Timid / Terrified - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Timid / Terrified

My wife and I have a 7 month old German Shepard dog female named Lola. We have officially had her for 2.5 months now and are working with her as much as we can to socialize her. The previous owner had her in the back of her home on a 10' long leader and was out in the country, so no dogs and no people. We saw her twice before purchasing her and she was timid around us....pulling away, staying near her owner, sniffing cautiously and then running the other way if we got closer to her. After having her for a couple of days, she warmed up to us and is great with us but has a horrible time around others, even kids. She is absolutely terrified of them. Today two children came over and when they were about to leave we found her in the shed cowering in a corner. She heard a child's voice after they were gone and took off towards her dog house and went into the corner and curled up. WHAT DO WE DO!??? HELP PLEASE. We bring her to a dog park 3-5 times a week and she does GREAT with the dogs there. She plays, runs around, etc, just like a normal dog. She will not, however, go near people. I'm not worried about what people think, but more worried about her having this fear of people and never being able to conquer it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Attached is a picture of our little girl about 3 weeks ago.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 03:52 PM
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You're little girl is gorgeous. So glad she's off that lead.

You'll get a lot of good advice from the people here and I also suggest searching through the puppy section for socializing tips.

What I suggest is that you seek out the help of your friends & family. If any of them have kids that have experience with dogs, invite them over. Its important that you don't invite kids over that have fear of dogs Have the kids just hang out with treats and let your girl come to them on her terms.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Mac's Mom,

Thanks so much for the quick reply and kind words. We gave them both treats for her to come to them as she relaxed but she never did. She would run away and go hide in the corner of the yard until she felt like she needed to move. It was so sad to see her like this. I've had neighbors take treats and stand completely still as to not startle her and she would not go near them. My little niece and nephew came over (both have no fear of dogs and have 2 of their own) and she wouldn't go near them. They are 3 and 5 years old. Neither are loud or spooked her, but she just wouldn't have it. I'll keep searching threads and wait for others to respond. Thanks! Your dogs are precious!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2013, 04:01 PM
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i think you need a trainer/behaviourist. speak with the trainer/behaviourist
before allowing her around children.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Yesterday I went to take Lola for a walk and while walking out of the back yard, we ran into another couple who had a 11 month old female GSD. It was a husband and wife and one of their children around the age of 7-9 years old.

Lola FREAKED! She backed up under some holly bushes next to the house and was shaking. The dog went up to her and barked a few times directly in her face but she did not care. She was watching the boy the entire time. It was sad. Not until they had made the corner was I able to get her out of the bushes and on the walk.

I'm so worried she will never make it through this stage!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by doggiedad View Post
i think you need a trainer/behaviourist. speak with the trainer/behaviourist
before allowing her around children.
THIS. Immediately. STOP putting the dog near children when the dog is scared to death of them!!!! Do you know what will likely be the outcome? She will be cornered (or feel cornered) and instead of 'flight' you're going to get 'fight'. She may end up doing serious damage to a child. You need SERIOUS help for her. Nothing that can be given over the internet except keep her away from children and get help! This may not just be a result of lack of socialization. It may be a result of poor breeding. You're seeing bad nerves. When you have the result of bad breeding, you can manage it... even make improvements, but it's nothing the dog is ever going to get 100% past. You bought a dog you shouldn't have bought. This isn't a 'plug and play' breed. Unfortunately, you have to have a decent amount of knowledge before buying a pup or dog of this breed so you have some idea of what you're getting into. There were red flags all over before you bought her. You didn't see them because you don't know the breed. I think you're in way over your head. If I were in your shoes, I'd find a rescue, trainer, etc. to try to place the dog with. She's going to need a LOT of training and management... and that management will likely be for the rest of her life. Without it, you're going to keep seeing what you're seeing, and maybe worse.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 02:02 PM
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Thanks for giving Lola a loving home! She may have been tormented by children when she was tied up all that time, you never know. My first GSD hated children too, but I don't know why because he was an adult when I adopted him. I kept him away from kids and he was fine otherwise. I'd just be careful with Lola in the dog park, since children will be there. Also with your family, until she's more comfortable around them.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 02:07 PM
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Hi - I am not sure if Lola is outside all day, but she will do better brought in the house so she can be around you more, learn more from you.

You absolutely do not want to have her around kids at this point. You do definitely want to find a really skilled, fearful dog experienced, positive trainer/behaviorist to help you. Slooooooow and steady is the idea.

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Some more links to look at - that Shy k9 group is a must:

This group is the best - just joining for the archives is good: shy-k9s : shy-k9s

Fearfuldogs.com Good website, good info.

May not work, Helping Shy Dogs Blossom Using Targeting | Karen Pryor Clicker Training but I clicked with my mouth, no treat since Anna wouldn't take, just to let her know that was a good/brave behavior.

This is the very first site I read: http://kimmurphy.net/shy-k9s-faq.html

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