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Discussion Starter #1
i have a few questions...i rescued by guy @ 8 weeks old and he had no human interaction before that (was abandoned). hes at 14 months now, so ive had him for a while and from day 1 i began socialization...he has barely improved, and ive done everything i can think of. ive tried group training classes, private training, taking him everyday to different enviorments with lots of treats...ive even consulted with a medical behavior specialist that has him on fluoxetine and trazodone but its not doing much :/

he is GREAT aroudn other dogs, and his fearfulness drops dramatically, so people have been telling me to send him to a board and train school where he can learn from the dogs there how to behave etc.. whats ur opinions on this?
 

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Personally I don't like the idea, there's no guarantee even if the dog learns to behave appropriately with the trainer that it will do the same with you once they're returned to you.

It sounds like you have tried most options in regards to training, socialization, and medication. Some dogs just aren't fixable, we had a GR when I was younger that my family got from a "breeder" at 8 weeks old that was never right in the head. We trained and socialized but as she got older she got worse and we ended up having to euthanize her before her 3rd birthday because she was so unpredictable and was becoming aggressive.

I'm not saying your dog is beyond help, but I think you probably will have to come to the conclusion that he will never be "normal" and for the rest of his life you will have to essentially just manage him. Keeping him out of uncomfortable situations and protecting him from whatever triggers bad reactions whether it be fear or aggression

It's just my opinion, I'm not saying I'm right but just offering an opinion
 

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So is the dog just very uncomfortable when out and about? Describe a situation please.
If in group classes, is he better?

While having well-adjusted "dog-friends" <may> be beneficial, I would be way too concerned about sending this dog off to a CM type trainer. For every good trainer out there I bet there are 9 questionable ones.

Is there a reason you need the dog to be out in public? I ask because if it makes the dog that miserable, and is not necessary, perhaps rethink subjecting him to it?
 

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well right now, the only place the dog is comfortable is inside my house...step 1 foot outside and he is wayyyy too timid. i cant exercise him so he always has energy because i cant take him on walks or play with him outside..he walks with his tail between his legs and i feel like hes going to have a heart attack one day just walking.

i dont "need" him to be outside, but it would be great for both of us if i can exercise him, walk him and have him be OK outside without dying of fear. in the group class, he was good with the humans, tail up, and just happy but u step 1 foot out of the class and he was back to his fearful self...we did 2 group classes 8 weeks each totaling 16 weeks...the problem was, they were too structured and wouldnt let us do anythign except obedience training (he is EXTREMELY well obedient inside)..we needed more behavior training...

these are the 2 schools im looking at:
German Shepherds, Terriers, & Dog Training
Florida Dog Trainer
 

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Personally I'd pass on both of those.

Your dog needs real world positive experiences. You'd be better off finding a trainer who will do private lessons with you out in the real world. Meet a park, take a trip to the pet store. Work on LIFE. It doesn't sound like your dog needs more obedience but to be shown that the world is not scary. That's not going to happen in a commercial board and train setting where the dog likely won't leave the facility.

I've done board and trains with dogs that need confidence. They stayed with me a week or two and went EVERYWHERE with me - to classes, on hikes, to the pet store daily. They were shown the world and praised heavily for being confident in it, not worked with for an hour or two a day with the pack at home or on obedience training.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
yeah ive been talking with the German Shepherds, Terriers, & Dog Training school and they said to come check out their facility a few times before i board and train, and they can show me what exactly they will be doing etc.. they "said" they take them out daily with them etc.. but obviously i wont know for sure
 

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I sent my rescue to a 3-week long residency training course when he was that same age, 14 months. It was an epic fail, as in huge waste of money. The dog was just too bonded to me and didn't care to be handled by the trainer. But that's just my experience with a single dog, and they are all different.

The dog has made leaps and bounds overcoming fears and with his social skills over the past year, though, so don't be too discouraged. And it did help him immensely, that he bonded with my Weimaraner while they were boarded together during residency, since she is highly social and outgoing. So much so, that the trainer used the presence of the Weimaraner as Jack's training reward. He didn't care about the chicken, just where's my big sis?? So, it can help to have a more stable dog set an example. But we didn't get much out of it in the end, really. A $2K sit command, and a GSD who was overjoyed at my return.

You said you've tried private training...did the trainer come to your house and specifically address the issue of going outside?

Maybe a trainer (or even a friend with a balanced dog) willing to visit and bring along another dog would work. If your dog sees the other dog happily going in and out the door, and playing outside, he might get curious enough to venture out himself ;) There's just something about dogs wanting what other dogs have, hehe, and that includes having fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
yeah ive even thought about getting another dog because he is so different around them...

the trainer did work on him outside twice a week for about 6 weeks, and we worked in gradual steps...first starting at the door and towards the end of the program, being at the end of the hall..he made little to no progress, from start to finish. he did bring his dog several times, and my dog would be worryfree and do anything at that point, but if you remove the dog from the equation, he is bad again.
 

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Medication may be an option. I know some people think it is evil but for some dogs it is the difference between quality of life and misery.
 

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yeah ive even thought about getting another dog because he is so different around them...

the trainer did work on him outside twice a week for about 6 weeks, and we worked in gradual steps...first starting at the door and towards the end of the program, being at the end of the hall..he made little to no progress, from start to finish. he did bring his dog several times, and my dog would be worryfree and do anything at that point, but if you remove the dog from the equation, he is bad again.
Be careful making that decision to add another dog. I've done that before and only got myself overwhelmed. It worked out, but I could have thought it through a little better.

I think GSDRaven's on the right track. The dog needs to see it's safe out there in the world. Sounds like you will need a lot of patience, and take baby steps.
 

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Medication may be an option. I know some people think it is evil but for some dogs it is the difference between quality of life and misery.
Agree with Lies. If it is that bad and you havent seen improvement with training alone, medication may be an option to aide in the behavior modification.

I usually try natural calming aids first like Springtime Inc's Stress Free Calmplex which has helped a lot of my rescues become clear enough to benefit from training. But I've seen Prozac (prescribed by a vet) help as well.
 

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Your dog needs real world positive experiences. You'd be better off finding a trainer who will do private lessons with you out in the real world. Meet a park, take a trip to the pet store. Work on LIFE. It doesn't sound like your dog needs more obedience but to be shown that the world is not scary. That's not going to happen in a commercial board and train setting where the dog likely won't leave the facility.
+1

As a rule I'm not a huge fan of board-and-train. It's expensive, it's usually nothing particularly difficult to teach on your own, and it doesn't do a thing to build the dog-human relationship. A low-confidence dog doesn't need to know Sit and Down. It needs to know that it can trust and rely on its handler. You're not going to get that from a board-and-train program; if anything, I'd be worried about damaging the relationship and increasing a fearful dog's stress level by sending it away from its safe person and places.
 

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OP says.... .ive even consulted with a medical behavior specialist that has him on fluoxetine and trazodone but its not doing much :/

I would probably start this off imagining a "bubble" around your house. First, you want the dog comfortable on the front step, then the driveway, yard, across the street, etc. Go up to car. Walk away. Go up to car, open door, walk away.

Assuming the dog will take food, I would feed all of his daily meals on these excursions. Use something like Bil-jac or Natural Balance rolled dog food. Something really good, but nutritious as it will constitute the majority of his calories.

If the dog is comfy in the car, drive down the road, get out, eat and drive home.

As to praise, watch your dog. Make sure that your voice and hands are indeed praise to him. If you are reaching to pet him, and he is backing away.... likely the dog does not see it as a positive. Rewards should be rewarding.

Gradually raise the length and duration being VERY aware of distractions and other people. Sometimes, even as you progress, go back to a "walk outside and get rewarded" just to vary your reinforcements.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
yeah we try to use his favorite treats (either liverwurst or hotdogs), but he just wont accept any food or toys when he is scared. we started extremely small, just the doorway in our house, tossed treats at the doorway trying to work our way outside of the doorway over 4 weeks, no progress, still shaky and scared of the doorway. cars are worse so we usually dont take him on a drive anywhere unless we are giong to a dogpark where he loves it.

if i do add another dog to my household, i can certainly do so have the resources to care for another dog and am willing ot take on the responsiblity if its going to help him, but do you think that is a good option or 1 to steer clear of?
 

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if i do add another dog to my household, i can certainly do so have the resources to care for another dog and am willing ot take on the responsiblity if its going to help him, but do you think that is a good option or 1 to steer clear of?
Maybe, maybe not.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-information/297866-good-reasons-second-pup.html is a recent thread on a similar topic that may be worth a look.

Also, this post struck a chord with me a while ago, so I'll include the link here: Dogs who fail | Ruffly Speaking

Key quote:

In McConnell’s case, her puppy’s job was to nurture and feed the emotional identity of her older dog, a dog who has had a huge number of issues and who is emotionally frail. He is obviously loved in the way that we tend to love frail creatures, with more than a bit of pity and protectiveness. The puppies she’s bringing in do not feel pity and protectiveness toward this weak creature; they just steal his stuff and run off. Dogs are nothing if not realistic about the ability of another living creature to stand up for himself. And so she replaces the first puppy with the second puppy and is now probably going to replace the second puppy with (something?).

I have Feelings about whether it’s a good idea to buy a dog for a dog, but the fact is that regardless of whether I think it’s a good idea or not, the dogs are failing, and they’re very likely to continue to fail. She looks at her older dog and sees the whole swirl of what he was and how hard she worked and how much better he is and how he’s really almost normal now, and feels that protectiveness and that pride and the affection for everything that he is. That’s entirely natural and normal and the way we all feel toward something we’ve pulled back from the brink. There’s nothing wrong about how she feels. Unfortunately, another dog looks at him and only sees a “kick me” sign.
So... consider that, and consider it as carefully and honestly as you can. Will a second dog really help? If that's your primary reason for getting a second dog, and it doesn't work out, what will you do?
 

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if i do add another dog to my household, i can certainly do so have the resources to care for another dog and am willing ot take on the responsiblity if its going to help him, but do you think that is a good option or 1 to steer clear of?
It may be an option but adding a dog for another dog is not usually recommended. And finding the RIGHT dog may prove harder than you realize - you can't pick just any dog for this. You need one that is confident and nurturing. More often than not (in my experience at least) dogs do not show fearful dogs the way but instead will at best ignore them and at worst reprimand them for being fearful. Dogs natural inclination is to want to be with well balanced beings.
 

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i have a few questions...i rescued by guy @ 8 weeks old and he had no human interaction before that (was abandoned). hes at 14 months now, so ive had him for a while and from day 1 i began socialization...he has barely improved, and ive done everything i can think of. ive tried group training classes, private training, taking him everyday to different enviorments with lots of treats...ive even consulted with a medical behavior specialist that has him on fluoxetine and trazodone but its not doing much :/

he is GREAT aroudn other dogs, and his fearfulness drops dramatically, so people have been telling me to send him to a board and train school where he can learn from the dogs there how to behave etc.. whats ur opinions on this?
Your pup sounds so much like my Woolf. I rescued him at 19 weeks as a feral pup. He had been abandoned in a backyard, no human or canine interaction other then when they occasionally put food out for him. More details to the story but would make this to long <sigh> In Sept he will be 3 yrs old.

Private training has been the key for Woolf and for me as well. I had to learn what his signals are that he is being overwhelmed, how to manage him safely and he had to learn to trust me. It took some thinking outside the box to discover what he was most fearful of and begin working from that point. We did finally put him on flouxetine - he is down to half dose now - just so his brain could slow down enough so he could learn.

Woolf is DA, HA but that has GREATLY improved. He even snuggled up to a new vet tech he hadn't met before this morning :D .

All of that to say private training, don't be scared of meds if needed; if flouxetine didn't help there are other medications and patience - so much patience lol. Also look at the protein levels in his food, go for a target of 21-22%. Instead of every day a new environment, go for every other day, simple obedience training on the alternate days and have a complete day off each week.

Wanted to add- adding an additional dog to the home may backfire. Your dog may come to rely and depend on the dog instead. I do have another dog (the only one Woolf tolerates) and we have to be careful that they do not spend a lot of time together. Odd since he is DA lol.
 
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