Hi...just got a rescue and he's skittish, advice? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 02-11-2014, 10:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hi...just got a rescue and he's skittish, advice?

Hello and nice to meet you all.

First, a little about me and why I chose Bear. Almost 2 years ago I had to put my 14 yo shepherd/newfie mix to sleep. I'd had him since he was 3 months old and the loss was devastating; I really thought I'd never get another dog. But about 6 months ago I realized that I missed having a friend. I trained Otis from the start using the Monks of New Skete principles and philosophy and he was the best dog EVER. However, I realized that much of why he was so great was his genetics.......so when I decided to get another I chose a shepherd/mix( Otis really had a Newfie look and I would have felt like I was replacing him if I went newfie).


So today I adopted Bear.....a full blooded (or so they told me....but as a rescue I understand they can't say so) black shepherd. They warned me that he was shy, but we had such an instant connection that there was no question he was coming home with me; the volunteers were shocked at how he responded to me and were thrilled that he found his home. I guess he wasn't peppy or doggy happy enough for other people.


His history:

From what they tell me he was pretty much brought up by a yellow lab....his owner had a fast acting cancer and it hit him just as he acquired the dog. They were both surrendered to the shelter and the lab got adopted almost immediately. Bear was there for almost 2 months. He lost a lot of weight (he weighs 102 now but should probably weigh 110-120 or so) and he's shedding a lot so clearly he's stressed out (crap, I would be too....his world went poof ffs).


Anyway.....met and brought him home today. Ride home no issues at all. Once here he spent a great deal of time exploring the house....I have a 12yo son (who Bear met at the shelter today....and btw Bear walked right up to him and gave him a kiss) who Of COURSE had to show hom off to his friends....good boys who pretty much said hi and then left him alone.

More to come....I have to get on a computer and keyboard before I lose it lol
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm interested to hear the rest, but he's been through a lot. It will take some time for the dog inside to come out. Have some patience, be consistent in rewarding of good behaviors, and allow him to experience things at his own pace. Too much pressure can build negative associations with things.

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Old 02-12-2014, 12:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigh View Post
Hello and nice to meet you all.


So today I adopted Bear.....a full blooded (or so they told me....but as a rescue I understand they can't say so) black shepherd. They warned me that he was shy, but we had such an instant connection that there was no question he was coming home with me; the volunteers were shocked at how he responded to me and were thrilled that he found his home. I guess he wasn't peppy or doggy happy enough for other people.
Nearly a year ago I adopted a rescue 2 yr. old GSD male who had been starved and neglected as a puppy (he didn't sell fast enough to suit the breeder); as a result his growth was stunted, so he is a small boy for a GSD. He was rescued by another breeder, who knew the first one and took my boy and another puppy to get them away from the neglect and abuse they suffered. Then she was in a terrible accident, and relied on other people to care for her dogs during her long recuperation. My boy was dumped into a kennel with another entire male, who was much larger, ate most of the food they were given, and beat up on my boy. The 'rescuer' had no idea what was happening until she was well enough to again care for her dogs. When I got my boy, it was as though he chose me, not the other way around. He, too, was very shy, did not trust anyone but me, didn't know how to play, was not socialized at all, the list goes on. Now he is a confident, joyful little guy, rooted deep in my heart.

What David told you in his post is absolutely correct. Don't pressure him about anything, take time to establish trust and build his confidence. Stressing him too much could push him back in a direction you don't want him to go. That includes making sure all his experiences with visitors are positive. It may take weeks, possibly months. They are really more resilient than it may seem sometimes. It will just take time for him to blossom.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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One thing helps the other: stressed dog loses weight, and weight loss causes stress. Make him fat! Before that it would be impossible to detect whether his shyness is genetic or a result of neglect and lack of human contact.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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please read before you respond david taggart. this dog already weighs enough and it would be so detrimental for him to weigh more.

to the OP...yup, give him lots of time to acclimate and adjust. don't overwhelm him with too much too soon. these dogs have been thru SO much. and thank you for helping a shepherd, the need is so great!
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by David Taggart View Post
One thing helps the other: stressed dog loses weight, and weight loss causes stress. Make him fat! Before that it would be impossible to detect whether his shyness is genetic or a result of neglect and lack of human contact.
IME, under fed dogs are usually Velcro dogs once you feed them. Great time to start marker training.

Physical mistreatment can cause human aversion, but I've never seen a dog that was starved and not physically abused be shy without other issues.

I think this dog got overwhelmed with a group of kids and will be fine once he gets used to his new life.

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Fama - T.E.D.D. OEF XI-XII (GSD)(RET... )
Marshall - T.E.D.D. OEF XII-XIII (Lab)(SF EDD)
Lucian - Med Alert (Cane Corso)
Pud - the old man (Pit x Lab)
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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This is a dog who has also been used to having a most likely pretty balanced older dog around to show him the way. So now he's lost his person and his buddy.

http://www.bigdogsbighearts.com/2_week_shutdown0001.pdf this is not punitive - it's a way to help the dog settle into the home. I would not let any kids around a new dog for a month - 12 year old boys are a lot for anyone to handle. And always, always completely supervise with your own and then them as well.

I would be looking around for trainers in the meantime - you can find some on Karen Pryor's website to start with, depending on where you are.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Sorry I seemed to disappear, but for some reason it wouldn't post my responses?

Anyway, what you guys are saying confirms my instincts to just let him be and give him time to settle in. And yes, the boys just met him, said hello real quick then went on to their 12 yo boy business lol. I'm patient and realize it will probably take a good 6 months before he begins to feel secure. Thank you all so much for your responses!
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh....one other question, this regarding crates. I've never crated a dog but from my recent reading I understand that a crate can help him feel more secure. True?

Also...thanks for the 2 week time out link, grest advice there!

Funny....I've had dogs all my life, but it has been 16 years since I've had a new friend to get to know so I feel like a complete novice lol.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Give him a nice quiet SAFE place to relax...make it the kennel/crate. Explain to everyone that when Bear decides to make use of his safe-hole he is to be left alone and essentially ignored. Make it CRYSTAL clear that the safe place is off-limits to people, even ones with good intentions of petting/playing.
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