Can a German Shepherd Have Two/Multiple Owners?

German Shepherds are known to be one of the most loyal dogs on earth and they are sometimes aloof to strangers by instinct. Yet, once they’ve developed a strong bonding with their owner(s) and the family, they will be strongly attached.

German Shepherds are extremely loyal dogs that will normally bond with one person. However, they are often popular as good family dogs because they will also attach strongly to the entire household, including children. 

Although every dog has his/her own personality and the circumstances also vary from one household to another, it is not impossible for a German Shepherd to have more than one owner. Let’s look into it:

1. Can GSD have two/multiple owners from the same family? 

German Shepherds are sometimes considered as  “one-person” dogs and they tend to bond with the person who spent the most time walking, feeding, playing, training, cuddling, or spending quality time with them.

Many GSD owners are no stranger to having their four-legged friend following them wherever they go – even around their house, including the bathroom. It is a very obvious indication that a GSD will follow its owner. 

Otherwise,  if you consider Labrador Retrievers, they would rather like to spend time with the whole family and get everyone’s attention and cuddles.

2. Can GSD have two/multiple owners from different families?

Co-ownership of dogs include families who lived nearby or divorced couples who may still want to share the responsibility of taking care of their dogs. It comes with its pros and cons.

Being able to interact with different people, a GSD will likely get more attention, playtime, exercise, and socialization. This is a big plus for the dog.

Because the orientation, routines, or level of attention will vary, it is very important for the households to align their commands as well as house rules. Otherwise, your dog may become confused by where to sleep, where to eat, and other related issues.

3. Can GSD have different owners one after another?

This could be the situation where a German Shepherd is adopted or reduced. In between homes, the dogs are usually placed in a rescue center. He has no idea who the new people are, or whether this is his new home or not.

When shuffled from one home to another, where people behave differently in each household, the dog may not be able to understand the ground rules of each new place unless being trained to.

It will take longer and lots of love for the dog to adjust to the new surroundings and people. Because we all do not use the same commands, tones of voice, clicks, or whistles. It may get a little confusing to them. 

The best thing you can do is speak with, if possible, the previous owners and inquire about the commands they used, the habits, and the likes and dislikes of the dog.

What are the pros of a dog having more than one owner?

In fact, having multiple owners for a dog has a handful of benefits for both dogs as well as the owner. Let’s take a quick look:

The benefit for the dog:

More love and attention – What’s better for a dog to live in a house with two loving parents giving him the same kind of love? Two households maybe? Instead of depending on just one owner, a dog will get lots of love and attention if he is living with a big family or two families.

More Socialization – Socialization plays a crucial part in the upbringing of a German Shepherd. If a dog has the chance to bond with several owners, in one or more than one household, he will become less stressed with unfamiliar people, dogs, and places without. He will be happier and more confident throughout his life.

The benefit for the owners:

Sharing of responsibilities – Unless you work from home or on a farm, you might not be able to spend most of your time with your dog. Still, you have to take up the responsibilities of a dog, feeding, exercising, bathing, grooming, and other needs and wants. If an owner has other family members to share these responsibilities, this will make life easier.

What are the cons of a dog has more than one owner?

Possible confusion:
Even though two of the family members know the exact same training procedure, the approaches both of them take might be slightly different when it comes to training sessions.

Bonding challenge: German Shepherd is a one-person dog. Within the family, they may choose a favorite person. It might be challenging to form the same bond between the dog and multiple owners. Therefore, the family members will find it difficult to meet the dog’s needs and wants when the owner is away from home.

Adaptation problems: Not everyone knows about the preference of the dog. If your dog has health issues, his needs may not be well taken care of. And your dog may also get confused by where to sleep, where to eat, and other related issues, when shuffled between one house to another.

9 Tips to training a dog to get used to more than one owner

If you want your dog to bond with more than one person or with other householders, consistency is the key to success. 

To avoid confusing your dog, the same command and routine should be adopted. It is in your dog’s best interest that everyone should treat him with lots of love and praises

Here are 9 tips that every owner of the dog should consider:

  1. Take a turn feeding the dog
  2. Exercise with the dog
  3. Play with the dog in a one-to-one situation
  4. Bathe, groom, brush the dog
  5. Know how to cuddle a dog correctly and tell them to sit side by side and spend some quality time with the dog
  6. Share about the likes and dislikes of the dog
  7. Training the dog new tricks 
  8. Use the same command to communicate clearly with the dog
  9. Be well aware of to understand the (body) language of your dog

Final thought

At the end of the day, dogs are pack animals that live together for survival. In both the wolf and dog packs, there is always a number one or alpha dog, that is considered the top of the pack. The pack looks to that individual for leadership, structure, and protection. 

That said, every “owner” involved should understand that need rules and boundaries to become a good canine citizen. Otherwise, the dog will challenge for the alpha position and it may eventually give way to unwanted behavior.

Further question

How Do Dogs Choose Their Favourite Person?

Dogs choose their favorite person as the one who spent the most quality time with them.

And it’s also about the quality of that time. You can sit at home with your dog all day but never pay attention to them. But if you engage in one-on-one playtime, and spend time feeding, walking, grooming, caring, and training your four-legged friend, your dog will more than likely choose you as his/her favorite person.

Dogs choose their favorite person with a similar personality and positive energy.

An active, high-energy dog is more likely to bond with an equally active person than they are with someone who prefers to sit in front of the TV all day. They also gravitate toward people that is always positive, loving, caring and reward them with lots of praises.

​​How to become your dog’s favorite person?

Dogs can have a favorite person. Not all dogs will be attached to just one person, but some do, and it’s believed this attachment can form during the initial months of the dog’s life. 

But if you’ve missed the critical time in your dog’s life, there is still a lot you can do to bond with a dog.

The best thing to do is spend some one-on-one time with your dog every day. This time should be spent doing something active such as playing fetch or tug-of-war, having a training session, or trying a new sport such as agility or flyball where you and your dog can work together as a team.

Moreover, you can also try these tips to gain your dog’s affection:

  • Give your dog a massage
  • Hand-feed your dog
  • Spend time grooming and brushing your dog
  • Be affectionate and give them lots of praises

Dogs have enough place in their hearts for more than one favorite person. As long as every owner treats the dog well and spends quality time together, the dog will love you all with his whole heart.