German Shepherds are some of the most intelligent dogs in the world, and they are very popular for work as police dogs and search and rescue dogs. They are also known to be highly loyal and obedient when trained well. Despite these characteristics, German Shepherds are some of the most common dogs to be in need of rescue.
Their intelligence, self-confidence, and high level of energy can make them too much to handle for some owners, leading many to end up in shelters and specialized German Shepherd rescue centres.
However, if you’re familiar with German Shepherds or have taken the time to learn about them, and you’re committed to giving them the time and energy they need, rescuing a German Shepherd may be a fantastic option for you. To learn all about German Shepherds and German Shepherd rescue, keep reading.
German Shepherds were first bred in Germany beginning in the 1890s. The first man to breed German Shepherds, Max von Stephanitz, wanted to create the perfect working dog with strong intelligence, loyalty, and an attractive form. He based these traits primarily off of the very capable sheepdogs of Germany.
Today, German Shepherds’ qualities still make them popular as working dogs. They are particularly popular with the police and army. They have a very strong sense of smell and are therefore very good at scout duty, search and rescue, and explosives and narcotics searching. They are still sometimes used to herd sheep and guard fields.
German shepherds are large dogs, standing at an average height of 55-65 cm. and weighing up to 40 kilograms. The most common German Shepherd pattern is tan with a black mask and saddle-like pattern. Black and white German Shepherds, as well as a long-hair variation, are also fairly common and may be available for rescue. German Shepherds are known for their distinctively large, upright ears and long bushy tails.
Temperament and its Importance to German Shepherd Rescue
If you are thinking about rescuing a German Shepherd or adopting a German Shepherd puppy, you will need to be aware of the typical German Shepherd temperament. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and active dogs. This can make them great companions and very rewarding to own, but it also requires a commitment of time and energy to train them properly.
Most German Shepherds, because they are so intelligent, need to stay stimulated. This means providing them with toys, tasks, and (most importantly) frequent interaction. German Shepherds are not good dogs to be left alone in the yard or house most of the day. They need to be around people and interacting frequently.
Their intelligence also means that they can be trained to perform very impressive tasks. They can, however, be a bit stubborn, so training will take time and consistent effort. Most German Shepherd owners will want to take their dog to obedience training. German Shepherds are also typically very high-energy, athletic dogs. You’ll need to be prepared to play fetch, play in the yard, and go for walks every day. German Shepherds tend to make great running partners. If you have the time and energy for all these things, you’ll probably love your rescued German Shepherd.
The Process of Rescuing a German Shepherd
If you’ve decided to rescue a German Shepherd, there are a number of steps you need to take that are a bit different from adopting a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder. Your local animal shelter may have German Shepherds available for rescue. There are also a number of regional German Shepherd rescue organizations. Try doing a search to see what might be available close to you.
The next step is to visit the rescue centre and spend some time with the dog. Keep in mind that German Shepherds, unlike Labradors and Golden Retrievers, may not be immediately friendly and affectionate towards strangers. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be loving once they’ve gotten to know you. If you can, observe the dog with a trainer they know well to get a better idea of how they’ll act around you.
Once you’ve chosen a dog, you’ll need to submit an application. Many German Shepherd rescue centres also require you to submit references and complete a home visit. If you are accepted, you’ll need to pay an adoption fee. After that, you’ll be ready to take your new dog home.
Follow Up to German Shepherd Rescue
Once you have adopted your German Shepherd, it’s normal to have an adjustment period. Depending on the dog and your home, this can take anywhere between a couple of days and a couple of months. Moving to a new home means a lot of changes for your new dog, and it will take some time for him or her to adjust and learn to trust you. During this period (and afterwards), it’s important to establish a good relationship with your dog.
German Shepherds need at least one person in the house to be a strong leader. With a strong leadership relationship, your German Shepherd will become loyal, friendly, loving, and obedient. Without control, they can become headstrong and disobedient. It’s important to stay calm and confident with the dog and consistently enforce training rules.
Dogs can sense confidence, and German Shepherds in particular will respond well to it, respecting the human leader as, in a sense, the alpha of the pack. Being firm and confident will allow your German Shepherd to bond with you in a relationship that is built on respect and trust.