Taking Care of your German Shepherd

German Shepherd Male

From their imposing size to the dark, intelligent eyes, German Shepherds are one of the most recognizable dog breeds for the last century. A versatile, athletic, and fearless dog, the Shepherd is the work dog’s work dog. It takes some dedication raising a German Shepherd, but if you have the time and energy, you will have a loving companion who will be there for you and your family (including the cat) for life.

Brief History of the German Shepherd

The German Shepherd’s roots trace back to 19th century Germany, where a member of the police force wanted to develop a dog that could be used for both military and police work. The result was the German Shepherd. During WWI the breed fell out of favor in the US due to them being used by the enemy, but these dogs braved artillery fire, land mines, and tanks to supply German troops in the trenches with food and other necessity. Today, the German Shepherd is quickly becoming one of the popular dogs again, right behind the Labrador Retriever.

Shepherding the Shepherd – How to care for your GSD

The German Shepherd is a very active dog, they will not be satisfied with being a couch potato. This dog requires multiple walks a day and training to keep their active minds sated. Whether this is through learning different tricks or giving them a job, make sure your GSD (German Shepherd) has something to do. If you ignore them, those constructive impulses can quickly turn to destructive impulses.

German Shepherds are smart, active dogs who do best with active owners who are able to give them attention, exercise, and training. In other words, lots of one-on-one time as these dogs are extremely intelligent and trainable. However, make sure that you can show that you are the dominant male in the house to the dog, GSDs do not suffer fools lightly, and will take advantage of their owner to a fault if they know they can get away with it.

How to keep your Shepherd Healthy

While all dogs have the potential for genetic health problems, German Shepherds are not only known for their beauty and intelligence, sadly, they are also known for their possible health problems, specifically hip dysplasia. When a dog has hip dysplasia, the head of the thigh bone does not sit properly in the hip socket and over time, will wear down the bone, which will eventually cause arthritis in the dog. Another unfortunate disease that can affect German Shepherds is degenerative myelopathy. Similar to MS in humans, DM is a slow, terrible paralysis of the dogs hindquarters, and will eventually prevent the dog from being able to move on their own. However, you can minimize the chances that your GSD can get these diseases. Regular exercise and vitamins, along with a healthy diet can help to minimize the chances of your Shepherd from getting Hip Dysplasia and can lower the chance that they develop DM later in their life.

German Shepherd and a Baby

Hannah Mae
Photo Credit: Cindy Holden

Finally, don’t forget to love your dog. This breed is extremely loving and needs it back. Cuddle and play with your dog daily. In the end, you’ll have a warm, loving, and loyal companion for you and your family.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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The Different Types of Service Dogs

www.army.milDogs play a very important role in a human’s life, especially service dogs. The term “service dog” is generally used for many different types of assistance dogs. These include guide dogs, mobility dogs, hearing dogs, medical alert dogs, and autism dogs.

There are also other types of dogs with jobs that help people, such as psychiatric therapy dogs and emotional support animals. The importance of service dogs is that they can do things that their disabled owners cannot.

Guide Dogs

Guide dogs are trained to lead blind and visually impaired people around everyday obstacles. These dogs can benefit their owner by allowing them to get around faster, with more accuracy and fewer accidents. Guide dogs can also make their owners feel safer at home and on the streets.

Mobility Dogs

Mobility dogs are trained to retrieve items, open doors, help a person dress or push buttons for its handler. These dogs most commonly assist people with disabilities with walking, balance and transferring from place to place. More importantly, mobility dogs can increase the independence of a person who uses a wheelchair or has trouble standing.

Hearing Dogs

Hearing DogThe purpose of a hearing dog is to alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing of general household sounds, like the telephone, doorbell, smoke alarm, and much more. Hearing dogs can provide sound awareness and companionship to their owners, while offering increased freedom and independence.

Medical Alert Dogs

A medical alert dog is trained to assist people with a medical disability. These dogs will “alert” their owners of oncoming medical conditions, including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, etc. In addition, medical alert dogs are taught how to respond to these symptoms, whether that means bringing their owners medication or the telephone.

Autism Dogs

Unlike a guide or mobility dog that helps with physical tasks, the autism dog is there for emotional support. These dogs can provide stability in a child’s life as well as offer a calming influence and improve focus. Research has shown that interacting with animals can help autistic children become more social and better interact with their peers.

Psychiatric Therapy Dogs

120523-D-BW835-286Dogs can also enrich the lives of people living with psychological, neurological and developmental disorders, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression and Anxiety. Psychiatric therapy dogs can provide their owners with relief from feelings of isolation and provide a sense of well-being. Having a dog has also shown to increase a person’s mood and optimism.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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