Single-dwelling homes with no lease or landlord.
Why? One of the top reasons dogs are surrendered is due to landlord issues.
Physical fenced yards (no underground/electronic fencing).
Why? The underground fencing system used alone has continually shown to fail in keeping the GSD breed contained and or strangers safe from dog bites. After so many negative experiences with electronic fencing, the rescue has been forced to only allow a physical fence. Although this requirement may exempt some good dog owners, the rescue is willing to accept this loss in order to ensure the rescued GSDs are as safe as possible.
Reside within 100 miles of rescue location (5 mile exception).
Why? Adopters have shown a willingness to drive hundreds of miles to adopt a dog, yet find it very difficult to drive the same mileage in the case of a return. The rescue simply doesn't have time to drive hundreds of miles. The ONLY exception is if a family is referred by a current adopter. NO OTHER EXCEPTIONS.
Mature Adults and Mature Children
Why? The rescue prefers adults who have can focus on the serious commitment of owning a GSD. Accepting a possible 12 year commitment requires person/s that are responsible and can dedicate the time required. Because the rescue has limited information on many of the dogs, the rescue must be extremely careful when placing them in homes with children. Children who may place hands in dog food bowls, take treats/toys/bones from the dogs, or pull on tails or ears are not advised. A child should be mature enough to understand safe dog handling.
Why? This is the biggest failure of those who believe they understand the GSD breed. This breed is not for every family. Because this breed is beautiful, protective, and has a well-known history as working dogs i.e. Police K9, Search & Rescue, Military Service, they are constantly being adopted or purchased by those who don't conduct even basic research. If you don't know the correct spelling of the breed, you don't know enough about the breed to make a proper decision on owning one. Why people want to surrender their shepherds:
1) Bite incident
2) Dog aggression with another pet
3) Cannot handle the drive and energy the GSD requires
4) Too protective of home/yard. Cannot safely have friends or family visit.
5) Landlord complaint
6) Cannot afford medical issues associated with the breed (hips, joint issues, digestive, allergies, skin issues).
Three or Less Pets in the Home
Why? The less reasons for a return, the better. If a family has cats, dogs, small children, many visiting dogs, other small animals, small children who visit, etc., this rescue is not likely going to be able to find an appropriate dog for this type of family. There are exceptions however the less active a home, the better. The rescue does all it can to avoid a return. This causes tremendous stress on adopters, the rescue, and the returned GSD.