Adopted GSD doesn't like men - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 6Likes
  • 1 Post By Jchrest
  • 1 Post By Sabis mom
  • 2 Post By Springbrz
  • 2 Post By Sabis mom
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 1
Adopted GSD doesn't like men

So we adopted a young (2 yr old) female GSD about a month ago, and while Kiki is a great dog, she has some issues. She's loving and playful with the family, and she mostly takes well to others outside the family, but she does not like men. She doesn't mind boys (being teenagers and younger), and she does very well with children, but when it comes to adult men she just hates them.



A little bit about her for some context: Kiki was surrendered to a vet after she had been hit by a truck earlier this year. The couple that owned her couldn't afford to pay for surgery so they decided to simply euthanize her. But the vets fell in love with her, and they decided to take her in and raise the funds for surgery themselves. Months later, her crushed paw had been reconstructed and her hips stabilized with a metal plate. Unfortunately, her one front leg had sustained nerve damage, and while she still uses it for balance and holding toys, it is unlikely it will ever fully recover. Now, we don't know much about her previous family. Her foster mom didn't know much about them, either. When we got her, she didn't know any commands, though she was fully crate and house trained. We have learned, however, that there is a strong chance a male figure in her life abused her. She absolutely hates men; she will bark, growl, and carry on if a man walks into the house (even when we open the door, invite them in, and show her they are a safe person), and she will evade them at all costs, hiding in corners and skittering into rooms where she can't see them. She's terrified of thunder or any sort of loud, bass-like noise (she doesn't mind excitement, yelling, singing, or dancing around in the house; in fact, she'll sleep right in the middle of our busy kitchen with the whole family walking and jumping around her!), which the adoption agent informed us was a sure sign she spent a lot of time, if not most of her life, locked outside. In general, she's a sweet, loving girl, but she was severely mistreated and now bears the scars. Since we've had her, she's really opened up and loves to play outside and get into trouble (she's killed every rodent in our backyard!), but still she's absolutely terrified of men.


This distaste, thankfully, isn't full-out aggression. She's never charged at anyone or bitten anyone. She's never even given the smallest sign of using her teeth. In fact, she'll simply run away and hide. But she does bark and growl, and you guys know how awful a GSD bark can be, especially for guests. Typically she'll calm down after a few minutes of alarm, slowly make her way to the guest, sniff them, and let them pet her. She'll still avoid them after this introduction, however, even though she knows who they are. Sometimes she'll bark at them again, as if she doesn't know them. Even if it's a male that comes around often (grandfather, friend, etc.), one she's been introduced to countless times and has been pet by, she'll still act like this when we let them into the house. Like I said, she loves women. She does not react like this to females of any age, it's only men. For instance, my sister and her husband came to stay with us for the weekend, and while she fell in love with my sister immediately, the husband she completely evaded. Even after having them with us for three whole days, she continued to treat him like he'd only just walked into the house. Everyone was patient with her, but it was still frustrating. (Btw, we have men living in the house with her -- my dad and my two brothers. She is absolutely fine with them. In fact, she adores my dad. It's only people outside the house that she struggles with.)


We have no thoughts on giving her up -- she's a part of the family now, and we all love her. But her behavior is exhausting and makes inviting people over stressful. We had a GSD prior to her, so we are not unaccustomed to their behavior or training, but Kiki is our first adoption and she is a unique case. I was wondering if you guys had any tips on how to handle this type of behavior? Maybe some ways to help her overcome this anxiety? I know the process of healing after abuse will be long and hard, but is it possible that she will heal from it? Or will it be a life-long struggle?
bananahb is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 10:58 AM
Senior Member
 
Jchrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 301
My rescue GSD (at about 4yrs of age, estimated) was (and sometimes still is) terrified of men, but hers leads to fear aggression, which is harder on both owner and dog.

I would give her some down time without anyone coming and going for a few weeks (except those that live with you). Then slowly introduce one new male at a time. When I got my girl, I pretty much didn’t let anyone inside unless she was locked outside, and you could hear her furious bark outside the entire time that person was inside. If they wore a hat or sunglasses, it was much worse.

What worked for us was simply time and slow exposure. When she would get comfortable on walks without barking at men walking by for a good length of time, I would start taking her to places with a large male audience (generally sports related activities) and walk her around the perimeter. I also purchased a bright red vest with large letters on each side that says DO NOT PET. That prevented people from rushing up on her.

It got better. A lot better. But she still has to be managed around men. Especially Hispanic males. And god forbid anyone speak in Spanish, she still goes nuts to this day when she hears a male speaking spanish.

We have a happy and content life now, and she welcomes most men in, but still has issues with some. The easiest and most stress free thing we’ve found to be successful is to put her in her room before we allow anyone in, and once she has calmed down, she can come out. I tell any guests to ignore her completely, and if she approaches them, not to pet her. After she does her rounds of sniffing and sniffing, all while being ignored, she will settle onto her bed. That’s when I tell guests they can pet her, if she approach’s THEM. If she doesn’t calm after a round or two of sniffing, she goes back into her room. To this day, there are just certain men she will not be okay with. My brother, one of my brother in laws, and one of my stepdaughters teenaged friend, who happens to be Hispanic.

We also worked one on one with a trainer for over a year, so I didn't go it alone. And the most valuable thing I learned is she is never going to 100%, and that she needs management around men. Which is fine by me, I’m a hermit that doesn’t really enjoy company anyway, and my brother stopped walking into my house unannounced and uninvited.

I would get with a trainer ASAP, but also be aware that she may never be comfortable around men, and will always need to be managed with males around. Management made a world of difference for us both.

Good luck OP, and I hope you get amazing advice on here, this forum is who I turned to when she came to me 4 years ago. Heck, this forum is saving my bacon again with issues unrelated to my girl. Just knowing you have support from hundreds of other GSD owners, who have far more experience in certain areas of dog behavior, can feel like a rope thrown out to you while you’re drowning (metaphorically of course).
Sabis mom likes this.
Jchrest is offline  
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 11:32 AM
Crowned Member
 
Sabis mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 4,527
Put her away in another room or crate when guests are arriving. She really does not need to socialize with everyone.
My current dog is very shy and while she is friendly once folks are in the house she prefers to sit off on her own while she processes everything. It is pretty common for her to sit with her back to people and her nose doing 90 for a few minutes until she decides it's ok to approach.
Men in general have different body language then women and some dogs seem to have difficulty with it. It does not necessarily indicate prior mistreatment.
You may find that it is just the initial excitement of people arriving that throws her off and once everyone is relaxed she is fine or she may appreciate a quiet place to be on her own.
Springbrz likes this.
Sabis mom is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 01:54 PM
Elite Member
 
Springbrz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,557
I wouldn't assume your rescue has been abused. I have learned that a very large part of these behaviors come from a genetic place without rhyme or reason in most cases.
My girl has been with us since she was 8 weeks old. She has never, ever been mistreated by any human. She isn't fond of most men and an occasional woman. She is very slow to warm up and some men she just won't ever like.
Was she abused by a man....maybe. But don't assume that. It's more likely just genetic unfounded fear. Her fear of storms isn't that uncommon. My girl was fine with them until she was around two. All of the sudden she become deathly afraid of thunder. It's just something you have to work through and not stress over. Actually fear of storms is an indicator that her overall responses are more likely genetically fear based in my opinion.
My girl can be fine with an unfamiliar male but let him put his hands in his pockets then (even causually) pull them out and she will likely, without reason go off, heckle up, lunge, bark and pull back in a split second. She hates males wearing hoodies for know known reason. She can be iffy with hat wearing men as well. Again know reason. It is what she is. We've worked with a personal one on one breed savvy trainer. We manage her.
The key is to recognize her triggers. Slowly work on her threshold levels and not her set her up to fail by forcing her beyond what she can handle. It's a slow process. Every dog is different and levels of success varies dog to dog.
For the time being I agree that putting her up in a crate/kennel/ other room when unknown or known unliked men enter them home. Work on bonding with her. General training. Get to know her. Let her get to know you and show her that you will always be there to keep her safe. It's only been a month. Don't allow her to make the decision about which males are safe or not safe. Limit access to all males except those that live in the home with her until you have built a strong foundation of trust with her.
Go slow, give her time.
dogma13 and Sabis mom like this.

Ziva 03.07.2013

Last edited by Springbrz; 06-20-2019 at 01:57 PM.
Springbrz is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 03:19 PM
Crowned Member
 
Sabis mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 4,527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Springbrz View Post
I wouldn't assume your rescue has been abused. I have learned that a very large part of these behaviors come from a genetic place without rhyme or reason in most cases.
My girl has been with us since she was 8 weeks old. She has never, ever been mistreated by any human. She isn't fond of most men and an occasional woman. She is very slow to warm up and some men she just won't ever like.
Was she abused by a man....maybe. But don't assume that. It's more likely just genetic unfounded fear. Her fear of storms isn't that uncommon. My girl was fine with them until she was around two. All of the sudden she become deathly afraid of thunder. It's just something you have to work through and not stress over. Actually fear of storms is an indicator that her overall responses are more likely genetically fear based in my opinion.
My girl can be fine with an unfamiliar male but let him put his hands in his pockets then (even causually) pull them out and she will likely, without reason go off, heckle up, lunge, bark and pull back in a split second. She hates males wearing hoodies for know known reason. She can be iffy with hat wearing men as well. Again know reason. It is what she is. We've worked with a personal one on one breed savvy trainer. We manage her.
The key is to recognize her triggers. Slowly work on her threshold levels and not her set her up to fail by forcing her beyond what she can handle. It's a slow process. Every dog is different and levels of success varies dog to dog.
For the time being I agree that putting her up in a crate/kennel/ other room when unknown or known unliked men enter them home. Work on bonding with her. General training. Get to know her. Let her get to know you and show her that you will always be there to keep her safe. It's only been a month. Don't allow her to make the decision about which males are safe or not safe. Limit access to all males except those that live in the home with her until you have built a strong foundation of trust with her.
Go slow, give her time.
Agree with all of this. I've had Shadow since she was 15 days old. I KNOW she has never been abused. Storms, guns, fireworks are all a ok with her, but I can't watch a horror movie because people yelling or screaming sends her over the edge. And now she knows the music will precede screaming. People with glasses on scare her. And the hands in pockets thing! She will try and bite if she is leashed and someone does this!
Genetics are weird.
Springbrz and dogma13 like this.
Sabis mom is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome