German Shepherd Rescue Guide: How to Find One, and What it Will Be Like

Rescuing a German shepherd from the pound is a heroic thing to do, but it can be intimidating to first time rescuers. A lot of people have wondered what it’s like to adopt a German Shepherd, myself included. So, I did a little research and here is what I found.

So, what does it look like to rescue a German shepherd? Rescued dogs often come with baggage. If you get a German shepherd, then expect to have adjustment time. German shepherds are very popular breeds in America, so finding one to rescue isn’t very difficult. Talk to your local animal shelter which is almost certain to have a German shepherd.

There are a lot of different ways to adopt a dog. From the street, from the shelter, or even creating your own rescue. If you have a passion for German shepherds and are looking for a way to help this neglected breed, then rescuing is a great place to start.

Rescuing a German Shepherd: An Overview

Bringing a new pet home is both exciting and stressful. On the one hand, you are excited to have a new dog. Think of all the great memories you will make together! You can’t wait to get home and really get to know your new fuzzy buddy.

But on the other hand, you’re nervous. Maybe you have never owned a German shepherd before and aren’t quite sure what it will be like. You are probably wondering how your German shepherd will get along with your other pets or kids.

These feelings are common and anyone who has ever rescued an animal felt the same way at some point. With a little foreknowledge of what it will be like rescue a German shepherd, you will bring your dog home with confidence.

So, what will rescuing a German Shepherd be like, from start to finish?

I think that my summarization succintly describes the experience. It goes as follows:

  1. Find a German Shepherd to rescue. (There are a lot of different avenues to finding a German shepherd. We will discuss those shortly)
  2. Bringing your German shepherd home.
  3. Adjusting with your new German shepherd.

It doesn’t seem so daunting a task when you look at it from this angle.

Let’s take a closer look at each step so you have a more detailed idea of what the experience will be like.

Finding a German Shepherd to Rescue

German Shepherds are consistently one of the top 5 most popular dog breeds in America and for obvious reasons. This dog is wicked smart and can perform a variety of tricks above and beyond your common “sit!” and “come!” commands.

German Shepherds are also famous for their energy. It seems like they can run and play all day every day and never get tired. I envy their seemingly inexhaustible source of energy and friendly playful demeanor.

No wonder people go absolutely ga-ga for these great dogs.

Unfortunately, because of their popularity, these amazing dogs often fall into the wrong hands. Pet owners that thought that owning a pet would be as easy as peeling a banana, find that caring for another living creature is harder than it looks.

These owners either neglect their poor dogs until they develop serious trauma both physical and mental, or abandon them to the streets so they can fend for themselves.

This is where you, the brave rescuer, comes along to help these neglected animals.

Saying that you want to “rescue” an animal is simple enough, and admittedly, with the quantity of abandoned German Shepherds out there, you probably won’t have a hard time finding one.

Or course, some adoption centers will be more credible than others, and some “dog rescues” are downright scams. Let’s take a look at the best and worst places to look when rescuing a German Shepherd.

Worst Places to Look to Rescue a German Shepherd

Some people are looking to take advantage of good-hearted people and sell them dogs under shady false pretenses. Here are some of the worst places to look when rescuing a German Shepherd:

  • Shady Pet Websites. Buying a dog over the internet may seem like a good idea. Most people happily supply a history of the dog and are more than happy to send you photos and videos of what the dog is like. Unfortunately, most of these salesmen are scammers looking to profit off of a puppy’s adorable face. There are some legitimate sellers online, but be cautious. Just because an add talks about “rescuing” doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. There are a lot of great websites out there that can point you in the right direction. We will talk about those in a bit.
  • Pet stores. Saying that you bought your puppy from a pet store nowadays is almost like saying you hit a grandma with your car. Your sure to draw some scowls and tsk tsk’s from those around you. Pet stores often get their dogs from puppy mills, which breed dogs at factory level quantities and poor house level humanity. Puppy farm dogs are often abused and starved. It can be tempting to want to “rescue” a puppy from a puppy mill, but spending money on any of their dogs just encourages their bad behavior.
  • Flea-Markets. Buying a dog at a flea-market seems like a good idea. You get to meet the dog and the owner to see if everything is on the up and up. While I’m sure that flea-market salesmen are good people just trying to make some money, their dogs are often purchased from puppy farms as well. Ask the sales guy where he got his dogs from. If everything seems legit, then feel free to buy, but know that there are better rescue options out there.

Best Places to Look to Rescue a German Shepherd

There are a lot of shady people out there that would capitalize off of your goodness, but there are a ton of legitimate organizations out there that are willing to help. Here are the best places to look to adopt a German shepherd:

  • Animal shelters. Animal shelters should be your go-to for rescuing any animals. These are managed by people that have a true love for animals and want to find them good homes. Any reputable animal shelter will have a history of the dog’s health and anything about its previous home. Some dogs are strays and there won’t be any history to give.
  • Breeders. I know I will get a lot of flak for this one but hear me out. Breeders are responsible pet owners that breed dogs to compete in shows and other competitions. They sometimes sell the offspring of prize-winning pooches to compete and carry on the champions award-winning blood. Occasionally, however, a dog is born that doesn’t meet the breed’s standard of excellence and is unable to compete. Breeders are often at a loss as to what to do with these dogs and often give these dogs to shelters anyway. Buying one of these dogs from a breeder will let you rescue a dog with fewer health problems than a regular shelter dog, albeit it at a more expensive price.
  • Legitimate websites. The internet is a great tool and there are plenty of great websites that would be willing to help you find a German shepherd to rescue. Here are a few sites that are really useful:
  1. GSDRescue.Org The German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption Group is a non-profit that specializes in finding lost or abuse German shepherds find a good home. They can help you find a dog, or volunteer if you are interested.
  2. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America specializes in all things German shepherd. Not only does this great organization help with the protection and rescuing of German shepherds, but they also give great tips on how to train and care for your pet.
  3. The Humane Society does great work for animals all over the nation. If you know of any animal being abused or are looking to give a good home to a suffering creature, the humane society is sure to be able to help.
  4. PetFinder.com Partners with local shelters to help you find animals in need of rescue in your area. Hop online and see if there are any great German shepherd in need of a home now.

There are a lot of great places to find animals in need. Just keep your ears and eyes open and you will be adopting a brand new German shepherd in no time!

Bringing Your German Shepherd Home

The first few weeks that your German shepherd spends in his new house are critical to helping him feel secure and at home.

The first day that your German shepherd arrives at your home will be a crash-course in what thing are going to be like. It’s critical that you start off on the right foot. It will make everything smoother.

Here is a step-by-step list of what you should on your first day:

  1. Make sure your dog is secure in his crate when you are bringing him home. A lot of German shepherds find car rides stressful and the crate really does a great job calming him down.
  2. When you get home, immediately bring your German shepherd to his bathroom area. Make sure you spend plenty of time with him there so he knows that it is his space. Be patient if he ends up having an accident though. Even well-trained dogs are stressed out by a big move.
  3. Start leading your dog through his schedule as soon as possible. A solid routine will help your dog adjust to his new home faster than otherwise. Let him know when he will eat, play, sleep, and go to the bathroom.
  4. Remain calm around your dog. Too much excitement can really freak him out during the first couple of days. If you remain calm he will have an easier time adjusting.
  5. Make sure that, if you have kids, they know how to treat a dog. This is your dog’s first impression of everyone in the household. It would really make a bad impression if your kids tackle your new German shepherd without any forewarning.
  6. Get used to garbled communication. If your dog has previously lived in another home, he may have a completely different idea of what, “come” means then what you have in mind. Get ready to train and retrain or potentially never train out a communication that you find less than desirable. Be patient though. This is one of the fun parts about rescuing an animal

Don’t be surprised if your dog starts “misbehaving” a few months after the adoption. It takes time for a dog to settle into their new environments and find their personalities.

If your dog was calm and quite the first few weeks you got him, and now suddenly has a craving to play fetch 24/7, don’t panic. Your dog has finally accustomed to his new life and is now doing what dogs love to do.

This is where you start training and exercising patience.

Adjusting With Your New German Shepherd

Now that you have finally found and brought your German shepherd home, it’s time to start the long journey of adjusting to one anothers personalities and forming a life-long friendship.

This is the best and most important step, but also the one that requires the most patience.

Earlier we talked about where to find a dog, but we never really discussed which dog you should pick. You see, all German shepherds share physical traits and have a similar predisposition for certain personality traits, but no two German shepherds are exactly the same.

Consider what works best for you and your family.

Are you newly married with no kids and a lot of time to kill? Then you may want a dog with a lot of energy that is always down for adventures.

Do you have a family with young kids and are looking for your first family pet? Then maybe you want a calmer dog that has lived in a house with children before.

Are you older and single, maybe looking for some companionship? Consider getting a dog with a loyal and protective personality that will weather with you through your golden years.

Don’t go in blind assuming that one German shepherd is exactly like another. Do your research, talk to the folks at the animal shelter and see what they know. Once you have found a dog that is the right match, take him home with you.

Now that you have chosen the perfect German shepherd and survived your first day with him, it’s time to start caring for him.

Remember that shelter dogs usually come with baggage. They may come from homes were they were beaten or abused. They may have come from homes where they didn’t have much interaction with people or other dogs so they won’t be properly socialized.

It’s important to remember that shelter dogs often come with a host of medical issues that can be expensive to treat. Plan on taking more than one trip to the vet when adopting from a shelter.

The joy that you will have from rescuing a German shepherd from a shelter is hard to understand for those who have never done it before. By rescuing one of these wonderful dogs you are caring for a suffering soul in need.

Related Questions:

Are German shepherds hard to train? They were bred to be working dogs and follow human commands very well. You will find that German shepherds are house-broken very easily and can learn a ton of cool tricks. However, if German shepherds aren’t given enough tasks to do, they can become bored and start getting into mischief.

Are German Shepherds good family dogs? German shepherds are energetic and have a great time playing with children. They are, however, big dogs and a child that doesn’t know how to treat animals well may find himself a bite-victim of a scared German shepherd. Make sure that your kids know how to treat dogs and everything should be fine.

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