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Hi everyone, we brought our boy Griffin home on Friday. We got him from Carissima kennels and he is 1 yr old. He is very gently and timid so far. He eats out of our hand and is good with our 3 young children (8,5,2). He sleeps in his crate. I’m just feeling overwhelmed and I think he is too. He just seems so sad. How long does it take for him to adjust to us and our home? Weeks, months? Also, they offer training on Sunday morning at Carissima kennels and I want to bring him. Can we go on Sunday or will it be too soon to go back and confuse him even more?
Any advise to help us survive these next few weeks and help him adapt his much welcomed:)
 

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Why are you overwhelmed? You said he's timid? Does that mean he's laid back? I'm not understanding the cause of the anxiety.
 

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What a handsome boy! I imagine that it is very confusing for him to be away from everything that he knew. I would expect it to take a couple of weeks for him to adjust and start to bond with you. I'd take it slow and gentle, and try not to overwhelm him with lots of new people and activities right at first. You might want to search the forum for the term "two week shut down." Congratulations on your new GSD! I bet he'll start coming out of his shell in no time!
 

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I agree with the two week shut down, and maybe even a bit more. These are smart dogs and if they don't understand what is going on they can decide, little is safer. Give him time and space to observe the house rules, no visitors yet, just hanging out. Encourage what you like to see happening and give fair warning and corrections for anything you don't like.
 

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Griffin is a handsome and behaving so well, though I agree with you, he looks sad. As the others have posted, he has a lot to adjust to, and so is feeling his way. I suggest you talk to the breeder. Perhaps Griffin has a favorite toy or activity or treat or type of bed to make him feel at home. It also would be a good time to ask the breeder if the Sunday training is too soon.
 

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Did he spend his entire first year with Carissima or was he a return from another family? If he has been moved around a couple of times he will be very uncertain for a while. I agree with the two-week shutdown and checking with the breeder re: some of his favourite things and when to begin training. He is a very handsome guy and with lots of love and a good routine he will bond to you and settle in to his new family.
 

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Wait on the training stuff, especially as it is back at the kennel.


And the big question is "Why?" Why was he available at 1 yo? Then these others: What was his first year like? How was he treated at the kennel? So you need to know his biography...
 

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He is adorably handsome! And three days isn't much of anything, he's going through a lot right now and it's not like you can sit down and explain to a dog what's going on and why. Even moves for us where we are fully aware and prepared for what's going on is very stressful! Just give him time and be patient, don't ask a lot of him just love on him and let him become accustomed on his terms. Did he come from a setting before with children? If not, three can be extra stressful in an already unfamiiar environment.
 

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ENJOY, Keep loving and praising rewarding him. He will only be able to love you back. Don't stress it's not good for the dog or the ALPHA in the house. Pet him give him tasty treats and just have him do easy tasks like sit, nice, come, and let him adjust. We want to see another picture in 2 weeks
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Did he spend his entire first year with Carissima or was he a return from another family? If he has been moved around a couple of times he will be very uncertain for a while. I agree with the two-week shutdown and checking with the breeder re: some of his favourite things and when to begin training. He is a very handsome guy and with lots of love and a good routine he will bond to you and settle in to his new family.
He spent his entire 1st year with Carissima. He seems to be slowly getting used to us. He follows me around everywhere I go and seems to be warming up to us.
 

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Wait on the training stuff, especially as it is back at the kennel.


And the big question is "Why?" Why was he available at 1 yo? Then these others: What was his first year like? How was he treated at the kennel? So you need to know his biography...
Rob from Carissima Kennels was going to keep him for obedience and shows but when our family went to visit Carissima we told Rob & Michelle that we were not looking for an 8 week old puppy because we have 3 children and wanted an older puppy or young adult. We said we were willing to wait until one came available if that happened. He mentioned that he had Griffin and Grace (his sister) that he had kept back. After meeting both of them, we decided on Griffin because he was really laid back. He is really good so far. He lived at the kennel next to their house and got plenty of socialization with all the visitors and their 2 children.
However, this is his 1st time living in the house with us...
 

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He is adorably handsome! And three days isn't much of anything, he's going through a lot right now and it's not like you can sit down and explain to a dog what's going on and why. Even moves for us where we are fully aware and prepared for what's going on is very stressful! Just give him time and be patient, don't ask a lot of him just love on him and let him become accustomed on his terms. Did he come from a setting before with children? If not, three can be extra stressful in an already unfamiiar environment.
He was around the Breeder's children alot but did not go inside the house with them. He stayed in the kennel with all the other dogs (in their individual pens). So, you are right, it is a big adjustment for him.
 

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Patience

None of the five shepherds we have had were any older than 6 mos when we brought them home so it was a pretty fast adjustment period for them. A 1 year old will definitely take a little longer because of the length of time he had in his last environment. LOTS OF LOVE and work him hard. Walk him a lot! Walking is absolutely the best way to bond with a dog. Always remember that this is a breed that you can not sit on a shelf and ignore. They are intelligent, hard working, active animals that are happy when they are performing tasks.
 

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Griffin is a handsome and behaving so well, though I agree with you, he looks sad. As the others have posted, he has a lot to adjust to, and so is feeling his way. I suggest you talk to the breeder. Perhaps Griffin has a favorite toy or activity or treat or type of bed to make him feel at home. It also would be a good time to ask the breeder if the Sunday training is too soon.
I have bought Kong's (and filled with treats), balls, frisbee, etc.. (spent a fortune at Petsmart) and he does not want to play with them. He just likes to run around the yard when we are outside. He is good with my boys (8 & 5 1/2) but he nips at my daughter's clothes (around he wrists). He seems to want to play because she his height. what is the best way to correct this? I gave him a firm no and he stopped but then starts again. I do not leave him alone with any of the kids, anywhere at all just to be sure.
 

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Thank you for all your replies. Griffin broke out of his crate 3x yesterday. He bent the metal and was waiting for me lying on the laundry room floor when I got home. He has been in there about 2 hours (10am-noon) because I had to go out. Last night, about 10pm tried the crate again and he was out in 5 mins. So I set him up in the laundry room (large room & all finished) and put a baby gate in front of door. He slept well and when i went to see him this morning at 6am, he was still asleep. I put a baby monitor in there so I could hear if he cried or anything but he was quiet all night.

So today is our 5th day with Griffin and he seems to be slowly coming along. He follows me all over the house and the yard (1 acre) and it's all fenced in. The only thing that concerns me so far is that he nips at our 2 yr old's clothing (arms). Maybe it's because she is his height and my son's are taller (8 & 5 1/2). He seems to want to play with her. I never, ever leave them alone together (or any of the kids). How do I correct this properly?
 

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It sounds like he is trying to bond with your little one. Keeping a close eye is a good thing but I would let your 2 year old pretty much do what he wants under supervision of course, but I feel they are going to be great biddies. Let the little guy give him treats or even put down his food. I think you have a very good dog their.

I really would not be concerned with his mouthing her clothes @ this point. I would just say no nicely actually because I don't feel he would take it any further. He is just wanting to get her attention to play I think.
 

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Thanks for the update and that Griffin is getting more used to his new home. I can't advise with the issue with your youngest since I have no experience with that, but this older thread starting with this post has some suggestions:
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-behavior/92052-nipping-herding-children.html#post1255619

My other suggestion which my neighbors do who have a husky/border collie cross and a 5 year old and 2 year old would be since Griffin was kept in a kennel, is to consider having an outdoor kennel for the times that you are gone and also when the children are outside and you can't watch them or he is in a mood not to leave the youngest alone. A one year old dog is still young and has a lot of puppy in him also, plus as you have mentioned, he was not used to being all the time in the house or outside with the kids.
 

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It sounds like he is trying to bond with your little one. Keeping a close eye is a good thing but I would let your 2 year old pretty much do what he wants under supervision of course, but I feel they are going to be great biddies. Let the little guy give him treats or even put down his food. I think you have a very good dog their.

I really would not be concerned with his mouthing her clothes @ this point. I would just say no nicely actually because I don't feel he would take it any further. He is just wanting to get her attention to play I think.
I don't agree with this advice and it is risky. In my opinion he is testing the 2 year old because he feels confident enough with her. This can lead to a bite. Keep the dog on leash, inside and outside, for a week at least so he doesn't have to make his own decisions and to get more confident. Don't let him run loose in the yard with kids present either. Outside he can be on a long line. All your kids are way too young to be around him when he is off leash for now. You barely know this dog.
Quote from Suzanne Clothier: "A new dog needs answers to: Who is in charge, what are the rules and where do I fit in?" If you don't answer these, he will.
He should be crate trained gently. Since he is OK in the laundry room, put the open crate, no door, in there with his bed and let him decide. Look up 'crate games'. It is beneficial for any dog to be able to be crated. He seems like a kind but confused (for now) dog. Also do not baby him. Clear information is what he needs. That's how dogs thrive.
 

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You could mention to the breeder about the clothes tugging and see what they say. Carissima is an excellent kennel and they certainly want to make sure their dogs have successful placements. If Griffin is following you around and wanting to be with you then the bonding process is beginning. As far as the toys go, you may have to teach him to play. That may not have been part of his experience.. The same goes for his crate - he has been in a kennel with a run so the gated laundry room is likely more familiar and comfortable to him.
We have had three adult dogs come into our family and all have been amazing companions and wonderful with kids. DH and I adopted a female who was returned to the breeder due to too many changes in her first family - she was not getting enough attention and it wasn't fair to her. Shadow was terrific with my teenaged kids and became a certified Therapy Dog. One daughter adopted a GSD at 8 months, always had been kenneled outside at the breeder and was a bit of a wild child. She adjusted quickly and well, loved the babies who arrived after her and is an amazing family dog. The same goes for the other daughter who took in a rescue sent to Canada from the US. We couldn't ask for a more devoted companion to her kids than Abby. Griff will make progress every day now and be a delight in your lives! Keep us posted on how he is doing.
 
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