Owning A Dog Pack - Page 3 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #21 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 4TheDawgies View Post
when owning two dogs its one thing, but something about going from 2 to three you now have a pack mentality and things change quite a bit.
Yep. The average pet owner can barely handle one dog, let alone 3. My friend has five. Two of them are fairly stable, well-adjusted, reasonably obedient dogs. The other three are insane. At least two of them are biters (the third biter, the GSD, died last year). When you get two or more dogs with low thresholds and insecurity issues, put them together in a household with three inconsistent people, you have total chaos; even the good dogs can get riled up in a pack situation. Every time a person walks by, or someone comes in the door (even the people that live there), the whole pack sounds off, with hackles raised and everything. It's extremely annoying. I don't know how their neighbors tolerate it.

On the upside, they have very few fights. They squabble all the time, usually over food, but very rarely is there bloodshed. However, I once made the mistake of letting these people dog-sit my GSD. I thought they were going to be coming by my house to take care of my dog, but instead they decided to bring her over to their house, and play a game of fetch with two dogs at a time... I told them my dog was possessive over toys and would not play nice with other dogs if there were toys involved. They did it anyway, and of course a fight ensued. My dog and the other dog had a torn ear, which of course bleed like crazy. I don't let them watch my animals anymore.

That said, if you have knowledgable, firm and consistent leadership in the household, and the dogs are worked with and trained individually, a pack can be manageable. A lot also depends on the temperament of the dogs involved. If they're all nutso rescue dogs, it's a lot harder, but if they are all of calm, stable, and biddable temperament, it's much easier.

And one thing the average pet owner definitely should NOT do is breed their dog and keep all the puppies. I have a client who bred their Jack Russell bitch--why, I have no idea--and simply couldn't part with two of the pups. ALL of them are neurotic and they fight constantly. With the three JRTs and one Golden, their houshold is complete chaos and they know they made a huge mistake.
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post #22 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 4TheDawgies View Post
when owning two dogs its one thing, but something about going from 2 to three you now have a pack mentality and things change quite a bit. Most people are not familiar with dog behavior enough to know when to interrupt something that can go wrong.

Without having that knowledge you have to rely heavily on the dogs actually getting a long. This is not always the case, and just like humans, some dogs just DON'T get a long.

So I think it entirely depends on the person. I manage my 8 dogs quite well and board my clients dogs regularly. I often get comments on how amazed people are at how well behaved my dogs are and how easy they are to manage. When using obedience, and then interrupting behaviors that can lead to problems, it makes handling them that much easier.

In another home, this entire pack structure may not work.
This is something I have learned the hard way... owning 3 dominate females was a fail for me and has definitely made me read/research behavior more.

Meika, GSD B. 1/05
Macy, Golden X, B. 10/06
Goliath, Sulcata Tortoise, B. 2/02
Kitty, Siamese, B.10/11
MoJo, Aussie, B.2/12

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post #23 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 10:27 AM
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My mom is one of those people who has a bunch of dogs, but probably shouldn't.

She has a French bulldog, a little mutt, a lab, and a pit bull. The pit bull and lab have to be kept separate at ALL TIMES, or there will be a bloody battle.
She doesn't train them in any way.
She doesn't exercise them.
She basically feeds them and gives them attention when she walks by.
It drives me nuts. I'll be sitting on the couch, and if she puts our lab up, she'll open the gate for the others to come in the living room, and Gracie (pit bull) will run in, FULL SPEED, and body slam me on the couch. She came close to breaking my jaw with her head once from doing that.
They all walk all over you (literally) and you have to shove them off. It's kind of sad, because they have SO MUCH pent up energy, and they just want attention, but it bugs me that she has all these dogs, but doesn't do ANYTHING with them.
I've kept poking and prodding, trying to get her to put Gracie in flyball. She's a little on the older side, but she'd make an awesome flyball dog. She just keeps saying she's scared because she doesn't know how she'll be around other dogs.
She'll NEVER know how she'll be with other dogs if she never lets her leave the house!

Okay. Sorry. Rant over.

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post #24 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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I think a lot of people like the idea of having 3 or more dogs in their house,but they really don't know that it does require some vigilance on their part; how much depends on the dogs. I know a man and his wife who have 6 Rottweilers and while they take excellent care of the dogs,there isn't really any structure. They don't believe in formal training because they feel as though it will break the dogs spirit and rob them of having fun. They feel that loving and spoiling the dogs will make them happy.

One day I asked them if they ever take their dogs to any of the trails for walks? They laughed and said that they wish they could,but they couldn't manage them.

I'm really surprised that there haven't been any major fights in their house,or at least that's what they tell me.
They are both nice people and certainly love the breed,but I don't think they understand the breeds needs fully.
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post #25 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 04:13 PM
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I think it depends on a lot more then just numbers.

It depends on the person (or people) who handle/own them, the dogs, their breeds (energy level, drive, nerves, how compatible they are with living with others.. etc, etc.), and it also depends on the energy of the house hold.... it all has to match up.

For instance. My grandmother was an Akita breeder back in the days, she trained and showed them. She had multiple dogs through most of her adult life. When the Akita's passed away and she stopped breeding (her age and health just didn't agree with that way of life) she had her little Chihuahua and a personal protection trained Doberman. She handled all of this with ease. Never an issue. The house was peaceful and the dogs were happy. She was able to handle working dogs and all their requirements. She understood the breeds she owned and that made for a happy household.

Growing up, we had 3 golden retrievers. Later, my grandmother moved in with us with her older chihuahua. Through those years, we also rescued 2 pit bulls, and an american bull dog. All lived in the same house. 2 intact females, 1 spayed female, 2 neutered males, 2 intact males. We had 1 small dog fight. Which ended quick without injury. All dogs lived without kennels or crates, the females were separated when their heat cycle came around. No puppies came from this, and no blood was ever shed. We were not a highly "dog educated" family, we just had my grandma's knowledge and common sense. We were just an average American family. How we did it, according to most opinions... I don't know. But it worked just fine.

My brother and his wife have 3 rescued pit bulls (one that was raised in our home with the goldens) and a doberman. They have a small farm and the dogs are all indoor dogs. No crates, no kennels, no dog runs..... never had any serious issues. 2 intact males, 1 intact female (sterile), and 1 spayed female.

I have 2 GSDs. One male (WGSL), one female (ASL)... both fixed. I plan on adding a third within the next few years (will be a GWL). I'm not worried. With my experience with dogs, I feel I do a good job at matching them all up nicely. And if needed... I am willing to crate and rotate. However, this is not the plan. I understand what my dogs require and IMO are some of the best behaved dogs here in my part of town.

I understand at this point, I am not considered the general public. And maybe my siblings are not either, since we grew up in a multiple dog home. However, my grandma started out on her own (she grew up with NO animals allowed and didn't start breeding until after her kids were grown and out of the house), and my parents learned as time went by.

The one thing that makes the biggest difference is picking the breed that fits your home, temperament, family, and lifestyle. Can all families handle 3+ GSDs (or any type of working dog)... absolutely not! Can all families handle 3+ large breed dogs... no. Can all families handle 3+ small dogs.... again, no. Can all families handle just 1 dog.... no! People too often go with what is "sooo cute!" instead of actually researching and understand the breed and it's nature. This is what leads to dogs being out of control most of the time. Not the number of which they own. Very rarely do I meet a person with multiple dogs out of control that understand their breed of choice and how to work with them... which is exactly what the problem is!

I do agree that once you hit 3, you switch to pack mentality. The problem comes when the owner just can't find the time and commitment to each dog.... With certain breeds (i.e. GSDs, Pit Bulls, Huskies, etc), this also requires a good amount of knowledge of the breed (and their individual dogs temperaments) and their pack mentality in order to keep the peace. Other breeds.. like... golden retrievers, require a bit less and make it much more possible for the average joe and jane to own a "pack".

Just my $0.02 in what I've seen and experienced over the years.

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post #26 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 04:27 PM
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A lot of people should not have children but unfortunately they do. Everyone is different there is no general answer to your question.
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post #27 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 04:50 PM
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This is the 2nd time I have 3 dogs. The first time it was Chazzy a female GSD about 7, brought home my male Shiloh Apache at 8wks, then about 1-1/2 yrs added my female Shiloh Kiya 14wks at the time. There were never any problems within the pack, everyone got a long great. Chazzy had a lot of issues and couldn't go on the daily outings so I really only had to handle the 2 and for the most part the only issue were the dogs that charged the fence line as we walked by.
I added Lakota long after Chazzy passed. I had NO intention of getting another dog. Life was good, there was a balance & harmony in my house...then came Lakota, no regrets but shes definately "Trouble".
I have learned a lot over the last few years.
Lakota definately added a different spectrum to the mix. I can certainly handle my pack, but I wish Lakota didn't take the resource guarding she learned from Apache to the next level (not with humans, with each other). She will attack him. So dealing with that is a job in itself sometimes. I am not crazy about taking all 3 on an outing, I can but I prefer to take the 2 girls together than take Apache by himself.
All 3 together tends to definately stir that pack mentality up.

Lakota - WGSD 1/13/10
Wolfen - WGSD 12/31/14
Bull -WGSD 2-10-10
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post #28 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 05:36 PM
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I have 3 resident dogs. Everyone that meets my kids always says they're the best behaved dogs they know. No guarding or fights. By far the worst part of having more than two dogs is medication cost (fleas and H/W are so bad in GA that there is no way to NOT buy the best protection out there, times three) and the cost of boarding when I have to travel without one or all of them.

To me there was no difference in the structure of my group going from one to four dogs. We have a fourth dog in training at the house most of the time without issues. My core three go to the dog park every day, we've NEVER had 'pack mentality' issues. Never attacked, never ganged up on others, nothing.

I'm absolutely not saying that 'packing' or 'pack mentality' doesn't exist, because it absolutely does and I know a lot of family dynamics change. But I have always managed my dogs in a way that constantly enforces my influence above theirs (some may call that dominance training, alpha status etc) and have always given them individual training and attention. I will say that it's not blind trust; my dogs all get separate areas of the house or crates when I'm not present so a fight could never occur. It's a system that works for us and we've been very successful. Four personal dogs is my limit because I walk mine daily and don't feel confident that I could hold five 75lb+ dogs in the event of a darting squirrel and sudden, inexplicable deafness. :P
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post #29 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 07:48 PM
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I think 2 is a good number. I have 3 and would not do it again. It is harder to control more then one dog. Unless your first dog is perfectly trained and well Behaved. But if you have damaged rescues like me they teach the new dog bad habits. So it just ends up taking extra time and work when training a pack.

Experianced dog owners keeping 2 dog is fine. I would not recommend someone new to dogs keep more then one.

Cookie - 4yr GSD mix rescue
Indy - 8 Yr Pom/chi mix
Meatball- OLD! pit bull rescue
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post #30 of 71 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 08:47 PM
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If there are no laws regulating number of dogs per household, and the dogs are taken care of and under control, why would it by anyone's business but the owner's? I have four dogs, have had up to seven in the house (all GSDs), and the biggest problem was stepping over them after getting them home from the dog park. Of course, I live alone and have no family, other than the furry kind.
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