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Ok this is for those special dog families with multiple dogs. Not two or three babies but more than three. My question is, when you have so many personalties, temperments, drives and not to mention food and vet bill, is it hard to spread the love? I have one GSD, and he is almost a full time attention hound. I often sit and wonder what if I had three or more of these? I'd be guarenteed no down time unless it's bed time. I admire these multi-family GSD people. But is it hard when two or more dogs are panning for your attention, or does having more dogs offset when they interact with each other? Do you feel sometimes you don't get as close to one or more of them because your spread thinner?
 

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At one point for many years I had 4 gsd's, varying ages, two senior dogs, two younger dogs..It wasn't hard (well except for the vet bills at times:) to give attention to all.

I was lucky that all of them got along very well, (which I insist on!) life was good.

Now I'm down to 1 gsd and 2 senior aussies, it's still alot of work having other animals as well, but so much joy and the many smiles they bring are worth it.
 

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Between the boyfriend and I we have five: Karma 1 1/2 years, Dooney & Shadow a little over 2 years, DT is 7, and Becca is 9 (shadow and DT are both males and are never out together- DT doesn't get to play with anyone). Most of the dogs can play with one another, just not more than 2 at once. I actually think sometimes they get more quality time. when one is brought out of the crate it is all about them, not about watching tv or cooking dinner or it just laying on the floor at our feet, it is all about play time or training. With that said, life would be much easier if everyone could be out at once.

When I am at my house, it is just my 2- Dooney and Karma, and it is the same thing but mine can be out together. Karma is a working dog so she just doesn't seem to be capable of laying down and being a house pet, if I am not playing with her she just paces, so she gets some serious play time and training-which bonds us. Dooney is a mix of house and working dog- who I cannot convince she is NOT a lap dog. LOL

So I don't really feel like I am spread too thin- though anymore dogs might be pushing it... They are all worth it, I get 5 times the love and shown love in 5 different ways.
 

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For me, the hardest time is when they're first joining the family as pups. I go way out of my way to be certain that my resident dogs get all their love and that the pup gets a lot of one-on-one time. I want my new dog to be part of the larger family, but I'm always cautious about allowing the 'pack' to become more important to a newcomer than me. I've seen what happens when you let a pup grow up with mostly the resident dogs as company, and it's just something that wouldn't work with my family. I enjoy being the central aspect of their lives because the relationship I have with each dog is what I value.

As far as spreading the love, it is a very different dynamic moving from a single-dog household to multiple. When I had one dog he was pretty much 'forced' to try everything I wanted to do in the dog world. He never complained, but I took him past what he considered pure fun and into more rigorous stuff. He tried it all, from just plain hiking with dad to agility, obedience, trick shows, therapy visitation (although at the time we didn't know it was therapy work). I got frustrated as a kid when he wasn't enthusiastic about every dog sport I wanted to get into and in my tender years I took it quite personally when I got home from school and wanted to play but he just didn't want to for whatever reason.

Having multiple dogs gives me multiple avenues to explore. I have a dog that LIVES for lure coursing and one that will give it a good ol' college try, another that could care less about the lure. Some love dock diving, some love herding. Most are great in obedience and others get the weave poles moreso than their packmates. So I get to try all the sports I want and everybody is engaged in whatever sport makes them happiest. I no longer have to drag anybody out to try something that they're just not into.
Plus, I'm just a big ol' fan of a big ol' wiggly pile of dogs after a hard day at work. One dog is great, two is better, three is awesome, and four makes my day. I wouldn't feel comfortable in my current living situation having more than four resident dogs. The subtle relationships they have with each other is so much more entertaining than watching any TV show, and playing ball in the back yard is infinitely more engaging with four wagging tails in enthusiastic pursuit than one. It engages me and challenges me in a way that a single dog does not, and the daily aspects of their care are motivating and rewarding; everything from scooping their food in the evenings to weekly toenail clippings.
I also show my dogs, and there's something so wonderful about the pride you feel when you look at all of your dogs groomed and tacked up ringside. The process is long and repetitive but it never feels like a chore. Every single one of them make me proud every single day, in much the same way I imagine having human children would.

Honestly, I work at a vet clinic for many reasons. One of the big bonuses I did not anticipate is the employee discount! I have the luxury of bringing my dogs to work if necessary, and asking questions of the staff that I probably would not have called my previous vets to ask before I was an assistant. Without these benefits I would be using different flea/HW preventions and probably would not know as much as I do about resolving potential reproductive issues and AI breeding, nor as much about reading OFA x-rays (and I still have a LOT to learn) and doing more in-home diagnosis.

I think the jump from one dog to two is the biggest step. Two to three isn't much different, but four and above enters a whole new territory. You start to get more spats, sub-groups on occasion. Sometimes they gang up and isolate a particular dog, especially bitches. All my dogs get along very well, but I still have one bitch that cannot be put with other bitches in heat unsupervised; she hasn't started an outright fight, but I will never trust her not to do so. That's the reality, and it's not for everybody.
 

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Ok this is for those special dog families with multiple dogs. Not two or three babies but more than three. My question is, when you have so many personalties, temperments, drives and not to mention food and vet bill, is it hard to spread the love? I have one GSD, and he is almost a full time attention hound. I often sit and wonder what if I had three or more of these? I'd be guarenteed no down time unless it's bed time. I admire these multi-family GSD people. But is it hard when two or more dogs are panning for your attention, or does having more dogs offset when they interact with each other? Do you feel sometimes you don't get as close to one or more of them because your spread thinner?
I've had 5 with 3 of those being GSD and currently have 4 two GSD and two mixes. It's not hard to spread the love at all. They do occupy each other to a certain extent and they also each want time with each of us. I get close to each of them in a way their and my personality will allow. My husband is closer to some as I am to others... but that is more of who fits which personality better. We have one old guy who was really close to my daughters and they both went off to college so both my husband and I try to make special time to give him loves and attention.
 

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I have 3. Storm- 1.5yrs, Zira- 2.5yrs, and Duke- 3.5yrs. Intact female, spayed female, and neutered male. Our house is crate and rotate, and not everyone gets along. It changes. My two females used to hate each other.... so it was Duke & Zira, and then Storm by herself. Now, the two females are fine (when Storm is not in heat) and can be out together, but Duke can not stand either girls anymore. He's got a lot of medical things going on and I feel he's just not wanting to be around any dog anymore... grumpy man these days. When Storm is in heat.... we have to do everyone 100% separate. Duke gets frustrated by her smells, Zira picks fights for a alpha position she can never win nor keep, and Storm is just bitchy (obviously).

It's hard at times. And there are days I just wish I had 1 and they could be out 24/7 without a hassle and get ALL of my attention and money. However, I have 3 good dogs that make this house home... It's worth it. Zira is a full house dog. She can just be out while I'm cooking dinner or watching TV. She gets her attention there. She is also my SO's dog, so he likes to play ball with her and things like that. She wants nothing to do with training or working. Duke is retired from IPO due to medical issues.... so he's slowly becoming ok with being a house dog. I still take him out every once in a while (when he's feeling ok) and do a little OB work to make him happy. Otherwise, he's a happy dog to just lay at our feet and snuggle. As long as he's with us... he's happy. Storm on the other hand is a working dog, and a young one. She's always work work work. We take her out and either train, or she needs to be played with until she's tired. I'd say with all that.... they all get equal attention in ways that make them happy. Different ways of course... different personalities and needs. But, everyone is happy with what they get.

What's difficult are the vet bills. I can never go a month without rushing someone in, or spending a fortune on vet bills; whether it be shots, flea/heartworm pills, illness, injury, health testing, etc..... I see my vet way too often for my liking. Also, because there's multiple and they share the same yard, water bowl, and toys.... and the crates are next to each other..... if one gets sick, they usually all do. So- vet bill x3 and a TON of TLC. I had Giardia come into our home through Storm as a little pup.... she had it, then Zira got it, then Duke got it.... and it ALMOST wrapped around again. It took me about 2 months to get that out of them and my yard. Very expensive, time consuming, and exhausting (emotionally, physically, and financially) 2 months.

Upkeep gets expensive too. Food bill is pricy every month, flea/heartworm preventatives are crazy expensive, training/events/sports, and of course basic items like leashes, toys, bowls, etc. Definitely not something to overlook when adding up the expenses.

It's not easy, but it's also not impossible.... and it can be very rewarding! Just make sure the finances are stable and able to withstand the vet bills and care, and that you are capable of tending to each dog within their own needs and personality. If that's possible... then you'll have a very rewarding experience. ;)
 

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I have 3 of my own and 1 foster dog, who will almost certainly always be with us. I would like to get back down to 3 eventually; 3 dogs I believe is my magic number at this time in my life. Sometimes I do think it would be nice to have just one and be able to spend all my time with him/her, but I love them all, even the foster. I do feel like I have a personal relationship with each dog, but it does take a lot of time.
 

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We have four dogs, not all GSD's. I don't find it hard to love them all equally, but providing quality care for them all can be demanding. First and foremost, the vet bills are outrageous even when the dogs are healthy. Then, you consider the fact that Dakota has the lifelong illness of epilepsy to deal with. Ditto gets frequent ear and skin infections and has urinary incontinence. On a normal day, Dakota and Ditto get their pills every 12 hours and are fed at the same time. If Ditto has an infection, medications may have to be given 3 times a day. Heartworm and flea preventative is not only expensive, but a chore to administer to four dogs. We had a problem with whip worms in the past, so now we give them panacur ever so often- which is liquid and the dogs hate, so it has to be given in food. Weegee wont eat the food with the liquid in it half the time. Exercising them is a chore- to make things a little easier, the whole family goes on the walk. I walk Ditto and Weegee, my brother walks Daisy, and my mom walks Dakota. However, when inevitably Weegee (and sometimes Daisy) poops, I have to stop to pick it up. Usually I give my mom Ditto's leash and I run with Weegee to catch up...

At best, its hectic. But without them, life would be boring. There is never a shortage of love.
 

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I have 6 dogs, 2 German Shepherds and the other 4 are small breeds, Cairns, a JRT and a Chuhuahua, I LOVE having a pack of dogs, they are so entertaining, I am lucky in that I have horse property so twice a day my dogs do the horse chores with me, so all total they get a good 3-4 hours of running and playing with each other as I tend to the horses and clean stalls and such, only the Shepherds go on trail rides with me as the terriers have NO RECALL what so ever, the Chihuahua is my oldest dog and gets the priveledge of running errands with me, at the end of the day they all come in and sleep in my room on their respective beds. I'm lucky in that all my dogs get along with each other and love to run and play together.
 
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