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Be honest with me - Should I get another German Shepherd?

(7 Posts)
LitterBuggerOff Fri 03-Feb-17 12:55:04

I lost my beloved GSD last summer, he was 11 years old, I had him from a pup. He was the love of my life and I'm grieving terribly for him.

We have another dog, also 11, who is my partner's dog (we each had our dogs before we met each other and moved in together).

For most of my dog's life, I worked from home so he was never left on his own. But 2 years ago I moved to a new job, 9-5, 5 days a week. DP also works full time, but close to home, so he used to come home at lunch times to let the dogs out in the garden. They had full access to the garden at all times via a dog flap as well. Despite this, I hated leaving them as I knew it wasn't ideal.

Since we lost my boy, DP now takes his dog to work with him. She sits in his office and she's in her element. She gets a walk at lunchtime and after work and in between she's happy snoozing all day.

DP was adamant that we shouldn't get another dog, as the last few years were very difficult dealing with my dog's illness and initially I agreed. But my heart aches for another GSD. I realise that it's partially my grieving, but I feel that some of my loss would be alleviated if I were to have another boy of my own to raise and love.

GSD owners will know that there's just something special about loving a GSD that no other dog can fill. I don't want a puppy, I'd love to give a rescue dog a home.

I'm considering requesting to work from home 2 days a week. The remaining 3 days I could consider taking the dog to work with me - Quite a few people in my work bring their dogs to work in the car, and leave them in the car all day with the boot open and take them for walks during lunchtime. I could stop at the beach on the way to and from work and give the dog a good run. I could also potentially persuade DP to take the dog to work with him - although he couldn't bring him into his office he would have to build a kennel for him outside. At a push, we could leave both dogs at home with access to the garden via the dog flap. We have a huge enclosed garden - but in our experience the dogs tend not to use it unless we're with them, as they prefer to just sit on the patio and wait. I live in the countryside, and I just think that I could give a dog a happy life. I look at dogs on the rescue centre's webpages and they almost all say that they live indoors, many have never been let off the lead, unsocialised, un exercised - I just think that although my situation might not be ideal, I could still give a dog a far better life than it has now.

I have no idea whether a rescue centre would even allow me to adopt a dog under those circumstances, and to be honest I've always felt that leaving dogs in the car all day was unfair - however, having spoken to a few people in work who have done it for years, they're adamant that their dogs are fine.

What would you do? Be honest with me, is this unworkable?

Blackfellpony Fri 03-Feb-17 15:27:55

I know exactly how you feel. I lost my old GSD who was literally Mr perfect. My house was empty in every way even though I have another dog.
A few months later I acquired a rescue puppy and it hasn't turned out how I thought. New dog hasn't filled the hole at all and has made life so much harder- sad but true.

Rescue (or any!) GSD can be difficult, lots of them are there because they are prone to nervous, aggressive and sometimes just silly behaviour and need people who know what they are doing. I volunteer for GSD rescue and I can honestly say nearly every dog has an issue- would your OH blame you if things were made more difficult at home? The vast majority in rescue are adolescents gone wrong but there is the odd gem out there if you look hard enough.

I also would think taking a rescue dog into a workplace could potentially backfire if the dog wasn't pretty bombproof. I take mine to work and they are a pain, bark at people and whine whenever I move confused
I don't think I would leave them in the car as i personally think it's dangerous and it would be a bit miserable for the dog. Plus as you know GSD aren't exactly quiet, would work be annoyed if yours was a barker?
Also the breed isn't always liked by people, would others in the office be worried or members of the public etc?

Would your old dog be okay with another dog coming in and potentially upsetting things?

Not trying to put you off honestly just it sounds like it could be a struggle if you don't get exactly the right match smile

Nemosnemsis Fri 03-Feb-17 15:31:39

Sorry to hear about you losing your dog OP. I totally understand the urge to fill the hole that's left.

Being honest, I'm not sure about some of the suggestions you have made. Leaving any dog in a confined space such as a car all day, but especially a big dog like a GSD, is not on. No matter how hard you exercise it at lunch. Just because you know some people who do it, doesn't make it right.

The kennel at your DP's office could possibly work - perhaps both dogs could use it? but we would have to be talking a large kennel plus outdoor run...are we?

Is there any chance your DP would go back to the original system with them at home and him walking them at lunch time? Or would you consider a dog walker?

I've heard of some rescue centres refusing to rehome dogs with anyone that works full time, period. regardless of any steps they have taken to provide alternative care. So you might have a battle convincing them you are suitable anyway, but you won't know until you ask. Although I think 2 dogs at home together plus dog flap plus dp/dogwalker at lunch time (and walks AM/PM) for 3 days a week sounds pretty reasonable and would be your best option.

LitterBuggerOff Fri 03-Feb-17 16:26:00

Oh thank you both for your replies

I agree with everything that you've both said - a rescue dog might be challenging, and certainly would be harder work than my old boy who was also Mr Perfect in every way.

Our old dog would be fine with a new dog, she's very accepting and we've dog sat before with other boisterous dogs and she just ignores them and does her own thing. But we would end up with that inevitable inbalance of energies, with an older dog not needing so much exercise and a younger one needing more, so that's something we'd need to consider.

I'm really not sure about the car / work thing. Like you point out Black there's no way of knowing if the dog would bark all day or not. And yeah, I'm not sure about the ethics of doing it either - although the dogs I see at work seem pretty chilled out with it, but they've all been left like that since they were pups so they're used to it. I'm still not convinced.

DP could build a large kennel with a run at his workplace (it's his own office), but again if the dog is a barker that wouldn't be good.

Leaving it at home would certainly be an option, with DH visiting at lunchtime, but I wasn't sure whether that would be frowned upon. I did wonder about getting 2 GSDs so that they could keep each other company in the garden during the day. Not sure if that's asking for trouble though.

I've tried a dog walker before and it wasn't satisfactory. I searched for a decent one locally but failed to find one.

I have also considered volunteering for GSD rescue, just to get my GSD love until the right time comes along for me to commit to one.

Blackfellpony Fri 03-Feb-17 16:45:10

Mine have always been crated at work and are happy enough, perhaps the odd bark or whine. However since I have been on maternity I've noticed a massive change in both personalities. They are less stressed, no more whining in the car and less reactive generally. My behaviourst thinks these type of things can be really stressful for these types of 'one family' breeds. The stress of being left and also being surrounded by strangers can lead to kennel guarding, barking and stress type behaviour so it's not something I would do again.

I think it could work if you could work around the work issue.
GSDR won't normally rehome to anyone leaving a dog more than 4hrs though and most other rescues are the same.

I wouldn't underestimate how much drama a young GSD can bring though grin My old dog is fed up of ours sometimes and I'm sure his life would be happier if he was an only dog again!

LitterBuggerOff Fri 03-Feb-17 17:07:33

GSDR won't normally rehome to anyone leaving a dog more than 4hrs though

Does that apply to leaving them at home all day but with a lunchtime visit from DP though? Because that would really be my only option for those 3 days a week.

And yes, a young GSD would certainly be a change. I've had one before, I can do it again, but you do forget how difficult it can be. I'd have to have a serious chat with DP because he's currently of the thinking that we have an easy life with an old dog now and doesn't really want to change it...

GinIsIn Fri 03-Feb-17 17:11:26

Leaving the dog in the car is awful! Please don't consider getting a dog if that's your intention. And a dog shouldn't be left for more than 4 hours, especially not a bright, inquisitive breed like a GSD.

The other thing to bear in mind is your DP's dog is 11. At an advanced age it may well be very hard for them to adapt to sharing with a brand new dog.

In all honesty, no I wouldn't get a dog in your situation.

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