Is a GSD a good choice for my family? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 02-28-2014, 08:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is a GSD a good choice for my family?

So, I recently moved to a small town with my wife and 2 year-old daughter. We're living in a house with a huge yard, 10 feet walls and fences, and we're thinking of having a dog. I'd like to have a dog that can be a good family pet, that can bond with my daughter as she grows up, and as a guard dog, since we already had a break-in attempt. I had a weimaraner in the past, and I considered getting another one, but I don't think they make very good guard dogs. I'm considering a German Shepherd now, but from what I've read about it in books and on this forum, I'm not so sure about it.

1. I don't plan on keeping the dog chained in the yard unless we have strangers visiting, but I don't like dogs inside the house all the time either. It's fine for them to get in and out when they need something, or to stay for a while when we are doing some family activity, but they must live and eat outside. We have a small winter garden inside the house where he can stay when it's too cold outside, but that's it. Couches and beds are definitely out of limits. I've read that GSDs are more prone to separation anxiety and may get too anxious if left to sleep outside. Is that true?

2. On the other hand, both my wife and I telecommute, so we're at home most of the time. Every once in a while we'll both go on business trips, so the dog will be alone for a few days, although he'll be familiar with the janitor who will feed him when we're not around. Would that be a problem?

3. The house is on a corner, and we have these huge walls around the whole perimeter, but where it borders with the sidewalk, the wall has holes in it, and the dog can see the people walking around. There's a school nearby, so lots of kids, not to mention a bus stop a few steps from our gate. From what I've read, the GSD may be stressed out by watching those people moving so close and may bark at them all the time. Is that true? Can we avoid that with adequate training?
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If the dog will be living primarily on its own outside the house I would highly recommend looking for a breed other than a GSD. GSDs bond strongly with their families and really want to be close to their people as much as possible. They also need lots of exercise and need to be engaged and interacted with in their physical and mental exercise ... they are not the type of dog that will play on their own and tire themselves out. Left alone in a yard, no matter how nice or big, they will get bored and will then potentially get destructive or disruptive (i.e. barking at everything that moves, or walks by, digging up the yard, tunneling under the fence, etc.).

The barking at passers-by and such can be addressed with proper training, but without a sufficient amount of exercise (both physical and mental) every day, I don't know that even training will help. A bored GSD is going to find a way to alleviate it's boredom. They are extremely smart dogs, and as such need to be stimulated in positive and engaging ways every day or they can and will be a tough dog to live with regardless of whether they live in the house or outside.
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Clean-Air System View Post
If the dog will be living primarily on its own outside the house I would highly recommend looking for a breed other than a GSD. GSDs bond strongly with their families and really want to be close to their people as much as possible. They also need lots of exercise and need to be engaged and interacted with in their physical and mental exercise ... they are not the type of dog that will play on their own and tire themselves out. Left alone in a yard, no matter how nice or big, they will get bored and will then potentially get destructive or disruptive (i.e. barking at everything that moves, or walks by, digging up the yard, tunneling under the fence, etc.).

The barking at passers-by and such can be addressed with proper training, but without a sufficient amount of exercise (both physical and mental) every day, I don't know that even training will help. A bored GSD is going to find a way to alleviate it's boredom. They are extremely smart dogs, and as such need to be stimulated in positive and engaging ways every day or they can and will be a tough dog to live with regardless of whether they live in the house or outside.
I agree!
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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first off, welcome.

Honestly, these dogs do require alot of 'family' interaction. If your planning on chaining them outside, not a good idea.

Growing up, years and years ago, my family had always had dogs. One was a gsd that was chained up outside to a dog house. He was a nervous mess, I was a small kid , what did I know? I think being chained up outside, made him not only a nervous mess, but anti social , and well he'd nail anyone that walked past him. He also had separation anxiety. Just not a good thing at all.

if He's familiar with your janitor most likely not a problem.

3. Yes, and who knows , these dog can be territorial, especially if they are living outside most of the time, it could be a liability but also depends on the dog.

Depending on the dog would depend on whether it would be protect anyone, they are usually more about protecting themselves than others.

A bark is a good deterrent but you can't expect a dog to go after a burglar especially if the dog is living outside.

So, my vote is honestly, I would not get a gsd if I were you
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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No. A GSD is not for you.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi - welcome and thanks for doing you research!

I wouldn't recommend a GSD for your situation. Not only do they require a lot of effort to raise, but they are very family-oriented and want to be with their people. If you bring a puppy into your home, you'll need to spend a lot of time (and possibly money) training and socializing your dog properly. They aren't a dog you can leave in a yard, as they quickly become bored and destructive. This type of isolation can also cause a lot of stress, anxiety, and fear, which could lead to behavior that is dangerous and hard to manage, not to mention a big liability.

Also, as someone mentioned, most dogs are a good deterrent for your average burglar, but typically don't protect others unless trained.

I'd consider a different breed than a German shepherd!


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Old 02-28-2014, 09:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree with what everyone else has said here. I don't really think a GSD is the correct dog for you.

With that said, you showed concern about the dog being on the furniture. I have owned GSD for 20+ years and have never let them on the furniture. No couch, no bed, etc. We have a crate beside our bed for them to sleep in and we have a dog bed in the living room beside the couch. They can still be with us and we enjoy them being with us but I don't consider them lap dogs.
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Old 02-28-2014, 10:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree. I wouldn't get a GSD if I were you.

If you main concern is home protection, it would be cheaper to just get a home security system.
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Old 02-28-2014, 10:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I agree with everyone else.

German Shepherds, in order to become the good dogs they are reputed to be, need lots of training, beginning at 8 weeks when you bring them home. The ones you see that are wonderful and well-behaved-- well, a lot went into those dogs. Many months of training, redirecting, correction. Many months of teaching the dog what to do, and of interacting with it so that it recognizes you as a leader they need to obey.

By the time they are two, the fruits of all that labor the owner performed with the German Shepherd become evident. A well-trained GSD who is bonded with his family is a treasure and a joy. But you have to pay in your dues to get that.

You can't train a dog if it is outside, alone. What you will get is a crazy dog who needs to occupy his intelligent mind with something, and a smart dog with too much time and nothing to do will do things people will not like.

In addition, you have a 2-year-old. You get a GSD and leave it alone outside to its own devices, and he won't learn how he is supposed to behave and control himself. As a result, he becomes a danger to your child. He will jump, nip, be obnoxious, because he has not been taught otherwise.


So, in conclusion, no, please do not get a GSD.

Last edited by Sunflowers; 02-28-2014 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 02-28-2014, 10:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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It would be much easier for you to get ADT or whatever kind of home security system is affordable. More than likely, living outside will make any type of dog a mess. I'm not trying to be rude but I think that if you do get a dog, you need to be able to compromise a little. Maybe get a crate inside the house and let it sleep inside at night. It can be outside during the day in good weather.
I had a Rottweiler growing up and he did well outside all the time - until he got old. My parents had a barn for him to sleep in with hay bedding to keep warm. I honestly think maybe if you find an adult dog who is used to being outside mostly, you may be able to avoid the potential issues that come with a completely outdoor dog. Please don't get a GSD though. Any dog will want to be with its family a lot but a GSD will suffer not being with you inside and left to fend for itself in the backyard.
Goodluck to you!

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