Rescued a GSD - need help!
Our local shelter put out a plea for a rescue group to step up and help this dog. We decided to take him in and get him the care he needs. Medically he was 46 lbs, HW+, negative for mange, had fleas, emaciated, not neutered and low thyroid. (all of which are being treated)
Behavior wise is where I need help. He is supposed to be getting 2 medicated baths a week for his skin. He HATES water. The first 2 baths he had to have light sedation. He has been able to have 1 bath at home but he is totally freaked out the whole time. I know labs....and they love water so this is new to me.
Crates... he has destroyed 3 large wire crates eascaping and today he ate through a veri kennel and escaped. He is using the bathroom all over the room and on the bed, chewing walls and furniture so he has to be crated. I am looking at purchasing a pro select large empire crate but would like to know if there are other options before spending that much on a crate. (We are a rescue and do not have the extra funds).
Personality wise he is cautious. He will show his teeth during bath time and medical exams. He is starting to approach humans for interaction - which is huge!
Any guesses on breed ID? All advice welcome!
looks purebred shepherd to me
Looks like a mangey GSD to me.
OK how to make bath time fun.
1. Prepare yourself. Lots of towels cover everything in the bathroom. Non-skid mats for the floor of the tub. (yes, your tub). warm bathroom. Human either nude or in something that can get in the tub with the dog. Great high value dog treats. Castile bar soap (available at many grocery stores). Towels for the dog. Towels for the human (who will shower her/himself after bathing the dog). Fill the tub with comfortable temp water.
2. get dog into bath room with food lure (I'm betting this guy is really food motivated.)
3. soap the dog down with a very wet cloth and the castile bar soap.
4. lure dog into tub with those high value treat. Get in there yourself to do this.
5. let him jump out a time or two
6. lure him back in and use a large yogurt tub (empty) as a scoup to help rinse the dog off. (Just use the water in the tub. do not try to rinse him with a hose at this point)
7. Dry the dog off with towels. Most dogs like this and it can be fun. Keep it upbeat. Keep the whole process upbeat.
8. When dog is dry enough, release dog from bathroom, clean the tub, rinse the human. Dress the human. Reward the dog again. Get a human reward.
And practice luring the dog into the tub when it isn't full of water, when he doesn't get a bath but gets a great reward.
Bath time can be fun. It means your bathroom will get a great scrub down too! You just have to keep relaxed about this and keep it upbeat and fun.
Maybe you need a drink or a glass of wine before you start?
BTW this is from bathing two, yes two!, mangy GSDs... They LOVED bathtime once I figured out the slippery tub was the problem.
And in a short period of time after the dog begins recovering you will be amazed at how much hair he has!
Poor boy! Thank you so much for accepting him into your rescue!
Based on your username, I am guessing you are in New Orleans. You should PM (Private Message) a member named Magwart on this forum. She started a GSD Rescue in Louisiana, does a lot of work in shelters there and seems to have a lot of experience dealing with health and behavioral issues. She may be able to point you to some good local resources/advice to help address some of the issues you are facing with this boy.
Wish I could offer you more advice, but hopefully this post will "bump" up your thread and others will chime in.
His face looks all GSD to me too.
It's heartbreaking to see how sick this poor guy is. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for saving his life!
Congrats on rescuing him! I know exactly how you are feeling. When we got Red, he was 60 lbs...looked just like this poor fellow, exept he wasn't missing hair. And like your boy, Red was scared of baths....still to this day he doesn't like them, BUT will not fight anymore! How I got him to accept them was by using my lab Gypsy to show him "it's okay". He bonded with her immediately, so much that he did almost everything she would. It worked! I used a muzzle at first to ensure I wouldn't get bite. I had him tied to the porch so I could keep a free hand to rub him with. I had the hose on mist, so as not to frighten him anymore. I'd wet Gyp, then him. I'd scrub her, then him. I'd rinse her, then him. The entire time talking soothingly to him. Also, which I found to make it easier was I would make sure the hose head was toughing him, so as not to scare him more. Eventually he learned to accept it. Now I can bath him in the tub...it took a while though: ) Stay with it, and just be patient...he doesn't have much reason to trust humans, thanks to you, he soon learn what love i: ) Congrats! Can't wait to see him at his best!
Nolalab, I'm in Baton Rouge (Red Stick GSR). I'll PM you contact information.
Thanks a million for helping this dog.
I haven't yet had a GSD foster who didn't act like a bath was water torture. They all seem to hate it. Here in Louisiana, what we see in rescue often has never, ever been bathed, so it's no wonder they think it's scary and horrible!
I sometimes have to put on a swimsuit and climb in the tub enclosure during bathtime, usually with a squeaky toy -- and my DH helps. I find singing kids songs helps -- "Old MacDonald" type songs, usually with the lyrics changed to be about that dog. Maybe it eases the stress of the situation because it all becomes funny, and when I relax, they do. It's goofy, but they all seem to react positively to silly singing in the bath tub.
This breed is such a good reader of emotion that if the dog who doesn't know you and is already anxious experiences you stressed by the bath, it's much more likely to react with distrust.
I do think it helps to have two people--one to stand in the tub and do the bathing, the other to keep the dog from jumping out and distract it with treats. Most of my GSDs relax about half-way into the bath when they realize the massage and warm water feels really good...but it takes a while to get there.
And if it's really bad...maybe Dr. K's staff could help with a bath or two? ;)
They've got the big stand-up dog-wash tub that helps. (I'm pretty sure y'all use the same vet we do because I've seen your fosters in there with labs!)
Want to add...
I use a bathroom in lieu of a crate with the ones that freak out in a crate, until we can slowly work through that. Having a room seems less threatening to them -- and the tile is way easier to clean up if they have an accident. I had one who messed up some door moulding in the bathroom, so there is a risk of that--if replacing moulding would be a big deal, maybe it's not the thing to try. Most of them do okay in the bathroom if the crate is overwhelming though.
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