First-time GSD owners getting dog from bad situation - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-13-2016, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by selzer View Post
One thing you have to understand. A fearful dog is not necessarily going to be a biter. It sounds like she would rather hide than aggress. You still may have to manage her when strangers are present, carefully especially at first, but she may really settle down once she trusts you.
That's true, but this dog had never bitten before. We're still not sure why she did.
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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice y'all. We got her home tonight and all is well considering. The weirdest thing is that she LOVES the car. I sat in the back with her on our two hour trip home, and she didn't bark or act up at all. She even climbed in the front seat with my fiancé and let him handle her and pet her while he was driving. It was the craziest thing. She was like a completely different dog, went to sleep in my lap.

As soon as we pulled her out of the car, she was skittish again and would not potty in the yard. I waited with her on her leash for about thirty minutes. My fiancé went inside and then sat on the porch. She eyed him, but didn't try to bolt. He is able to put a treat in front d her and she eats it. She will also take a treat out of his hand if she is inside her crate, but not if she is outside the crate. She explored the house on her leash. Her leash skills need some work. While we were outside she was tugging me a bit more than I expected. I gave her a stern "no" when she was trying to lead me around, and she sat. When I reached down to scratch her ears, she cowered. Someone has been saying "no" to this dog and then hitting her as a consequence. We are trying to eliminate "no" from our vocabulary for now, but even if I speak it in conversation to my fiancé or our cats, the dog thinks it's towards her.

On that note, the introduction with our cats went well. We let them out of their safe room after we got the dog crated, and my male ran over to check her out. She didn't react to him besides watching him. She didn't even get up or bark. He laid down right next to her crate. My female cat is a little more suspicious, but she doesn't mind being in the same room and has been watching the dog from a distance. I know this might be a different story when the dog is not in her crate, but we do not intend to let them be in the house freely together for several weeks.

We've named her Ophelia. Here she is in the front seat with my fiancé.
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 01:48 AM
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If done right, she can turn into a perfect dog. I wouldn't push her to do anything, let her do so at her own pace. It's great that she takes treats from your fiancé. She has to learn to trust again.
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 02:34 AM
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Someone has been saying "no" to this dog and then hitting her as a consequence. We are trying to eliminate "no" from our vocabulary for now, but even if I speak it in conversation to my fiancé or our cats, the dog thinks it's towards her.

Could you use a different language for 'no', e.g. german (nein)
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 09:19 AM
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Make a sticky

This thread has LOTS of GOOD information. Especially since it seems - to me anyway - there are more rescued dogs coming thru with issues like this.

I vote for this being made a sticky. There is info in the thread that is worth reading multiple times.

For the OP - I agree with changing the commands - either different language or words. Observe if she has picked up any hand signals. Those may or may not need to be changed as well.
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post #16 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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That's a great idea, we are practicing "nein" instead of no. I have taken her out on her leash twice this morning for extended periods of time (about forty-five minutes both times), but still no potty. She has seemed excited to explore the yard, so maybe she is too distracted to think about peeing. She is alert to other dogs barking in the neighborhood and cars driving past, but has not tried to chase any of our neighbor dogs or bolt at any unfamiliar noises.

She ate a bowl's worth of kibble out of my hand this morning and has been drinking from her water bowl well. I can say "Ophelia, come" from anywhere in the house and she will be right by my side in a few seconds. She also sits on command as her previous owner said. I have not tried anything more complicated, but it seems that she has been trained adequately well in the past. Right now she is exploring the front half of our house (I have my cats confined to the back side). It looks like she has opened up to being out in the home after my fiance left for work. While he was here this morning, she wanted to be in her crate.

I guess the only thing I'm worried about is that she hasn't peed or pooped yet. She went before we left her previous owner's last night around 8:30, but hasn't been since then. I don't want to make a habit of accidents in the house.

She also just made herself at home on my bed. I haven't considered whether we want the dog in our bed or not, but I don't really want to discourage her from being on the furniture if that's where she feels safe. Do most of you allow your dogs on the furniture? Our cats sleep with us at night, so that might get pretty crowded.

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post #17 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 11:46 AM
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I have nothing to add...just wanted to say thank you for helping this remarkable, sensitive creature. I honestly teared up when reading about her reaction to the word 'no.' It constantly amazes me how my boy is so sensitive...this big, strong, courageous, confident, intact male reads intention and emotion and doesn't need strong corrections. He'll run to his crate if I even get mad at him.

I can't imagine what your girl has been through in her former life, but the name Ophelia means 'help' in here's to her bright new future!
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post #18 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, she just had her first successful pee and poop in the backyard of the day and was highly praised for it. She was looking at me like I'm a total idiot for getting so excited over some defecating in the yard.

We cuddled on the bed all morning while I was planning a grocery list for the week, and now she has retreated to her crate for a nap. I think we are building a good relationship, but she still ducked and cringed when I moved my hand too fast towards her to put her leash on just now to take her outside.

Her former owner told me last night that she thinks Ophelia's tail has been broken at some point in her life. She frequently tucks it between her legs, but even when it's not tucked, it looks a little crooked to me and she never wags it. I'm starting to wonder if she is even able to wag it, or maybe she is just still shy? We want to get her to the vet pretty soon, but I want her to understand who we are a little better before we take her to yet another unfamiliar and scary place. If she doesn't seem to be in immediate pain, is this tail thing a serious concern right now?
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post #19 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 12:52 PM
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I love those pictures. She is already adjusting very well to your fiancé, so just getting her into a new place seems to have worked out well for her. Keep doing what you are doing. The foster I mentioned earlier did very well in her forever home. They ended up getting a second rescue a few years later because they were so happy with her.
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post #20 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 07:33 PM
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Take her on lots of car rides.

It sounds like you already made the decision on the bed. I think it should work itself out with the cats. They may not want to be on the bed with the dog, and in my experience, dogs generally get too hot in the bed with people in it, so they scadaddle soon after people get in. Usually.

Only when Babs is in heat, then she stays in the bed ALL night Not sure why that is exactly.

Right now don't worry about anything but pottying outside. Training a day after you got a dog out of a questionable situation -- that is too much too fast, yes, even basic commands. And, if you want you can change her name. I use Eh! instead of No!

To get the dog to trust you, you need to give her space, and you have be calm and confident, and move deliberately with respect to how your body language is likely to affect her. I don't mean you are going to have to dance around her forever. I mean for the next few days, don't grab the collar, don't quickly pet the top of her head. Show her the leash, and ask, "Do you want to go outside?" Then bring your hand to her muzzle and reach from the side of the face to her collar and clip. Without using a squeaky, high pitched voice, say happily to her, "We have to put your leash on, if we want to go outside."

Do EVERYTHING matter-of-factly. You want her to gain confidence in you, and if you seem to know what you are doing, are consistent, and are calm, she will relax you and trust you.

I had to change my yelling at Frodo, because Arwen didn't like that. I did not want her to be afraid of me. Frodo could care less. You could hit that boy with a 2x4 and he would just think you wanted to show him a new game. You could yell, whatever. Arwen was different. She didn't like harsh tones or yelling, and ya know what? Neither do I. It is so much more pleasant NOT to yell. You certainly do not need to yell to get a GSD to mind you. Eh-eh, and then tell them, My Garbage can, you know you are not supposed to be in there, with your disapproving tone.

The voice is a spectacular instrument. It is an instrument for all occasions, and can be used for the whole spectrum of communication scenarios. Your dog is learning your tone as your language. This is good stuff. You need to learn what she needs, what makes an effective corrective tone that will not come close to shutting her down. What is an effective happy tone that will not put her over the edge.

Good luck. I think you have made a good start. Now just learn her.
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