There's really nothing for YOU to really do. The current owner needs to take responsibly in getting a trainer or being the pack leader.
However, you're looking for suggestions
I know. I noticed this morning I "good griefed" twice in my initial post.
It's one of those frustrating things where I really sort of know what the dog needs, but I'm not the dog's owner. I don't know the dog's past, but I know the man, who was her pack leader, was doing a great job training her for the short time they were together.
What if you offered to walk the dog occasionally? Not only would the dog benefit from the increased exercise, but then it would begin to recognize and feel more comfortable around you. Once she feels she can trust you and possibly look up to you, you can then move on to meeting your dog. Maybe she just needs an authoritative person in her life. I mean after all, GSD's really look to their masters, and she's obviously lacking one currently.
Not really an expert though. There are some awesome trainers whom are on this site. Hopefully they'll chime in!
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Thank you so much for your suggestion. I told my husband when we were walking that I'd like to walk her myself. He realistically replied telling me I already spend an hour to an hour and 15 minutes a day walking my own dog. We usually go four to five miles a day. I also workout at a gym several times a week and I'm 52 years old. Throw cleaning my house, cooking, general errands and babysitting my 11 month old grandaughter -- it's a lot. Now I'm whining.
This is probably the best thing to do. I may ask the lady if I can walk her sometimes. I don't want to overstep and I certainly feel for her having lost her husband.
It has crossed my mind the GSD needs more exercise. The owner, as I have said, doesn't walk her far at all because she's unable. The dog's walker lady (the scared one) isn't exactly walking at a pace to exercise the dog either. All that falls into what is probably none of my business, other than the fact I'm worried the GSD is going to attack my dog. I will say my Golden gets quite rambunctious if we don't get our exercise. He's not naughty, but he definitely gets the zoomies and bored if he doesn't exercise - which only happens on stormy weather days. We're in S.C., so we don't have to worry about winter too much.
My other option is just turning and walking in the opposite direction. To loop our neighborhood we walk the circle which skirts it -- that's 1.2 miles. I can do figure eights in the neighborhood. One day I was doing this walking my dog alone (without my husband) and turned in the opposite direction when I saw the GSD and the lady heading my way. Unfortunately, when I headed home she had gone down my road which is a culdesac and I had to head the other way until she ambled her way down the road and back. It's annoying, but obviously not a huge life ordeal.
Honestly, I just hope she never lets go of the leash. The dog looks perfectly capable of getting away from her eventually.
On a positive note, I used to be really scared of dogs when I was much younger. That has totally left the building and I'm thankful for that. I didn't tense up any when the GSD was lunging at my dog's heels. I stayed calm. My dog (Luke) stayed calm. Calm is good in these situations.