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matthewm11 02-26-2014 10:13 AM

New rescue, still shellshocked; how can I encourage him to get comfortable?
I have a three year old GSD/husky x and life circumstances have afforded me the time and resources to add a second dog, something I had wanted to do when Indiana, my current dog was at least two.
I had been calling breeders, talking to owners and researching online about what bloodline would be best suited for my needs. (I'm a single, active 34 male not looking to compete or show but wanted a medium drive dog) Everyone had a different suggestion.
I had also been perusing rescues and city shelters. I went to a shelter to check out some adorable 4 month old pb gsd pups but instead felt an instinct connection with a one year old red sable reverse mask male. He was listed as a mix but despite the rarer color he seems all gsd to me in terms of structure, gait, head shape and temperament.
His name is Rocky and he was skin and bones with a bad case of kennel cough and has been a little traumitized by his experience in the shelter and probably whatever he went through before.
Rocky instantly bonded with me and won't leave my side. He is a very sweet dog and I don't see any indication of genetic nerve or fear issues. He is low energy and I have noticed almost no prey drive yet. He and Indiana share my home peacefully but Rocky doesnt know how to play. Off leash at a park he will be my shadow ignoring Indy's attempts to play.
My question is how are some ways I can encourage rocky to play a little and build drive while he adjusts. I know GSDs especially can have a tough time adapting to new enviroments so I accept I may have a very different dog on my hands in a month or so. The encouraging thing is that while clingy he doesn't display fear or nerve issues in any situations he is aloof to other people and alert but not fearful in proximity to other dogs.
I would assume due to sable color and body structure (smaller, thinner, less angulation, has a little of that DDR blockhead thing going on) he is a wworking line gsd so once rocky gets settled and comfortable I am prepared for the possibility of a high drive high energy high maintnence companion

GSKnight 02-26-2014 10:25 AM

I can only share my experience with Viktor, as it was similar to yours.

He didn't know how to "play". I would throw the ball and he would look at me... took him to an off-leash park, when no one else was there, he could free-run a football field, but he would be right next to me.

Slowly, over time, he learned to play ball (sort of) and might wander off on his own a bit.

I think he will never be what some/most people would consider a "normal" dog, but I love him to death and will do only what he feels comfortable with and try to expand his horizons without putting undue pressure on him.

So, I guess my advice is to take it slow and have reasonable expectations.

onyx'girl 02-26-2014 10:36 AM

How long have you had him? I think with time he'll show who he is, the best thing you can do for now is work on that bond, and praise him for his focus! I found it takes almost 6 months for a dog to really be comfortable in their new environment when they've been thru some life altering experience. The inhibition is due to lack of confidence and probably trust in you....but the bonding you're doing right now is going to pay off!

I'd love to see photos of Rocky and Indy, too!

Shade 02-26-2014 10:42 AM

I agree, take it slowly and encourage him but let him go at his own pace :) Please post photos of Rocky, I adore red sables :wub:

blackshep 02-26-2014 10:46 AM

I'd love to see pics too!!

I think just give him time. He might come around on his own, he's probably still worried, so just stick to a nice quiet routine with him for now. Doing obedience work might help build his confidence up too!

Good luck with him! :)

Sunflowers 02-26-2014 10:46 AM

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Perhaps try a fuzzy toy. Drag it along the ground and see if he likes that. Maybe make a flirt pole.
I, too, would love to see pictures. Love me a reverse masked GSD! :wub:

Jelpy 02-26-2014 11:47 AM

Time Time and Time. I have a GSD that was so terrified of people it took her months to approach me for hugs. Now she is a love bug. She is still developing thought, and it's been years.


matthewm11 02-27-2014 09:56 AM

Thanks for the replies. Everyday Rocky has grown more comfortable and confident. Wow, never have have a had a dog so instantly bonded and attached to me though. My mix took a good three months before she felt comfortable with me when I got her. I will post pics when I figure out how; curious on feedback on if you guys think he is pb or not. Makes no difference to me, although it amuses when strangers on the street tell me he isn't a GSD; he certainly doesn't look like the gsd that comes to mind when most Americans think of one! Is it possible for a coyote and jackrabbit to mix? Lol jk.

matthewm11 02-27-2014 10:01 AM

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matthewm11 02-27-2014 10:08 AM

The black and tan dog is my husky mix. What a huge difference I can already see in temperament. I had heard of these mythological concepts like 'heeling' and 're-call' but had never actually seen them before! Rocky heels with or without leash meanwhile Indiana is pulling, swerving and hopping in bushes; and this after two and a half years of consistent leash manners training.

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