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I have just adopted a 5 year old female from a WGWL breeder. She was from one of their litters, but an unsuccessful mother. She lived on a large rural landholding, probably mostly in her kennel.
She has good training, but two things are very new to her and I'd like suggestions on how to help her adjust to one person, one dog, home environment. I have had her for only 5 days.

1. Housebreaking- She is used to living in a spacious kennel and not going out to pee/poop and I can't seem to get her on a schedule or understanding that when I take her out to yard, that is where I want her to do her business. I have been taking her out regularly, both on and off lead, encouraging her to 'hurry up', 'Go pee' etc. I feed her once in the morning. Greatest success has been after some ball play, being off lead and then just hanging out until she goes, but that doesn't work at night and I'd rather trust that if she hasn't gone, she doesn't need go. I praise her successes effusively. But there isn't really a reliable pattern or response to perform, because I don't think she understands what it is all about.
Twice after play or a walk, she doesn't go, then comes in house and when I'm not looking she poops. I had to leave her crated while gone for 4 hours and she pooped in crate and got it on herself. Yucky cleanup.
I have tightened up supervision and made the crate a little smaller with a divider. Now she is in crate or on lead with me in house, continuing regular outside trips to encourage going and/or play. But I don't want to play every time I want her to go. I am happy to walk her, but she hasn't gone poop or pee on lead in backyard or on walks. Which leads to the other question.

2. She is very anxious walking in neighborhood- she is nicely trained to sit, heel, down, come, stay (in German). We work in the back yard very well and she is perky, engaged dog, happy to be with me. I was surprised she really didn't understand about balls or chasing them but we have worked with that and now she will run and fetch and return. But when we go out the front gate, for a walk she becomes very anxious, watchful, alarmed by people, dogs, passing cars, a flock of crows. Her breeder urged me to have her on prong collar when walking. She is not aggressive, tucks into me and is pretty miserable, then calms and relaxes as we come back in the gate.
This morning, we started out and she was so stressed just walking that I just turned around and came back in the backyard and walked her around it. I live in a quiet neighborhood with a sidewalk and a small amount of traffic.
My own take is that it is just too much new and maybe I should just let her get very comfortable with me, the house and the yard and wait on exercise and walking, which I am fine doing, but I would like her to eventually acclimate and welcome suggestions of how to bring her along on that front.
I have only had one GSD before, a large male who died last May at 11yo. I had him from 4 months and he was a pistol as a youngster, but with a lot of training and a lot of exercise he mellowed into easy going gentle giant. So I have some training experience, but every dog is different.
I have read enough post threads to now there is a lot of expertise out there and I welcome suggestions or modifications to my approach.
 

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I've had my 3-year-old GSD for 3 months and experienced some of the same frustrations when I first got her. I really wanted her to go pee on command, and for a while it seemed she just didn't "get it"...well, she got it, she just was too nervous being in new surroundings. It was really frustrating for a while though, especially putting her back in the crate overnight after she refused to pee, hoping she wouldn't have an accident. She never did. She was fine. And now when I put her outside to pee in the evening, she knows what to do. Sometimes she still won't go, but I'm more confident that it's because she genuinely doesn't need to. My issue is that she seems to only want to poop on her walks. I'm hoping to teach her what "go poop" means so if I have some kind of emergency in the morning and can't take her on her morning walk, she'll do her business in the yard.

She also was pretty reactive on walks at first. She still sorta is, but not nearly as bad as it was for the first month or so. And she still acts more nervous when we're walking in a part of town she's never been before (like when I took her with me to drop off the car for repairs, and walked her home). My guess is she just needs more time to adjust.

But then, my GSD was both house and crate trained. I honestly have no expertise on housebreaking a pup, so....might need to go to the drawing board on that and just live through a few accidents before she gets it. Hopefully making the crate smaller will do the trick, but I'd heard that dogs who spent their lives in kennels kinda lose that aversion to pooping in their "dens".
 

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My own take is that it is just too much new and maybe I should just let her get very comfortable with me, the house and the yard and wait on exercise and walking, which I am fine doing, but I would like her to eventually acclimate and welcome suggestions of how to bring her along on that front.
You got it. It takes more time. Five days is nothing, just continue showing her that she can trust you and she'll come around.
 

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You have had her for only 5 days.
Her world has been turned upside down.
Please take it very slowly and earn her trust first, before taking her out on walks. Bond with her, for now, in the yard where she feels safe and is not overwhelmed. She may eventually enjoy walks, and maybe she never will. She has enough stress trying to adapt to her surroundings and to a new human who wants things from her that she does not yet understand.
Patience, lots of praise, keep everything positive. I would start at zero and train as if she were an 8 week old pup.
 

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Search here for two week shutdown. Take everything gradually. Get to know her much better before stressing her by throwing her into new situations she isn’t to used to. Assume everything you are having trouble with is brand new to her and treat her as if she was a puppy learning for the first time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all!

Thank you all for the good suggestions and confirmation of my own assessments of what she was needing. The closer control in the house, smaller crate and putting a hold on the walks in the neighborhood for awhile are working well. In the yard, new sounds or the quick move of a bird/wind get a curious, confident inspection--none of the anxiety she had on the sidewalk. I'm going to go slow and nurture that happier GSD response to the world.
 

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Her prior training is priceless. Most rescues don’t come that prepared for home life. You have a good dog and you are doing what you need to. Good luck and have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I dropped the ball. I'm writing this down so I remember, one good day is not a trained dog!
Harley has been doing really well the past few days, I really felt we were turning a corner and she was settling in. So good, I kind of zoned out this afternoon and left her alone in the kitchen area for about 20 minutes. When I got back, she'd checked out the kitchen counter and chewed (and swallowed) part of a plastic pen and peed on the dining room rug. She hasn't chewed a thing since I have had her here. Hopefully the pen button passes, pee cleans up, but I am kicking myself for not crating her when I don't have her with me in the house.
She'd been outside earlier, she'd of waited if I'd been there or she'd been in the crate. Sigh.
 

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Don't beat yourself up; we all make mistakes. In the grand scheme of things, this was a small one. Here's a thought: Try tethering her to you when you're in the house, using 6' rope or lead. Keeps pups out of trouble and under your direct control, and encourages them to keep an eye on you as you move about.
 
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