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#4593360 - 12/03/17 06:56 PM Getting another dog!
Throt Offline


Registered: 11/15/14
Posts: 905
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
Hi folks,


Looking for insight and advice from any pet owners out there. I've currently got a Shih Tzu that we've had for about a year and tomorrow I'm going to look at a 5 month old German Shepard and I'm wanting advice on how to appropriately introduce them. So if anyone has been through this throw me some suggestions. The current dog is a female and the new one is male. Quite a large size difference and that's the only thing that really worries me. The new dog has been with 3 or 4 other dogs it's entire life so I don't see any huge problems but I want to be prepared.
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#4593369 - 12/03/17 07:00 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 19802
Loc: CA
German shepherds are on the restricted breed list for most homeowner/renter policies. That is a serious consideration.
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#4593378 - 12/03/17 07:10 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
azjake Offline


Registered: 01/31/12
Posts: 418
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Something to think about, how protective of your home is your current dog? Our dog is fine with other dogs when she goes to the pet sitter, or the groomer who works out of her home. However, around our house and yard she growls and barks at any dog that invades her territory.
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#4593384 - 12/03/17 07:14 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
RedOakRanch Offline


Registered: 11/10/13
Posts: 846
Loc: Central Coast California
GS will protect family members and kids with force. My GS as a kid would bite any adults who spanked kids and would bite my Dad if he tickled my Mom! She had the dog before marriage... The GS would also answer the phone and could jump over a 6 foot fence. The dog ended up being shot by Police in our driveway. My wife had a GS as a kid that would turn door knobs, ended up wearing out his teeth. That being said can you introduce the dogs first at a public place? That usually turns down the turf defence and let's them get to know each other.
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#4593388 - 12/03/17 07:16 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
RedOakRanch Offline


Registered: 11/10/13
Posts: 846
Loc: Central Coast California
Also at 5 months old if the dog has had any trama it's not going to go away. As much as I love the idea of rescues I only get puppies so they are bonded to my family.
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#4593400 - 12/03/17 07:29 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8651
Loc: North Carolina
A Shepard will be fine with a smaller dog, as long as you are the alpha. Shepherds and other working dogs like Rottweilers, Dobermans, need a strong owner.

I have a Boston Terrier, and a German Shepard/ Blue Heeler mix. They do fine together. The Terrier is the alpha dog, but i am the alpha owner, so they get along great.

I would suggest a German Shepard mix, as you might avoid hip problems that show up in the the more purebreds. ( plus you can call the dog something other than a german shepard if you need to).

I have never understood why German Shepards are on restricted lists, and even with some insurance companies.

My advice, is when you introduce them, have someone help you. Have each dog on a leash and walk them together. Two dogs just looking at each other may not do well. Introduce them as you are walking, they get used to being next to each other, yet they have something to do. A tired dog is a good dog. I would not introduce them at all until you are both walking.

Not my dog, but this pic looks close.





Edited by spasm3 (12/03/17 07:40 PM)
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#4593441 - 12/03/17 08:11 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: RedOakRanch]
Rock_Hudstone Offline


Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 1449
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: RedOakRanch
That being said can you introduce the dogs first at a public place?

That is the preferred way, meeting somewhere on neutral territory.

Personally, I love German Shepards great dogs, but they need lot of exercise and room to run..We have a customer with a large male GS and a medium size female rescue mixed breed. The GS is very gentle with the female, even when she steals his ball and growsl at him sometimes.

However, a GS bit me on leg for no reason once, well I guess he had a reason but darned if I know why, just walked up behind me and chomp!

On the other hand, my worst dog bites were from Beagles, they will take your hand off if you get between them and some food.

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#4593453 - 12/03/17 08:21 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
jimbrewer Offline


Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1423
Loc: New Mexico, USA
Shed a lot. The health issues would scare me away unless parents were OFA for hips.

I wouldn't worry about a well-socialized dog---until he's having a bad day with his hips.

Can't imagine GS would do anything but put the other dog in his place right quick.


Edited by jimbrewer (12/03/17 08:23 PM)

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#4593454 - 12/03/17 08:23 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
andrewg Offline


Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 5466
Loc: Buckley, Wa.
I've got four dogs in the same house. All of them introduced into the home at different times. Issues? Sure....sometimes. The owner just needs to make sure the transition is not a violent one, but being sure to allow for healthy canine hierarchy to be established.
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#4593459 - 12/03/17 08:29 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
AZjeff Online   content


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2636
Loc: PV Az
Great advice, neutral ground and something to keep them somewhat occupied. One might expect a dominant/submissive interaction between a 1 year old and a 5 month old puppy, especially if the ST has a strong personality. No reason it can't work.
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#4593483 - 12/03/17 08:51 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: RedOakRanch]
Panzerman Offline


Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 4203
Loc: Port Orange, Florida
Originally Posted By: RedOakRanch
Also at 5 months old if the dog has had any trama it's not going to go away. As much as I love the idea of rescues I only get puppies so they are bonded to my family.

I may have thought like that too but I adopted a 4 year old Rotwieler after mine died after 16 years. This dog is so we'll trained. It will not leave the house unless told so, it won't enter a room unless told so. Won't get on furniture. Will follow you to the mailbox and back without a leash and will not beg. I hate to say it but who ever trained this dog did a better job than me and I've had Dobermans and Rotwielers my whole life. It is very protective of my daughter and sleeps in her room at the side of her bed. I am super impressed. Shame dogs get put down for being this breed because lots of good dogs out there that people understood they have to be better disapplined that other dogs.
It's like she lived in our house her entire life.


Edited by Panzerman (12/03/17 08:53 PM)
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#4593510 - 12/03/17 09:28 PM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
CCI Offline


Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 132
Loc: New Mexico USA
The advice from a previous response about walking them together is a good place to start.

Here are a few more ideas to consider;

Does the existing dog (the female Shih Tzu) show any tendency toward resource guarding? That is, do you see any aggressive or threatening tendencies or can you safely get near her when she is eating, has a toy, is in a place that she likes, or with a person she is bonded to?

Has the Shih Tzu ever been reactive to other dogs? If not, that's a good start. If so, caution and maybe a little counter-conditioning could be in order.

When you are assessing the new dog, you can check to see if its play responses are intact; does it play-bow, does it give all of the appropriate calming signals when it approaches another dog, does it understand what constitutes an appropriate greeting ritual? Watch for soft eyes, a "C" shaped approach, low, wide tail wag, maybe a paw lift or a yawn. All good.

If you see a direct approach, hard,eyes, raised tail with short wags only at the tip, weight forward, agonistic pucker, it is past time to be careful.

The dog will tell you everything you need to know with its body language.

More than anything, the dogs will respond to your emotional state and expectations. If you are calm and relaxed, they are more likely to be the same.

Five moths old is still pretty young and impressionable; remember that this dog does not have an adult brain yet.

When you bring a new dog into a home environment, especially GSDs and the like, it is best to start out by confining them closely. Do not give them the run of the entire house or yard right away. If you do, this can cause problems later that are surprisingly difficult to correct. Dogs are contextual learners. Too big of a sudden contrast is really hard on them -- they understand safety by understanding boundaries. Again, more so with a GSD. Herd breeds are genetically predisposed to act like a self propelled fence -- everything behind me is mine, everything in front of me stays away. If they don't know where the line is, anxiety can set in quickly. But also watch out for barrier aggression -- dogs that would not ordinarily bother one another in any way can become extraordinarily aggressive the moment you put a barrier between them that they can see through, like a gate or a fence. This is almost like a reflex. I've seen dogs that sleep on the same bed and eat from bowls a foot apart go nuts on each other when you crate them side by side.

A crate is good if the dog is already crate trained, if not, at least confine the dog to one room and a small part of the yard until it gets its bearings. Meanwhile, crate-train the dog using only rewards.

The new dog will be in something like shock for the first three days. Be very gentle with the dog during this time, let him get used to the new smells and sounds, and give him whatever food he is already used to if you know what that is. Gradually over the course of the first week you can expand the dog's horizons as it seems appropriate. Watch the body language, it will tell you everything.

After three weeks you will start to see the dog's personality.

In about three months it will have your routine down.

During that time you can work on relationship, bond, and trust. Just remember, when a dog encounters a new situation, they ask themselves, "Am I safe? Is this interesting? What do I get?" If you can appeal to that with rewards and positive reinforcement, you can make the transition go better.

Also recognize that this is a big change for the dog you already have. Since you've been with the Shih Tzu a year already, I would suppose she already has you figured out, and she is probably already watching you for direction. If she shows signs of stress, take notice. It's worth thinking about where each will eat and sleep so they don't bother one another while they are getting their new life sorted out.

As for the actual introduction, I'd try a neutral place, like maybe even take the Shih Tzu with you when you go to check out the GSD and see if they like one another. Don't force it, let them approach one another in their own time, watch the body language, and you will know right away.

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#4593614 - 12/04/17 12:43 AM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
Dyusik Offline


Registered: 09/26/14
Posts: 1982
Loc: US-WA
Wait until excitement levels are down, distract with bits of cheese both animals. Let them nibble until they forget that the other exists. That's how I did it with the cat anyway. It will take a while, but do NOT do it in the home. Go on neutral ground as your current dog will have one more reason to be fussy - protecting the home from an intruder.
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#4593675 - 12/04/17 05:58 AM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
AZjeff Online   content


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2636
Loc: PV Az
Just don't use too much cheese... sick
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#4593751 - 12/04/17 08:33 AM Re: Getting another dog! [Re: Throt]
Miller88 Offline


Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 12703
Loc: Onondaga County
I had to switch homeowners insurance because my previous company wouldn't allow German Shredder dogs. I have a 6 month old puppy. It was almost like a light switch at 5 months. Now, she's acceptable.

Ours seems to do good with the cats. She likes to play and is very "in your face". From what I understand, that's a German shredder trait. They like to lick and paw faces.

Smart dogs, though. First dog and she's extremely well behaved ... but she's a puppy so she has her moments. Great with small animals other than the face thing. Not agressive in the least bit. Very vocal though.

We call ours a German Shredder in the house because she shreds any beds / blankets she gets and one time managed to eat her way out of her plastic crate! In the yard it's German Sh---er because, wow, they poop a lot.

Crate Training is super helpful it seems. I'm a cat person so I don't know dog things , but I can see it's benefits. She even asks to go in her crate when she is tired. We have a playpen set up for her in half of the dining room / porch. That way she doesn't have to stay laid down all day.
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