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Hello all! I apologize if some of these questions are elementary in nature, but I have some questions none-the-less.



My wife and I are picking up a GSD pup from a local breeder this spring, besides being very excited about our new "child" (ha ha!) we also want to be prepared for his arrival. We already are working on making our fencing more secure (most sections are 5' high brick, as well as other sections of chain link fence will be replaced/reinforced to offer him more security when he is old enough to be left by himself in the yard), we also are adding access into a heated/insulated garage for incliment weather.

Aside from regular every day stuff (Food dishes/Water bowl/Crates etc.), what are some of the better toys to give him to combat boredom? When we are gone to work (my wife works 12 hr shifts, my schedule is rather random) we would like to provide him with toys that stimulate him intelluctually in our absense so he doesn't take it out on his living quarters.

Also, would another dog such as a Golden Retriever (our next dog we are planning to get.) be a suitible companion? I assume it might be a better choice to get an older dog as I would think it would be nearly impossible (especially with our working schedules) to train two pups at the same time.

Thanks!
 

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I would suggest that you look for a breed that is more suited to an independent life than a GSD. GSD's do not do well on their own in a yard, get very bored and end up destructive at best and aggressive at worst. Also, for an athletic GSD a 5' brick wall can end up being a speed bump. Toys do not stimulate our dogs... WE DO. If you plan to work him in a sport or something, and keep him outside kenneled but will provide him with training and exercise for his entire life than so be it, but if you are planning on just having him live in the back yard you will be happier with a breed like a Kuvasz or something else.
 

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Welcome to the board!


Personally, I do not think that leaving a dog outside in the yard is ever a good idea - especially a breed that is very intelligent, very active, and very people-oriented like German Shepherds are. A yard is no substitute for exercise (leashed walks, playing games, obedience training) and any dog will get bored in a yard, even if it's filled with toys, if he does not get the other kinds of exercise every single day.

A bored dog is not a good thing, especially if you have chain-link fencing and neighbors or people passing your property. Dogs can quickly learn to climb over chain-link fencing. A young, muscular German Shepherd can jump up on a 5' brick wall and climb his way over. A dog that's in the yard can be territorial or bored and start barking at people passing by, cars, squirrels, anything that makes a sound - very annoying to your neighbors. And, of course, being outside may also put your dog at risk from neighbors' kids throwing things at it, or people wanting to steal him.

If your dog needs to be left outside alone, my recommendation would be to put in a kennel run. A chain-link construction with a solid base is usually a good choice, and it should be covered at the top to keep it secure and keep the elements out. You could connect that to the garage. It would be a much safer alternative than giving him the run of your yard.

The best way to combat boredom is to make sure your dog is well-exercised before you or your wife leave for work. If the dog gets enough exercise, he will spend most of his day lounging rather than thinking of things to do. At a minimum, your dog should get two brisk 45 minute leashed walks in a day, along with playing ball / fetch in the yard or at the park. It's even better if you can run with him when he's older, take him swimming, or let him play with other dogs to tire him out before you leave for the day. That way, he will be much calmer and get into a lot less mischief.

Good toys to leave are toys you can fill with treats - Kongs, puzzle balls, and the like. He will have to use his head to figure out how to get the treats from it, and apply himself. You can also hide treats around his area so he has to find them. A nice, sturdy chew/play toy is always a good choice, too, like a Jolly Ball.
 

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Welcome to the board! I would suggest getting him into puppy classes as soon as possible.

I also will say that a bored GSD will be a problem, I've had dogs escape from yards, open refrigerators, cupboards tear into garbage and bark. This is just some of what happens when a GSD gets bored. I've learned the hard way over a numer of years.

I would suggest kennel training the puppy, and keeping him with you at night. 12 hours would be too long for a puppy so you may want to consider 4 hour options. I came home at lunch everyday to take my girl out, when I couldnt I had my daughter go by and take her out. Most GSD's love to be house dogs and get stressed when not with their families. I have had one dog climb a 6 foot chainlink fence to find me.

Socialize the puppy like crazy, take him everywhere with you whenever you can. As far as toys are concerned, Ava's favorites were kongs and squeaky toys, but she killed the squeakies quickly.

Freeze peanut butter into the kongs....it lasts longer. I have a tug toy called Bamboo that is red nylon and it has lasted all the abuse my girl has thrown at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the suggestions folks! A kennel run sounds like an excellent idea when we have to leave him alone outside

Just to clear things up we will definately not leave our dog out in the yard all the time and not socialize him at all, thats just not our style. We don't plan having kids so our animals will be our "children" so to speak. The only times he will be by himself is when we are at work or at a place where he is not allowed (grocery store,etc). If it turns out that my wife or I can't make it home at lunch we may look into a dog-sitter or day-care.

I definately appreciate all of your concern and care.
 

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It really sounds like you are looking out for your new guys best interest. He will probably be spoiled rotten LOL. There are some awesome threads for when you get your guy home on every subject under the sun from potty training to obedience to sports. We love to see pics too!!!
 

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Originally Posted By: BetsyIt really sounds like you are looking out for your new guys best interest. He will probably be spoiled rotten LOL. There are some awesome threads for when you get your guy home on every subject under the sun from potty training to obedience to sports. We love to see pics too!!!
We will definately spoil our boy rotten for shure, i've been waiting to get a GSD for over 20 years!!!
(Living/Financial situation didn't permit.)

I will also be shure to flood the forum with puppy pics!
 

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In that case I would recommend crate training the puppy and keeping him inside for the day. Most adults have no issue staying the house for 8-9 hours during the work week and sleep. There would be nothing wrong with a kennel either. As long as they get stimulation and exercise they will flourish.
 

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This was great information -- I'm about to be a new GSD parent too (in two months)! I've had a dog before but he wasn't a GSD...he was a bulldog =) so all the information on this site specific to GSD's has been SO helpful.

He is a full grown 3.5 yo males GSD. SO my question as a new GSD parent is if I'm not the fastest runner on the block, whats the best activity (while we're getting to know each other) that allows him to run and stretch his legs or chase a ball? Jack is supposed to be under voice control off leash but I don't want to let him loose in the park where he could either run out of the park, or run into some dogs whose temperments I don't know.

I've heard mixed reviews about dog parks.

Any thoughts?
 

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Oh boy do you fly? I have to ask because of your forum name.
If so, you'll have a GREAT opportunity for socializing your pup to various people, people in uniform, loud noises, hustle and bustle, all sorts of airporty things! If you do indeed fly and have the ability to bring the pup to the airports and around people and planes, do so! If you fly General Aviation aircraft, take the pup along whenever possible so you get him used to flying early on.

Yes, we're a flying family too! Wish we did more of it, but in due time. Can't wait to see the new pup!
 

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RE Hank and the 3.5 year old Schh3 male

A few thoughts/questions on this dog? Working or show? dominant personality? intact or not? A dog retired due to health problems or purchased for personal protection?

I do not feel GSDs - particularly high prey drive dogs - should be taken to typical neighborhood dog parks. For puppies, there is a hugh health risk - for older adults, the risk of a confrontation over a toy or ranking is risking your dogs life - if something bad were to happen (like a smaller dog being bitten or hurt) there could be reprecussions.

Taking a dog who is dominant or intact to these parks is also rife with risk. Dogs are pack animals, if something starts, it becomes a free for all - someone was just telling me about an accidental meeting of their three dog pack with a dog not in the pack, but on the property and a very sweet, non aggressive neutral male jumped into the 2 female fray with a vengence - just following the lead of the pack female against the non pack one.

For everyone's peace of mind, stay out of dog parks. Even when the other dog incites or instigates, the GSD will be blamed for any incidents.

Lee
 

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Congratulations on your new puppy Ratherbeflying and your new dog, Hank!

Hank, I'm with Lee, avoid dog parks. I used to go to dog parts with my spaniel/retriever mix, but will never never let my GSD/Rott mix run loose with dogs I do not know. A whole different animal, a whole different personality. Plus, if any growling or snapping happens, your dog will be marked as a biter, whether there was a bite or not, whether it was your dog or not, and this could cause you no end problems.

I live in the country so I have a lot of open space and trails through the woods to excercise my dog. You may have to drive around a bit to find an open lot, or an unused ball park where there aren't other dogs around. I still take my dog to parks and different areas just to stimulate her by exposing her to new places, but she stays on leash unles we are the only ones there.

In other posts people were reccomending that you find a local Schutzhund club for help and information. I second that suggestion! Our Schutzhund club is a great place with a lot of open fields for the dogs to run, and Keeta can run and play with some of the club dogs that she knows and gets along with. The club members may be able to point you to some good areas where you can excersice your dog safely.

Otherwise, I bicycle with her during the summer months, several kilometers at a time, and she loves to just stretch out and really run when we coast down those hills. In the winter time we go skiing through trails and fields.

Good luck to both, and keep us posted.
 

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Got it. No dog parks! I want him to be able to play with (if he's interested) in other dogs but everything everyone has said about dog parks has convinced me that's not the place to get it.

I'm going to look for a local Schutzhund Club right now on the web. We're in the San Francisco Bay Area so in the event there aren't any, there are tons of places for us to go play, bike ride, run etc.


Thanks to all!
 

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good luck with your new pup. sign up for puppy clases. don't buy anything from China for your dog. to many recalls. if you're going to be away long hours find a sitter to come a couple of times a day. what's the access to the heated/insulated garage mean? your not going to leave your dog in a garage are you??? i would have my dog trained before bringing in another dog. i think a Golden and a Shep will get along just fine together. toys, let him have different kinds. he'll pick the ones he likes more.
 

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I would avoid taking a tiny pup to a dog park but depending where you live, dog parks can be a great place to take your dogs. I have had good and bad experiences at dog parks, again, based on the park and the people that frequent it. I know that the ones in the San Francisco Bay area are really nice. My advice about the dog park is to go there first without your dog and check them out! Is there poop all over the place? Do people have their dogs under voice control? Are people keeping a good eye on their dogs? Is it a big space (the smaller areas can create more problems)?

I like the ones that are big and have hiking areas.
 

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I would never-- not ever-- leave a dog alone with ANY toy unsupervised. I know, that is tough-- but I have had a GSD (an aging senior!) crack a large, sturdy Kong toy IN HALF with his jaw pressure. Even the toughest toy, if it comes apart, can be ingested.

Toys are great for dogs who are under supervision and not left alone.
 
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