My White GSD, and his serious anxiety problems - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 11-05-2012, 10:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My White GSD, and his serious anxiety problems

Hey guys,

Ever since my I adopted my white german shepherd, he has severe anxiety/fear issues with sounds and other people - so much so that when he gets all worked up, he doesnt eat and it makes himself sick.

Backstory - I got him about a year and a half ago at a local GSD rescue. He came in really young (maybe 2 months old) with 4 other puppies. They were dropped off, very skinny, kept outside, flea ridden. (thats all i know). When I found him he was 8 months old with just his sister left, and they were both very skiddish around people, wouldnt come out of the run to see anyone, occasional approach/lick and then run back. I adopted him after coming back multiple times to see him for 3 weeks, he fell in love with me.

But since then he is so fearful of people when we are on walks, any sort of bizarre sounds, etc. He doesnt like anyone walking behind him or being approached. Scenario - if we are walking and he sees someone coming towards us from like 200 ft away, he starts rushing toward them (to get passed them!) and cries and cries till we pass them. I try to get him to sit and wait, he cries the whole time, but atleast he is manageable. But its still really alarming to me.

HOWEVER, he LOVES the dog park...even if there are humans walking around, he is off leash and just runs around and plays with other dogs. He wont let anyone come up to him, but every once and awhile you'll catch him sneak up on someone to smell....

He's an amazing dog - doesnt bark, has ZERO aggression, plays and sleeps with me, but his condition is really bad as far as anxiety goes. Im at the point where im considering prozac or something similar. What do you guys think?
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Check out this: Composure Soft Chews for dogs and cats - Calming support supplement for small & large dogs, canine

Have you had a behavioral evaluation for him? A good behaviorist could set up a training protocol that may help desensitize him.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just would like to add - he HATES going outside for walks, he will roll over and prevent me from putting on the leash. When I do get it on him, he lays flat as he can on the ground and shakes Its like dragging a log out the door.

He is absolutely not food oriented, he hardly takes food except for meat and cheese. But even if I held red meat in front of him outside on walks, he wont take it. So it makes it hard to get his attention.

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Old 11-05-2012, 10:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I havent had a behaviorist check him out yet - I called one in town and she charges $250 an hour just for consultation...

I thought that was insane - but if thats considered the norm I might have to do it...
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Does your vet have any suggestions? His hearing/eyesight are fine?
What part of the world are you located? Someone on here may have a suggestion of a good trainer to help you.

Most dogs won't take food when they are stressed, so training for treats is not going to happen.
$250 an hour is steep! Any others or is she the only game in town?
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In your case it seems worth it to consider behavioral meds. He could also benefit from having another stable dog in the house who can go on walks with him and play with him. It doesn't have to be a large dog. You can find a lot of info online by googeling fearful dog. If you state your location perhaps someone could suggest an affordable trainer.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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She thinks his hearing and eyes are ok - and the only behaviorist she knew was the one I mentioned.

Im located in Burbank, a suburb of Los Angeles, CA. Im sure there are tons of behaviorists but im not sure which one would even be best.

Not only does he have severe anxiety but he also has a nervous metabolism, he hardly eats and when he does he eats late at night, even in the middle of the night. I give him food in the morning (doesnt eat it) and in the evening but he usually just nibbles on it.

Ive been considering fostering another dog to see if it helps. I actually think it will - but living in a 1 bedroom apartment might make things a little difficult.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It sounds like he loves other dogs so he should do fine with a very small dog like a chihuahua or a yorkie. Just make sure it's a stable, outgoing dog. Maybe the local GSD rescues could recommend a trainer for you. Good luck with him.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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There is a trainer with GSD background in LA. K9 Coach Dog Training
He helps with GSD rescues and would provide discounts on rescued dogs. I met with him twice and watched him train in a park to get a feel. He welcomes anyone to go watch him and can give you some quick thoughts before you commit to anything. I've limited exposure to him but I think he can read dogs well. His fees are very reasonable. I didn't go with him in the end because he's about 1 hour away from me and I was in the process of moving. He is easy to reach if you want to give him a call and get some thoughts.

I think $250/hr is pretty steep. My current trainer I consider highly experienced, owns top dogs and she's not cheap but not close to $250. I live in the bay area so not any cheaper in terms of cost of living than LA. I think you can do better than $250. There are other forum member in LA who can probably give you more options.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I also want to add, even the 1 on 1 dog training with the local IPO club's director is not $250/hr. I wonder how that person can charge so much except is this person out of Beverly Hills or something - high end clientele?
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