The new (rescue) GSD growls at my husband - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 12-06-2012, 10:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The new (rescue) GSD growls at my husband

Howdy folks...haven't been on here in a while. But I'm turning to you for some advice. We have a 4.5 year old GSD ,neutered male. Last week, we rescued a 5 year old spayed female GSD. We did a meet & greet, everyone seemed to get along while at a neutral location. The two dogs did fabulous on the ride back to the house. Things are going great until my husband accidentally cornered the rescue between the car and the door. She did a scared bark/growl, but seemed fine once she was back in the safety of the house. Since that time, over the course of the last six days, her growling at my husband has gotten more intense. If he enters the room, tries to put on her leash, tries to let her out of the crate, anything....she growls and barks.

I asked the foster if she had an issue with males. She said she thinks a previous man beat her with a cane. He has tried persuading her with hot dogs, regular treats, sweet talking, keeping her on the leash by his side, all to no avail. We are on a two week trial with this dog. She is super sweet to me...she gets along rather well is our dog (i.e., they aren't fighting) and hasn't had any major accidents in the house. She seems content to lay at my feet, follow me around the house, and play in the yard. I don't want to give up on her. But I also don't want her growling to progress into biting my husband.

Thoughts?

I know it's going to take time...and that her behavior won't change overnight, but does this sound like something fixable?
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do a search on the 2 week shutdown. It is a really good way of introducing a new dog with history to a new environment.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Agree with above: http://www.bigdogsbighearts.com/2_week_shutdown0001.pdf

I'd have your hubby just completely ignore her...other than tossing her a treat without making eye contact. Tell him to pretend she doesn't exist for a few days or a week, no frontal approach either. He needs to be neutral around her.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Been there done that have the t-shirt. Only dog we've ever had to take back. Tried the shut down didn't work. Tried a trainer, who said shut down was bad, she needed to be with the family and out of the crate... tried just about every bit of advise we got here including having my husband ignore her except to throw treats... Putting husbands dirty shirts in crate, having him hand feed her, She just didn't like my husband and nothing was going to change her mind. My husband started to feel like a prisoner in our home. Taking her back was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But we live so far out of town the trainer refused to come out and work with us at our house and the dog behaved perfectly at the dog class. Drove her 700+ miles back to where we got her so that she would be safe.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If she was abused by a man in the past, the fosters were irresponsible, IMO, to put her into a home with a man present. Not only is your husband feeling the heat, but the dog's stressing as well! I had a rescue dog like this when I was a teen. The husband and kids beat the dog. My brother was about 19 at the time, and this dog was very wary of him, too. He NEVER got over his distrust and hate of children. He did OK when I had to rehome him, even ended up really loving the dad there. However, I'd worked with him for a couple of years before then. It's a very slow process. If the man had been the 'primary' abuser, I doubt it would have gone so well. Please think about the dog, too. I'd say she needs an all female home.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Try the shut down as Onyx linked to.
I'd not give up just yet.
MANY dogs (we have a rescue and see over 150 dogs per year) are shy of men at first, men are larger and have deeper voices than women. They get used to them!

This doesn't mean they were beaten or anything of the sort (unless there's proof that happened in the past).
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Defintely agree with the shut down. Let her see your husband from the safety if the crate. Let her watch him interacting with the other dog.
She may just be trying to figure out who is who, and where they rank in her new family pack

Some dogs just are leery of men.
Benny has never been abused by a man. I have had him since he was 8 weeks and he has been exposed to men, women and children teens , but he is still leery of strange men approaching him and will growl. If the man just ignores him and Benny has time to see that the man is not threat he settles down.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Completely agree with Jane (onyx'girl).
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the info guys. I am going to ask the rescue group to give us more than a two week trial to improve our chances of getting her past these issues. I just don't see a miracle happening between now and next weekend. Her growling last night was the worst it's ever been. In fact, she is now approaching him with the growl, whereas before she was backing up (fearful growling). She is urinating when he commands her to sit or tries to leash her.

The good news here is that she does allow him to walk her...even the occasional tail wag or rubbing up against his leg. This is important as he is the one responsible for excerising them.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf1977 View Post

The good news here is that she does allow him to walk her...even the occasional tail wag or rubbing up against his leg. This is important as he is the one responsible for excerising them.
Sounds like she is making great progress
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