Advice needed - German Shepherd Dog Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 40
Advice needed

GSD Owners,

I really need some advice, and I'm hoping people on this forum, given how much they love GSD, can give me some objective advice on what is best for my dog, not for me. I rescued a 3-year-old german shepherd about 8 months ago. He's a fantastic dog, and I've worked with him a lot to train him very well. He's mellow, sensitive, and truly "man's best friend." I had never realized how attached he would get to his owner though (me), and since I got him, I've been wondering whether my lifestyle is what is truly best for him. So, please, I would like your objective opinion on whether the following lifestyle is what is best for Kaiser.

I live alone on a 5 acre lot, relatively secluded, and about 30 minutes drive (25 miles) from my job. I work 5 days per week, usually about 7 to 9 hours per day. I walk Kaiser daily, wrestle with him, etc., but otherwise, and other than me, he usually gets little to no company (other than a few dogs across the fence he plays with sometimes). He does get a 5 acre lot though to browse around, and I give him plenty of real-meat bones, etc., to make his life interesting. I'm a relatively quiet person, and don't get a lot of company over, nor do I like going to dog get-togethers, etc., so really, I am all Kaiser really has for entertainment.

My question is this: Am I providing him with the life he deserves? I love having him at home when I'm there, and having a dog to sit by the fire with at night, but when I'm gone during the day, I just feel guilty about leaving him alone. Yes, he gets a lot of love from me when I'm home, and he looks rather content. Even when I leave in the morning, and tell him "stay home," he knows exactly what that means, and is usually just fine with me leaving. He gets the full house to roam, but usually just sleeps on the couch. When I get home, he usually doesn't even get up to greet me, and is just relaxing on the couch. No separation anxiety at all. But honestly, is this going to be his whole life, sleeping on a couch?

I really do love Kaiser, and I want the best for him, and if that means placing him in a home where he'd receive more daily attention, maybe more exercise, etc., then I'll do it, and I'll do it with a tear and a smile because I know it's what is best for him. The problem is that I don't know what's best for him at this point, and the risk of him going to a bad home scares the **** out of me.

What I would like advice on is whether the above description sounds like a good life for a dog. If not, then I'm being selfish in keeping him, and overly protective of the possibility of giving him up to a family that could spend more time with him. My concern is that he goes to a family that doesn't love him as much as me, and that he has a hard time adapting. He's very "into me" and has been so since day 1, so it's a concern of mine. And if I did give him up to what I thought was a good home, but it didn't work out, I'd be powerless to do anything about it, and would forever feel I let him down.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

kaiserdog is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 05:53 PM
Crowned Member
hunterisgreat's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 3,788
Dogs need interaction with their pack... so yeah, I'd say his life seems about ideal. Dog parks are a human creation. Dogs don't really want to meet tons of strange dogs. Very few dogs get to be with their owners all day every day. Very few.

Hunter, CWDC UScA Helper
Beschützer des Jägers v.d. Sportwaffen
Katya v. Hügelblick
SG Aska v. Ketscher Wald
Yōkai v.d. Sportwaffen
Arya v. Allrothaus
hunterisgreat is offline  
post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 05:56 PM
Senior Member
rgollar's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 314
I think with all your love you give him he will be fine. As long as you give him plenty of exercise and attention when your home. 7 to 9 hours a day gone isnt that bad really I dont think. As long as he is comfortable which sounds like he is on the couch lol. Sounds like you two are meant for each other dont let him go. The fact you dont have any separation anxiety when you come home tells me all is good. This is just my opion and im by not means an expert. I say enjoy him.
rgollar is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 06:01 PM
Crowned Member
CassandGunnar's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 4,102
It depends on the dog. Some dogs would not be happy with this lifestyle, but it sounds like Kaiser is doing great. Dogs have a way of letting you know if they're not happy.
It seems to me that you would BOTH be miserable without each other, so why change a good thing.
CassandGunnar is offline  
post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 06:03 PM
Senior Member
MrsMiaW's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 420
Hi Dan,

I am by no means an expert, but from what you have posted, it sounds like Kaiser is very happy with his life. Kaiser sounds like he is very attached to you and loves having you as his human. If Kaiser was destroying the house while you were away, or exhibiting other behaviors that made it seem like he was unhappy, then maybe you could worry, but it sounds like he is very content. You said you don't have lots of visitors and don't like going to dog "get-togethers." Have you ever considered that Kaiser is happy about that? Maybe Kaiser would hate being dragged somewhere and forced to socialize with dogs he doesn't know and really doesn't want to get to know. It sounds to me like you got a dog that compliments you and your lifestyle perfectly and that Kaiser got the same in his human. Be happy and enjoy him!

Thor von Ryanhaus - GSD - 7/20/10, S.T.A.R Puppy, CGC
Kona - Rottie/Hound mix - rescued 5/9/09
Playing at The Bridge:
Akira - Bullmastiff - 4/1/03 -4/8/09
Rappex - GSD - 8/15/02 - 8/7/10
MrsMiaW is offline  
post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 06:04 PM
Knighted Member
JustMeLeslie's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,116
You say he is very "into you" then what does he give you as an indication he is not happy? Tearing things up/doing things for attention? It seems as if he is content with his life. If a dog is not happy they are gonna let you know it. I live on 5 acres in the middle of nowhere, my dogs don't go to dog parks, or go on social outings and they are all happy. I kick or throw the ball when I can and take them for walks even though they have 5 acres to run. I say if you love him, he loves you then why upset his world by rehoming him.

Jamie Lee~blk GSD~6/24/10
Lola~mastiff mix~2/10/08
Grover~terrier mix~1/28/11
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
JustMeLeslie is offline  
post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 06:05 PM
Elite Member
Kris10's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 1,505
By the way you describe his behavior he sounds very content. Sounds like you two are a good match
Kris10 is offline  
post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 06:06 PM
Crowned Member
selzer's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Denmark, Ohio
Posts: 31,503
Something is not clear, when you are not home, your dog is inside on your sofa, relaxing, or out roaming around your five acre lot?

Dogs sleep way more than people do. Maybe not 20 hours like a cat does, but certainly much of the time he spends at home without you is probably spent snoozing on the couch.

He is not chewing your couch or barking and crying for hours on end? Bored and lonely dogs generally develop nuisance behaviors like barking and chewing. It does not sound like this is a problem. Sometimes they will dig holes in themselves, and even bite their tails until they are deformed. This does not seem to be happening.

Not all GSDs were created equal. Some have high drives and high energy, and others are laid back and low key. It sounds like you have a dog that matches your lifestyle. I think a high energy, high drive dog would probably have trouble with the amount of interaction with the world, people, training, etc. I think that dog would be bored and might develop some issues. A dog that has serious dependency problems would also develop some issues.

It sounds like your dog is ok being on his own, and is fine with the interaction and walks you are able to give him.

His life is probably much better than a lot of alternatives. Someone else might keep him crated all day long, all night, and see him as often as you do. Someone else might force him to run and play with other dogs -- not all dogs are keen on this. Someone else might decide he does not have the personality they are looking for and dump him for being too laid back, too low energy.

If you apprecieate your dog, and your dog appreciates you, if your house is more of a home because of the dog waiting for you there, if you enjoy your walks with your dog, I think you should keep on keeping on.

You might consider taking the dog once a week to some classes to teach him something that both of you could have fun with, but if that is not your thing, your dog can certainly live without it.

GSDs do a great job of molding themselves into our lifestyle.

Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.
selzer is offline  
post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 06:06 PM
JakodaCD OA's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Old Lyme, CT USA
Posts: 21,382
I agree with the above,,it sounds like Kaiser is quite content with his life and is very used to the routine..I'm sure if he wasnt content you'd know it.

Your not being selfish by keeping him he sounds quite happy with the way things are

Ozzie vom Kleinen Hain
Danger Danger vom Kleinen Hain aka Masi
Tranquillo's Kizzy
Jakoda's Kholee
"Angel" Jakoda's Bewitchen Sami CD OA OAJ OAC NGC OJC RS-O GS-N JS-O TT HIC CGC
"Angel" Steinwald's Four x Four CGC HIC TT
"Angel" Harmonyhill's Hy Jynx NA NAJ NAC NJC RS-N JS-N HIC
"Angel" Jakoda's Jagged Edge
JakodaCD OA is offline  
post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 40

Kaiser's personality is very laid back and the key word for him is MELLOW. When I first got him, he was needy of my attention all the time, but now he's truly adapted to the ranch I'm on, and is content to sit on the couch (monitor the outdoors by looking through the window), and is an excellent guard.

Here's something of note: when I first got him, he used to sleep on my bed or in my room the whole night. Now, he stays with me for about 1 hour (usually snout buried in my chest), then retreats to his couch and spends the night there. Whether I get up at 7am or 10am on a Saturday, he stays on the couch until I'm up. When I get up and go to the living room, there he is, content and resting. It's only after I give him his morning hug is he ready to go outside. This tells me that even when I'm home, he likes his couch and doesn't need to be next to me all the time. So, when I'm away from home, it's probably not THAT big of a deal to him anyway. And if I were home, he'd be doing the same thing anyhow.

When I'm home, he does get to roam the ranch, all 5 acres completely fenced. He's quite independent, and sometimes when I look out the window he's usually sniffing here and there, roaming through the grass or snow, etc., this tells me too that he's more or less happy and content, and doesn't need more stimulation. Sometimes I'm concerned that he'd go better with a family around him, but from what most of you have responded so far, that's not necessarily true.

I guess my concern is that I'm keeping a such a magnificent dog without allowing him to fulfill his complete potential. But that concern may be unfounded. What that potential is, I don't know, which is why I'm seeking advice on what the "typical" GSD life is all about. When I first met Kaiser, he came to me immediately, lied on his back at my feet, and we've been two of a kind ever since. This is why I say he's "into me," because he has a keen sense of my energy, and how to respond to it. In the evening, while he's on the couch, I'll stand and look at him, and he'll know it's "bedtime" and retreat to the bedroom. I don't even have to say a word. Or, I can tell him to march 30 feet to the "pen" in the yard, and he goes. That's why I believe we're good together, and if I did give him up, it would break my heart if he ended up with a human he didn't "click" with or someone who didn't understand him. At the same time though, I want to make sure I'm not just being self-absorbed about it, and feeling like I have a "dog quality" he detects. I want to be realistic about it. He's also the most forgiving being I could ever even dream of, and he's super-protective of me.

I appreciate all the comments, and truly value all of your inputs on this. It really means a lot to get the opinions of GSD owners who love their dogs just as much. I can't put the issue to bed until I make peace with it, but your feedback and thoughts have been very helpful.

By the way, there have been no signs of separation anxiety when I'm gone, other than the other day he took something from out of the trash (but I think he was just being a bit snoopy, I don't think it was a "complaint.") Even when I left this morning to come to work, he had his head on the edge of the couch, almost "enjoying" the routine of seeing me go (kind of like, "It's that time of day, I get it, this is where you go, see you later friend."). And when I say "stay home," he shuts off all other mental considerations (even as I'm putting on my jacket, getting the keys, etc.), and doesn't get up to watch me go. So, I have no indications of overt behavior that he's lonely, or doesn't like his life. I guess I just want to make sure in his mind he's happy and content. And if I'm at work wondering if he's content, it makes me miserable, so it may just be something I need to get over.


Last edited by kaiserdog; 02-08-2011 at 07:39 PM.
kaiserdog is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome