Growling problems! Please help! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Growling problems! Please help!

3 days ago I brought my passing grandfather's GSD, Holly home. She has always taken interest in me, and being an avid dog lover with plenty of time and space for her I decided to take her in. She's approximately 3-4 years old, wasn't trained or exercised, or introduced to more than a handful of people. She is very sweet and loving, and the past few days I've been working on training and getting her used to walking 2 times a day. Things are going well; however, whenever my boyfriend enters the room she's in, she growls and runs away from him. I know she is in a new home with lots of changes, but my boyfriend is getting irritated with her and feels like he will get bitten. He's tried getting down to her level, giving her treats, and talking in a high pitched voice. I am determined to make this work, as she had special meaning to my grandfather and I want to give her a forever home. I'm just confused and need some input to try to improve the situation. Thank you for any tips!

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 02:14 AM
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It sounds like she may not have been socialized very much. She is probably very stressed with so much change. I would keep working on her training to start building a good relationship with her. I also wouldn't force anything on her at this point. She is going to have a bad association with anything she feels is forced on her - including your boyfriend. I would start by having your boyfriend completely ignore her - no eye contact, no talking to her, no approaching her, nothing. Pretty much like she doesn't exist. Let her get used to him and approach him at her own pace. She will be much more comfortable and he will have a better chance to get friendly with her after she is used to him and he isn't a scary or threatening presence in her perception.

You can also try starting an association between his presence and something she likes. Stuff a Kong with peanut butter or dry treats. Anytime he walks in the room, he just sits down and hangs out and she immediately gets a good treat. That way, his arrival always means something good is going to happen.

Most importantly, give her plenty of time to adjust. Three days is a VERY short span of time to be asking a dog to be okay with a new person she's never met, especially after a major home change and a less than great socialization experience.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 05:16 AM
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Yes I would have responded exactly as Pax said! Ignoring her in the beginning will be his best bet. The less of a big deal you make about her behavior the better. And not pushing her past threshold, respecting her boundaries will gain her trust.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both! We will try the ignoring tactic and see how it goes! I appreciate your input!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 02:36 PM
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Sweet of you to take her in. If grandpa didn't talk in high pitch voice, it may not help the dog. let the dog take the initiative and drop treats for doing so. If she is ready, have him pet her under her chin, avoid leaning over, direct eye contact or petting the top line as this can be intimidating. Give her room but also private time to "digest" the information she is getting. Chew bones might help with anxiety. This is major for her.
Have your boy friend spend time alone with her and just be in the room with her without putting pressure on her. She evidently loves human contact and if she doesn't have a choice she also may bond with him quicker.
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