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rabbi911 09-04-2014 04:11 PM

Training an older German Shephard
Hi guys, I'm new to this forum, and I'm not even sure if I'm posting this in the right place...But here goes nothing :)

The back story:
My grandfather adopted this german shepherd, Holly when she was a puppy about 3 or 4 years ago. He was in his mid 80s, so as you can imagine, she didn't get the training or exercise she needed. She wasn't walked, wasn't introduced to new people, and has never really been anywhere other than a small grassless and poo-covered yard. My grandfather is in the last stages of esophageal/lung cancer, and will be unfortunately leaving us very soon. I asked him if I could take care of Holly for him, as I have always been an avid dog lover, and she seemed to take interest in me. So 2 days ago, I made the 5 hour drive back from the hospital, and brought Holly to our home.

I live with my boyfriend, and right off the bat, she growled at him and runs from him when he tries to pet her or talk to her. I know that her new life here is a complete 180* from where she came from and what she's used to. I'm the only person she knows, and she is very comfortable with me. I'm being very dedicated to teach her commands, sit, lay, load up, heel, come, and things are going well considering the amount of time she's had. I am very concerned with her attitude towards my boyfriend though, and am not sure how to improve the situation. I know she's probably still stressed, and misses her companion (a 6 year old rotweiler), but she is having a hard time trusting my boyfried, and although she is very gentle, he is uncomfortable and thinks she will bite him.

Any type of help or tips or ANYTHING really would help. Thanks so much.


Daisy&Lucky's Mom 09-04-2014 08:19 PM

One of the things that helped me when we got our two girls was the two week shutdown. Has she ever been crated. The shutdown allows her out to spend time w/ you and B/F but helps her not be overwhelmed by lots of new situation etc. It might help to have him give treats and feed her. Im not sure though based on his fear of being bite . My thoughts are w/ you at this difficult time. thanks for helping Holly.

LuvShepherds 09-04-2014 08:34 PM

I used a modified 2 weeks shutdown with an older foster who had never lived indoors or walked on a leash. Not only did it help with behavior, it made the dog easier to train.

huntergreen 09-04-2014 10:11 PM

very upsetting story. upsetting for the gsd as well. glad you can help. others seem to know more about this than i, but i suggest getting a trainer tohelp. imho, this ups the odds for a successful adoption and bonding with you boy friend.

SuperG 09-05-2014 10:37 AM

An observation of having 3 GSDs over the decades regarding how they take to people ......this most likely applies to many breeds. Assuming there is no underlying previous situations which created your dog's dog's behavior toward your BF....then perhaps it is best to simply let the dog come to your BF rather than your BF going to the dog. Some dogs simply do not react as we assume they should when someone who is well intentioned approach them. There are times, in order to win the dog's companionship, you must let the dog approach and build the relationship at the dog's speed....never forcing the human element on the particular dog. " Trust" is not necessarily created overnight and Holly is off balance being so removed from her 4 years of habits and other consistencies.

As others have cited as well, this is a huge change in Holly's life and give her some time to adapt to the changes.

I have watched some people who love dogs approach my dogs over the years with no ill will whatsoever but at times my dogs would be standoffish. As I mentioned earlier, there are times when it is best to let the dog come to you at it's pace.

Holly will soon find her new life to be wonderful as her new routine and companions will bring stability back into her life.....


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