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Hi,
Thanks everyone for all the helpful tips and support you provide. It was visible on the threads I read, which made me join this forum.

One of my dreams/wishes is to have a GSD in our family. I have had experience with Doberman and Boxer. Our last dog, boxer, was my wife’s first ever dog. Needless to say she was overwhelmed with his high energy. We were just starting our family when we got him, so lack of training and experience left some gaps.

Lost him last year at 9 years. We have a 6yr old and 1.5 yr old in the house. Unfortunately, because of his high energy, always wanting to jump/lick, strength, my wife and daughter were not comfortable to play, go for walks (pulling), or train him. Blame is on us. More on me because I didn’t educate my wife on dog ownership, especially a boxer, which has left a bad taste.

However, I feel a GSD is still a good choice with where we are now, expecting a lot of dedication, as well as importance of a good breeder, who knows their dogs’ temperament.

Our plan is to get a new dog in a year. She wants a small dog like Havanese, Shih Tzu, or Bichon Frise, so she can play with him, handle/train him, and they shed very little, which is another challenge.

I am going to convince her to at least visit some breeders, interact with GSDs that have been well trained and have good temperament to help reduce her overwhelm and fear. Shedding will be a tough one. Not sure if my offer to vacuum often is good enough :)

Granted I will need to commit to her that I will take complete responsibility of GSDs training and cleaning.

What tips do you have, especially women in this group who have a GSD, or first ever GSD, to help me convince her?

PS. Appreciate you reading my long post. It was needed to give you good background.
 

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You may not lIKE my response But I agree with your wife. I can relate to her concerns and given the ages of your children, a Bichon would be a much better choice.
I had 2 twinsy Bichons at one time prior to having GSD's. They are great little dogs for all the reasons your wife wants one.
A GSD. on the other hand is a BIG, strong, can knock little ones down, rough type dog. It takes commitment and lots
of time to manner them and keep them happy with their exercise needs. Each one is different but shedding is a problem
to many housekeepers.
I think your next family dog should be a small, manageable by your wife and kids and then after that and your children
are larger, maybe a GSD. For now, pay attention to your kids- they need you more than YOU need a GSD.
 

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I second Orphan Heidi's response. I got my first GSD 6 + months ago and WOW she's a handful and I've raised larger puppies before! Luckily my kids are much older 19 and 16. If I was any older I'd worry about my OWN physical health with this one! She is a lover but it's very difficult to have younger children over; she wants to play but is too big and rough.
 

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Could also try a medium-sized dog. Small enough for the wife to train and handle, large enough to do some "big dog" stuff. Since unfocused energy was an issue previously, look for a dog that's naturally biddable (wants to do whatever you want it to do) or has less energy overall.
 

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Don't let the foo-foo looks of a Bichon fool you. They think they're big dogs and want to do all the big dog things. I used to hike and explore the woods with them and they joined right in wanting to rough house with the big neighborhood dogs.
They're not just Lap dogs. Mine used to pull me around a big lake on sidewalks while I was on street roller skates.
mine learned to fetch in the big lake. They're very smart and learn all kinds of tricks very easily. They even did a form of dock diving and were great swimmers. They can be as athletic as their owners. Plus a big fact is they get along with ALL people and ALL dogs. Not so with many GSD's.
 

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I think both partners need to be on the same page. Especially for a dog who requires both parties to be involved in their care and training (if you think this can be done by one person in the house then you need to do more research on the breed).

Why not visit some other breeds that fit what you both like? Then work together in bringing the right type of dog into your home. Together.
 

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I kind of agree with everyone. I don't think a GSD is the right dog for you at this time. You have 2 young children and a reluctant wife....not a good combo for raising a GSD. And if you think a boxer was a lot of energy, a GSD won't be much different, if not worse. GSD puppies bite a lot. Are you prepared for that when it bites your 1.5yo and draws blood? When a GSD is grown up, it needs a lot of attention, exercise, training, etc. With 2 young kids, are you going to have the time to do that? Remember, GSDs are herding group dogs. Herding group dogs can work all day.

I assume you work, and your wife is at home alone with a 6yo and a 1.5 yo. And now you want to add a GSD puppy? I may be wrong, but I don't think your wife will be happy with the additional work in the house. Don't forget, GSDs shed A LOT. Your wife will have to do extra cleaning. I just see a wife that is going to resent you because you wanted the GSD and she didn't. Get the Havanese or any of the smaller dogs. They're easier to handle and manage than a larger, more powerful breed like a GSD. "Happy wife, happy life." Get the dog that SHE wants.
 

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The one other thought I had was...for GSD, perhaps you could come across a nicely bred WGSL bitch who is being retired from a breeding program. From a reputable breeder who perhaps knows how she is with kids? Or a male, just seems like female more likely to be retired

You might be able to score a really nice adult dog who might be gentle enough with the family as an adult so as not to overly stress the wife.

Finding this gem is probably somewhat unlikely and barring coming across a lovely second hand adult I'm inclined to agree with everyone else that the wife having to deal with an unruly shepherd puppy that she does not want plus two kids one who is 1.5 y/o....is not likely to end well.
 

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Oh, gosh... where do I start?
GSDs are super difficult to raise. If everyone is not aware of what they are getting into, heart and soul dedicated, and OK with what is involved in training and dedicating a lot of time and effort, both emotional and physical, into dealing with this dog, then you are looking at problems. Not only problems with the dog, but problems with the wife, who will be frustrated and will resent being pushed into this.
I will explain more later, when I have more time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don’t know where to start to thank everyone. You all have undoubtedly helped me not to repeat my mistake again.

I didn’t feel right is now is the right time to bring a GSD for sure, but was hoping next year may be ok. WellI’ll be more patient?

Me and my wife both work. Both can work from home 2-3 days a week. Little one stays home with grandma (not into pets but grew to like our boxer just like my wife).

Few Questions
1. When would be a good time to bring the GSD? Like when little one is 5 or 10? We’ll be in our mid to late 40s ?‍♂
2. If I want to start educating my wife now, what are some ways I can do? Making her read books/blogs probably won’t be sustainable.

I was thinking of adopting at first but after reading the temperament issues of available dogs at our local GSD rescue I backed off.

I like @Thecowboysgirl suggestion of a retiring GSD from a breeding program.

More importantly look into smaller to medium size breeds.

Thanks you @Orphan Heidi, @JulBoh, @Kyrielle, @Elisabeth Ann Parent, @tc68, @Thecowboysgirl, and @Sunflowers for taking time off your busy days and sharing your candid, straight up recommendations instead of what I wanted to hear ??

Now I just need to make sure my wife doesn't see this post j/k ?
 

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I agree that both partners need to be on the same page. You'll have to do your own marriage counseling ;) Having said that...there is no comparison between a GSD and a Boxer. We've had 3 Boxers , 3 GSDs, a Doberman and a Collie. I'll take the GSD and the Collie any. day. Any dog you get will need training, including little dogs, and that's on you. So you can take her to meet well trained dogs but those dogs have had months and years of training.
 

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I tend to agree with the others. I work long days. Sometimes 12-16hrs. I have a 6mo puppy. Although my girlfriend is home with her during the day, I still have to come home and work her. Every single day. Even if it’s just tossing the ball around in the back yard. They tend to need mental and physical stimulation so there’s always a little touch of some kind of training. The dog doesn’t care that you’re tired or hungry. I feel it’s only right to let them work. They love to work but they also love to be with the family. I do have a breed recommendation for a medium sized dog that can be relaxed if you get the right pup. Pm me if you want it.


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My opinion is, love and honour your wife, and get a little dog. With a toddler in your house, let the dog ownership decision be your wife's, she has a full enough life raising 2 young children.

My husband has been working inter state for the last 2 1/2 years and has finally landed a job back home. After being away for so long, he has a different perspective than mine on our family life. This morning he summed up what owning a german shepherd is like in our family, 'mess and stress'. My husband enjoys and likes Nitro. Don't misunderstand where I'm coming from, my dog is trained, well behaved, happy, a pleasure to have around, and loved. But, he is a lot of work.

My life rhythm is based around the dog. It's summer here, hot and humid. That means getting up before sunrise to exercise him before it get's too hot. Our home decor style is "Canine Eclectic". Dog toys, dog crate, dog mats, and bowls in our home.(Clutter). Our side yard where we play frisbee was nicely grassed, now its a dust bowl from a 100lb dog chasing a frisbee. We're thinking of how to landscape it so it's attractive but still dog friendly, an expense we wouldn't have if he was a little dog. The amount of time I spend interacting with him through the day, which I enjoy, is considerable.

When our kids were little, we looked after adult guide dogs in training that needed a break from training. After that we fostered dogs through the local shelter. We would have puppies for a couple of weeks, adult dogs for a longer period, then they'd go back to the shelter. We had our 'dog fix' without what would have been back then, the burden of dog ownership. We got our first german shepherd when our youngest child was 6 years old, and she was my dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
There’s no two minds about having my wife’s willingness and her feeling to get a GSD. Not going to repeat my mistake :)

I wasn’t sure if next year would a good time or not. Based on everyone’s responses it would be better to wait till our youngest is 5-6yrs.
 

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In the meantime, once your kids are a little older, you can start taking some fun obedience classes. Even smaller dogs can learn to do some nice positional heeling and some cool tricks. Once the kids discover how much fun it is to work with their dogs as a team, it will bring you one step closer. Some of the skills your family can pick up from training your calmer dog can serve them well when you eventually get your GSD.
 

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You can take your kids to watch agility trials. Spectators are welcome, there’s no admission or anything. Agility is fast-paced, colorful, and loud enough enough that it doesn’t tend to bore kids like obedience trials. :)

Agility is a great way to blow up stereotypes about “little dogs” being dumb little lap warmers. You’ll see some awesome, well trained little athletes in the 8” class (and all classes, really). People in agility usually LOVE stalking about their dogs, so if you see a dog that you adore, ask the handler after their run. You’ll probably get an earful, and often a chance to meet the dogs (after their runs are done). It’s a friendly venue, and attending might give you some local breeders or rescue organizations to keep in mind for the future.
 

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How about a beagle for a 'starter dog'? They are reasonable size, don't shed much and follow the kids around like they are one of them. Any dog is a good watch dog. Beagles are good natured, mellow dogs and easy to care for, all qualities that make them good family dogs. We had one when the kids were little and they are great 'kid dogs'. It would be unfair to both your wife and the dog to put them in a situation where your wife feels burdened by the care of the dog. My mother hated the GS my dad brought home when I was a baby. She couldn't walk him, he bit almost every kid in the neighborhood ("Don't tease the dog!), he bit her, and she had to clean up after him. She also resented that the dog was smarter than she was. GS's are not for everyone. And don't hesitate to take home a shelter dog, there are plenty of nice dogs there that were simply unwanted for whatever reason. People bring home cute little 10 pound fur balls that quickly grow to 90 lbs of long hair shedding everywhere who think they are still lap dogs chewing up everything in sight then I have to adopt them, teach them the bed is MINE and the couch is verboten,Duke. It would be smart to wait until the kids are big enough and you have the time to spend with the dog. Labs are good family dogs, too. And we did consider a Great Pyrenees who was a big, silly, herding dog that loved people. He just didn't like Elke, the resident girl dog. Maybe take the family and visit the shelter and see who clicks with the kids?
 

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There are any number of mid sized, man approved, kid friendly dogs.
Bull Terriers are one of my favorite dogs, and generally great with children. Might be appealing to your wife. A lot of small dogs are not great with small children and easily injured by affectionate toddlers. Bear that in mind.
 
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