Adopting a shelter GS - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-04-2018, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Adopting a shelter GS

Hi all! Tomorrow we are picking up a 4 month old German Shepard puppy. I am hoping you can help me. What we know about her history is this- 1) she was with a breeder- they had ‘too many puppies’ and they were not able to sell her so they took her to the shelter (I know- it sounds fishy to me too but whatever- it’s what information the shelter had) 2) a family adopted her and returned her because she’s ‘destructive, chews, and nips’ (my take is... she’s 4 months old... she’s a baby... all puppies do that if I’m not mistaken!)

Ok- so we interacted with her and she’s INCREDIBLY timid. Not roll on her back timid but hiding behind a bench tail between legs timid. She showed no aggression whatsoever. She didn’t want to play but she allowed us to pet her and feed her some treats from our hands.

I am thinking her timidity is more so due to her surroundings... rather than a personality trait- but who knows!

So- we have a 6 year old and my husband and myself. Is it too late to socialize her properly? What are your real ecommendations to socializing her and making her feel safe and welcome? Any tips or tricks to help us get through the first few weeks? Thanks!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 12:29 AM
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Thanks for rescuing her! My advice would be take things real slow, let her adjust in her own time. It's impossible to judge whether her timidity stems from her surroundings or her heritage, but either way you cannot "force" socialization. I took in a 1.5 yr old female GSD that seemed not very sociable and a little timid. It took her a full 3 months to begin to be comfortable enough with her new surroundings to start to come out of her shell. And it was a couple years before she was completely over whatever it was that caused her to act that way. So again, just show this puppy that she's safe and that she can trust you always, then in time you'll see her true nature. Congratulations on the new puppy, and welcome!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 05:59 AM
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I suspect your pup will always be suspicious, but over time will learn to relax and be comfortable and playful with the family. GSDs, even with the best up bringing and breeding, have ups and downs as they mature their first two years, so patience and a good sense of humor will be your allies.

If you can find a good trainer that is knowable about GSDs or herding dogs. Have the three of you go to the classes. The more consistency in your home rules about what the pup can and cannot do, the better for all of you.

And don't let the 6 year old play too rough with the pup. A GSD can crunch! They'll need time to learn each other's limits.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the responses. So you all are not saying it’s a bad idea- just to give her time etc? I have read they can be some of the most friendly and wonderful family dogs. We don’t want to undertake something that is an insane challenge- but I still don’t think we will see the real personality until we get her home.

So to begin socializing- just bring her out places right? Stores, parks, farmer’s markets? And find a trainer?

The trainer I spoke to on the phone said he does an intense 2 week training where he takes the dog home but it’s $2300!!!! Then there are other packages but cheaper but even those are $600... I don’t mind paying that total over the course of her teaching but all at once is hard!
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 07:42 AM
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IMHO board and trains are not a good idea for young puppies in general. This pup has been bounced around and unable to bond with anyone. Sending off to a board and train takes away from your bonding time that is so important at this age. Let her become part of your family first. Early training doesn't need to be intense to be successful. It's the consistency of expectations over time. There will be ups and downs going through the growing and maturing process.
Be loving and kind and firm and fair. I know people dislike comparing pets to humans but it is the a good point of reference. You wouldn't expect a baby/toddler to get all the rules and behave like and adult in a couple of months. Why would one expect a puppy would get all the rules and behave like an adult in two weeks. Growing up right takes time and proper guidance. And, like humans some are more difficult than others.
I do recommend a good breed experienced trainer. A group class or one to one training.
A good breed experienced trainer can cost between $60-$100 an hour for private sessions depending where you live. But the benefit of individualized family training is well worth the cost.
For now just let her settle in to her new home and keep expectations low for the next couple of weeks. Work on house training if she needs that and bonding with your family.
Only supervised interaction with your 6 year old. Puppy teeth hurt and small humans can be unfairly harsh when they get ouchies from a pup or become afraid.

If you are comfortable giving your general location suggestion for good trainers in your area may come your way.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Hi! Yes I live in Clermont Fl. I can handle paying weekly or per class but all upfront I don’t have. I already spent $200 (total) on her crate, chew toys (they said she’s a massive chewer), food, etc. And yes, my son will be supervised with her. He’s ecstatic to get her but we will be having a family meeting of sorts to speak about expectations and that if she nips him it’s because she’s learning. The way We stopped our Yorky from nipping was to leave one hand normal and put butter on the other hand. When she would nip the normal hand we would yelp like a puppy would… When she would lick the butter here and we would praise her. It really worked.

I am in Clermont Fl and can travel to Orlando. Any help is appreciated!
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neochiq View Post
Hi! Yes I live in Clermont Fl. I can handle paying weekly or per class but all upfront I don’t have. I already spent $200 (total) on her crate, chew toys (they said she’s a massive chewer), food, etc. And yes, my son will be supervised with her. He’s ecstatic to get her but we will be having a family meeting of sorts to speak about expectations and that if she nips him it’s because she’s learning. The way We stopped our Yorky from nipping was to leave one hand normal and put butter on the other hand. When she would nip the normal hand we would yelp like a puppy would… When she would lick the butter here and we would praise her. It really worked.

I am in Clermont Fl and can travel to Orlando. Any help is appreciated!
HI there fellow Floridian! I'm over in Oviedo ! I'm curious who your board and train trainer is? There are so many wonderful reasonably priced trainers around here that aren't board and train and likely a better option for you and your family. $2000 for basic training is insane!!!! You should do it yourself and bond with your dog and pay a fraction of that. Part of owning a dog is understanding the dog, how to give the commands proper, etc... not some pre trained robot that comes home and you expect it to be perfect. Look into Dogwilling, dogsmith of Northeast Orlando for great socialization and beginner classes, they also offer a CGC program! I also love The University of Doglando for beginner classes and more advanced, Tina really knows her stuff! And if you need an expert in GSD handling and IPO Ed Reyes out in Chuluota, he trains Orlandos police dogs! Bring your son to the classes so he can also learn how to handle her. I wouldn't recommend putting butter on your hand, sounds like a very outdated method, gross (lol), likely not to work with a GSD, and could make the pup sick. PM me if you'd like to know more about the great hiking trails in our area and some good places to socialize your pup.
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SQUIRREL!

Last edited by GandalfTheShepherd; 06-05-2018 at 08:49 AM.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Hi! Thanks for the information. The $2300 was for boot camp- where the dog leaves for 2 weeks for rigorous training. It wouldn’t matter if that was the best option as I can’t afford it lol!

I will look in to those names! And I trained my yorkie myself- but I think this pup will need a little more guidance 😂

My son is homeschooled so he would be going to all the classes with me anyhow lol
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 09:00 AM
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keep us informed. We'll give you all kinds of advice (good and bad) but we are here to help. Of course face to face help is always the best. Videos are good, too. Sometimes it is surprising the mistakes you see in your own handling when you watch yourself as an outsider.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neochiq View Post
Hi! Thanks for the information. The $2300 was for boot camp- where the dog leaves for 2 weeks for rigorous training. It wouldn’t matter if that was the best option as I can’t afford it lol!

I will look in to those names! And I trained my yorkie myself- but I think this pup will need a little more guidance 😂

My son is homeschooled so he would be going to all the classes with me anyhow lol

That's good! Yes most those classes are $150 for a 6-8wk course, pretty reasonable and you get a lot out of it. Classes are more about training the person than the dog! I think you'll find your GSD will be in a very different league than the Yorkie.

SQUIRREL!
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