Welcome! I am Dr. Altman, a licensed veterinarian and happy to answer your questions today.
First, congratulations on your potential new addition! I have been a GSD owner for 30+ years and a big fan of the breed but you definitely want to try a dog out for a 1-2 week trial period after you have made a connection to ensure that she is the right fit for you!
German Shepherds can definitely be quite a bit of work and require a lot of exercise in order to minimize any possible issues they may have behaviorally. At 4 years old she should have at least 45 minutes of a leash walk every day and definitely 5-10 minutes once to twice daily to work on obedience the first few months until that aspect is down pat.
GSD thrive on working so obedience is critical to ensure that she knows who the alpha is and what your rules, boundaries, and restrictions are at the home. Sit before meals, before leashed, to go outside with eye
contact is key because she needs to understand that she only gets rewarded in a calm state of mind. Otherwise they will test you constantly to ensure they get their way.
If the first few weeks go well (no food aggression, beginning to understand the sit before rewards, crate training
because dogs that are adopted from a rescue have a higher risk of separation anxiety and we want to prevent that from causing damage to her and your home from the beginning, a bond is deepening), then there is a good chance she will make a great companion for you.
But if she is timid, hiding, fearful and unable to move forward from the trauma of the rescue then she might not be a good option for you.
I definitely think some rescue dogs can be fantastic family pets and would not deter from adopting in this situation. I would definitely advise taking advantage of the free veterinary exam that typically comes with this type of adoption to evaluate how she handles new situations within the first few days which can be a telltale sign of how she will be as a companion.
I hope this information makes sense but please don't hesitate to ask additional questions. Congratulations on your potential adoption once again. I love the breed!
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