive the application, a representative will call you to schedule a convenient time for you to come and meet the dog(s) you are interested in. If we do not currently have any suitable dogs in foster care, then that is the time that we begin looking for you a dog or puppy that we feel, based on your living arrangements and lifestyle, is the best match.
German Shepherds are social animals. They want to be with their family - their 'pack.' If you have allergies to dog hair, dander or saliva, you will probably have problems with a German Shepherd. Many breeders and owners would be glad to have you visit their dogs to see if you can tolerate being around them. Make sure to spend time with adult dogs. Your allergies may be fine with a puppy but act up once it starts to get a adult coat. It is never fair to get a puppy then find out your allergies are too bad and you have to banish the dog outside, away from the family, for the majority of its life. A German Shepherd should be with his people. They should NEVER be left outside all the time. They will NEVER be happy living that way, and could develop destructive and/or aggressive behavior, just like any other breed of dog. Think of what is best for the dog.
German Shepherds are not clean. If you are a neat freak, you will not like a German Shepherd. They shed. They can dig holes in your yard, track in mud, chew on things. rub up against and leave marks on your walls, clear off the coffee table with one wag of their tail. If you are a neat freak, and want a dog as a showpiece, don't get a German Shepherd. Get a stuffed dog or one of those new robot dogs.
German Shepherds need a lot of exercise. The German Shepherd is an active, working breed. This may not seem a problem if you are in the mood for some exercise yourself. But they need an outlet for their energy every day. That means when it is raining, on days you work late, when you are not feeling good- your German Shepherd will still want to go for a run, walk, play ball, go swimming...whatever you two do. If you do not provide an outlet for his pent-up energy....he may find one!
German Shepherds are prone to genetically linked problems. Hip dysplasia, elbow Dysplasia, epilepsy, skin problems, sensitive stomachs, and the list goes on. Do your homework! Responsible breeders do their best to breed only those animals who are free of such diseases and disorders, but that doesn't mean a puppy will never pop up with any of them, just because his parents did not exhibit symptoms. That's why it's important to make sure whatever breeder you decide to get a puppy from does appropriate health and genetic testing on their breeding stock. Ask your Vet or read more about all of these things before making a decision to get a German Shepherd.
German Shepherds are prone to other health problems. Some of which may or may not be genetically linked. Included but not limited to: bloat, panosteitis, OCD, thyroid problems, and other immune system and endocrine problems.
German Shepherds stay puppies for a very long time. You may think "Great! I love puppies." Well, only their minds stay puppies. Their bodies get big! They remain clumsy, stubborn, goofy, and immature for a long time. German Shepherds don't really mature until they are 2-3 years old. They are not really hard to train, but you must train them. Ideally you should start when they are puppies, and consider enrolling them in a group training class so they can learn to interact with strangers and other dogs. Make sure the trainer is very familiar with German Shepherds. While easy to train, they have unique behavioral traits that must be handled correctly. They have a strong instinct to protect and they must be taught to look to you for leadership on who and what is dangerous to you. If left to make this choice on their own, it is like allowing a 3 year old child decide who is a threat. Not a safe idea.
German Shepherds are a popular breed and can be easy to find. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It means you should be able to find breeders quite easily, but it also means that everybody and their brother is breeding them. Not everyone is doing so properly and paying attention to temperament and health. The reputable breeder's puppies are not cheap. Some people feel they can get off cheaper by paying less to someone else. Remember you get what you pay for. However, do not go by price alone. Many people sell badly bred puppies for a lot of money just to make a quick profit. You may purchase a puppy from a disreputable source and run into many problems with the pup as he grows. Most good breeders plan 1 or 2 litters a year. They often wait years in-between breeding so they can evaluate what they are producing. Beware of a breeder who always has puppies, or seems to be breeding numerous litters every year. They may be out for their own gain, and not for the overall health of the breed. Take your time and thoroughly research your breeder before purchasing a puppy from them. A reputable breeder will be a lifelong partner in your relationship with your new puppy.
A German Shepherd may not be the best dog if you have very small children. German Shepherds are usually good around kids when they are raised with and/or around them, but like all dogs, they have to be taught to behave around children, and children should be taught to behave around dogs as well. A small puppy will naturally bite and chew on clothing, shoes, hands.... Those sharp puppy teeth can hurt a child's hands without the puppy knowing it. A growing puppy will often knock down a toddler in play. You have to supervise any dog around children.
German Shepherds Shed. Oh, did I say that one already? I couldn't see the computer screen very well through all of this dog hair!