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A few questions for pet owners


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Our 10 year old lab had to be put down this past August. My son is now talking about wanting another dog. He wants a German Shepherd. I was not planning on getting a dog just yet, because I'm not ready to house train a puppy. However, today we were asked if we wanted to give a 2 year old German Shepherd a home. The owner is currently homeless and the dog is sleeping in the back of a truck with him. The owner just got a job, but finding a place to rent with a big dog is an issue.

 

I'm tempted to take this dog because the dog is already house trained, seems super friendly, and we all miss having a dog in our home. I'm worried about our cat though. Can an older dog that is not used to being around cats learn to behave around them? Our cat does not have his front claws in case that makes a difference. The German Shepherd would also be an indoor dog (with the cat) most of the time. Also how would we even go about introducing the two? We brought our cat home as a kitten two years ago and our older lab just sniffed him and walked away. He wasn't interested in the cat. Or would it be better to wait and get a puppy since we already own a cat?

 

I also don't know much about German Shepherds (except what I've been reading online) so if anyone owns one and can tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly about owning one I'd appreciate it. Our lab was great with kids, other dogs, and cats. I'm worried about whether a German Shepherd would generally be more aggressive. I have to admit that I've always been just a teeny bit itimidated by the breed.

 

Thanks,

Heather

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Our 10 year old lab had to be put down this past August. My son is now talking about wanting another dog. He wants a German Shepherd. I was not planning on getting a dog just yet, because I'm not ready to house train a puppy. However, today we were asked if we wanted to give a 2 year old German Shepherd a home. The owner is currently homeless and the dog is sleeping in the back of a truck with him. The owner just got a job, but finding a place to rent with a big dog is an issue.

 

I'm tempted to take this dog because the dog is already house trained, seems super friendly, and we all miss having a dog in our home. I'm worried about our cat though. Can an older dog that is not used to being around cats learn to behave around them? Our cat does not have his front claws in case that makes a difference. The German Shepherd would also be an indoor dog (with the cat) most of the time. Also how would we even go about introducing the two? We brought our cat home as a kitten two years ago and our older lab just sniffed him and walked away. He wasn't interested in the cat. Or would it be better to wait and get a puppy since we already own a cat?

 

I also don't know much about German Shepherds (except what I've been reading online) so if anyone owns one and can tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly about owning one I'd appreciate it. Our lab was great with kids, other dogs, and cats. I'm worried about whether a German Shepherd would generally be more aggressive. I have to admit that I've always been just a teeny bit itimidated by the breed.

 

Thanks,

Heather

 

German Shepherds are very powerful dogs, and they need a lot of exercise if that makes a difference. All dogs need obiedience training, and german shepherds don't always go for treats either. It isn't just the breed you should be looking at, it's the behavior of the dog as well. The information they give you on the breed is just a guideline to how these dogs are/can be, not all dogs form to breed standards.

 

Really do your research on this type of breed, and for the cat, is there a way you can introduce the dog to your cat? Like maybe bring them together and try to see what the reaction is? Try a test run with your kids and everything, and make sure this dog is really good. German Shepherds again are big powerful dogs, but they can also be the best dog you have ever known if trained and exercised properly!

 

I have a dog of my own and I have trained him since day one, I have also been to training seminars too if that helps.

 

I can give you more information if you need it!:001_smile:

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We have a one year old German Shepherd with a serious herding instinct. Her favorite game is herding and "shepherding" a few balls at a time. (And as the previous poster stated, these dogs need a lot of exercise.) Unfortunately, her instinct is also to chase the cats. The dog is quite obedient, and will back off if I call her off, but at this point I would never trust her alone with our three cats. So, the dog lives on the main floor and is not allowed upstairs where the cats reside unless she is invited into a particular room with us. She will sometimes come nose to nose with a cat, if the cat torments the dog on the stair. Using a shock collar may do the job, but for now no "unsupervised visits".

 

If it was successful, I have attached a visual illustration. :001_huh:

post-1975-13535084199796_thumb.jpg

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We have two German Shepherds (well, actually my sister has two German Shepherds and we are watching them while she is away at college, but we've had one of them for 9 years). Anyways, they are wonderful dogs. They are large and need a lot of exercise, but they are also very obedient and easy to train. They are protective of our family and extremely sweet with family members-just big babies. I don't necessarily trust them with strangers. One is scared to death of our cats and the other just thinks they are there for his hunting entertainment, so we have to keep them separated.

Could you just give the dog a try to see how it would work and see how the dog does with your cat? I would have the owner visit and just see how he does with the cat in the room, how he reacts, and if it seems to be okay, give it a trial by having the dog stay with you for a week.

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I guess the best thing would be to have him bring the dog here and see how it goes. I'm a little nervous about the breed, but I don't want to pass up a potentially great pet that needs a good home either. I know that any breed can have aggressive issues depending on how they were bred and how they are raised. This particular dog seems very friendly, but we'll see how he acts around our cat. I also want to see how he plays with our kids when his current owner isn't right there with him and if he is food protective. I like the idea of a trial week. The fact that the dog will need a lot of exercise should not be an issue for us.

 

Cindy, I love the picture of your pets on the steps. So adorable!

 

Thanks everyone..

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My MIL had a German Shepherd (actually he was DH's while in college and then due to DH's lack of responsibility at that point in life, the dog went to MIL). He was a wonderful dog around the family. I never feared my children to be around him. He really was a perfect dog in that way. YET he could be non-friendly to strangers. He hated the UPS man, and in general, really had to warm up to anyone new. He was known to bite groomers who trimmed his nails.

 

I think some of that was his early life with DH and his college roommates. Some of it was his breed.

 

I wouldn't hestitate to get a German Shepard if I knew for sure his personality (or had raised as a pup), but would request a trial basis if I was unsure.

 

They have the potential of being really wonderful dogs. I don't think they are aggressive as much as they are protective by nature of their breeding.

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I have personally known 3 German Sheps. All 3 were great dogs for years. Then each of them turned. They all just went nutzo and had to be put down. 2 attacked children they were familiar with with no provocation and the 3rd just freaked like he was rabid but he wasn't. Not a great view from me. They are intellegent dogs and can learn a lot if you have the time.

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German Shepherds are usually nice dogs. I think the dog will be fine. An adult cat is usually smart enough to protect himself. Just get yourself a nice tall cat tree & put it in your cat's favorite room. Put an extra litter box & feed/water station in a safe hideaway like your master bathroom for the first week or so, so that your cat has convenient access if he feels like hiding for a while (as he probably will for a few days).

 

(A kitten is less able to defend itself & would need more protection for a few weeks. . . But cats are really pretty good at protecting themselves. If the dog acts too interested, your cat might swap him on the nose a few times. . . and the dog will soon learn to show proper respect, lol.)

 

I'd say go for it. You'd be doing a great thing for the dog & his owner & probably end up with a super dog.

 

When you bring the dog home, put the cat away in your master bed/bath for the first 24 hours or so (except when the dog is outside on a walk or whatever). Then introduce them slowly, keeping the dog on a leash until they know each other. Within a few days, I bet the dog will be totally calm about the cat & the cat will be fine with it.

 

FWIW, dh is a vet, we own too many cats & too many dogs. . . and I don't think dh has EVER had to put down a dog or cat that lived in the same household b/c a dog attacked it. Or even had to stitch up a cat b/c of a dog attack in the same household. Not saying it doesn't happen, but it must be pretty rare. Dog on dog problems or cat on cat problems are much more common. Dogs are more likely to go after cats they don't know. . . and even that most often happens when you have two or more dogs & they get a pack mentality going as well as have the ability to double-team the cat and thus overcome its defenses.

 

Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!

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German shepherds are big dogs with a lot of drive. A typical G.S. would be looking for leadership in the household, which either you or your DH would have to provide. Dogs who need leadership and don't get it can either become aggressive, throwing their weight around and ignoring your decisions, or anxious, checking all the time to make sure that the pack is secure. This is not something that will become apparent in a week, but would develop over time as your relationship developed.

 

Labs basically have opposite personalities from German Shepherds. Far from being a good guard dog, Labs will lick the home invader to death. They're accepting of everyone in the crowd, because it never occurs to them that they have to be in charge of every activity. They can be relentless workers, but when they're home from the field, they're very mellow. Labs have soft personalities. G.S. dogs have much "harder" or "tougher" personalities--not that they can't be great dogs--but the toughness of personality will always be there, just as much as the stand-up ears.

 

It's very kind of you to want to help your friend find a home for his dog, but dog re-homing is the kind of thing where if you decide in haste, you repent at leisure. If you liked having a lab, if you thought your lab was a wonderful family dog and you love that mellow vibe, then when the time is right to add a dog to your family, look for a lab rescue group. Breed rescues often have young, house-trained dogs, and can tell you a lot about an individual dog's history. With the economy on the rocks as it is these days, and so many families losing their homes, breed rescue groups have their hands full with beautiful, expensive, adoptable pets.

 

Our last dog was an Australian Cattle Dog/Shepherd mix. I adored him--I loved his clever mind and his pushy personality. I could never own a Lab--sweet as they are, they are too soft and silly for my taste. When I describe German Shepherds as having a lot of drive, I'm not saying it because I think they're terrible dogs, or that I think everyone should have a soft dog--far from it. But they have a personality that requires a lot of leadership in the home, and mental toughness from their owners. If you don't want to be tough with your dog, if you don't want to give him a job and see that he does it, if that's too much like raising children for a pet, then that's OK, but don't bring home a German Shepherd. He'll make you nuts and you'll make him anxious or too pushy, and neither of you will be happy.

 

Last thing, since I've already written a novel: kids like dogs for all sorts of reasons. They might have read about one in a book, or their friend's dad has one, or they like the way a particular breed looks. Unfortunately, since you will be the one training and teaching the dog, your preferences have to take priority over your sons'. You might try to find out what it is that he likes about German Shepherds--is it the size? The tough-guy looks? The pointy ears? That might come in a much more manageable package--and it's something to consider when you start to research a breed rescue group.

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Like some others, I say plan a "playdate".

 

Both of my dogs are part GSD, and my in-laws show and breed GSDs. While I got my cats after my dogs, my in-laws have alternated introducing dogs and cats to their home over the years. There has only been 1 dog that I'm aware of (out of multiple dozens!) that has insisted on chasing their cats.

In my house, the dogs aren't particularly interested, and the cats give half-hearted sniffs and swats (with claws retracted).

 

My personal experiences with kids and GSDs has almost always been postitive, particularly with non-puppies. The pups usually tend to have nipping and chewing stages that drive me absolutely insane. The older dogs have been extremely protective of my kids since their infancies. There are actually a couple of dogs who go through a day or two of depression when my kids leave Grandma's.

Of course, I happen to know their pedigrees, so that gives me some added confidence (or wariness, in the case of one particular line :glare:).

 

Overall, I'm just not a puppy person, so I'd be thrilled with the possibility of skipping that stage. Set up a meeting and see how it goes! If it doesn't give you a good feeling, pass.

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I love German Shepherds!!!!

 

We have had two of them. One I got as a puppy (I already had another dog and a cat) and one I rescued from a shelter.

 

The german shepherd I got as a puppy loved the cat. I mean really loved her. Maybe at times a little too much. They lived happily side by side for 9 years.

 

The rescue german shepherd took one look at the cat and ignored her. Never a problem at all.

 

I don't think you can tell what a dog is going to be like till you have had it for several weeks.

 

German Shepherds are amazing dogs. They will defend you till their death. My children were newborns/young kids when we had our dogs and they were amazing. Obviously I had the most protected house on the block. :001_smile:

 

I plan on getting one again in the next few years and I can't wait.

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They are large and need a lot of exercise, but they are also very obedient and easy to train. They are protective of our family and extremely sweet with family members-just big babies.

 

We had one when I was younger and he'd get growly at my dad whenever he tried to discipline us. He had no problem with my mom, and they even trialed a family friend and he was good with that too. Us kids were fine with that, but my dad sure wasn't. :D

 

Other than that he was no different than the other larger breed dogs we had. We did live in the country so there was a lot of exercise and interaction with family.

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I don't think you can tell what a dog is going to be like till you have had it for several weeks.

 

 

:iagree: I foster for a collie rescue, although my current foster isn't collie. She's part german shepherd/part malamute. When I get a new foster, I always expect a rough couple of weeks while he adjusts to my pack. (Although some dogs fit in right away.) Their personalities then continue to evolve as they settle in. If your playdate goes reasonably well, and you want to adopt the dog, you will be more successful going into it with the view that you are going to do what it takes to help the dog conform to your home/your rules. GSD's are so smart and need an intentional leader. I noticed that your kids aren't young, so it could be a great opportunity for them to learn what it takes to be a successful dog owner.

 

We have been retriever owners forever (goldens), and I will add that a GSD will be a very different dog. Not bad, but different. I am enjoying the "mind connection" I am able to have with my foster. She's so smart and so focused on her people that I feel like I have another person in the room with me.

 

Good luck!

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German Shepard Dogs are great pets. Growing up we had a few over the years. Loyal and loving. The one we had when I was a baby-when I dropped my cookie and he picked it up I just reached in and took it back (much to my grandmothers horror. But I still have 2 arms and 10 fingers). When I started to crawl he used to lay in front of the stairs and nudge me away if I got to close.

 

I can't say how this dog would be with a cat but in general they will figure out a way to live with each other.

 

The only con in my book though-shedders. They are big shedders. Big clumps of hair, everywhere.

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I would not take in an older dog without knowing the previous owners very, very well, and knowing the dog's history.

 

We took in a dog that was a year old. Like you, I was excited that he was house broken and was very sweet with our kids and our cat. The previous owners were neighbors from down the street that we did not know. It became apparent that this dog had been abused. He became increasingly needy and because of circumstances in our family we just didn't have the energy, time, or finances to "fix" him.

 

He began biting. He bit me twice in succession on my hand. It was pretty bad. The next day he nipped at my daughter. We had to put him down. We had him for 5 years. It was heartbreaking for all of us.

 

We will not get another dog for quite some time, but when we do, it will be a puppy that we can train.

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