We've all seen these wonderful dogs hard at work in some of the most dangerous areas of the world. Helping their military handlers find bombs and sniffing out land mines, it has to be said German Shepherds are trained to carry out fantastic life saving work. Whether in the army, with the police force or helping customs officers keep airports and ports around the country safe, these great dogs often need help when they reach retirement. It's when they need to find new and loving homes to spend out the rest of their days happily being a dog!
For a long time, the breed has been one of the most popular family dogs to have around a home. They are intelligent, fun loving and exceptionally loyal characters. When it comes to training, the German Shepherd easily learns to do almost any task or job they are asked to do. As such the breed is one of the top breeds to accompany handlers on some of the most dangerous jobs on the planet, helping to keep everyone safe and out of harm's way. These great dogs save so many soldiers lives during their working lives!
German Shepherds are gentle creatures too. They make superb guide dogs for blind and deaf people and because they are so intelligent as well as kind hearted, they are brilliant with handicapped people too. When it comes to finding people buried in debris after earthquakes or other natural disasters, the German Shepherd is a true star – again this wonderful breed of dog saves so many peoples' lives during the course of their working lives!
As family pets, the breed is one of the most popular not only in the UK but in many other countries of the world too. They are exceptionally kind with children showing an enormous amount of patience where other breeds might be a little less tolerant. This is one of the main reasons the breed has become one of the top family dogs - they are fantastic at protecting the family making it their job and it's one they truly take to heart and enjoy!
For many years the German Shepherd has been a firm favourite with many security company's and private individuals as guard dogs. They are strong looking and because they are so easy to train, this and their natural instinct to protect property means they are very good at their jobs. The breed is a great deterrent against burglars and break-ins. Anyone thinking about breaking into a home, would think twice about it when they know there is a German Shepherd in the house!
Many German Shepherds are adopted by their handlers when they retire – but not all of them get so lucky. There are plenty of good reasons why giving one of these lovely creatures a new home makes perfect sense, although it may take a little bit of time for them to settle into their new life styles. But with this said when they do – they can become one of the nicest dogs to have around a home – remember German Shepherds have been highly trained and this means they are much easier to handle and control , it just takes a bit of time and patience when you give them a chance to adapt.
However, many army dogs have been through the mill and some may even suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) much like many soldiers who return from war zones. If this is the case, the dog would need very special care and a lot of attention from anyone who feels they could offer them a nice, quiet home environment. This means the dogs might not be the ideal family pet but rather great companions for people who have all the time in the world to give them.
Sadly some army dogs just can't go to new homes because they just cannot adapt and unfortunately have to be put to sleep – this is especially true of the military guard dogs stationed abroad. But if the dog is healthy, friendly they get given the chance to find loving homes, and luckily there are many organisations out there that people can contact.
It really does depend on circumstances as to when working German Shepherds retire. Military dogs are normally retired when they are anything from 6 to 8 years old, but if they are injured or something else happens to them that prevents them from continuing their good work, they can be retired much earlier. Often younger dogs who don't make the grade are put up for adoption straight away and make wonderful family pets – but they do need a firm hand to finish their training when they arrive in a home environment which not everyone can handle.
Police dogs usually retire from the force when they reach 6 years old, but again circumstances might lead to a dog being retired earlier for their own welfare. Many of the dogs go to live with their handler's family but not all of them are that lucky and need to find new and caring homes. It really does depend on the nature of the dog as to how well they adapt to their new lifestyles, but with time, these dogs who have worked so hard, do come around and make lovely, loyal family pets. Some adapt very quickly but others may take slightly longer to fit in. But again, the sort of work the dog has been doing in the police force dictates just how suitable they are for re-homing and who they should go to.
German Shepherds are a strong breed of dog and can live anything from 10 to 13 years if they are well cared for. As they get older, the breed although muscular and strong, are prone to suffer from certain common illnesses. This means when you adopt an older retired working German Shepherd, you have to be prepared to take care of them if they do contract any of these conditions. When all is said and done, there is nothing more rewarding that offering a home to a retired working German Shepherd. It give them the chance to live out their lives – doing what they do best, and that's being a dog and man's best friend!