1 Year old male, at a rescue, needs lots of training, looking for some advice
Hi everyone. My wife and I just looked at a one year old male sable gsd at a no kill shelter. He has been there about 3 months, and he was neutered right before he was brought in to the shelter. We were told that he came from some higher end breeder in North Carolina. The lady running the site says that he needs lots of training and she will pay for it through a local guy that trains K9 units and others.
We went to see him at her kennel. When you go in all of the other dogs are barking and jumping up on the fencing, but he doesn't bark, his ears are up, his tails swishes and he does not jump. The manager says that he has ok manners but is afraid of anyone who is not a pack leader. When I put my hand out towards the corner of his door he took half a sniff and kinda freaked. He knelt down about 4 inches backed up and started barking like crazy. We went into the other room while the site manager brought him out on a leash, now she says that she is the only one who can handle him without any issues, but he drags her through the door and around the room. As long as you make no move towards him he is fine with everything, he looks everyone over and when you talk to him he is fine, just don't reach out to him.
Next she put him in a different kennel outside, one that he was never in before and he started marking his territory, and eating a little food. You could stand right next to the door and he was indifferent, but if you reach out he barks and gets jumpy. He did this to my wife, and she forcefully said no and he backed right off and sat back, calmed down, but didn't fully sit. She did this about three times through the kennel door. It's like he wants to listen, but is unsure about everything.
His background isn't the greatest, his owner was a high school student that ended up homeless and the dog ended up isolated in a garage until he was surrendered. He has been there a couple of months, so we think he is around a year and a half actually. I don't think he knows his name well, at least he didn't respond much to his name from us of the site manager, and I don't think he was taught the basics. We were also told that he will nip or fear bite anyone who he sees as not a leader, he bit two people but only with little damage. He's not a bite and tear or bite and hold he is a nip and leave me alone type boy. We were also told that he sticks close to the person who takes him out no matter what. The one girl tripped and dropped his leash, so he went running off about 15 feet and then immediately came back to her side.
My wife is pretty good at speaking dog and she knows he will be lots of work, and perhaps a liability in the future. She was also wondering if his scent marking and eating the food from the strange kennel would be a sign of him being "permanently dominant".
I am wondering what everyone thinks of this one, his attitude, and what training will do for him. I would really like to work with him to hopefully get him more adoptable and learn something myself by working with the trainer. I don't know if he will fit into our family, but I think if someone works with him on a consistent basis and gets him some confidence he would calm down and not be a biter.
What does everyone think?