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Breed Misconceptions | The German Shepherd

Here are a few more myths about German Shepherd dogs that it is highly important at this stage to dispel.

1. Puppies are better than adult dogs – especially if I have small children. This is categorically not the case. While small children may “coo” and “awww!” over the sight of a newborn puppy, putting two separate creatures with reduced impulse-control together is more likely to result in chaos than it is in adorable photographs. Getting a puppy “for” your child is putting a newborn puppy – with no impulse control and no sense of what the world is like – with a scary, undisciplined figure who might very well hurt it. That is not to say that puppies and babies are incompatible, but potential dog owners should monitor the situation carefully and consider either waiting until the child is older to adopt a dog or adopting an older, more experienced dog who is less likely to snap if, for example, a child pulls his tail or prods him repeatedly. German Shepherd puppies are not necessarily aggressive. But they do have a proclivity to harmless nipping and chewing that might not bother an adult, but might damage the sensitive skin of a toddler, or destroy the lining on her favorite stuffed toy.

2. FEMALES HAVE FEWER DOMINANCE ISSUES THAN MALES Another untrue myth that leads to much disappointment and disillusionment among dog owners. Female dogs, like female humans, are no more likely to be “meek” and “docile” than their masculine counterparts. In fact, when female dogs are in heat, they are certainly a destructive, powerful force to be reckoned with, and certainly not one to be underestimated. Male dogs can be just as laid-back and mellowed as female dogs – perhaps more so, if they have been properly neutered – and female dogs can be just as aggressive as the police dogs you see on TV and in movies.

3. SPAYING MY DOG IS INHUMANE – I WANT HIM/HER TO HAVE PUPPIES No, what's actually inhumane is subjecting a dog with normal “wolf” impulses to an indoor life, putting him or her at risk of being one-half of a set of reluctant parents, and then bringing a litter of puppies you are unable to healthily cope with into the world. Not only does spaying and neutering drastically reduce the risk of violence and aggression in your German Shepherd dogs, but it also protects both you and your pets from the risks of puppies. By treating your dogs as “humans,” and applying the same expectation to them as you would to yourself, you minimize the important human/dog dynamic – that requires that you, however much you love the pooch, always be in control as master, an assumption necessary for curbing German Shepherd aggression. Furthermore, dogs that are neutered are more pleasant companions, happier dogs, and – especially in the case of females – do not leave monthly messes on the couch or carpet. You also put your German Shepherd dog at diminished risk for many related illnesses.

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