Those considering a German Shepherd Dog as a family addition should make sure that this breed is the best fit for the situation. The dogs are strong in body, spirit, and mind. They need much attention, love, and firm guidance as they grow -- which they do quite quickly.
As a gawky, awkward teenager, a GSD may unintentially knock over a small child or a frail elderly person. Their strong, happy tails can clear tables, and their powerful jaws and teeth wreak havoc on furniture.
This is a slowly maturing breed with a long puppyhood, so the new owner must be prepared to provide kind but firm discipline and a secure environment to help the dog develop into a well- behaved adult. German Shepherds are active dogs. They love to run and explore their surroundings with their excellent noses. They require considerable exercise, especially while growing. This exercise can be provided by an active owner, another dog or two, or a fenced yard or dog run. Tying this dog to a house is unacceptable, as it will create frustration, boredom, and a potentially dangerous dog.
German Shepherds are very sociable dogs. They need attention and companionship. They do not do well if left in isolation from people and other companion animals.
They make excellent family dogs, because, although they sometimes pick one person as their special person, they can relate well to all members of the household. If they are raised with children, they will develop an abundance of tolerance to the grabbing and poking of tiny fingers.
Raising a puppy with young children takes extra patience and effort for parents. Often the fast-growing puppy will use his teeth in playing with children and their toys, sometimes resulting in scratches. Young children often excite puppies who want to wrestle and chase -- like they did with their littermates.
Children can undo all the work a parent has done in training the puppy because a small child is neither firm nor consistent with the pup. As long as parents realize that they will need an extra dose of patience, the German Shepherd puppy can grow up side by side with the children and be a source of lasting memories for all.