German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Would be interested in some feedback on a dog.

"Lady" is not a GSD - she's about a year old, her mother (beagle X heeler), her and 3 siblings were left to fend for themselves. I've read some fear/abuse issues in these guys from early on...the male not so much just no one wants him. :-( One little gal came around very quick - then there's this one.

It took about 2-3 weeks to touch her...this is sitting on the ground hand feeding her kibble to teach her not everyone would hurt her. When I finally laid hands on her she set to screaming as if her life depended on it and was a short step from fear biting - I held her securely but not tight and got her into the enclosed yard. It took about 2 months before she'd come up to me and initiate contact beyond feeding.

Fast forward to now - she's fairly well adjusted inside, she's learned to get along with others, is still fearful but not nearly what she was. We've noticed she's more fearful of men. She's gotten to where she's defensive when my other half comes in - barks and growls even when he comes into the room. He's threatened her for doing it which is NOT helping the situation as it gives her a reason to distrust him. It doesn't matter if she's in a crate or just in the room - she'll react the same way. If he ignores her she'll come up wanting attention and treats.
Last week her sister got her head stuck in a water container and while we were trying to grab and restrain her to get it off Lady ducked in and nipped him. In her mind - sister's panic screaming and scared, threatening person standing over her = she needs help. Of course that isn't excusing it - and it's a situation we've got to get dealt with. There's few people who come visit but she has now learned to get over the fence and come around front...so already is seldom let out without a leash or direct supervision.

She's never been anywhere as far as in public other than her time roaming and was too afraid to do anything. She's also moving up the pack rank - testing who she can back down and who not. This has been mostly real subtle but is happening. She is not yet spayed as with 5 of them (plus one of mine) it's not financially able to do this yet. Even doing just her means no one eats for a month - so when it comes to a surgery for one or all eating for a month I'm picking the latter (no lectures on it will help).

I've pretty much figured she'll be a permanent resident as placing her out is highly unlikely...but would like to lower her stress level. The passive/aggressive stuff is her #1 problem.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,368 Posts
It sounds like you've made ALOT of progress with her, which you are to be commended for.

I think YOU hit the nail on the head, in saying, when your other half comes in IF he ignores her, she ends up seeking attention/treats..THAT is what I would continue having him do, as well as strangers or others that she may react to.

Also can't excuse her nipping when helping the other dog, BUT I can understand it also.

I would keep doing what your doing, don't coddle her, make things "no nonsense",,start some NILIF, have her do "something" for "everything",,and dont put her in situations that may cause an over reaction..I would however, probably try getting her out into the big scarey world :)) maybe take her to a quieter location..Does she seem to have a "buddy" within the pack you have that is can be taken out and is comfortable in other situations? If so, I'd take that dog as well,,dogs tend to "feed" off others,,if she sees a confident/comfortable dog she may follow his/her lead..

As for spaying, no lectures here,,just wanted to say tho,,check with your local AC, humane society, vets office, rescues,,they often times can direct you to low spay or no cost spaying especially if you've rescued a dog..I know the HS here will give a voucher for spay/neuter if you've rescued/adopted an animal in need..Might be worth checking into..
Good luck
Diane
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,138 Posts
Jan, some things I could suggest to try are the following things:

ComfortZone plug-in and spray. Use the plug-in by the crate and any time she is out have a bandana on her with the ComfortZone spray on it. Some Petsmart and Petco stores carry it, when I buy I try to get it at Foster and Smith when on Sale. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Na...ort%20zone&Np=1

T-Touch and Body Wrap. Tellington Touch has a website.
Look at the T-Touch dog set http://www.tellingtontouch.com/productsBooks.shtml#dogs
Also see if there is a Practitioner in your area: http://www.tellingtontouch.com/pracDirectory.shtml

Jan, you could just be dealing with improper/lack of human imprinting. You may or may not be able to work these dog through it, it will depend how solid the nerves are on these pups. I wish I was closer and more help to you.

Val
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I'll check those things out Val - thanks.

I think really about 99% of it is lack of early training. These guys were a good 4-5 months old before I laid hands on them. The mama dog the people who had her wanted her back...not wanting to cause a scene I reluctantly gave her back...she solved the issue a couple days later when she slipped her collar and came back here. When mama dog came back in heat I penned her up tight 'cause I *knew* where the resulting puppies would end up.


The male loves everyone - is a little timid at raised voices but he's easily bribed at food...a bite of food and he's your best buddy! There's a real dark liver colored female that's come quite a long ways - isn't as timid but follows the lead of the mama dog and "Lady" (i.e. they bark she barks) but she's not growling and all. The smallest one we adopted for keeps right away - she and Lady I knew would be the challenges as they were so terrified of people it was close to fear biting but not quite....rigid, ears back, lips tight, scared to death. The sister I actually laid on the ground and whimpered - she couldn't stand it and finally curiosity and a big heart got over fear. She slept by me at first - and came around rather quickly. She doesn't care much for strangers but beyond that pretty much loves everyone and has gotten to where I can discipline her without her falling apart in fear.

So I'd naturally hoped Lady would follow the same course. It seems Lady is attaching, instead, to ME...not crossing the brain that most people would be nice to her. She got bitten on the ear the other day in a sqabble with 2nd boss dog and it's a little swollen so when I put peroxide on it I had my other half hold her - he wrapped a blanket around her and held her securely while I sort of held her head. When I let go her eyes were fearful but she wasn't barking or growling...he gradually let go and let her get down on her own.

In thinking critically I can think of some times where I probably reassured her at the wrong time. The one she gets along best with is her mom - who has her own fear issues of people. The beagle in her wants to love everyone but someone's done a number on her - and I think a lot of that was instilled in these pups when they were little. As a point of reference - the first time I saw the mama dog in the yard she was so scared she ran smack into a 6' chain link fence that she, truly, knew was there as she walked around the front and down the fenceline. She took on out of here like she'd been shot at. I let her come to me totally on her own time...did push the pups a bit more. The other option - better - is she'll follow the bolder sister pretty well (the one she was trying to "help"). My other dogs she'll mostly get along with but hasn't truly made a buddy with them.

To this day hand feeding these guys they'll take the food so incredibly gently it's amazing considering their upbringing (or lack of). I'd done some NILIF but definitely need to do more. I found she chews leashes too
She chewed my fox terrier's in about 3 pieces today...it was on her but not attached to anything. I have put her on a chain on the deck or in the yard and she's good there, not panicing but she'll notice *everything* out of place, dogs passing by, people on the next street over etc. Good watch dog, lousy guard dog lol.

An example of how much of an "inner pack" these 5 are - the dark female and mama dog were in the yard this morning (supervised) with Laddie, my sheltie. Laddie was trying to play with the younger one and had a foot on each side of her head, gently play biting her ear and neck, then bouncing away and bouncing back, clearly wanting to play. The posture of "Girl" was somewhat tense, tail tucked to her belly, like she was expecting the play to turn serious. Yet she and "Lady" will play like that and wrestle each other down. She'll play with Laddie if 'Honey' (the boldest sister) is there playing.

Confidence is a big issue and while they've come a long ways I've no illusions they have a long ways to go. I've been increasingly splitting them up - putting one out with the GSD, another with the sheltie, another with a BC...so they have a buddy but noteach other for small periods. Unfortunately there's a spot they get over the fence (a small shelter for a couple of goats) and there's not a lot I can do about that immediately so they're already pretty restricted.

The vets here unfortunately won't work with dogs from established rescue. And these were taken in not from a rescue but on my own. The only thing I've found is one for $55 with a coupon - not much cheaper than the regular price and still a good chunk of feed. I will have them done - it just can't be as immediate as I'd like. I need to get them shots - I can do some of them but not the rabies. I was thinking about taking *her* one of the first sets with Bella (GSD - loves people), Blue (her mom) and Bruiser (my oldest one now, helping to train them sort of).

On the Ttouch I'm aware of it for horses. I *have* been massaging her, gently massaging mostly her head, neck and shoulders...she resisted at first but now begrudgingly enjoys it. It's amazing even 5 minutes a day she'll be much quieter for several hours after I do that.

She's got a lot of potential if I can just get her to where "honey" is I'll be happy. Somehow she's had the most setbacks initially - I don't know if she was threatened or kicked or what but the amount of fear in her at 4-5 months was heartbreaking.

She doesn't really mind a crate - normally hangs out either where I sleep at night or under my desk here. One thing I've found very effective with her correction wise is the sharp "aah" - the gal on "It's Me or the Dog" (Victoria Stillwell I believe is her name) suggests it often and that spins her head right around.

I've also really tried to catch her doing right and praise her heavily for that. When she started waiting to go outside initially I praised her and gave her a couple treats.

I'm really considering a weekend trip with her - I'm tentatively planning going to a meeting in IL early next month and am really thinking of taking the fox terrier and her - nothing phases him (he's a terrier - life's a great ADVENTURE!) - my sister has dogs and was thinking maybe she and/or my brother could try seeing if she'll come to them. If nothing else it's just getting out "in the world".

Thanks for the feedback - it's given me some more things to think about and try.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,138 Posts
Jan, it seems that she really trusts you. If she will allow other people to touch her, have them stroke her with the back of their hand not the palm. When you pet with the palm of you hand against the dog, you hand curves/cups and and timid or scared dog will feel uncomfortable because that had could quickly grab them. It works well with dogs that have been handled roughly or abused.

Sometimes the pack can be a good thing to try to help dogs settle in but it can also be a bad thing as timid dogs will always want the shelter of the pack. Some times the timid dog needs to be separtated from the pack so they develop into their own dog. You may find away from the pack that she isn't as quick to try things.

On your trip to IL, incourage her but don't push her yet. I believe there is a time with timid dogs/pups that you need to give them a little push to break out of that security cirle they have made for themselves, but with this female pup now isn't the time. Just work with what she is willing to give.

Also Jan I think you might see a one step forward and two back on occassion.

Hang in there.

Val
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I wanted to add an update to this - maybe it'll help with someone else's dog.

I did take "Lady" with me to IL. We left here 1/30 and got up there that night. On the way up she was restrained in the back seat...I had her, my fox terrier ("EVERYTHING is an adventure!!!!!), a sheltie and one of my Border Collies. I stopped in Franklin TN and threw a test at her/them - went into a convenience store and kept an eye as strangers walked around the car. She gave no reaction - although was a little freaked out by the car ride, uncertain about changes etc.
Once in IL - well the next day we got 5" or so of snow and suffice to say this born and bred AL dog was not liking that much at all! lol I went to a thrift store and got her an insulated kids vest and put on her which she initially didn't much like then realized it was warmer! Through running errands that day there was no barking at people.

As she got used to "her" car she would take notice of people but the other dogs never barked so she didn't either. Among the places was a college campus, a busy parking lot where the meeting was, WalMart and a couple restaurants.

On - wanna say it was Friday/Saturday my dad's Pyr came around the backside of the barn - she looked up and saw him in the snow and let out a "beagle bawl" as if her life was in immediate danger! lol she's never seen a dog that big - Sammy looked at her as if she wasn't worth the effort and simply walked away. Sunday my sister was out and it was too cold to do as much as I wanted, but she did come to pet her...kneeling down to get on her level. Lady was *highly* suspicious but came up, tail tucked, almost growling but let my sister pet her face.

Since we've been back home she's not nearly as defensive. She growled a couple times, has spent some time out in the "dog room" and today when my other half came in she simply noticed, woofed then let it be. He came into the office here and shut the door...she cringed in the corner but made no aggressive moves or sounds as he scratched her back (the others *love* that and it's like she did but didn't want to admit it!).

I don't think she's ever going to be a 'love everyone' kind of dog...and I've *really* watched when I love on her and reassure her so as to not reinforce the bad behavior. But I think there's progress...baby steps sometimes but progress. I'm going back up in July for a friend's renewal of vows and we'll be camping - I'm planning on taking Lady with.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top