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Old 06-19-2014, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Considering a GSD as our next family member?

Hi everyone!
We are a family of 4 and have been looking for the right addition to our family for a very long time.
We already own a dog who is a Cavalier King Charles of 9 1/2 years old. He is well trained and is very well behaved, we do not allow any kind of bad behaviour and he has boundaries like hes not allowed going up on the sofa without asking (and even then its not every time), no snatching food etc. I thought id mention this as people get the wrong impression about owning a smaller dog thinking that we have one because it looks cute and is small but that isnt that case :lol: . We bought our Cav because we had never had a dog prior to him and we wanted something we knew would be bomb proof and bomb proof he is!

We have a decent amount of experience with dogs in general as we have fostered over 5 dogs in our time (One collie, one Cavalier King Charles cross, one German Pointer, Labrador and 2 greyhounds! Not all at the same time ) and all got along great with us and have all since moved onto new homes. I myself also do the occasional bits of work for a greyhound rescue local to me where I walk a few Greyhounds.

So as far as experience, thats about as much as we have currently. Would this be enough to handle a GSD? We arent shy of training or anything like that, we are happy to learn as we did with our Cavalier.

As for being around during the day, I my self am home educated (I'm 17 and currently training to become a web developer so Im always around at home with time for plenty of walks and such like) and my Mom is also around for the whole day. We will be able to take it out for several walks during the day just fine, that doesnt worry us as we have lots of great parks local to us and a decent walk we can do from the door.

This is the only issue I can personally spot from my POV. What I am worried about is our current dogs conditions... Im not sure if any of you are aware of a neurological condition called: Syringomyelia? Its a condition where the brain is too big for the skull and it leaks fluids onto the spinal chord causing false signals of pain. He has late onset SM/CM and was only diagnosed in December of 2013 and he is now on medication which has made him back to normal and comfortable (Obviously when this is no longer the case we will do the kindest thing as that wouldnt be fair any other way). We were told by the neurologist who diagnosed him that it probably wouldnt be the SM/CM that would carry him off, rather another health condition that would be more likely to but because SM/CM is so unpredictable we really cant be sure.

As of right now, hes perfectly comfortable and has a 100% normal life. His condition doesnt get in his way in any way and I think it might be a new lease of life for him to have a new family member as the last time we fostered (which was a Greyhound) it went very well. So im not sure what your POV is on that? Like said, he has got on fine with his condition and another dog before.

Do you think a GSD would be a suitable decision providing we train it right and socialise it enough? We plan on giving it plenty of activity, as much as it needs.

Any input would be most welcome
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would suggest reading through the posts on the Puppy Place here. There are several aggravating stages they go through just as with other breeds. As far as your older dog, the time may come when you have to separate the pup from her as she will not be able to handle the activity a puppy creates. Be prepared to gate, crate, and rotate if that becomes an issue. Other than that, be sure to train early and often and never stop training. I personally believe that German Shepherds are the most intelligent, beautiful, willing to work for you breed there is, but I may be a bit prejudiced! LOL! Good luck on making your choice.
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just wanted to mention a couple of things.

Can you deal with a lot of hair and a dog that sheds heavily, because that is a GSD.

Can you deal with a dog that will want to always be with you, follow you around and act like velcro, because that is a GSD.

Can you handle a dog that will be in the range of 60-90 pounds, because that is a GSD.

Can you handle a dog that has medium energy, sometimes high energy and will require a good deal amount of exercise and mental stimulation a day, because that is a GSD.

GSDs are wonderful dogs when they are with owners that take the time to train them, bond with them, give them proper mental and physical exercise and love them. This breed is smart, easy to train, loving, loyal and versatile.
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You sound very thoughtful. I don't know if you'll be living at home until you are 30 yrs old, you may need or want to move for work and finding a place that will allow a dog is always uncertain, so is your family OK with caring for a GSD while you are gone?

Getting a new puppy could make your Cavalier feel like younger again and he may want to play, or it could go the other way where he is annoyed with a puppy.

If you read through here, you'll see there is not just one type of German Shepherd. There are Showlines and Working lines. The Showlines generally have a milder temperament, the working lines may be a bit of a challenge for the first 2 years.

GSDs are very loyal and would love to have someone home all day. You may want to ask your vet if he/she thinks the activity of having a new dog would be OK. I'm just curious as why you want a GSD? We have a very active Greyhound rescue in our area, they seem so sweet and nice, I almost took one home, but we are at our pet limit. So just curious why a GSD and not one of the other nice breeds you've fostered?
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Old 06-19-2014, 03:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
You sound very thoughtful. I don't know if you'll be living at home until you are 30 yrs old, you may need or want to move for work and finding a place that will allow a dog is always uncertain, so is your family OK with caring for a GSD while you are gone?

Getting a new puppy could make your Cavalier feel like younger again and he may want to play, or it could go the other way where he is annoyed with a puppy.

If you read through here, you'll see there is not just one type of German Shepherd. There are Showlines and Working lines. The Showlines generally have a milder temperament, the working lines may be a bit of a challenge for the first 2 years.

GSDs are very loyal and would love to have someone home all day. You may want to ask your vet if he/she thinks the activity of having a new dog would be OK. I'm just curious as why you want a GSD? We have a very active Greyhound rescue in our area, they seem so sweet and nice, I almost took one home, but we are at our pet limit. So just curious why a GSD and not one of the other nice breeds you've fostered?
My Mom will be putting in around the same amount of input as me as it will be a son/daughter (although im hoping for it to be more my dog) effort so from that POV it wont be too bad if I need to spend a small amount of time away from home. (although there is my brother and father but they tend to take a back seat and we do all the work which we dont mind)

If I ever do move out, it will be more my dog than anyone elses as I will be the one taking to training, walking it, etc so Id move out with it assuming I could afford to provide for it (which I will do anything to be able as my chosen career path is my absolute passion so Il hopefully find a way to provide from it one way or another) although moving out really isnt looking plausible with the house price and financial situation of the UK in general! (Which is just as well as Im very close to my family)

As to others concern about them being attached to you, I couldnt love that more! I love fuss pots so its all good in that department.
Theres absolutely no shortage of interaction and fuss for dogs in our house . I am very close to our current Cav and absolutely love him to bits. Theres nothing quite like a bond between yourself and a dog.

Also, the other breeds! We would have fail fostered most of them! At the time though, I was recovering from a breakdown and it was too much for me at the time to handle. (thats when I started home education, school was just terrible so I was home educated and have been so much better for it since. Both educationally and mentally)
Those particular breeds still arent off the list, same goes for Greyhounds. Always good to weigh up our options! I think we are more curious about GSDs because we have never owned one before and we know a lot of people around us who have who cant praise them enough (providing you give them the right training of corse) so we are quite curious.

The Labrador we fostered was a puppy (although he was a bit of a freak like that, he was totally not puppy like... Pretty calm as far as puppies go! Having said that he was a slightly older pup) and our cav got on ok with it. But if the puppy does get too much for him, he usually follows my mom and hopefully the GSD will be more my dog as mentioned above so Il hopefully be able to get him some peace if need be.

We have been looking at a few breeders and we have seen one that is KC registered (although I dont particularly agree with the KC due to their policies with cavalier health... So as far as KC goes, I dont care whether or not its KC registered) which has a good hip and shoulder score? I assume this means they are less likely to get hip problems which is the most common (?) health issue for a GSD? We wouldnt consider this particular breeder though as its come from a working dog background so that probably wouldnt be a good idea as we would prefer a show one. (which has a milder temperament like you mentioned) We have seen a few show ones which would be suitable as well. This isnt something we are planning on rushing into especially as its a new family member, we need to make sure we get it right and make sure its the right thing for our family.

Querying the vet would be a great idea as to how ours will cope. Lots of thinking to be done!
PS:
I used to keep fancy rats, and havent had any since my last one died because I was unsure of which breed we were going for next if we do. What are they like with smaller animals? Doesnt bother me either way but just curious

Last edited by Doogle; 06-19-2014 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Your comments sound like this is a very well thought out plan, especially knowing you prefer the showlines and which shows you've done some research.

Whatever breed you decide will be very lucky to have a loving and caring home to grow up in.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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All I want to add is you sound like the most mature 17 year old in the world, I comend you for looking around and doing your research. I think others have warned you about the work you have to put in, it's a long process to get the puppy to become the adult dog you've dreamt about. But if your willing and able, it always more than worth the effort.
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lauren43 View Post
All I want to add is you sound like the most mature 17 year old in the world, I comend you for looking around and doing your research. I think others have warned you about the work you have to put in, it's a long process to get the puppy to become the adult dog you've dreamt about. But if your willing and able, it always more than worth the effort.
Thanks both for your kind words! Yeah, bringing one up is a lot of work, more than people realise.

One question about the KC registration though... Is it worth paying extra for KC? Im not looking at from a "Oh, look at me and my KC registered dog!" POV, rather from a health point of view.
Would I be shooting my self in the foot by paying for a KC registered puppy? What I mean by that, KC registered dogs have standards and im wondering if those standards could be that dogs downfall... Like how they might require the legs to be a certain way in order to get a KC registration and this way of the legs might cause them to become a problem later in life kind of a thing. Or maybe it would work in my favour because they were (apparently) reforming their standards to ensure healthy breeding?
Unsure of what to think to be honest.
Any insight will be most welcome
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I also want to say you sound very mature and responsible for a 17 year old..Kudos to you!

When you say KC, are you talking AKC??? other registry?? not sure what "KC" your referring to.

I agree with alot thats been already posted.

I'm not sure I'd worry to much about your cav, he sounds like a stable dog that wouldn't have a problem accepting a new one.

However, gsd's can be biting machines, a puppy may torment your older dog just wanting to 'play', and they can be real tough players..Just something to think about.

If your not 'set' on a puppy, maybe you can find a little bit older puppy that would fit in..and not be so "pestering".

I can't lump ALL gsd's into one thing, because there is such a difference, in behaviors/temperament/activity level..

Maybe if you post your general location, someone can point you in the direction of a breeder, meet them, meet their dogs..
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think he's referring to the ukc, no? I would say look for dogs that could be registered, but actually registering the dog you get will be totally up to you. To me it's more important to find a breeder breeding for the standards than anything else. You want a sound dog in temperament and form and that does proper health testing.
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