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I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, so sorry if it's not.

We are looking into getting a second dog, and really like the idea of a GSD, but are wondering if our family sounds suitable for one. My best friend and her family swear by owning german shepherds and they seem like great dogs. They have a lot of input, but I am reaching out to these forums for a bit extra. We have a labxpyrenese right now who does great with almost every dog, but often seems to show a lot less of her personality/ happy side when she's just around us or alone, so were looking into a buddy for her and a companion for me. Here is a rundown of what we're looking for in a dog.

- large in size
- not much grooming, but we're fine with lots of shedding
- loyal and affectionate within the family
- velcro dog personality (companion and jogging buddy)
- wary of strangers and protective

- at least somewhat playful
- we have a large 1.5 acre yard and when we are gone (8 hours at most rarely, and much shorter (ex. 3 hrs max) if we get a puppy) the dogs will have access to both the yard and house
- I will be able to provide a 2 mile jog and about 30 mins of play/ other exercise daily with training sessions as well
- We all are experienced dog owners, my dad had a gsd hound mix when he was younger.
- we are able to control a dominating dog and correct bad behavior such as biting/ teething
- the dog may interact with younger children and be around horses at times as well as the cat in our household
- we experience temperatures ranging from -16 (below 0) F to 90+ F with about 7 months of winter weather, 3 months of summer weather, and 2 months of inbetween weather.

Most important things are italicized. This is all I can think of for now. Also, when getting a dog or puppy we will have the dog interact with our dog to be sure they get along. If you don't the a german shepherd would be suitable for us and can think of other breeds feel free to post your input on that as well. Thanks so much for your opinions!:)
 

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I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, so sorry if it's not.

We are looking into getting a second dog, and really like the idea of a GSD, but are wondering if our family sounds suitable for one. My best friend and her family swear by owning german shepherds and they seem like great dogs. They have a lot of input, but I am reaching out to these forums for a bit extra. We have a labxpyrenese right now who does great with almost every dog, but often seems to show a lot less of her personality/ happy side when she's just around us or alone, so were looking into a buddy for her and a companion for me. Here is a rundown of what we're looking for in a dog.

- large in size
- not much grooming, but we're fine with lots of shedding
- loyal and affectionate within the family
- velcro dog personality (companion and jogging buddy)
- wary of strangers and protective
- at least somewhat playful
- we have a large 1.5 acre yard and when we are gone (8 hours at most rarely, and much shorter (ex. 3 hrs max) if we get a puppy) the dogs will have access to both the yard and house
- I will be able to provide a 2 mile jog and about 30 mins of play/ other exercise daily with training sessions as well
- We all are experienced dog owners, my dad had a gsd hound mix when he was younger.
- we are able to control a dominating dog and correct bad behavior such as biting/ teething
- the dog may interact with younger children and be around horses at times as well as the cat in our household
- we experience temperatures ranging from -16 (below 0) F to 90+ F with about 7 months of winter weather, 3 months of summer weather, and 2 months of inbetween weather.

Most important things are italicized. This is all I can think of for now. Also, when getting a dog or puppy we will have the dog interact with our dog to be sure they get along. If you don't the a german shepherd would be suitable for us and can think of other breeds feel free to post your input on that as well. Thanks so much for your opinions!:)

Sounds like a GSD would work for you. The only issue I have is what makes you think the dog would be dominant? They're a strong minded breed who need a strong owner but doesn't mean they're dominant. Also curious how teething is a bad behavior since they have no control over teething....

I'd suggest reading around the forums a bit. GSDs are a mouthy breed, especially as puppies. It's about redirection and training. As long as you have the patience to redirect to chew appropriate objects and general patience, teaching bite inhibition is all that's needed on that front.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds like a GSD would work for you. The only issue I have is what makes you think the dog would be dominant? They're a strong minded breed who need a strong owner but doesn't mean they're dominant. Also curious how teething is a bad behavior since they have no control over teething....

I'd suggest reading around the forums a bit. GSDs are a mouthy breed, especially as puppies. It's about redirection and training. As long as you have the patience to redirect to chew appropriate objects and general patience, teaching bite inhibition is all that's needed on that front.
I don't necessarily think the dog would be dominate, just saying we could control a dominate dog, As for the teething that's bad wording on my part, sorry. Mostly mean being able to correct (not harshly of course) biting/ mouthiness as the dog grows. Thanks for your input!
 

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I don't necessarily think the dog would be dominate, just saying we could control a dominate dog, As for the teething that's bad wording on my part, sorry. Mostly mean being able to correct (not harshly of course) biting/ mouthiness as the dog grows. Thanks for your input!

Above all for a GSD, I'd recommend crate training and serious socialization. Crate training is beneficial for safety of your pup but the biggie (least for me a lot of the time lately lol) is your sanity when you cant immediately supervise/train. I think my guy would drive me absolutely insane if I couldn't crate him. He's a sweetie but sometimes his energy is just too much! He's a mama's boy though. Wouldn't trade my shepherds for anything. Even my wimpy girl. The first year tends to be the difficult one. It's like having a newborn on up through teenager in a year. And in all seriousness, I don't think your chances of getting a dominant GSD are all that high.

there are differences between male and female temperament IMO. Males tend to be more goofy while females tend to be more serious but it really does depend on the dog.
 

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Please be aware that this breed is very mouthy, they will try to heard everyone, they do break skin by accident and make you bleed. Your puppy doesn't know better since this trait was bred into its DNA to heard and bite. You'll see him go for your ankles frequently.

Just be aware and embrace yourself for a land shark for the first 6 to 7 months.

Yes, keep correcting your puppy until he gets it but also be compassionate and not lose your temper when your kids have cuts or when your jeans are torn.

In other words, don't fall into the trap of becoming abusive if your dog doesn't catch on right away.

If you're not ready for this, Boxers and Huskys are much more child friendly dogs.

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I think a GSD would be a nice fit for your family.
I'd recommend reading Control Unleashed: The Puppy Program and Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks before getting one.
 

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Please be aware that this breed is very mouthy, they will try to heard everyone, they do break skin by accident and make you bleed. Your puppy doesn't know better since this trait was bred into its DNA to heard and bite. You'll see him go for your ankles frequently.

Just be aware and embrace yourself for a land shark for the first 6 to 7 months.

Yes, keep correcting your puppy until he gets it but also be compassionate and not lose your temper when your kids have cuts or when your jeans are torn.

In other words, don't fall into the trap of becoming abusive if your dog doesn't catch on right away.

If you're not ready for this, Boxers and Huskys are much more child friendly dogs.

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OP given you mentioned a CAT in the house, I would avoid the husky idea since they tend to be extremely prey driven dogs and cats are prey.

and yes, since GSDs were intentionally started as a herding breed, they have been known to try and herd. They don't do it with the intent to be aggressive but some people tend to freak out over it especially if they don't know and understand the breed. Puppies will also draw blood unintentionally. Just remember, they're learning. My little guy has drawn blood a couple times and he always looks so sad and upset with himself immediately afterwards. he didn't mean to do it and as much as it may have hurt, I know he didn't do it on purpose. Also, if you get a pup, remember, they may seem like they're aggressive when reality is, they are NOT. GSDs are vocal and rough players. Some more so than others.
 

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Agreed.

Their biting isn't aggression. They do it to play, and are very vocal.

Don't confuse playful biting with aggression.

Mine was 7 months before the biting became acceptable and at around 8 months, he pretty much stopped.

At nearly a year, it's very rare, but he's very gentle on the skin when he plays.

Every dog is different, so it could be shorter or longer, so don't take my experience as an expectation or deadline.

I overlooked the cat thing as well, so no Husky.

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Agreed.

Their biting isn't aggression. They do it to play, and are very vocal.

Don't confuse playful biting with aggression.

Mine was 7 months before the biting became acceptable and at around 8 months, he pretty much stopped.

At nearly a year, it's very rare, but he's very gentle on the skin when he plays.

Every dog is different, so it could be shorter or longer, so don't take my experience as an expectation or deadline.

I overlooked the cat thing as well, so no Husky.

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yeah most definitely there's no timeframe for puppy biting with a GSD. Some pups are extremely mouthy while others a couple simple corrections is all it takes for them to stop. My female was a very simple to handle and train puppy. My male.... he's a work in progress but his mouthy little buttheaded personality has gotten a tad less mouthy even though he's teething. Admittedly though, my female, who is 3 now, still mouths now and then but only when we're playing and she stops when we're done playing. She also does these love nibbles on your fingers when she wants you to know she's there.
 

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I think a GSD would be a nice fit for your family.
I'd recommend reading Control Unleashed: The Puppy Program and Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks before getting one.
I agree with this. Only a good trainer can change the new GSD to a reliable family member and also entertain all the members.
 

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You want to make sure if you decide on the breed that you do not get a dog from parents who are wary of strangers. The aggression/protective instincts in a German Shepherd dog should come from a place of confidence and good nerve.

I have Chow mixes - they are supposed to be suspicious - it is a very different expression of behavior and it is much harder to safely control.

Go out and meet a LOT of GSDs and find what you like. When you meet a great GSD, you will see the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think a GSD would be a nice fit for your family.
I'd recommend reading Control Unleashed: The Puppy Program and Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks before getting one.
Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll check this out for sure!

Above all for a GSD, I'd recommend crate training and serious socialization. Crate training is beneficial for safety of your pup but the biggie (least for me a lot of the time lately lol) is your sanity when you cant immediately supervise/train. I think my guy would drive me absolutely insane if I couldn't crate him. He's a sweetie but sometimes his energy is just too much! He's a mama's boy though. Wouldn't trade my shepherds for anything. Even my wimpy girl. The first year tends to be the difficult one. It's like having a newborn on up through teenager in a year. And in all seriousness, I don't think your chances of getting a dominant GSD are all that high.

there are differences between male and female temperament IMO. Males tend to be more goofy while females tend to be more serious but it really does depend on the dog.
Crate training is definitely something we plan on doing. We'll most likely be looking into getting a male dog since we have a female, and many people say a male and female dog tend to get along better than two dogs of the same gender.

Thanks for everyone's replies so far!
 

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You want to make sure if you decide on the breed that you do not get a dog from parents who are wary of strangers. The aggression/protective instincts in a German Shepherd dog should come from a place of confidence and good nerve.

I have Chow mixes - they are supposed to be suspicious - it is a very different expression of behavior and it is much harder to safely control.

Go out and meet a LOT of GSDs and find what you like. When you meet a great GSD, you will see the difference.
THIS for sure. A lot of people inexperienced with the breed think that they should be "wary towards strangers", when in reality they should be aloof. Not suspicious, just not caring to meet and greet. Lots of inexperienced/irresponsible breeders breed for "family guard dog" types, dogs who are not tolerant of strangers, by breeding dogs who are fear reactive (which comes across as "protectiveness" to the untrained eye). It's so important to avoid this. You want a dog who is social and above all, confident. A stable, confident dog can be fine and friendly to strangers but still be a great family protector.

I see so, so many posts about "oh, my puppy is already so protective! She barks and growls at strangers and anyone who comes near me!" That sort of behavior is a liability.

Given that you have young children, who will have friends over, etc... finding a dog who is confident and stable is critical.
 

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THIS for sure. A lot of people inexperienced with the breed think that they should be "wary towards strangers", when in reality they should be aloof. Not suspicious, just not caring to meet and greet. Lots of inexperienced/irresponsible breeders breed for "family guard dog" types, dogs who are not tolerant of strangers, by breeding dogs who are fear reactive (which comes across as "protectiveness" to the untrained eye). It's so important to avoid this. You want a dog who is social and above all, confident. A stable, confident dog can be fine and friendly to strangers but still be a great family protector.

I see so, so many posts about "oh, my puppy is already so protective! She barks and growls at strangers and anyone who comes near me!" That sort of behavior is a liability.

Given that you have young children, who will have friends over, etc... finding a dog who is confident and stable is critical.
I guess I didn't make it very clear in the original post, but we do not have young children, however given the barn I go to on a daily basis, the dog will be around younger children at times. But young children are young children rather we have young children whohave friends over, or the dog just is around younger children, so yes I agree that a dog who is confident and stable is a must.
 

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first research the different lines, show vs working. some are bred for different reasons. a high prey drive all work and not a great off switch may not fit your life style. just trying to say you have some choices to make regarding your lifestyle and "flavor" of gsd dog.
 
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