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Advice on getting a 2nd dog

714 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Scottishsusie
Hi! I wasn't sure what section to put this in. I currently have an almost 3 year old male chocolate Labrador (neutered) and am looking to get a second dog. I was originally set on getting a German Shepherd because I've wanted one since I was a child and I want that intimidation factor when I have the dogs out by myself or am home alone. My lab just wags his tail at strangers. But I've been wondering if a shepherd is right for me. I keep seeing mixed information online about just how much exercise, and grooming they need. So I'm also considering just getting another Labrador. Either way will be getting a female dog.

Some places say they have twice the amount of energy of a lab (requiring hours of activity daily), some say less, and some say they are about the same. My lab currently is good with around at least 40-50 minutes of activity a day (typically half-an-hour walk when I get home from work, then play time in the evening an hour and a half after his dinner). On the weekends he typically gets two or three half-an-hour walks, plus play time as I am home all day.

I know with two dogs, both will get more activity as they will play together, I'm just wondering if a shepherd would require hours-long walks, then plus play time, to be calm.

As for grooming, I don't really have time to brush a dog more than once a week. That's how often I brush my lab. Do shepherds require more grooming than that? I'm looking for a short-coat, not long.

Also, how are shepherd puppies? When I brought my lab home he just settled in right away. He didn't really whine or scream when crated, wasn't afraid of the cat, and was pretty easy to train. He was destructive, but that's just typical puppy.

I also have anxiety, and someone told me that shepherds aren’t good for people with anxiety because they will see everyone as a threat. Is that true, or an over-exaggeration?
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I would have recommended another Lab too.

A bit of Lab trivia. Around 25% of Labradors, and a much higher percentage of service bred Labradors, have a POMC mutation. The mutation messes up their appetite regulation, so they are always hungry. That makes me sad. I suppose being constantly hungry makes the dog more trainable, since the dog is always interested in getting a treat, but it still makes me sad. A commercial genetic test was developed somewhat recently. I don't know if Labrador breeders habitually screen their breeding dogs for this mutation, but it might be worth inquiring.

I think you have a valid concern about whether a sensitive dog can handle anxious vibes coming from their owner, and German Shepherds are definitely very attuned to their owners. Regarding protection: while lots of dogs have decent radar about whether a stranger might be a threat, I don't think it's fair to expect a dog to make that judgement correctly at all times. Labs are generally more likely to give a stranger the benefit of the doubt. That's probably a good thing in our modern litigious society, especially if you are giving mixed signals the dog can't rely on.

Regarding grooming: once a week is probably good enough for the Shepherd's comfort. However, it's nowhere near enough for YOUR comfort. German Shepherds are nicknamed German Shedders. When they are blowing their coats in spring and fall you can pull the undercoat out in clumps. Even between shedding seasons you will still have tumbleweeds rolling around under your furniture. Daily brushing helps transfer loose hair directly from the dog to the trash can, bypassing the steps where it rolls around your house and tours the interior of your vacuum cleaner.

All in all, even though our Shepherds were great dogs, I probably wouldn't get another one for myself.
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