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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
I have a sweet, but spoiled large male German Shepherd. He came from a wonderful breeder and I've been in love since the day I brought him home. He is now four years old, and I'd like to get him a little sister. Originally, I was going to get another full breed shepherd, but decided I didn't want my new pup to be as large. I have decided to rescue and wasn't sure how to "pick" the new sibling. I don't need a "puppy" so I'm open to an older girl, but I'm worried about how my boy will react to another dog in the house. I've pampered this beast and he is truly a sweetheart, loves people (everyone!) but isn't crazy about some dogs. He has been socialized a lot (day care and dog parks) and usually he does well, but there are definitely some dogs he does not react well with. Any suggestions as to how I go about choosing the new dog? Advise on the age? I appreciate any words of wisdom since I'm really not sure how to proceed.

Thank you!!
 

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You may want to consider fostering first to see if there will be an issue with your resident dog accepting new dogs in his home.

There are a couple of ways of going down that path -- 1) you could become a foster volunteer for a local shelter/rescue to test the waters or, 2) you could find a shelter/rescue that has a foster-to-adopt program where a specific dog you are interested in adopting is given a trial foster period in your home before the adoption is finalized.

In any event, wish you the best of luck in your search for a new addition to your home.
 

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Thank you. I did think about fostering, but just wasn't sure I could re home the pup again. :(. In your experience, would a puppy be a better choice than say a year old? Thanks!
 

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My gut reaction is to a low-key adolescent female, a little on the submissive side. If you're up to it and want to earn some angel wings, you might even consider a shy female who would benefit from your male's good socialization, and draw confidence from him. I've seen several females like that bond very deeply with slightly older, well socialized males--it's neat when the males become very nurturing of them.

I love the foster-to-adopt idea!

If that's not an option, be very clear with the rescue that you need a play date (or two) at a dog park during hours when the park is pretty empty (early AM, usually). Also, you want a lengthy home visit with the dog. My home visits are usually a couple of hours long for this very reason. Some rescues will also let you try a dog out over a weekend.

Also, mind the introduction of the dogs at home to maximize your chance of success. I strongly recommend that you meet the dog you are considering in your front yard, with your dog already leashed up, and then you all go for a walk as a pack through the neighborhood instead of doing a dog-to-dog greeting right away. The dogs sniff each other as they are walking and moving, but it takes the tension way down. After a nice walk, then everyone goes into the backyard together, and if things are going well, leashes get dropped, so the dogs can interact now. After a while, everyone goes in the house together. This method works SO much better than just walking into the house with a a new dog.

Tell us more about your male, and we can offer more thoughts about what kind of dog to look for. What dogs does he react to? What dogs does he play with?
 

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You sound like a wonderful home!! I would also go with a female, but maybe an adult female 4-6 years old. More chill, less puppy. Plus the older girls get looked over a lot. And I think you would be wonderful for girl that needs a home. Plus I bet your boy is not a fan of dogs up in his face. An older more settled girl will be less "HEEYYY, HIIIIII, LETS PLAY, COME ON"!!!!

I also believe that the dogs should meet on neutral ground, take a walk back to the house together. Take it slow.

Good luck and bless you for adopting!!!

PS- fostering is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do. So even if it's not a match, you will help find a dog a new home, gain enormous experience, and save 2 lives. Trust me. I have fostered for about 16 years. It always excites me to get a new foster, to evaluate, train, socialize, and find a perfect family for a wonderful dog.


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Thank you so much for all your advise. I've been wanting to add a dog for a year or two now, but Grissom is my first GSD. I'm used to extremely easy going Golden Retrievers, and was in for quite the aha moment when I saw the difference between the breeds. It's just me and Grissom so I have had four years of bonding with him. Every place I go people constantly compliment me on how friendly he is. Whenever someone comes over (even strangers) he acts like they are his long lost friends and he rubs up against them doing that awesome shepherd whine. I'm so pleased he is so amiable. However, when he sees other dogs he gets so excited. His butt goes up, his front legs go down, he's wagging his tail and he is in full play mode....but yesterday we were at the beach and he growled....yikes....at a 3 month old Golden Retriever puppy! I was shocked!!!! This started to worry me. Hence, my coming to this valuable site for guidance. I'm hoping that I haven't raised a spoiled "only" child. :(
 

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I won't go in to all the detail about Sadie & Bear, but to make a very, very long story short, Sadie is 12 and Bear is 6. Both from different homes, both horribly abused. They are the best shepherd "couple" I've had the pleasure to own.
 

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Evaluate the dog's needs as much as your own wants/needs. Some dogs flourish with a packmate, some dogs do better alone.

I ended up with a young female just months after adopting Cable. Some days it's fine and dandy, other days I wish it was just Cable. The circumstances were such that it was for the betterment of the female(Allie) and returning her is not an option. Cable can go either way, he's stable and pretty hard, BUT I really do think he'd really shine as an only dog. Allie loves her big brother and they play awesome, just sometimes I can see the frustration Cable endures when he wants some human/dog quality time.
 

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Hmmm, good thoughts. I try to give Grissom enough exercise time, but I think he is bored. That is why a second dog started brewing in my mind. My sister has two dogs, both are very, very lazy. Grissom spends most of his energy waving a toy in their faces hoping someone, anyone will play with him. Both of those dogs just go and lay down. They are not active dogs at all. Then my beast starting barking at the tv. That's when it hit me that he could just be bored. I thought by adding a sibling, and rescuing, it would be a good thing all around. Now, I'm not so sure.
 

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Foster is a great way to help dogs and meet them! That is how I got Rocky, he was our third rescue.

It's great to be able to help give a dog a second chance, you also if your good at it be willing to dea with a dog that has "issues" and train the dog to help move him along it's a great reward!

The down side is that you can become attached to the dog and passing them along can be heartbreaking!
We did it three times a herder dog, which I became very found of (I hate herder dogs..bossy A Holes!) but I worked with her and fell in love!

A Golden Retriever (glad to see him go!) And then Rocky (GSD) he was almost gone but the deal collapsed at the last minute! :( / :) We did not want to let him go but would have. That was it for us we kept him and then no more fosters! It was just too hard to let them go for us.
 

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How hard is fostering on "your" dog? Is it hard or stressful for your dog to have a dog come, hang around awhile, and then go? Just curious.
 

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My dogs don't care at all. There is always the beginning period, where there is an adjustment. But no, none if them care when a foster leaves. In fact none of them would care if one of them left. They like each other, but not overly bonded.


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Thank you. I did think about fostering, but just wasn't sure I could re home the pup again. :(. In your experience, would a puppy be a better choice than say a year old? Thanks!
I can only share with you my experience. With my current (and last) “resident” dog, I have fostered many dogs for many different shelters/rescues in my area… the vast majority of the dogs I have fostered have been over the age of 1-year-old because it is my personal preference to foster young adult and adult dogs.

I have only had one foster dog that my “resident” dog just did not get along with. In that case, we wound up switching foster dogs with another foster volunteer. The dog my dog disliked had no problem in the new foster home and my dog had no problems with the new foster dog that came from the other foster home.

Really, at the end of the day, your decision to add a new member to your household depends on how receptive your dog would be to any particular newcomer - be it a puppy, young adult or adult. And, perhaps more importantly, how willing you are to meet the individual needs of two dogs. I can tell you that, although my GSD generally really does like to play and interact with the foster dog, he also wants and needs individual attention from me, as does the foster dog for that matter.

If you decide to foster (or foster-to-adopt), find a shelter/ rescue that will provide support and guidance through the process – I think this is particularly important for people who are new to the foster experience.

To wrap up, in regard to your most recent post, I want to let you know that my dog has never been traumatized by the departure of foster dogs (upon adoption) from our home. Perhaps, if the foster dog had been here for years, it would be different… but, no, he typically treats their departure the same way he does when we have been dog-sitting for a friend.
 
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