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Old 03-14-2014, 07:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is GSD right for our new house? Fence/Baby questions

My husband and I just closed on a new home - our first single family house! We finally have a private fenced-in yard and are excited to be able to get a dog. We have family friends that are GSD breeders and are offering us a puppy (either male or female) for a great price. Neither of us have experience with GSDs, but we know they can be great dogs.

We have two main issues/questions:
1. Our new fence is shorter, about 3'9" high. We worry that a GSD would be able climb/jump over it if motivated. Our friend/breeder said that if trained property, the GSD should be trusted not to do that. Is that true? Is this something we need to worry about?
2. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant, so hopefully in the next year or so we'll have a baby. Are GSDs good with babies if trained properly? We have several friends and family members with small children, so we hope to be able to socialize the dog with them. Would this prepare a GSD for a newborn?

If we did decide to get a GSD, would you recommend a male or female? We've heard that females can be more on the docile side--is that true?

Thanks!!
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It is very responsible of you to come here and ask.
Given what I know about babies and German Shepherd puppies, I would wait to get a German Shepherd puppy when my child or children are at least six or seven.

Human babies are overwhelming for first-time parents. German Shepherd puppies can be overwhelming for first-time owners. I can't imagine having both at the same time.

I'm sure a lot of people will come on here and say it can be done. Yes, anything can be done. What would be best, my opinion, to see how you do with the baby before adding a dog to the mix.

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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As one of the crazies with a toddler and a GSD puppy, I will agree that it is a lot of work. We have had shepherds before, but even all the knowledge in the world wouldn't make it "easy." I agree with most of what Sunflowers has said.

It sounds more like you are looking for a dog, but friends are promoting their puppies? I would suggest seriously consider adopting a 2-6 year old rescue. You will have a better idea on temperament and avoid the GSD land shark phase.

Also, puppies and babies are expensive, I can't imagine having a young GSD and a newborn.

I will say my female GSD did extremely well with a newborn in the house, but she was much older.

Just my two cents.

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Old 03-14-2014, 09:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would want to know a whole lot more about the dogs your friends are breeding. It can be both emotionally heartbreaking and financially devastating to deal with a puppy/dog with some congenital health issue. And if you were trying to juggle parenthood and the needs of a sick dog at the same time?

In addition to inherited health issues, temperament issues can also be inherited. Do your friends engage in some type of competitive activity with their dogs, something that would give them the opinion of an objective judge? Sometimes we become so blinded by love and appreciation of our pets that we can't see them as clearly as we should. That is why it is so important to get out with dogs we want to breed and prove their worth through that objective opinion.

It takes a lot of effort and time and (yes) money to raise a puppy to happy, healthy adulthood. I think there have been some threads recently from people really struggling with the puppy/baby/child paradigm. It is difficult and even with the very best of intentions, many of us just can't manage it. This breed can be absolutely phenomenal companions. But it takes a phenomenal amount of work to get them to that place. That means exercise even when you've been up all night with a sick baby. That means digging up the money for training class even when you need it for something else. And doing all that consistently, time after time. Even when you don't want to. And believe me, we all have times when we don't want to!

There is so much more to making the right choice than having a back yard or having friends with puppies. Do the bloodlines available to you reliably produce the kind of dog you want? Are you willing to put off having a baby until the dog is 3 or 4 years old? Or put off getting a dog until the baby is 3 or 4 years old?

There is a lot to think about and consider.
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My experience has been that female GSDs are not docile at all, they are quick to learn training and GSDs regardless of sex are a very intelligent breed. Females are a little more aloof than males, they still like a cuddle every now and then but tend to like their space but still in the vicinity of where you are.
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well I can say I'm one of the ones struggling the balance of children and puppy. Having gone through the newborn thing several times I would advise you wait. Either wait until your child is older or get the pup and wait until he/she is older. I don't know how much older bc my Zoe is only 12 weeks. I just know that I can't take my eyes off Zoe and my youngest 2 when they're together. She's jumpy and bitey and weighs nearly as much as my 3 yr old. If I had it to do again I'd wait until my youngest started school. That's just me though and that is with more than one child.

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Old 03-14-2014, 10:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here's our story...We just went 7 years without a dog while our babies were little. We REALLY wanted another dog but just knew how much work it would be. Our first dog died when my oldest turned 3. My husband traveled a lot for work during the week so I could see me taking care of the kids, a new dog, lots of little kids over, etc and how overwhelming it would be...so we waited. Finally in January of this year, after a lot of research and thought, we just got our newest bundle of joy...an 8 week old GSD (he is now 4 months)!

I stay at home full time while our kids are in school. My husband still travels for work a couple of times per month, but when he is not traveling he works from home. Our kids are now 7 and 10 so it is "ideally" the perfect scenario to bring a new GSD home and it has been great....BUT coming here...a LOT of work! Everyday I take the kids to school (dog comes with me) and we come home and exercise and play and we are also training multiple times throughout the day (little mini sessions) and classes. Finally after he is worn out, I get my chores done around the house. Feeding, crate training, training, poop picking-upping, waking up at 6:00 am to take him out for potty, socializing him, etc has taken over my life! I love every second (well except for the bleeding arms from land shark phase) but I honestly cannot imagine doing this while raising little ones. He is my full time job right now. My oldest daughter loves working with the dog and as a family, we are big hikers, campers, runners, and cyclists so a GSD fits into our family now. All of those things were very much on hold while we had little babies.


I don't say all of that to discourage you by any means, but to give you ideas to how to evaluate your lifestyle etc. before making the choice that works for you. For me personally, I am glad we waited (even though I didn't really want to). Read the puppy forum on here just to get an idea of the questions, etc that come up with these new little land sharks and best of luck with your decision!
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Old 03-14-2014, 11:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I raised 5 kids. My recommendation would be wait to add a dog until after at least your first baby. I had dogs and kids at the same time and never had an issue. But the dogs came after several of the children and only after I had a pretty good handle on the lifestyle. Not GSDs, btw. Not that I think a GSD is incompatible with a young family, but I think there are other breeds that might be more suitable and especially for first time owners. And if I had it to do over again I would have started with a nice rescue around 3-6 years old.

As for the fence, mine is shorter but my dogs "honor" the fence and we haven't had any problems. I do not, however, leave my dogs unattended in the yard. I suspect if I left them out there for long periods of time, eventually the world outside the fence would be more attractive and one might decide to explore it. I guess basically what I am saying is don't expect any fence to do your supervising for you and you probably won't have a problem.

That goes for kids too. I had 2 Houdini boys and after a couple of "toddler at large" incidents I stopped even going in to use the bathroom without taking them along. The other 3 kids were easier. Thank goodness!
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Old 03-14-2014, 11:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well everybody else has been all wordy and stuff so I'll just say..NO! Read the post on BYB puppies because that's what your looking at. A dog that may or may not have sound temperament is a very bad deal in a GSD but hey you may get lucky!
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