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Adelaide's_Dad 08-24-2014 01:30 AM

I Think I Failed; Another Perspective on Giving My GSD the Best Life...
I don't mean for such a dramatic subject line, but it is what it is. As I approach Adelaide's 4th month (I've had her for about 7 weeks now). I have to ask the question of whether or not she can get a better life with someone else.

I blame myself fully for not researching the particulars of raising a GSD. I should have come to this site BEFORE I got her, not after. I've had nothing but adult sighthounds and we all know how that's a completely different ballgame as they say...

So, here's what it boils down to given the recent change in my household: she can spend most her day in an x-pen and/or crate, with a newly hired dog walker to take her out for 1/2 hour around lunch while I'm at work. I'd probably spend a 1/2 hour with her before I head off to work, and about 2-3 hours when I get back. So that makes about 20 hours of confinement of some degree during weekdays.

I guess the question really is: what is a realistic expectation to get to the point I could leave her home to roam about most of the day like my other hounds? Six months, a year, two years?

My inclination is that this really isn't fair to her, or is that perfectly fine for a GSD for a few months/year? I've really no idea, I just need to do what's best for her before we really start bonding...

For whatever it's worth, we do take her to weekly training classes at PetSmart, and I take her to the dog park mostly every evening to play ball with me and such, and to socialize.

Thank you,

Zeeva 08-24-2014 02:31 AM

20 hours per day confinement or 20 hours total for the week?

Either way I personally don't feel you're failing at all. Training classes (check) Socialization and exercise at the dog park (check) Walking/potty breaks with a dog walker (check). I don't see anything that a GSD needs missing.

As far as crating IMO it depends on the dog whether it can be given free roam. My Zeeva didn't get roam till about 3 1/2 years old. Some dogs actually feel more comfortable (and are safer) in a crate so don't feel guilty about crating a GSD.

I'm curious though; what do you feel is so different about sighthounds when compared to GSDs?

I must also assure you from my experience that 4 months is really young. It gets so much easier after about 2 years TRUST me. I cried a lot after I got Zeeva because I felt like I was failing her and wanted to rehome. But she's turned into a fine young lady now and I'm happy I didn't find her a 'better' home.

As far as the bonding, it took us a while to develop that so don't let that bring you down...

Hang in there. I assure you, you sound like you're doing well. The only thing that I feel might be missing between your pup and you is a bond (and honestly that may not develop)...but be patient for at least a year? Then reassess...

That's my experience and opinion...

llombardo 08-24-2014 02:37 AM

People that own GSD's also work full time jobs:) Some don't even do the dog walker or middle of the day break, so you are ahead of the game. The training classes are great and help with training at home if you use what you learn. My female GSD was out of her crate permanently at 7 months. It all depends on the dog. I do come home at lunch to let my dogs out, so they never hold it more then 5 hrs at a time. Enjoy your dog, you are fine:)

Unforgiving 08-24-2014 05:24 AM

Everyone else has already said it, I'm just gonna jump on the bandwagon and say that its good to see someone nervous about their dog. I havent got mine yet and I've done so much research that Im worried about researching too much, and not just enjoying the dog :-p

eddie1976E 08-24-2014 06:44 AM

I think the net makes it seem like these are super dogs and need extreme exercise and constant attention. When I was first interested in getting a puppy all I read made it seem like people didn't have jobs or lives and all they did was entertain their dogs. It didn't make sense to me, there must be people out there who have careers AND well adjusted, happy GSDs. I asked my breeder and she said not worry about it.
Here I am with a 6.5 month old who is doing great when I'm at work and is happy to play with me when I'm here. I don't feel like he needs ridiculous amounts of exercise or play to be happy. My puppy slept in the crate, came out for about 2 hours in the morning, then back in the crate from 8-5 with a walker coming at noon. To us, being in a crate all day may seem cruel, I don't think the dog feels the same way. Not to down play your concerns, because I had the same concerns a few months ago. My boy graduated out of the crate at night, so he sleeps in our bedroom with the door shut. During the day he is in the crate and will continue to be in the crate I'm guessing till 12+ months. I will not rush it as I don't want to set him up to fail.

Moral of the post is that you are fine.

MichaelE 08-24-2014 08:02 AM

Lisl was crated every day while I was at work until she was nearly 16 months and could prove she could act like a lady and not tear up my house. That training though, started when she was brought home at eight weeks.

Sometimes in poor weather during winter I couldn't get home for lunch so she had to be in her crate for up to nine hours. She was excited to see me when I arrived home, but she was none the worse for wear.

It's not always how much time you spend with them, but what you do when you are with them that matters more.

JakodaCD OA 08-24-2014 08:59 AM

it also depends on the puppy/dog,,Is your puppy otherwise happy? Doesn't seem to mind that 20 hours a day in the crate? If so, I wouldn't worry about it to much.

I have the luxury of working part time, I will say, as puppies, and some as adults, if left to their own devices for 20 hours a day, only getting an hour in the morning and a couple hours at nite, mine would be going bonkers. I have/had some pretty high energy dogs that need more than that.

I do agree it can be quality over quantity and it also depends on the individual dog/puppy.

llombardo 08-24-2014 09:01 AM

To make you feel better I also thought it was to much time in the crate with mine(she didn't potty train easy). I felt much better when I was able to let her sleep with me at night. In my mind that reduced her confinement and made me happy. She was 4 months when she could sleep with me at night.

Alice13 08-24-2014 10:13 AM

I understand how you feel. I get that feeling sometimes. Alice is my first gsd. When she was very young, although I was very very careful, she fell many times. Some places in my house were just more dangerous than I thought they were. Eventually, we learned and kept her away from this places. However she occasionally slips past us and would would fall again (she loves doing things that she knows very well she isn't allowed to) . Now as she matures I live in fear that she might have hip dysplasia due to all those falls. She never showed signs of injuries but then again you never know. So based on my story, yes keep him crated unless he is the kind of dog that doesn't go looking for trouble. They are more protected that way

Alice13 08-24-2014 10:25 AM

And as for your routine, it's fine. He will adjust to it.

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