New foster terrified of toys. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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New foster terrified of toys.


So fuming right now I just want to smash someone. (and I know who I want to start with)
We did the dog shuffle today. Ali went to her foster/forever home and we ended up taking Shadow home to foster. Just like we had planned over the last couple of days. Other then having a vet tech at the rescue center that is terrified of GSD's, it went ok. I ended up helping out the vet more than she did. Both dogs had never, ever been to a vet in their lives so they were a little scared and nervous. Having a helper who was scared/nervous didn't help much, but we got through everything without too much trouble.

It's been a long few days with moving dogs, helping transport, vet visits and neutering appointments. We also managed to get Bravo to his forever home and get our fosters all moved where they needed to be and settled in. (I seriously don't know how my brother and his wife do it with 4 kids who are in every type of activity that exists)

We came home to Cass and Gunnar with Shadow who is the goofiest, calmest, most mellow GSD I've ever seen. He was so cool about everything. Other then being afraid of the linoleum and tile floors, he's been a peach. (He still goes on them, he just doesn't like it much)
I took him outside with our biggest Kong for some fetch and play so he could unstress a bit. I took my pail on the deck with me (I have a 5 gallon pail full of Kongs/tugs/balls and assorted dog toys).
As soon as I pulled the Kong out of the pail, Shadow freaked out. He hit the deck and started crying like I had stepped on his foot. He was trying to roll and show his belly and get away at the same time. I put the Kong away and took out something else. Same reaction. No matter what toy I tried to engage him with, he was terrified.
I guess it kind of makes sense when you consider his story. The lady that owned him (he grew up on a farm, never been inside or to the vet) hired a guy the other day to dig her a hole. He asked how big and what it was for and she told him she was going to shoot the dog because it keeps taking her grandkids toys and running off. She cannot catch him so she wanted to kill him instead. The guy told her to dig her own hole and took the dog instead.
We ended up with him and we'll foster him until he's ready for adoption.

I spent the majority of the afternoon trying to teach him that it was ok to play with toys and I wasn't going to beat him for it. (God only knows what was done to him in the past) Thank goodness for the other 2 dogs and their love of all toys. We're at the point right now where he doesn't cower and he'll take a Kong in his mouth, walk a few steps and drop it. He's more interested in chasing the other dogs while they play. I guess I'm happy with that for now.
Any tips for a dog terrified of toys would be appreciated.
(I'm also considering the old standby, the peanut butter Kong)

I just HATE people.

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours faithful and true~ to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~unknown
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 07:25 PM
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Max, my rescued 4 year old GSD, had almost the same reaction when I showed him toys - specifically a long doube knotted rope toy. He had no idea what to do and rolled over on his belly and then crawled away from me. It took me a few days and then he would grab a rope in his mouth to play for just a few seconds. Now, five months later, he will play with me and will carry the rope around in the yard, running and shaking his head happily. It just takes time and patience.

Shannon

Sabra - female GSD - born April 30, 2012
Sargeant - rescued senior GSD male/foster failure - approximately ten years old (August 2013)
Max - rescued GSD - Dec 22, 2010 to March 7, 2012 - at the bridge
Sable - rescued GSD - at the bridge
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 07:45 PM
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omg...I have no words..
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 08:30 PM
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OMG - the poor guy. No wonder he was scared out of his mind - can't blame him.

Do you think he likes peanut butter? You could smear a little on a toy that maybe isn't as intimidating and see if eventually he'll go up to it to investigate it.

I definitely wouldn't force a toy on him - poor thing. Maybe if you leave some laying out eventually he'll go up to one and eventually learn that toys don't mean you'll be beaten and killed.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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That's what we're going to do. Just leave some out for him. He's also getting to see the other two dogs play with the toys we leave out so he'll pick up on some of that.
I've got a Kong full of PB in the freezer now for tomorrow.

He's figured out that he likes to carry one of my shoes around. He doesn't chew on it or try and wreck it, he just carries it around the house. I guess that's a dog for you.........

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours faithful and true~ to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~unknown
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 09:04 PM
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OMG..embarrassed to be a human! My experience is with a rescue that obviously had never been in a house nor played with/ although I am sure never abused.

He did not know how to play..and my other dog is blind..so no help there. He eventually learned just by us playing with him..but he really did not get it!

Now that we have a puppy, (one year now) who plays constantly..the rescue has learned to play. Its been fun to watch over time!

Your dog should learn how fun it is..I wouldnt make a big deal and just keep including him.

Thanks for rescuing him!
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 09:53 PM
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I have an Aussie, same thing. Specifically, he doesn't play with anything, just leaves everything alone. However, he HATES squeaky toys. He tries to leave the building. Get a pup and try to find everything without squeakers. Spent a good afternoon performing stuffed animal surgery to remove all squeakers and sew them back up.

I too am ashamed that anyone would do that to the GSD. Good for the guy who took the dog and told her what to do with her hole.

Cara -- Central CA
+ Shay -- GSD
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 10:01 PM
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You and that guy that was hired to dig the hole are definitely that dog's heroes!

I just can't wrap my head around that...wow. How could anyone...ugh. It's just so appalling.

I bet leaving the toys out and seeing the other dogs with them will do wonders! As soon as he realizes the world isn't out to get him he'll come out of that shell and play

I can't wait to see pics of that!
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Here's just a quick pic we got of him tonight. He was a mess when we got him home and he's had plenty of brushing (tons of hair in our yard....looked like a bunch of bunnies exploded)
Even with whatever he's been through, he's a total sweetheart and is so BIG. At least he was getting fed.
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He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours faithful and true~ to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~unknown
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 10:13 PM
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Oh jeez! I really do hate people! Thank god that guy took the dog and THANK YOU for fostering him. When I first brought Tessa home it was obvious she had never seen a toy, she had no idea what they were or what to do with them. She wasn't afraid, she just had no clue what they were for. She learned by watching Dharma. Now she just really loves getting the squeaker out of them. Every toy in the house with a squeaker has been dismantled with surgical precision. She will find the squeaker, open a perfect size whole over it and pull it out, then on to the next one.

Debbi-
Mom to:
-Dharma Van Fluffy Pants GSD
-Pippa Von Neurotic Butt- GSD
-Tessa- 11yo GSD- Waiting at the Bridge. RIP sweet girl.
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