By Barbara J. Galasso

A German Shepherd Dog is not a dog that gets up in the morning and is content lying around all day. He was blessed with one of the dog kingdom's most intelligent minds. If he's not challenged on a daily basis to use the intelligence that was bestowed on him, he grows restless and weary. He was not born to be a lap dog sitting on the couch passing the time away. He was born to work, herd, protect and to learn. If he's not given something constructive to do, then he can become very destructive because he becomes bored.

The German Shepherd Dog is the most happy when he's being trained, serving man in some capacity where his mind is being stimulated. An idle mind is not a happy mind. Genetics has dictated that his mind be utilized to fulfill the destiny of his heritage. What a pity for this breed or for any breed to be left in a dog run all day with nothing to keep him company but the enclosure of a cage. For those who say he's just a dog, then they've missed the whole point of dog ownership in the first place.

A dog can teach man many things about living, all of which can be the most simplistic in nature. The dog lets man be his most silly self without the fear of being judged. There are many a time when a dog owner finds himself enjoying a hearty "belly laugh" because of the antics of his animals. Many a dog has filled someone's lonely hours when the shadows of the night seem to swallow one's thoughts. Sometimes it seems like the dog is the only friend man has when he finds himself struggling in the darkest throes of his life.

The German Shepherd is not a breed for everyone. This is a noble, proud breed. He's not lazy, and he's not content being left alone. This is a breed that thrives when his intelligence is being stimulated. This is a breed that is the happiest when he's a companion to his master. Each day he awakens, his spirit is rejuvenated with the anticipation of being with his master and serving him in some capacity. He looks forward to a walk, a training lesson or a game of fetch or a pat on the head; anything but lying on the cold hard cement floor of his run.

If the only time a German Shepherd Dog is taken out of his run is to be bred or to go to a dog show, then man has done a disservice to "The King of Dogs" and is not worthy of his ownership.

It's a challenge owning this breed. Man needs to ask himself if he's up to that challenge and with it the responsibility and pride that comes with owning an animal with this much intelligence, this much heart and courage, and this much devotion to love his master even if he does leave him in the run for his entire life. What a sorrowful plight then for a German Shepherd Dog to never have realized its potential...to never experience what it felt like to herd sheep in a wide open field...or never know what it felt like to be a hero by rescuing a drowning child from an aggressive river...to never feel the grateful touch of an elderly person in a nursing home...or never help contribute to a better quality of life to a blind man.

Therefore, each and every German Shepherd; and especially future show or breeding stock, should experience what most of its' litter mates have already experienced. They too should know what it's like to be someone's beloved pet and not just a commodity for someone's selfish gain.

The German Shepherd Dog was born for greatness. Anything less, is not a German Shepherd.

To have his genetic destiny stunted is a sin against his creator because a German Shepherd Dog's mind is a terrible thing to waste.

The German Shepherd Dog-NOT for EVERYONE
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