Do you have more than one German Shepherds? Great, if you have! And I hope you know all rules of keeping multiple dogs - especially large breeds GSD, Rotties, Danes and Dobs. If you already know and if you are an experienced dog owner having several dogs, I am sure you will still like to read this post. This post is going to talk about something that probably many of the professional trainers and canine behaviorists do not tell you while giving you advices. Here is why you should NOT kennel all you dogs together even though they are highly obedience trained.
Yes... it is suggested not keeping all your dogs (irrespective of breeds, types, groups and size) together as a group in a single unit. Once your German Shepherd puppies reach an age of approximately 70 days you should consider kenneling them in separate suites. As several German Shepherd puppies grow together under one roof they will eventually develop a very strong pack. Since pack instinct is already genetically ingrained in dogs the instincts gets strengthened as they live and grow together in a single suite. Once your group of shepherds starts developing the pack they will also have a pack leader - the "Alfa Member" of the pack, who is usually the dominating specimen of the group. Eventually he/she (pack leader) will develop dominance problem.
Moreover the pack, as a whole, will gradually turn out to be more and more territorial. The entire pack will consider the whole area where all of them together or any member of the pack roam about as their territory. This means their territory widens up. Not only this, the pack's prey instinct will also be strengthened, which in turn stimulate the whole pack to exhibit attacking tendencies within their territory that is already wide.
Pack problems, at times, turns a simple undesirable behavior to a serious intra-pack aggression which can end up with an irreparable loss. Most types of group bad manners is often a start to aggression, which cannot be handled easily - especially when its a pack of large breed dogs German Shepherd, rottweilers, Dobermans etc.
Exception: There is obviously ONE exception to this norm. Opposite genders can be kept together in a single suite. And this is the only one single exception! Particularly for Bullmastiffs two males or two females should NEVER be left together unsupervised.
Kenneling: Kennel you dogs separately in different units. Keeping them separately will not allow them to develop a pack. This means your dogs will have little chance to develop pack bad manners.
Feeding: Feed the German Shepherds separately - preferably in different rooms each closed. NEVER let your dogs eat from a single bowl at the same time.
Playing: Walking them together, if they are obedience trained, is good; but it's a bad idea to put them into competitive play like letting them all fetch a ball or a Frisbee at the same time.
Wait Exercise: The wait exercise is a good practice - especially when you have taken all your dogs to play freely. It is, however, essentially necessary that the pack should learn to wait until they are asked to go do something. This will keep them from getting into any competition during the play.
Share: Make sure that each member of the pack gets their fair share of attention, love, enjoyment, play and food. The chance of fight for these things will be mitigated.
Treating all dogs equally in front of each of them: It is important to support the dominant one when all other pack members are together. However, it is also important to treat all of them equally but love them with equal weight in their separate room. After all each of them deserves equal love and care.
Read out 10 Rules of Pack Management