German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,451 Posts
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!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,826 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,029 Posts
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.

Welcome to the forum:welcome:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,423 Posts
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 :smile2: ! 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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
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
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,826 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,423 Posts
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! :grin2: I think you'll find your GSD will be in a very different league than the Yorkie.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,839 Posts
Congrats on your new addition! I'd give her time to decompress before making any judgement calls on her overall temperament. That is a LOT of change in her short little life, and who knows how the first adopted family dealt with her puppiness, you know?

Aside from the great advice here, I'd add she does not need to "meet" your whole network of family and friends straight away. Give her a good few weeks to bond with your family.They do not need "dog friends" either. They need a close and secure bond with you, your spouse, and child. Taking the time to give her this quiet bonding/getting to know you period will pay off in spades.

Leerburg has some great videos on playing with puppies. Play with her, play "relationship games" like tug.If you can mange to be the most fun, interesting, and trustworthy thing in her life you will get her focus and that will set your foundation for obedience.

I got my last puppy at 5 months and I wish I followed my newly understood advice above lol I adapted what I learned when he was like 7 months old, and it has so paid off. So you have a great headstart at only 4 months!

OH..last thing. Pictures, we like pictures lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,839 Posts
Usually a rescue has other dogs in household meet first, before approval, but you did mention things sound fishy.

How is your yorkie with other dogs? Standard advice is to take a neutral walk together (with another family member walking your yorkie) and keep the intro as low key as possible. Move into the house after they are comfortable outside.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,040 Posts
Congrats on your new addition. My thought is to forget any formal training just get her used to u and her initial surroundings, home yard etc. Routine is vital for a pup will take time but that will help her adjust. The pup is young so that’s on your side. Socializing is important but getting her settled first is most important. Just take baby steps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,705 Posts
Rescue perspective here. When you adopt from a shelter (not a rescue), you have to do your own temperament test and assume that you'll take a dog home with health issues due to the poor vetting at most dog pound-type facilities. If you are new to the breed, and the shelter staff doesn't know the breed, the odds are not stacked in your favor on reading the temperament.



I would suggest that you pay for an hour of a good breed-knowledgeable trainer's time to meet you at the shelter to evaluate the pup before you decide. You don't have the background to know whether she's going to bounce back or always be fearful. Has the pup been kid tested? Do you know whether she even likes kids? Or fears them?



As much as I'm happy for this pup that she's getting a home, she's not what most reputable rescues would select to match for a breed-newbie home with a 6 y.o. and an elderly small dog. You are biting off a very big project, and it worries me. Your experience is with a tiny dog, and his is a whole other world.


I know you have GREAT intentions, and I love that you want to get her out of this miserable shelter situation. Another return would be devastating for her though. Please know that you are in the demographic that is the MOST LIKELY to return a pup (inexperienced owners with a young child) -- statistically, it just is what it is. So the deck is stacked against you -- it's not impossible, but the odds aren't in your favor. They all say, "That won't be us." Then two months later, it somehow is. The reason reputable rescues don't tend to put pups in homes with young kids is that they've all been burned by these placements -- the parents get frazzled by the constant destruction, the pup plays with its teeth, the kids cry because it hurts, the parents decide to protect their child, so the pup is bounced out of the home. And that's a normal confident pup -- not what you're adopting, which is even more challenging!



I have rehabbed countless fearful GSDs through careful, slow confidence building. We succeed because we have a very quiet home, gentle dogs, and no kids. It takes as long as it takes. Kids can easily overwhelm scared dogs just by being kids -- imagine what it will be like for this dog the first time your child has friends over and they cut loose hollering and running around? When we speak of "management," these normal everyday events are what we're describing.



Young families always want puppies because they think it will be nice for the pup to "grow up" with kids. They could actually increase their odds of success with a different kind of match -- an EASY dog. I have dozens and dozens of families like yours that were matched with a slightly older (maybe 2-3 y.o.) dog that a foster family has already house trained, taught to stop mouthing, and put some basic OB on, selected for a bomb-proof, go-anywhere temperament. One of these dogs I placed became a peewee soccer team's mascot, at every game -- she's magnificent with kids, and we knew that because she'd been fostered with kids!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,839 Posts
That is a beautiful pic! Listen to Magwarts advice above. You have already committed to the dog, so just get a breed knowledgeable trainer to come to your home asap and help you get on the right track.

I did adopt a 4 month old once, and I have 3 small kids. I knew what to expect though and the other 2 dogs in the house were sturdy large well trained and behaved adults. I STILL got a trainer in for the pup. Can't stress enough how beneficial it is. Good luck OP!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,518 Posts
There is that two week shutdown that is mentioned on here that sounds like your pup will benefit from. The best socialization is to have fun with your pup. We have parks and beaches (not dog places but for people) that allow leashed dogs. These places let’s you having fun with your pup and at all the same time he is getting used to many different things, people, smells , kids screaming and laughing, playgrounds, swans , seagulls water etc. All is fun and no pressure. To me is the best ways. I bought some cheap agility equipment it made for great Christmas and birthdays gifts. I taught the kids to interact with the pups to have fun with pups as gsds are mouthy so was a fun way kids can enjoy those land sharks. We learned how to teach them through tunnels and to climb cat walks and jump over jumps. Walk through hooks hoops. Nothing to big as a pup. Just fun things you and do with your son and pup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
868 Posts
How do I introduce my 9 year old yorkie to her? I’m getting nervous lol

Has your Yorkie always been the only dog in your house?....how is your dog around other dogs?....Vets office with strange dogs etc........even if you're unsure how things will go.....i'll say this....If you're nervous with good reason OR no reason....both dogs WILL sense the emotion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Hey everyone ? few hour update. I have a baby gate for the bathroom so she can see us but the dogs can’t hurt each other. When they initially met (neutral walk outside) Miss Thang (aka Kiara the new puppy lol) was trying to romp around and my Ella wasn’t having it. She growled and nipped and Miss Thang jumped back. She’s weary of Ella now but I think that’s ok for now.

She cries and barks and whines while in the bathroom unless I’m standing by her. When she quiets down I’ve been rewarding her with a treat. Right now she’s quiet.

She has pooped and peed all indoors (once by the door and twice in the bathroom)

I am waiting for her crate which should be delivered tonight. I will walk her again soon.

We have a very reputable K-9 unit trainer coming to us for $95 a lesson (does that sound reasonable?) but he can’t make it out until June 20th... what steps can I take until then?

Thanks again everyone. Her tail finally went up, but only when she was chasing our Ella dog ??
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top