9 month old GSD very scared of new home. help please! - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 12-30-2013, 10:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 9 month old GSD very scared of new home. help please!

We just adopted a 9 month old beautiful male. We brought him home and he wouldn't go upstairs. He would only hang out in the den area. I look him outside to potty, and when we came inside he immediately ran and hid under our air hockey table. He seems very scared inside, but somewhat okay outside. What should I do?
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Give him time. His entire world has been turned upside down.

Set a schedule, make rules, and stick to it. Do not try to bribe him out, but tossing really really yummy treats as you walk around. He will start following you for the yummy ness that falls from your being

Some people may point you to a 2 week shutdown. I have never used that, but a quick google search should find lots of articles.

Take him on walks, tether him to you, teach him what expected.

And be very very patient.

Congrats on adopting.

PS- noticed the name, are you a Coheed and Cambria fan?


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Old 12-30-2013, 10:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A little bit of TLC he is new and young and his world has just changed! he needs to trust you, you need just give him time and patience. When he does something that would normally be a challenge for him, give him lots of praise and let him know he did great and hes a good boy.
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsdsar View Post
Give him time. His entire world has been turned upside down.

Set a schedule, make rules, and stick to it. Do not try to bribe him out, but tossing really really yummy treats as you walk around. He will start following you for the yummy ness that falls from your being

Some people may point you to a 2 week shutdown. I have never used that, but a quick google search should find lots of articles.

Take him on walks, tether him to you, teach him what expected.

And be very very patient.

Congrats on adopting.

PS- noticed the name, are you a Coheed and Cambria fan?


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I think this is great advice!

I have had a couple of foster dogs who behaved in a similar fashion. I just took it easy with them and did almost exactly what gsdsar suggested and they turned out to be great, well-adjusted dogs! (NOTE: I have also never done a two week shut down for a new foster dog).

Thank you for rescuing. And, again, what you are witnessing is really not that uncommon with a new rescue dog. Focus on building trust and confidence with your new dog and you will be rewarded with a great dog/companion!

Wishing you all the best! Keep us updated on how things are going!

Last edited by LifeofRiley; 12-30-2013 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 12-31-2013, 02:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Since he does better there... I'd leave him out side as much as possible until he is use to his new home.
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Old 12-31-2013, 11:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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He's doing a little better today. I took him outside and praised him a bunch when he went potty this morning. We have a huge fenced in back yard, so he was checking that out.

He is absolutely terrified of the stairs, so he has confined himself to a very small part of the house. I'm a little concerned about this as that is not the room we want him to stay in ultimately. I tried coaxing him with treats, but he's still nervous of the new surroundings.
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Old 12-31-2013, 11:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Time is your friend. Like gsdar stated, just keep it structured. He will come around.

We rescued an alaskan Husky once and I had to carry her through doorways for a LONG time, she would not cross a threshold, no matter what the treats were. Eventually she decided the doorway wasn't going to be so bad but it took quite a while.

Plenty of patience....
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I take it you just have this one dog? One good way to get a dog to try something new is "monkey see, monkey do". Another dog going up and down the stairs would probably encourage him to do the same. He's probably never seen stairs in his life. Go slowly. Treat him for approaching the stairs. Treat him if he goes up one. Sit up a few steps and throw a treat or two to him. Eventually see if you can get him to come up to get them, eventually moving farther and farther up. Let him go slow. He'll get it at some point if you're patient and keep working on it.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've done a shut down on a dog like this, and it worked very, very well. I don't do it with every foster, and I was skeptical about the shut down after reading all the debates here on it --but I decided to try it with a shy, withdrawn foster and just see for myself if there was a benefit. There was, in just a week.

The reason it might help here is by going under the table, the dog is seeking a den, shelter, a safe place to watch where he won't feel vulnerable. A crate would give him that. It would let him observe your routine, get used to the smells and sounds, and decided you aren't threatening and that the whole house is used by his pack, on his own time. It may only take a week (mine did). When he's out, keep him leashed next to you, even in the house so that he learns all good things come from you. Feed in the crate.

Stairs should wait for trust. Many, many dogs find these super-scary at first. Once he trusts more, you can put high-value treats on the stairs and coax him up slowly. It may take a few days -- he may only go up three stairs the first day then freeze (hooray! three stairs), but four the next, etc. Same goes with down the stairs, which is WAY scarier for many dogs. I stay below and next to the dog going down, so they see me ready to catch them, not the long drop down.

We trained a BLIND dog who was afraid of stairs how to do this -- you can do it with a sighted puppy easily. Just be very, very patient and be prepared to go through lots and lots of yummy treats while you build up his courage.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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By the way, there's some reading that you may find helpful, as you are thinking about helping this dog come out of its shell. Thanks for adopting and helping to give hm a home!!!


Recommended Reading from Patricia McConnell (an excellent behaviorist who writes in a clear, engaging style that's accessible for new dog owners):
-Love Has No Age Limit (on Amazon, short book about helping adolescent and adult rescued dogs adjust to new homes)
-The Cautious Canine (on Amazon - short booklet with recommended problems-solving strategies, about 85 p.)
-Same author, free webinar ("Helping Adopted Dogs Adjust to New Homes"): Adopting a dog from the Humane Society | Patricia McConnell | McConnell Publishing Inc.
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