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Old 11-22-2012, 07:38 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I'd agree some folks take offense, apparently, to the name, without even bothering to read the procedure though.
Let's call it the 2 week transition, or adjustment, or something else.

It would be nice if we could use common courtesy and not call something members recommend "stupid."
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:23 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I'd recommend controlling the dog's environment so that he doesn't get into a barking/lunging mode first. And congratulations he is not dog aggressive- that is really super and means one less thing you have to worry about.

Being defensive/aggressive at the vet is not unusual. Nor is being defensive in the home. He already knows this is your home and will challenge visitors unless you teach him proper behavior. First, put him away when visitors come over. In a separate room for now. Give him a couple weeks to get used to you and his new situation before you put him in a situation where he needs to see people outside of your immediate (home) family.

After a couple weeks, you can start working on training him. You'll need to decide how much training and how much management you want to take on. You can teach him proper door greeting behavior with a "place" command or a down-stay or just by sending him to his crate when visitors are over. You can teach him a focused heel or an "off" command to settle down around strangers outside the home.

And it is very likely the dog will have NO issues with your family and be very affectionate with those he knows. It is the strangers that may cause issues and you simply need to teach the dog proper behavior or leash/manage his environment so that he doesn't have access to strangers who are visiting, etc.

A dog that is aggressive to strangers coming in the home or at the vets (there's some serious bad juju at the vets for many dogs) is not a dog that is aggressive to family- unless you have seen other signs of issues.

Give him a chance, and let him relax for a week or two. You've never seen a dog behave this way, but it isn't that uncommon. I'd say you have a good, solid GSD on your hands that could go pretty far with proper training. But more important than anything is not allowing this to escalate. Let him relax for a while and get to know you. This behavior is unlikely to go away completely without training, but it may dissipate with time alone.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:21 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I'd recommend controlling the dog's environment....

...Give him a chance, and let him relax for a week or two.
And keep a muzzle handy !
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:08 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Yet you then say
That is your opinion but what's interesting is then you go on to recommend, basically, a "shut down", whether you want to call it such or not.

Um...this is the "two week shut down". Maybe two weeks is longer than you have in mind but that transition time is usually necessary to avoid things like what have already occurred.

Done properly, the dog is merely crated instead of let wander around which will accomplish all the above. The dog, in between crating, is taken out, walked (alone), let play in the yard, etc. (with a leash on which is a great idea anyway).

Dogs should never be brought straight from a shelter and then have all these things thrown at them.
They don't know who you are, and you don't know how they'll react to different situations.

The "two week shut down" is to give them a sense of 1) how your home works, 2) your relation with your family and other pets in the home, and 3) that you are indeed the leader and that will lead to 4) a trust and faith in you so when things start going weird (family comes over) they look to you for guidance.

Right now this dog has no idea who is good, bad, who should be let in the house, etc.
The two week shut down will give him that groundwork necessary to become a member of your household and not become a neurotic basket case as he is already now.

That he's already failed so miserably only serves to further justify and solidify the fact he needs the shut down.
I most certainly do not do any version of your shut down. I just got a new foster today and she's shockingly running around loose in the house with my dogs. I've already had her out for a car ride too. I would have had her out and about walking with my dogs and to the store for socialization, but the weather is really nasty out and will have to wait until tomorrow. I want her to meet people and learn new manners right away.

** comment removed by ADMIN. Rude and not very helpful**
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:28 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Ah Elaine, but you give me too much credit. I didn't devise, or write it. Oddly, the best successes we hear of are when our adopters utilize this method for integrating their newly adopted dogs into their homes

Your Adopted Dog: The First Two Weeks | HugABull

Crating/Two Week Shutdown Day 4 with Joey

"Two Week Shutdown" |

Dont Bully My Breed

"Two week shutdown" question - DogForum.net | Dog Forums and Community

Newbie needs advice: My dogs are snarling at each other - Pitbulls : Go Pitbull Dog Forums

Even dobie owners!
Two week shutdown? - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums

Rottie owners!
Training & Behavior

I think you're going to be really busy going to all these places to tell them how "silly" and "bizarre" this stuff is

Oh, a cat forum, now!
http://www.thecatsite.com/t/245314/d...how-aggression

BTW I could list hundreds more references, but I'm sure you get the point
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:00 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Frankly, I think the vet was frightened of him or generally disinterested. We are "between" vets right now (ours moved) and we were unfamiliar with this one. He showed little interest in speaking about the issue and just mentioned that shepherds are notorious "fear biters".

The biggest concern is whether or not he is a risk to the child. I'll speak with my husband about the situation.

The stories and advice are appreciated. The more the better.
Hi Rebecca,

I am not an expert, and I am very new to this forum and to owning a dog. However I would like to offer some advice, please know that my intentions are good and I want what is best for both your family and the dog.

First of all I would like you to imagine what life is like for your dog, put yourself in his shoes. Imagine you have been passed from pillar to post in your 4 short years, never having a truly loving home. Then one day, you are introduced to a family who are very loving and give you the best home you could wish for. The next day, strangers come to your home, the other dogs are going crazy, you dont have a clue whether this is a threat to your new family, a threat to you, or someone trying to take over your territory. you also dont know if it is simply friends or family of your new owners.

German shepherds are known for their loyalty and courage, it only makes sense for them to become defensive when they are threatened. As humans, we understand what is going on, but dogs dont, so they react, rather than logically thinking about the situation.

I would now like to offer some advice for helping you with this dog, First of all establishing yourself as the pack leader, so your dog doesnt feel he has to.

1. NILIF - Nothing In Life Is Free. I think a good way to show your dog that you are the pack leader is to feed them yourself, this shows them that YOU are in charge of supplying their food. Along with this comes making them work for their food, you said that your dog knows sit, down and stay. tell him to do this things before giving him food, and dont give him it all at once, make his meal a glorified training exercise, thus showing him that you have the authority and not him. Use this to teach him new tricks at the same time, so that this does not become monotonous.

2. Shut down - as mentioned, a shut down is a good way of slowly introducing your dog to new things. Whatever method you use, be consistent, and do not overwhelm your dog, thus bringing him to a heightened state of excitement. Try keeping him indoors for a few days and slowly allow visitations, first by using the same person, for example your sister as she is not afraid of him, and then as his exitement for visitors drops, introduce other people. This may be a difficult task as you should ideally spend a few days on this and as we know that is not always a viable option, but give it a try. use calming and distraction techniques, along with rewards for good behaviour.

3. Keep him leashed AT ALL TIMES. I believe this is a follow on from the shut down theory, what we are teaching the dog here, is that YOU control where he goes, he has to look to YOU for direction, thus promoting yourself to pack leader in his eyes, and removing the need for him to "Protect" you.

4. Herding, This I would like to hope would calm down once the dog learns his place within the family, but if it doesn't, you could try a number of corrections. Set up a controlled environment in which your dog may think about "Herding" your daughter. Have your daughter walk the path she would normally walk and then as soon as the dog looks at her, and you think he might start herding, Firstly shout "AH, AH!" use in a firm, loud manner (Not too loud so your neighbours can hear, but loud enough so that he knows you mean business). At once your daughter should stop and stand still, ignoring any actions of the dog. If your dog listens to you and ceases the herding behaviour, praise him and give him a treat. keep repeating this exercise until the dog gets it. if the dog does not listen to you when you shout, then remove him from the environment so that he can think about what he has done to cause him to be away from his family.

Obviously the herding behaviour is of number one importance since you can deal with the rest, however hopefully by following the advice i have offered, you should see a change in all of these areas.

Dogs are very smart, (especially GSD's) if they are shown that there is nothing to be afraid of, then they will usually settle in nicely, but this does take time, and patience.

The advice I have offered has come from books and other trainers experiences working with dogs, if they do not work, along with some other ideas posted in this thread, please seek advice from a PROFESSIONAL trainer, rather than a vet, when it comes to behavioural issues. also please do not take, one persons opinion, have the dog checked out by a number of individuals, before making any decisions. It may be that the dog is completely healthy and simple needs time and socialisation, or or may mean that the dog has serious psychological issues that can never be resolved.

I look forward to hearing how you get one with your dog
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:27 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Well Marc, you might be new to the forum and new as a GSD owner, but your post was beautifully written!

Lots and lots of wonderful information, advice, suggestions, and your own experience.

I have one other thing to add to the "herding / nipping." OP - Until you've got solid training with the dog, please don't let /encourage kids / adults to rough house with him. That will simply put him over the top way to quickly.

I didn't rough house with Kyleigh until she was about a year old. I wanted to make sure that I had a solid understanding of her reactions / lack of reactions, etc. And I now have a solid "OFF" switch on her ... I can get her all riled up, and then stop and say ENOUGH and she's done, and knows that play time is done. This "training" takes a while to get to when you have a high energy dog! I do not let ANYONE else rough house with her, just me.

Have fun with your puppies - both of you!!!

And welcome to both of you, I think I missed those threads!
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:44 AM   #28 (permalink)
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I've never witnessed that kind of behavior in an animal to be frank. We took him to the vet today and he greeted dogs in a friendly way but barked a little at the people in the lobby. Once we got into the room however and the vet entered it was serious barking and lunging again. (still no snarling, growling or baring of teeth). They could not examine him in the room with us.

The took him to a separate room in the back to get checked out and once he was out of the room with us immediately calmed. No barking no aggressive reactions nothing. They muzzled him out of concern however but he said he was fine once not in the room with us.

The vet said his behavior is dangerous and doesn't think he should be around my little one. He recommended returning him to animal control as a human aggressive dog. He said protectiveness at that level could indicate prior abuse or inappropriate training and that could be turned against my child. I was hesitant to turn him back in to animal control as I know they would euthanize him. The vet even suggested that may be best!
I'm just going to address the vet part of this.

Dogs rely more on their nose than any other sense. It smells like illness and fear and they pick up on that.

First, many animals act up with the owners in the room. Ask any vet or vet tech. They feed off the owners anxiety and the "ohh...it's ok baby" comforting thing many owners do. My husband is not allowed to handle the dogs because he does that.

Second, it's not uncommon for animals to be scared when at the vet. Our boxers back under a chair and shake. Jax cooperates, and used to be very good there until she had to stay the night at a vet's office, but now she's very nervous and pulls me out the door.

And that behavior, in the home and at the vet, is probably NOT protectiveness for you. It's probably fear and anxiety for himself.

Your vet is NOT a behaviorist or a trainer and I hate it when vets give out training/behavior evals. Just because your dog was barking and lunging at strangers, does NOT mean he would hurt your child. Find a good trainer and maybe a vet that doesn't have issues with GSDs.

As far as the two week shut down that msvette refers to...she is not the only one that does that and I've heard good things about it. It certainly is not going to hurt the dog in any way. Here is a really good description of it
http://www.bigdogsbighearts.com/2_week_shutdown0001.pdf
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:27 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I highly recommend the two-week shutdown as described by msvette.

However, I think we ought to find a different name for this method, as "shutdown" sounds so harsh, when the process is about the safety and well-being of the DOG as well as the family.
Maybe call it a "settling in period"?

I would hope a good rescue would instruct an emphasise the importance of this. I would find another vet. I have to drive 45 minutes to find a vet I really like, who is very comfortable with GSD's and agrees with my feelings about spay/neuter, vacs and food.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:45 AM   #30 (permalink)
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It can take dogs 6 weeks or more to fully bond and be integrated into a household. We recommend when adult or more mature dogs are imported that the new owner take at least this amount of time to allow the dog to adjust to them and their new lives before they start doing serious training. These are dogs coming out of good situations and not dogs that have been placed in shelters or passed from home to home (though some are). I agree with the "shut down" (terrible name, btw since it sounds like they are being locked into solitary ) concept and hope the OP listens to these recommendations. I might be less stringent in a household with no small children and no other pets, but that is not the case for the OP.
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