Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Denver Colorado USA
Re: Was my 11 month old GSD abused?
There is always a danger in trying to second guess what went on in a dog's previous home, because what you come up with may not be correct. It could be that she wasn't socialized with any dog OTHER than the Doberman - which means she is overwhelmed in a situation like a dog park. Way too much activity and way too many dogs. I would start her off slowly - just one dog at a time, best would be a low key guy who is non-threatening. Just go for a walk as a start, and keep some distance between you. If it goes well, you can slowly decrease the distance until (hopefully) you are walking side by side. If you haven't done any formal OB training with her, it is important that you do so. All dogs, even the best ones, benefit from learning manners (and it's good for people too!) I personally believe in group classes, as they teach confidence in being with others and learning under distraction. Look for a good trainer in your area, and discuss the issues you have up front before beginning. Avoid muzzles and electric collars - look for a person who makes learning fun and positive. (Another note on muzzles - taking your dog out wearing one will send the wrong message to passers-by that you have a vicious dog, because that's what they will think.)
The shoe issue - well, someone could have hit her with one I suppose. Again, you really don't know for sure. Our last GSD (adopted at age 3) used to go over the top every time I struck a match. I found the best way of dealing with it was to ignore his behavior - I had to strike matches occasionally and he had to put up with it. Eventually he got used to it and it no longer bothered him.....your girl will also learn that your picking up a shoe (slowly) is not going to result in any consequence for her.
Good luck - you sound as though you have a wonderful little girl who just needs some confidence building, and socialization with her canine counterparts...
Conor GSD - adopted from this Board
Blue GSD - waiting at the Bridge