3yr old shepherd with issues need info - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 12-12-2013, 02:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 3yr old shepherd with issues need info

Rescued our shepherd from an older couple who could not care for or give the dog what it needed. They never socialized her and they had a little dog that used to abuse and bit her. We have had her for about six months and she is a wonderful dog in the house around my wife and five yr old beagle. She has really taken to us and great on and off the leash when no body else or other dogs are around. I have to take her out of town everyday to get her exercise or late at night when nobody else is out. She is very fearful of other dogs and barks and lunges, she is not to bad with other people she gets more excited when walking when she sees people until its the occasional person she may bark but comes back into heel. Also when someone comes to the door she sounds ferocious and is hard to back off until the person is in the house. Which I don't mind since she is home a lot alone with my wife. Looking for advice or a good book to read to help her and fully develop her in to an overall great family member.
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i think its just a matter of properly exposing her to people, things, other dogs etc. my advice would be to get a private trainer and work with them. they can evaluate her and teach you how to handle her and work with her on socializing etc. money well spent. trying to do it on your own can be frustrating. it helps to work with a professional so you know exactly what your dealing with and can apply the right training from the start. best of luck!
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Trainer with GSD experience, preferably one on one training to begin with then at the appropriate time, move to small classes. You will be trained on how to recognize her first stress signals, how to handle and work her through her reactions to humans and dogs. She will learn to trust and focus on you. Keep in mind that excitement can flip over to aggression if it isn't channeled properly.

With my dog, we began after getting solid obedience, we began with using Look at That! A Counterintuitive Approach to Dealing with Reactive Dogs | Dog Training for Dog Lovers Blog . We didn't get anywhere with that to begin with, so changed to Official Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) site: humane help for aggression, frustration, and fear in dogs, horses, and other animals. and made huge headway. We hit a wall of about 10-15 ft and used counter conditioning Training Aggression | Videos | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS for that last few feet. It kept him busy and focused on us rather then the scary dog.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I like the advice given about private or small group classes.

You might look into some books by Patricia McConnell. One is really a pamphlet, The Cautious Canine . It has tips on how to use treats to help dogs conquer fears. I personally don't like this author's writing style, she always has to remind you she has a Ph.D, but you can pick out some things to incorporate into your training.

Another short, but fun book is, On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. She has her own website too.

We had similar issues with our dog who was not a rescue. Once she was older and became more treat motivated, we used a lot of positive reinforcement when passing other dogs on our walks and seeing them at a distance. Our dog is now very dog social and usually the one who wants to get the party started! We still have front door and people issues though. We don't have a lot of guests and its only the ones who have come over a lot that she'll get relaxed with.

It will just take some more time and exposure, but I'm sure you'll see some improvement.
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My previous rescued GSD who was a senior (in my avatar photo with our 18 year old cat who passed 2 weeks after he did), was very front door aggressive, he would run me over to get to the door. I was so upset & frustrated. After he passed & I adopted my next GSD, he started to get front door agressive. He is also a fearful dog that had a history of abuse & neglect. The front door was one of my most upsetting problems & I needed to fix it because this rescue is much younger & I cannot get through 10 more years of not being able to answer my door. I also have a mix that I adopted who will greet at the front door, but is not at all intimidating.

My trainer taught me to use my knees & body & just plow them out of the way & make the front door my space. She said they plow into us, we can do the same. Not hurting them of course, but nothing wrong with just using your knees to push them out of your way - that is what dogs do to each other.

So now I learned when the doorbell rang, the dogs gave a warning bark. I say "thank you", then "go on" along with using my body, especially knees to push them back. Then I would go to the door, they would move into my space & I would turn around & do it again. This went on many times until they realized that the front door was mine & the guest was mine too & they need to stay back. When I let the guest in & I was ready I allowed them to smell & greet the guests. Then after the greeting I give the guests space & move the dogs away. It is a powerful feeling when you order a pizza once a week & the dogs just give room & I can open the door pay for the pizza & not a peep out of the dogs - they are just in a sit about 6 feet away from the front door.

Do get a trainer though. My dogs were both very dog reactive on leash. I can manage both now on a leash, just today we passed another dog on a leash who was acting up. My dogs started with too much eye contact & I jerked their leashes to distract them. I distracted them before they got to the over excited point & it went very well. I then just turned them around as the dog passed by. I have learned the hard way that if they get too worked up & crazy it is very hard to calm them down. It is a lot of work but it pays off soon enough. GSD's are very smart dogs & want to please us & want us to be in charge.

Good luck & thanks for rescuing a dog in need!
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