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Discussion Starter #1
I am currently working with a family to adopt their two 5 year old littermates. They are in a financial bind and have to leave town and sell their business/home, and they just can't take the dogs to their new place and give them the space/accommodations two good dogs deserve. Here's a brief rundown on the dogs:

- The dogs are well trained. Good with commands, learning, and overall respect for their owners/home
- They have never shown any signs of aggression to the owners/people
- The two of them are inseparable
- They were raised from birth with this family and essentially lived at the same house all that time. "Dogs in a bubble" they call them.
- The owners have been very gentle and caring in raising them. They claim the dogs have little to no behavior problems (which appears to be true). They don't chew things, they don't dig, they don't whine or bark, they don't become hyperactive. They are extremely even tempered and well behaved dogs.

I have had the dogs to my house once, and I have visited them at theirs a few times. Today, the owners are leaving the dogs with me for the morning so I can be with them alone for a while.

The dogs have shown a good liking to me, and even made some submissive gestures to me (the owners say the dogs know they are being rehomed). They have been friendly, though a bit skeptical. The female dog has taken quite well to me and has been very lovey, the male has been friendly but he's still on "patrol" for his sister and old family.

My questions I'd like feedback on are thus:

1. Can GSD's, especially as I describe these two, be successfully rehomed and integrated into my family? If I put in the effort and care, of course.

2. I have a 2.5 year old boy. The dogs don't act aggressive to him right now, but they are a bit nervous since he is a weird creature. When at the owners house, I did pick my child up off the ground when he was trying to see the dogs, and the male GSD went to either nip or mouth on my kids leg. It wasn't a bite, but it was either a nip of "you are annoying!" or he was trying to grab him because he felt he was falling or in some sort of danger (I am guessing). Either way, the owner had him sit/lay down and was corrected immediatley. They said that he was either jealous and nipping, or he was worried and trying to "grab" out of concern/fear.

Can the dogs learn to love and accept him and treat him gently? Or will it be a constant danger?

3. Can GSD's be rehomed with new owners and learn to respect and love the owners the same as the old ones?


I plan on spending a great deal of time integrating them and introducing/training them into their new home and family. I am just not sure if GSD's even CAN be rehomed successfully, or if they will always be attached to their old home and never really adapt to me and my family as their new pack leaders.

I have had dogs before, and have done a great amount of reading on GSD's, so give it to me straight. I really want to be able to adopt these dogs successfully, but I do have those concerns listed above (especially with my 2.5 year old boy).

Note, my questions are all "is it possible" types, not "WILL I be able to". I realize that every dog is a creature unto itself, but we are really wanting to have this work. So please, comment away, I need some reassurance and/or advice.

Thanks

Erik


PS. I have read Cesars Way and "Idiots Guide to GSD's" so I have a good handle on pack mentality.
 

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As a volunteer with a GSD rescue, I can tell you that GSDs are rehomed very successfully all the time. My own adopted GSD, Cash, has bonded with me completely and won't let me out of his sight. My husband's old dog who recently died at fourteen was adopted from another family as well and bonded completely to my husband.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, they can be successfully rehomed and totally bond with their new owners.

I'm not experienced enough with dogs and kids to give advice about the other, but I'm sure someone else can.
 

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1. Yes.

2. You will need to work hard on the relationship between the dogs and your child, especially if the dogs are not used to children. You should ensure there is adult supervision at all times when your boy and the dogs are together. Much will depend on the dogs' past experiences with children and teaching your child to be assertive but very respectful of the dogs.

3. Yes. Ask anyone who has a rescued dog and they will tell you that the dogs will bond to a good new owner.

You have an additional challenge in taking in littermates who are bonded to each other. You should ensure that you work with the dogs one-on-one. Taking them to training classes should help establish your relationship ith them and a bond.

dd
 

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I can't speak to GSDs an kids, but I got my first GSD when she was almost 4 years old. She was never ever abused or neglected in any way, and yet we have a very strong bond and bonded almost immediately! I took her up to our cottage right when I got her and I had her off lead with me from day one. She has never run from me, never really moves more than 10 feet away from me and is always "checking in". Every two weeks we go to her breeder's for training and she LOVES to see her again, but it has no effect on our relationship. I am not jealous of their relationship, I'm happy to see that she still remembers and loves her breeder. After all, she had her for 4 years and I've only had her less than 1.

I think dogs are very adaptable creatures and with time they will love and respect you. It sounds like they are well balanced dogs. I would recommend not making a fuss over them. Just give them a week or so to kinda settle in on their own. Don't be overly social with them and trying to pet them or praise them every few minutes, just stay neutral and let them get their bearings and observe your family.
 

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I'm also a rescue volunteer and agree with all above. They can be rehomed VERY sucessfully! About a month ago, we rescued 2-9yr old GSD siblings. The owner fell on hard times and had to rehome them. They are doing GREAT! The first few weeks we could tell they were a little unsettled.....wouldn't you be? But they've adapted well.
When you first get them, the first few weeks even, things should be quiet and structured as much as possible. Maybe limit their access in the house to certain areas....work on commands with them and establish the 'pack' rules. It sounds like they have already had good training....so work off of that.
You want to be very careful with your toddler. Small children and dogs should NEVER be unsupervised. Some one else here can hopefully give you better help with that issue (no kids in my house!)
Thank you for giving these two a chance at a good home.
 

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Yes to the bonding for sure.

Have they ever lived with children 24-7?

I do not have kids and do not adopt out to homes with children because my fosters do not have that day in and day out grind of exposure to children.

Also as children get older, they multiply, as friends come over, so a dog needs to be good with groups of kids and owners have to be vigilant cubed to protect the dog and the children.

Always and only setting the dogs up for success is the only way to have children and dogs together.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They haven't been around children much at all. The owners children were all adults. They say that the dogs seem neutral to kids because they just never see them.

I will definitley keep they supervised and seperated for the first few weeks while we establish a routine and structure.

So far since I posted, they've been in my backyard with me for about an hour. They seem happy, we've played ball, done some "sit" and "stay" commands, and just hung out. They have acted pretty well. I don't know their personalities enough yet to get the subtle things, but I think I will learn.

Like right now, they are resting and chewing on the balls we were throwing, but every now and then I hear a whimper from one of them... and it's almost like they are sad I am ignoring them by typing on the laptop...
 

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Originally Posted By: JeanKBBMMMAANYes to the bonding for sure.

Have they ever lived with children 24-7?

I do not have kids and do not adopt out to homes with children because my fosters do not have that day in and day out grind of exposure to children.

Also as children get older, they multiply, as friends come over, so a dog needs to be good with groups of kids and owners have to be vigilant cubed to protect the dog and the children.

Always and only setting the dogs up for success is the only way to have children and dogs together.
I agree!!!


Also for the first bit DO NOT leave children and dogs unattended until there is sufficient time for training, observances,etc......
It's not to say anything WILL happen but if it "should" be inappropriate (on child's behaviour OR the dogs') YOU are there to intervene----- better safe than sorry.......


Thanks for taking in two beauties..I am sure they will repay you ten fold in the future with thier love, adoration and dedication......
 

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I just wanted to wish you the best with your new instant family! I'm so very glad that your considering taking them both-I'm sure this will make the transition easier for both of them. GSDs bond really well with their people and I'm sure they will bond with you and your family in no time!!!
 

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The answers to your questions are all yes, in time. A few suggestions...

1. I would resist the urge to just "throw" these mostly well behaved dogs into your every day life and give them lots of freedom. I would get each of them a crate, and primarily crate them for at least the first week when you are not exercising/training them and carefully socializing them with your son. You can crate them next to each other so they feel the safety of each other, but let them observe what life is like in your house from a distance and a place of safety for a bit.

2. Start over with obedience with each one individually. You will be tempted to work them together. Don't. Develop a bond with each of them seperately. The best way to develop that bond is through training in a positive way and playing with them. Classes or structured training on your own every day or every other day will put you firmly in place as their leader without the need for any conflict at all.

3. Get to work on socializing them with your son. Use all tools you have at your disposal on this. Initially, insure the dogs are exercised and fed prior to each session with your son. Then, ONE AT A TIME teach them what proper interaction is with a child. They should be on leash and the experiences should be as positive as possible. Treats and praise for calm submissive behavior to the child. If the dog gets worked up, into the crate and try again tomorrow. NO UNSUPERVISED TIME WITH YOUR SON FOR THESE DOGS INITIALLY. I mean not a second.

I got a 3.5 year old (now 4) very powerful and rather exciteable working line male GSD that was predominantly crated and kenneled (translation - NO MANNERS) 7 months ago. Through training outside and shaping behavior inside he has flourished. I have never had a dog bond to me like he has.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't own the dogs yet, we are still in the interview phase but they said they feel really good about our home and think that we're the ones.

The dogs haven't ever been apart or trained apart. They respond to commands in unison when addressed as "twodogs", but I can give them each solitary training and time with me, and my wife.

They are crate trained and do sleep in crates each night. They can also go there to nap or just rest in the day, so they are accustomed to that.

We went for a walk on leashes just now, and they stayed with me very well. They didn't hardly pull, and most of the time I could just let the leashes be slack. But they stayed with me right on my side and heeled very properly. When we hit the mailbox, I had them sit, and they stay, and they did well. I checked the mail, then said "okay!" and they popped right back up.
 

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They sound just wonderful!!!!
 

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Re: Adopting two 5 year old littermates. Questions

Hi there,

These dogs sound really wonderful. I too have fostered and all of my dogs have been adopted, ranging in age at adoption from puppy to 4.5 years old. The 4.5 yo had only had negative experiences with children and was at first very frightened of them.

I don't have any human kids of my own but am around them alot. After he had been with me for a few months we spent a week (24/7) with my cousins and their 3 small children he got more comfortable with them. I was very careful to keep him on a leash around them at first and also taught them how to act around him. It took about a year but he developed excellent manners with children.

When I bring new adoptees or fosters into my home i don't keep them crated as John suggests (unless they are still puppies) but I do keep them on a leash or keep a short leash on them so that they are easy to grab if necessary. I think each situation is different. I have never brought two in at once though so I have no idea what that would be like. It is a good idea to work them separately around your son at first though because this will make it easier for you.

I have found that dogs with high prey drive will often grab at children because they move quickly. That can be easily remedied with counter conditioning.

At their age be aware that separating them may cause some distress initially, depending on how interdependent they are.

And keep us posted and be sure to post pictures!!!!!!!!!
 
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