Rescued older GSD now need help - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Rescued older GSD now need help

Hello. I'm new to this thread. I rescued a 7 year female GSD from an elderly home where the owners passed away leaving the GSD in the home alone for 2 months. The neighbors came by and fed her, but she was protective of her owners home. After several others tried to adopt her and save her (not able to bond with her), I came by to interview with her (with my daughters) and we seemed to make a connection. I was selected and the next day I brought her home (minus the girls as she was not used to children and I wanted them to be safe). Since we have been together (1 month now), she has been extremely obsessed with my every move. Whining and crying, pacing and panting, and generally distressed unless I'm lying in bed. While I'm sleeping, she checks on me several times throughout the night and I have to speak to her to tell her I'm okay. She likes the girls, but when they are with me (I have 50/50 custody with my ex), she barks at them if they come near my room, or if they call out to me, if they move towards the area I am in. She doesn't growl or act aggressively, just barking and looking at me whining. I don't know how to help her. I hurt for her wondering what happened in her home. I know the woman who owned her did not socialize her or take her outside her home other than vet visits. Any suggestions to help her be at peace will be greatly appreciated. She is very sweet and I believe she can turn around, but I don't understand how to help her at this time. I can't hire a trainer (single mom), but I am willing to put in some time for training myself.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 12:35 PM
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I believe this is called resource guarding. You'll get some great advice here on how to work through it.

Meanwhile, thank you for saving her. Welcome to the forum. Good luck

Carrie

Mac - 4 year old GSD
Bart - 9ish year old GSD/Akita
& 3 Cats Buffy, Rusty & Magoo
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 12:37 PM
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Where are you located at? There might be someone in the area to help you.

Your girl is very insecure, and very bonded to you. You may want to hire a trainer. You don't need to go every week. You go for a lesson, and once you've learned and taught your dog, then you move on to the next step.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 12:40 PM
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She may be resource guarding. You could have the girls feed her and have them walk her, do obedience training with her so she starts to bond with them as well.

I think she's also having separation anxiety as well.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarquez70 View Post
Whining and crying, pacing and panting, and generally distressed unless I'm lying in bed. While I'm sleeping, she checks on me several times throughout the night and I have to speak to her to tell her I'm okay.
I think what is also important here is how you treat her. Have you done any informal training?

Even though she has been through a lot, she needs to know that you are her leader and you will protect her. She also needs to know that it is not acceptable to bark at your children, or wake you up at night.

Sometimes, when one adopts a dog with a rough past, they tend to coddle it to make up for what has happened to them. It's imperative that you do not fall into this trap.

I'm not saying that you're doing this, but from the statement I quoted and put in bold letters, it kind of sounds like you are trying to reassure her when she is acting in an insecure manner. You sound like a very compassionate person by nature and compassionate people try to comfort others.
This may translate into other interactions between the both of you. When she is panting and stressed do you try to reassure her? Dogs do not see this as reassuring and at the same time you may be reinforcing insecure behavior.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
I rescued a 7 year female GSD from an elderly home where the owners passed away leaving the GSD in the home alone for 2 months.
I agree with the above post by Tbarrios but rereading the OP I really noticed the above quoted sentence in relation to her checking on you at night.

First, did her owner pass away leaving the dog alone with the body? (could be why she checks on you at night. How traumatic that would be for her) And second, the dog was suddenly left alone without a single person in the house with her for two months? (she must have been terribly confused as to where everyone went)

That, to me, screams a perfect set up for separation anxiety.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarquez70 View Post
I hurt for her wondering what happened in her home.
It is also important that you do not let your emotions dictate the way you interact with her. Dogs can pick up on how you're feeling very easily, but it doesn't translate in the same way.
If you are acting in an emotionally unstable manner, she will pick up on it and feel as if she has to lead your pack, which could be a reason she is acting so stressed. Being an alpha (I hate to use the word alpha because there is such a negative connotation attached to it) does not come naturally to most dogs and it is very stressful for a dog that is forced into an alpha position.
Show her that you are confident and that you are willing to move forward with her, not live in the past.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbarrios333 View Post
I think what is also important here is how you treat her. Have you done any informal training?

Even though she has been through a lot, she needs to know that you are her leader and you will protect her. She also needs to know that it is not acceptable to bark at your children, or wake you up at night.

Sometimes, when one adopts a dog with a rough past, they tend to coddle it to make up for what has happened to them. It's imperative that you do not fall into this trap.

I'm not saying that you're doing this, but from the statement I quoted and put in bold letters, it kind of sounds like you are trying to reassure her when she is acting in an insecure manner. You sound like a very compassionate person by nature and compassionate people try to comfort others.

This may translate into other interactions between the both of you. When she is panting and stressed do you try to reassure her? Dogs do not see this as reassuring and at the same time you may be reinforcing insecure behavior.
I agree with this but not for the reasons stated.

A strong leader - kind, consistent, clear - as stated above IS what she needs. When you do this you can also be reassuring, but in a different way than what people think.

You can start with doing NILIF. Dogs really thrive on the consistency of this. You don't have to do the big ignore: Nothing in Life is Free

I have a foster right now JUST like this. By just being her boss, kindly, I am reassuring her. She doesn't need to worry, I will take care of things.

When I took her to the eye doctor, that her previous person (placed in a nursing home) also went to, they said she looked SO relaxed and so good - because she was not worried about taking care of things like she was before.

I think this happens to our dogs when they become the caretakers, and it is a very hard habit to let go of for them. And it pops up from time to time and she does resource guard. But when they do let it go, they really can enjoy things.

Congrats and thanks for taking her in, baggage and all!





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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 01:01 PM
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I agree with the above posts. The panting & pacing sounds like separation anxiety to me. Mac used to do this when one of us would leave the room. Or when I take a shower. And I'm prone to coddling...had to force myself to correct the behavior instead by enforcing lay down and/or stay.

Carrie

Mac - 4 year old GSD
Bart - 9ish year old GSD/Akita
& 3 Cats Buffy, Rusty & Magoo
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
I agree with the above post by Tbarrios but rereading the OP I really noticed the above quoted sentence in relation to her checking on you at night.

First, did her owner pass away leaving the dog alone with the body? (could be why she checks on you at night. How traumatic that would be for her) And second, the dog was suddenly left alone without a single person in the house with her for two months? (she must have been terribly confused as to where everyone went)

That, to me, screams a perfect set up for separation anxiety.
Wow that makes a lot of sense.

Carrie

Mac - 4 year old GSD
Bart - 9ish year old GSD/Akita
& 3 Cats Buffy, Rusty & Magoo
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