You see it in their eyes the minute they look at your beautiful beast of a dog. They admire the pure beauty, physical strength, awesome coat, and the obedient manner in which your dog is containing himself.
They often will ask if they can pet your dog, and that depends upon you and your dog. You know the next thing out of their mouth will be: “I want a German Shepherd”.
Sometimes they will ask you where they can get one and go on to tell you a bit about their life-this may or may not include never having owned a dog, that they don’t have a yard, that they’re not home much so a watch dog would be great! They may even ask some questions, “How big will it get?” “What do you feed it?” “Are they expensive?”
You know they have no clue that you’ve worked your dog every day, without fail, for the past three years to get him to this place-right here, right now.
Deep down inside you’re cringing, perhaps getting angry, certainly hoping that they’ll take the friendly advice you’re about to dish out because you know that they have no clue about what they’re proposing to take on.
If you had the time, you’d sit the person down and have a nice chat that sounds something like this:
The challenge of owning a high drive dog
Before considering a high drive dog, you must realize it is a challenge. It takes time, energy and a level of commitment unseen in most other dog/human relationships.
High drive dogs are akin to having a human child in the house that needs companionship, love, boundaries, training, physical care, and exercise.
The unparalleled intelligence of a high drive dog
These dogs were bred to do a job and do a job they will, even if they have to find one for themselves. They are highly intelligent and are free thinkers that will make their own decisions if you give them room to do so. They are highly trainable but will try to outwit the unsuspecting dog owner.
The physical requirements of a high drive dog
Bred for endurance, strength and stamina, high energy is an understatement. If you want to take on a high drive dog, be prepared to provide daily exercise in the form of running, retrieving, hiking, swimming, and organized dog sports. A walk around the block or six blocks will not begin to burn off their energy.
The ongoing training of a high drive dog
Due to their high intelligence, these dogs require continual training throughout their lives to keep them mentally stimulated and satisfied. They require mental and physical challenges that only a high level of commitment to training can bring.
They must be taught impulse control and self discipline or they will attempt to rule their territory.
The basic needs of a high drive dog
In addition to lots of daily exercise and continual training, high drive dogs will become destructive if they are not provided with plenty of mental stimulation, safe chew toys, undivided attention, companionship, strong boundaries, house manners, love and healthy dose of respect.
Do you still want a high drive dog?
Unless you can meet all the minimum requirements of a high drive dog, you better consider another breed because if you can’t run with the big dogs, you better stay on the porch!