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Posted: 4/14/2007 5:01:52 PM EST
I know that some people don't think that dogs provide a good enough alert system to watch out for baddies, but I think they are just one layer of protection that you add with the rest for a combined benefit.

That said,  I know alot of you all have dogs in your home as pets and also as watch/guard dogs.  

I've been wanting a dog for our family for a while but we were waiting until we moved back home from school.  Now we are doing so, and the neighbor's daughter German shepards just had puppies. They are pure blooded. And they are giving them away.


Question is for those in the know:
Are German Shepherds good family dogs? and good around children?  The puppy will grow up with my children, so I guess that would help.  I would like the dog to be protective of the children just incase.  

And is it better to have 2 dogs than 1?  so they will have someone to play with when we aren't home?

Anyone else have German shepherds?  
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 5:10:42 PM EST
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 5:22:43 PM EST
We had a Shephard and she was great with kids.  She was around 6 or 7 years old when my brother had his first kid.  When he brought him over she immediately checked him out then proceeded to watch anyone who went near him.  When we put him to bed she would constantly go by his room and check on him.  Any noise he made she would come running and try to get us to go see about him.  I'd love to get another Shephard but just can't get a dog right now.  One day I will though, Great Dogs.
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 5:35:42 PM EST
I've had German Shepherds all my life.  IMO, German Shepherds are the most versatile dog out there.  Many serious dog trainers say that some dogs may be smarter, some dogs track better, some dogs may protect better, some dogs smell better, etc; but no dog can do ALL of those things well except for a german shepherd!!

GSD's are high drive and need a lot of attention.  Many people say they need "a job" to keep them happy.  All my GSD's have been EXTREMELY good with children.  My current gds is only 1 year old and is very protective of his "pack."  He is very intelligent and is leary of those he doesn't know.  He is not overly aggressive toward strangers, but he barks and growls and makes darn sure the stranger isn't up to no good.

One way I describe his personality compared to most labs I know is:  If a stranger comes to my house and I have a lab, the lab gets very excited and says "look at this stranger who is here to see me!!!"  My gsd says "who is this person and what is he doing in my territory.  What does he want...etc.  I'm gonna check him out before I begin to trust him...

I am slightly biased, but I don't think you can go wrong with a gsd as long as he is purebread and has good genetics.  Their goal every day is to please you.  You will have a loyal and faithful companion.

You might want to go here:
http://www.akc.org/breeds/german_shepherd_dog/index.cfm
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 5:41:27 PM EST

Quoted:
I know that some people don't think that dogs provide a good enough alert system to watch out for baddies, but I think they are just one layer of protection that you add with the rest for a combined benefit.

That said,  I know alot of you all have dogs in your home as pets and also as watch/guard dogs.  

I've been wanting a dog for our family for a while but we were waiting until we moved back home from school.  Now we are doing so, and the neighbor's daughter German shepards just had puppies. They are pure blooded. And they are giving them away.


Question is for those in the know:
Are German Shepherds good family dogs? GSD's are great family pets and good around children? Totally depends on the dog but for the most part a properly socialized shepherd will be fine with kids  The puppy will grow up with my children, so I guess that would help. True I would like the dog to be protective of the children just incase. Again if the dog is properly socialized and part of the pack (family) a shepherd will be very protective.    

And is it better to have 2 dogs than 1?   so they will have someone to play with when we aren't home? All dogs are pack animals so IMO they should come in pairs or more, but many dogs do fine on their own

Anyone else have German shepherds? Yep I do


I would also add if you plan on having the dog inside shepherds shed a lot.
Unsolicited advice:
Research the breed a little. They can be prone to several health issues, especially hip dysplasia, and they can have sensitive digestion systems.
Since these dogs are free, they may not have the best breeding, so it would help if you could meet both parents and judge their temperaments. Breeding isn't necessarily a problem as many times mutts make great pets, but something to consider.

My best advice if you are new to dogs in general is read the book “Leader of the Pack”
$8.80 at Amazon, and well worth it.

Hope it helps,
J-K
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 5:57:26 PM EST

Quoted:

Quoted:
I know that some people don't think that dogs provide a good enough alert system to watch out for baddies, but I think they are just one layer of protection that you add with the rest for a combined benefit.

That said,  I know alot of you all have dogs in your home as pets and also as watch/guard dogs.  

I've been wanting a dog for our family for a while but we were waiting until we moved back home from school.  Now we are doing so, and the neighbor's daughter German shepards just had puppies. They are pure blooded. And they are giving them away.


Question is for those in the know:
Are German Shepherds good family dogs? GSD's are great family pets and good around children? Totally depends on the dog but for the most part a properly socialized shepherd will be fine with kids  The puppy will grow up with my children, so I guess that would help. True I would like the dog to be protective of the children just incase. Again if the dog is properly socialized and part of the pack (family) a shepherd will be very protective.    

And is it better to have 2 dogs than 1?   so they will have someone to play with when we aren't home? All dogs are pack animals so IMO they should come in pairs or more, but many dogs do fine on their own

Anyone else have German shepherds? Yep I do


I would also add if you plan on having the dog inside shepherds shed a lot.
Unsolicited advice:
Research the breed a little. They can be prone to several health issues, especially hip dysplasia, and they can have sensitive digestion systems.
Since these dogs are free, they may not have the best breeding, so it would help if you could meet both parents and judge their temperaments. Breeding isn't necessarily a problem as many times mutts make great pets, but something to consider.

My best advice if you are new to dogs in general is read the book “Leader of the Pack”
$8.80 at Amazon, and well worth it.

Hope it helps,
J-K


Thanks for the advice.  I might pick up that book.   Glad to hear that everyone has had postive experienced with German Shepherds.
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 6:02:53 PM EST
I have a mutt that is mostly shepherd, with probably a little healer.  The one thing he really does all the time, I think it's shepherd, is pace the perimeter of the house.  On hard surface floors, it gets to be a little annoying. ;)

He never barks, unless there is a good reason too (mountain lion, coyote, wierdo) and is wonderful with our 1 year old.

He's old, when he passes, I think we will look at german and dutch shepherds.  I like the shepherd traits.

he did eye the midwife oddly when she held the 1 week old tho!  Never any unwarrented aggression.
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 6:11:15 PM EST
I’ve had several German Shepards and they are great dogs. Great with kids (though most breeds are), smart, protective, ect.

Few things to keep in mind. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, which can be hard to provide with a full time job and kids. If you can’t provide that there are other good guard breeds that are mellower.

Second, in previous threads people made comments that any dog that is to be used in a protective role should be keep away from friends and kind strangers because they will begin to think all people are friendly. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE!! It is unbelievably important to expose your puppy (and even adult dog) to as many friendly people and other dog as possible. Otherwise you could end up with an 85 pound dog that is freakishly strong that you will be afraid to even take on walks. Dogs are not stupid, and much behavior is hardwired into their brains. My GSD loves people/kids/dogs, but will still not let any stranger in the house if I don’t welcome them. You don’t have to teach them such behavior; it’s just what they do.

Also while two dogs can keep each other busy, having two large breed dogs is a lot of work.
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 6:34:17 PM EST
With German Shepherds, good breeding is extra important. I've had a bunch and they range from super dogs, which seem to understand sentences- to frankenstein psychos which can at best spend their lives chained to a post as an alert dog; one you can NOT trust. Find somebody local (who's had a couple) and knows where the good ones are!  The difference is huge- the best are almost too good to believe.  Initial cost is small part of ownership, proper long term ownership of a large breed costs many thousands!
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 6:40:34 PM EST
All dogs are different, I had a Shepard from the time that I was 9 till I was 23. She was responsible for more kids getting bit,    by other dogs. She was very even tempered, the toddler's from the neighborhood would come over and tease her, pull her tail, and jump on her. Her only response was to get up and move away. They would try this with other dogs and inevitably get bit by the other dog.
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 6:43:41 PM EST

Quoted:
I’ve had several German Shepards and they are great dogs. Great with kids (though most breeds are), smart, protective, ect.

Few things to keep in mind. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, which can be hard to provide with a full time job and kids. If you can’t provide that there are other good guard breeds that are mellower.

Second, in previous threads people made comments that any dog that is to be used in a protective role should be keep away from friends and kind strangers because they will begin to think all people are friendly. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE!! It is unbelievably important to expose your puppy (and even adult dog) to as many friendly people and other dog as possible. Otherwise you could end up with an 85 pound dog that is freakishly strong that you will be afraid to even take on walks. Dogs are not stupid, and much behavior is hardwired into their brains. My GSD loves people/kids/dogs, but will still not let any stranger in the house if I don’t welcome them. You don’t have to teach them such behavior; it’s just what they do.

Also while two dogs can keep each other busy, having two large breed dogs is a lot of work.





+1 Alvin
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 6:44:21 PM EST
Mine's a purebread GSD and very smart.  As a purebread working dog I never allow her off leash around anyone unless she is in her house or in her yard.  As people have said, they have things hardwired into their breeding.  She comes from a family of champion Schutzund trained (sp) dogs and is very, very alpha.  Wonderful dogs, you just need to understand them, their background, and act accordingly.
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 6:52:40 PM EST
If you can afford( VET, food etc) and have the space to keep two GSD's do it. These dogs require attention and it is advisable to socialize them with your children early on to form a lifelong bond.  I live in the sticks and  have 7 dogs including 1 GSD and do foster care for the local humane society. 2 are little yappers that are rather good at letting me know when people are here. The rest are large breeds that  generally dont bark unless someone they dont know shows up. The shep is the smartest and best with the kids. However  he is 13 as are two of the other large dogs. I will be getting another East German GSD pup possibly 2  this summer to keep an eye on the family from a local breeder who also does K9/protection/SAR training.
Link Posted: 4/14/2007 8:54:40 PM EST
Ok...You are thinking of making a SERIOUS commitment that could be as long as 16 years!

GSDs take plenty of time and plenty of money.

GSD's can't be trained by your kids.

GSD's require serious Exercise and Mental stimulation.

GSD's can have serious health and temperment issues.

Now, if you can deal with the above than you're ready to really dig in to learn about the GSD.

You'll want to know about:

Bloodlines: What the difference is between an American and a German bloodline.  What is the difference between a German Showline and a German Workingline?

Sex Traits: There are certain advantageous and disadvantageous to each sex you should know to find which will most likely fit you best.

Training: These are working dogs...we GSD folks like to keep them that way as a breed. They require something in life that gives them mental stimulation and as a new dog owner you're going to need to learn some things about your GSD you just can't learn from reading books.  Look into Schutzhund, AKC Agility, and AKC obedience.
You're just not ready to go to a higher level of say Search and Rescue or Personal Protection or you wouldn't be asking questions in here.

Exercise: Every GSD requires a lot of exercise and directed exercise at that.  The more exercise they have (within reason) the better behaved house dogs you'll have.  These are not house plants you can feed and water.  Just playing with your kids in the yard a couple days a week wont be enough either.

Health: Large breed dogs have weight and that weight puts pressure on their joints.  Poor breeding has lead to serious hip and joint problems among some GSDs. You'll want to know about hip and joint certifications and how to look for them.

Pedigree: You'll want to know the pedigree of the dog you are getting if possible.  If you can't get a pedigree than you're working in the dark and it would be like adopting a kid off a the street that could have no issues or could have had psycho parents with serious health issues...you just wont know.

Check out these websites and really dig into them:

www.leerburg.com

www.germanshepherddog.com

www.pedigreedatabase.com

The First Website has a lot of decent articles on GSDs and a forum.  Not everything on it is pure Gold, but there is some good stuff there.  

The Second Website is a Schutzhund website.  It explains German Standards and what Schutzhund is as a sport.  It also lists Schutzhund Clubs in your areas with contact information.   I would SERIOUS if I were you contact those people and at least talk to them some on the phone about GSDs.  They will be more than happy to talk your ear off and share with you their knowledge.

The Third Website is AMAZING.  My dog is listed there and I can trace his pedigree back to the early 1900s back near when the GSD as a breed started.  The website list titles and comments from breed Judges mostly in German, but if you know the title abbrevations and what they stand for you can tell LOADS about what type of dog you're getting.  

Good Luck.

I am a PROUD owner of a 19 month old male GSD who I am training in Schutzhund.  He can be a handful sometimes, but I've never known a more loyal or more intelligent dog.  
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 3:13:44 AM EST
My Dad had German Shepards. His wife and him loved them....I have to admit I didn't care much for the dogs. One was free "purebred" the other they paid a good bit for and was supposed to be from good blood lines...I don't know.The free one they got first and it might have taught the other one to be like it but both behaved about the same
My Dad worked with them a good bit and they listened to him some but still when I or anyone went over to vist they barked barked for about the entire time while I was there. Big impressive bad looking dogs but afraid of you so they kept across the room and barked. One time while walking up the steps one ran up behind me and nipped me on my ass . I turned around and stamped my foot and they ran into the next room ! Can't imagine wanting a dog like that! Even when they locked them in another room they kept barking.
These dogs were raised with small children but when my sister took her kids over one of the dogs nipped her son pretty good. After that she would never take her kids over unless the dogs were locked up. The trouble with Fear biters like these dogs is that you can never trust them and you don't know what they will do.
 ... They were pretty high maintance dogs too needing lots of walking and brushing and the one had hip displasia and they had trouble with them chewing things up

 Now after saying all this I will tell you I have seen some Shepards that were wonderful dogs and certainly not all are like my Dads . I think the problim with this breed as others have said, is that because of poor breeding it can be a crap shoot esp. if you don't know the parents. Some will be wonderful dogs and others worse then worthless. In your case you have the advantage of  being able to see what the mother is like.I'd try to find out about the father as well.
...My take on them is if you get a good one and spend lots of time in training it you will have a nice dog. I don't think most are "Hard Heads" like some breeds and are hard to train to listen at least some..You have to be willing to spend the time to train it and also the time to maintain the dog. I think shepards probably rate pretty high on the  maintainance scale with walking and brushing etc.
... I would only get the one dog as I feel it is much easier to train one dog then a pair. With two dogs you run the risk of them paying more attention to each other then you. After training the first one you can always get another one and then the first trained dog will help with training the second
.....Personaly Not my favorite breed, but thats just me. I just don't like long nose, hairy dogs myself ! . I do know they can be great dogs and that lots of people like my Dad like them ......I'm sure my Dad wouldn't have much good to say about some of the dogs I have owned either! ......Todd
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 3:14:21 AM EST

Quoted:
Ok...You are thinking of making a SERIOUS commitment that could be as long as 16 years!

GSDs take plenty of time and plenty of money.

GSD's can't be trained by your kids.

GSD's require serious Exercise and Mental stimulation.

GSD's can have serious health and temperment issues.

Now, if you can deal with the above than you're ready to really dig in to learn about the GSD.

You'll want to know about:

Bloodlines: What the difference is between an American and a German bloodline.  What is the difference between a German Showline and a German Workingline?

Sex Traits: There are certain advantageous and disadvantageous to each sex you should know to find which will most likely fit you best.

Training: These are working dogs...we GSD folks like to keep them that way as a breed. They require something in life that gives them mental stimulation and as a new dog owner you're going to need to learn some things about your GSD you just can't learn from reading books.  Look into Schutzhund, AKC Agility, and AKC obedience.
You're just not ready to go to a higher level of say Search and Rescue or Personal Protection or you wouldn't be asking questions in here.

Exercise: Every GSD requires a lot of exercise and directed exercise at that.  The more exercise they have (within reason) the better behaved house dogs you'll have.  These are not house plants you can feed and water.  Just playing with your kids in the yard a couple days a week wont be enough either.

Health: Large breed dogs have weight and that weight puts pressure on their joints.  Poor breeding has lead to serious hip and joint problems among some GSDs. You'll want to know about hip and joint certifications and how to look for them.

Pedigree: You'll want to know the pedigree of the dog you are getting if possible.  If you can't get a pedigree than you're working in the dark and it would be like adopting a kid off a the street that could have no issues or could have had psycho parents with serious health issues...you just wont know.

Check out these websites and really dig into them:

www.leerburg.com

www.germanshepherddog.com

www.pedigreedatabase.com

The First Website has a lot of decent articles on GSDs and a forum.  Not everything on it is pure Gold, but there is some good stuff there.  

The Second Website is a Schutzhund website.  It explains German Standards and what Schutzhund is as a sport.  It also lists Schutzhund Clubs in your areas with contact information.   I would SERIOUS if I were you contact those people and at least talk to them some on the phone about GSDs.  They will be more than happy to talk your ear off and share with you their knowledge.

The Third Website is AMAZING.  My dog is listed there and I can trace his pedigree back to the early 1900s back near when the GSD as a breed started.  The website list titles and comments from breed Judges mostly in German, but if you know the title abbrevations and what they stand for you can tell LOADS about what type of dog you're getting.  

Good Luck.

I am a PROUD owner of a 19 month old male GSD who I am training in Schutzhund.  He can be a handful sometimes, but I've never known a more loyal or more intelligent dog.  
How about a few pics ?
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 3:25:11 AM EST

Quoted:
Ok...You are thinking of making a SERIOUS commitment that could be as long as 16 years!

GSDs take plenty of time and plenty of money.

GSD's can't be trained by your kids.

GSD's require serious Exercise and Mental stimulation.

GSD's can have serious health and temperment issues.

Now, if you can deal with the above than you're ready to really dig in to learn about the GSD.

You'll want to know about:

Bloodlines: What the difference is between an American and a German bloodline.  What is the difference between a German Showline and a German Workingline?

Sex Traits: There are certain advantageous and disadvantageous to each sex you should know to find which will most likely fit you best.

Training: These are working dogs...we GSD folks like to keep them that way as a breed. They require something in life that gives them mental stimulation and as a new dog owner you're going to need to learn some things about your GSD you just can't learn from reading books.  Look into Schutzhund, AKC Agility, and AKC obedience.
You're just not ready to go to a higher level of say Search and Rescue or Personal Protection or you wouldn't be asking questions in here.

Exercise: Every GSD requires a lot of exercise and directed exercise at that.  The more exercise they have (within reason) the better behaved house dogs you'll have.  These are not house plants you can feed and water.  Just playing with your kids in the yard a couple days a week wont be enough either.

Health: Large breed dogs have weight and that weight puts pressure on their joints.  Poor breeding has lead to serious hip and joint problems among some GSDs. You'll want to know about hip and joint certifications and how to look for them.

Pedigree: You'll want to know the pedigree of the dog you are getting if possible.  If you can't get a pedigree than you're working in the dark and it would be like adopting a kid off a the street that could have no issues or could have had psycho parents with serious health issues...you just wont know.

Check out these websites and really dig into them:

www.leerburg.com

www.germanshepherddog.com

www.pedigreedatabase.com

The First Website has a lot of decent articles on GSDs and a forum.  Not everything on it is pure Gold, but there is some good stuff there.  

The Second Website is a Schutzhund website.  It explains German Standards and what Schutzhund is as a sport.  It also lists Schutzhund Clubs in your areas with contact information.   I would SERIOUS if I were you contact those people and at least talk to them some on the phone about GSDs.  They will be more than happy to talk your ear off and share with you their knowledge.

The Third Website is AMAZING.  My dog is listed there and I can trace his pedigree back to the early 1900s back near when the GSD as a breed started.  The website list titles and comments from breed Judges mostly in German, but if you know the title abbrevations and what they stand for you can tell LOADS about what type of dog you're getting.  

Good Luck.

I am a PROUD owner of a 19 month old male GSD who I am training in Schutzhund.  He can be a handful sometimes, but I've never known a more loyal or more intelligent dog.  


I agree with all of the above.

Tuesday of this week I had to put down my 13 year old female "Molly" who had previously suffered a spinal injury that we nursed back to health for six months. That was six years ago.  She reinjured herself and that was the end of the line. The hardest and most responsible part of owning a dog is knowing when you must let go and free them from their pain and suffering.
My wife and I are heartbroken.....  Even under heavy sedation and as the final drug was being pushed into the IV, she deliberately raised her head up and kissed us each goodbye as she faded away. This tore me up but is evidence that she loved us both and was grateful for the good life, love and care she had with us.
She was the kindest and most loving dog I have ever known and will miss her terribly but she will live in our hearts forever.
We had her cremated and her ashes will be spread at our new home in a couple of years.

We had to put down her 14 year old brother Buddy last May due to spinal myalopathy. He was a trained searchdog and my constant companion, protector and working dog.

They live a long time with good breeding, care and love.  Had it not been for spinal problems, I feel both of my dogs would have easily lived a few more years.

A friend had one that was a junk yard dog that lived to be 18 and was healthy but got hit by a vehicle.





Link Posted: 4/15/2007 4:21:08 AM EST
I've owned a total of six in the last 15 years, two of which we currently have.

All except one have been full breed. All except two were female.

All of the ones I got as pups have been great with the family, the whole pack thing as others have mentioned.

IMO, ALL of the ones I've had, including two that I got as adults, were/are as dumb as a box of hammers. Obedient, loyal, yes, smart no. FWIW, the first one and I went through almost 2 years of weekly trainer with a guy in Florida that trains dogs for the DEA, etc. So it wasn't like I dropped the dog off at an hour long "class" at the mall.....

They are good dogs but don't expect them to do calculus... LOL
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 4:33:44 AM EST
they are great family dogs and very protective that is the only i would ever own
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 4:58:55 AM EST
while growing up we had 4 GSD's all were fantastic dogs...stubborn and very energetic...they do need alot of attention and sturn training ...with that said since living on my own i have owned 10 pitbull/am staff dogs and they were just as good if not better but they needed far more attention and training to become guard dog material...or you could be a scumbag and abuse the crap out of it and it will bite anything tha comes near it... not my idea of a family dog...along with my female pitbull , i now have a rottie thats 7 months old and it may be the best dog i've ever owned ...very like minded to the GSD in temperment and drive but much better suited for defensive guard/home pet duty...GSD or Rottie or Pitbull it doesn't matter everything comes down to good breeding and training...it will be worth the extra money you pay just for a little piece of mind...IMHO/YMMV...good luck and keep us posted...chris
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 5:07:31 AM EST
I have a german sheperd that is about two years old, she loves people she knows, but barks like hell at the slightest noise from outside. I would bet one of my ar rifles that no one can come within 100ft of my property without my four dogs letting me know.

Dogs have been used for guard duty for thousands of years, not sure why they would suck at it all of the sudden. As for the dog with kids, dont have any so I cant help you there, as with any dog I would keep an eye on the kids around the dog at all times.
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 5:14:40 AM EST

Quoted:
I have a german sheperd that is about two years old, she loves people she knows, but barks like hell at the slightest noise from outside. I would bet one of my ar rifles that no one can come within 100ft of my property without my four dogs letting me know.

Dogs have been used for guard duty for thousands of years, not sure why they would suck at it all of the sudden. As for the dog with kids, dont have any so I cant help you there, as with any dog I would keep an eye on the kids around the dog at all times.


Best advice in the thread....
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 8:24:30 AM EST
I don't have German Shepherds, but I do have 2 Doberman Pinschers. They are about 6 years old now and our daughter just turned one. While I never leave her alone with the dogs they have been in the same space together and we have never had any issues. They seem to enjoy her as much as she enjoys them. My sister has a GS and 2 little girls and no problems there either.

The one thing I really wanted to add was, you asked about 2 dogs vs 1. With 2 big dogs you always have big injuries. Our dogs get along great, brother and sister from same litter. However, they play rough and inevitably, one of them gets pissed and bites the other. We have been to the vet for stithes several times. Big dogs = Big Problems.
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 8:58:40 AM EST

Quoted:

Quoted:
I have a german sheperd that is about two years old, she loves people she knows, but barks like hell at the slightest noise from outside. I would bet one of my ar rifles that no one can come within 100ft of my property without my four dogs letting me know.

Dogs have been used for guard duty for thousands of years, not sure why they would suck at it all of the sudden. As for the dog with kids, dont have any so I cant help you there, as with any dog I would keep an eye on the kids around the dog at all times.


Best advice in the thread....


Thanks for all the input.   I would never leave my kids alone with a dog unless they were much larger than the dog, as in an older teenager probably, even if the dog was a family friend.  

The dog I am getting was just born, so I won't be able to pick it up for 6 weeks.  So I'll post some updates when it moves in.
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 9:33:50 AM EST
Use the Links Above and Look Into These Things:

1.  Crate Training (only way to go for house breaking).

2.  SOCIALIZATION:  Job #1 of all new dog owners.  Most important, but least exciting thing you have to do.  No such thing as over socialization.  Can't stress it enough.

3.  Exercise:  A new 8 week puppy sleeps for 12-14 hours a day easy.  All they do is sleep and their little bodies aren't ready for 3 mile runs.  Simple exercise in the back yard running around playing games and bonding with you is key.

4.  Bonding:  You pup will form one strong bond to either you or wife.  However, is going to be doing more with the pup should be the one seeking the strongest bond.  That means food comes from the bonder and all commands at first come from the bonder.  The bonder controls the puppies life and establishes Alpha position.  

5.  Training:  Start simple and motivational.  NOOO need for harsh corrections when they don't know what to do.  It would be like you taking an exam on material that you've never studies and then being beaten for the answer you got wrong.  Firm, but fair is the rule.  Consistent and patient is your motto.  

6.  Selection:  There are things you can do when picking out a puppy that will help you find the best match for you.  

Good Luck.  Post Again any questions you have on the above.  If you can talk to owners of GSDs in person or on the phone in your area do so.  There is no substitute for experience in the dog world.
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 9:55:27 AM EST
And is it better to have 2 dogs than 1? so they will have someone to play with when we aren't home?

Generally ... Two dogs will keep each other company and could very well be less "attached" to you, the owner. Two dogs can also complicate the "pecking order" in your family ... especially with children.  Are the kids old enough to understand who is boss ? Hopefully, you.  
What do you observe about the temperment and training level of your neighbor's dogs?  That may be your best indicator.  Are you willing to invest time/$ in training yours?  My 2nd Springer (avatar) got some pro training 9 yrs ago and, with just a little regular "work", hasn't forgotten a damn thing.  It's worth every penny. (or hour)
I took care of a Shephard for a summer once. He had a form of epilepsy but, other than those occasional fits, was a well-behaved, tuff-looking sweetie-pie.

Stay safe
Link Posted: 4/15/2007 10:47:56 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/16/2007 1:14:35 AM EST
I have a shepherd that is 8 with a fat mutt that is 10. I swear the shepherd is smarter than I am sometimes. Seems to know what I am going to do before I do it. I do think they as well as most dogs, are happier with a doggy pal whild you are away. Go shepherd and don't look back...
Link Posted: 4/17/2007 9:27:22 AM EST
i have a german shepard and she is the best dog i have had she is real protective of my wife and the other but if i tell he to do something she will go do it , i would get another one in a heartbeat if the wife would let me
Link Posted: 4/18/2007 6:42:24 PM EST
German shepherds can be great dogs and companions.Depending on the environment they grow up in,can become very attached to a particular person,espescially a kid.They'll stop at next to nothing at times,if they feel that person is threatened.Others,act that way towards the whole family.We have had them for over 30 years.

There are mills out there pumping them out left and right,you need to know the breeder.as has been mentioned before they are prone to some diseases,especially those that are over breed.We had one that figured out how to turn a round door knob to go outside.
Link Posted: 4/19/2007 2:29:02 AM EST
yea my german shepard can open a door and also open a water bottle and if anyone she doesnt know get with in 15 feet of my lil girl she will go crazy and bark till i get there or the person leaves i am hoping to get another one tommorow
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