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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
A note before bedtime (much earlier than normal for me, for sure, but my body hurts):

I tried taking Freya and Seamus out together. Freya peed, Seamus crawled into the bushes and burrowed himself in. Talked him out, we took a few more steps, Seamus repeated his actions. Did this several times, very unlike the reasonably free walking we had achieved earlier by ourselves. Freya pooped, Seamus hiding under the bushes. It was an effort just to get him home again with him falling down and playing possum every few feet. It was worth a try but I think he does better with just me for now.

As for speaking to my animals... Strange thing but when both my daughters were born, from the time they lay across my stomach for the first time, I spoke to them the way I would speak to an equal; i.e. someone my age. I never baby-talked them, never used one-syllable words, never treated them like lesser small beings. I spoke to them as though I expected them to understand. Both grew up uber-intelligent and with amazing vocabularies. It was my younger daughter that saw me through the coma from my brain hemorrhage while attending classes at a Uni three hours away .. and passed all her classes with A's and B's. She helped me recover my own totally lost speech post-coma.

I have always spoken to the dogs the same way. I don't yell (hollered at my ex-husband much more often....teehee) though at times my voice is more 'stern' than cheerful, especially and usually towards Thor, who tends to get pushy and try to be the alpha now and then. I will admit, I have had to cajole Seamus just to get up off the ground, but once up, it's back to "Okay, kids, let's head for home" in an everday tone of voice.

With Seamus, I think I've discovered he responds just fine if it's only me in his space. The minute either of the other two dogs, even placid, kind Freya, is anywhere close to him, he freezes in fear. So for the time being, I'm going to follow my instincts and keep them separate in all their activities. Thor and Freya will be treated as they are every day...and Seamus will be treated singly until he's completely (or as completely as it's possible to get him) secure with me. Then I will introduce the two worlds to each other, and cross my paws. It means I will have to do the work of two people but his life is worth it to me. I want however long is left of it to be as happy, safe and secure as it can be. Let's just hope MY life lasts long enough. *giggles*

But Strongheart, I must admit that I will find a bottle of Guinness in the deeps of my fridge and plop my feet up for a while now and then. If that isn't strong enough, I still have a bottle of 35 year old Scotch.


On that note, I'm going for the stronger stuff, my heavy duty meds with codeine in it, and heading off to find my heating pad and a good book. Goodnight, gentle people.
 

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Well you said you scolded him for peeing inside. That's what I'm referring to. I did not realize I was speaking harshly to my dogs because I was just raising my voice a little, being emphatic I thought. But that's all it took to destroy their confidence. Plus your characterization of him as Hellboy, crazy coot, etc., betrays you...it just takes some re-examination to discover that you are just being human and your frustration is coming out in your voice (as it did in your post) because he is reacting to *something*. No need to take it as an insult, I did when my trainer pointed it out, I was crushed and pissed for a while. But she was right, as soon as I stopped scolding, their fear stopped. I thought because I was only exhibiting 1 degree of what my own mother would have exhibited (did you see "Sibyl"?), I was doing really well but it wasn't good enough. It doesn't mean you aren't the best mother on Earth and don't think of him as an equal. It just means he's not convinced yet that you are probably not like any other human he's known yet. So for me, it was too hard to not put a scolding tone in my voice, even so barely noticeable, I had to whisper. And so I started to sing commands too. My trainer is a top positive trainer in the country (and my dog was featured in the latest issue of Training Secrets for GSDs "Popular Dogs" series - just little boast there
-shameless, sorry, still so PROUD of her) and I have rescued two pretty sad sack GSDs (one for whom we were her fourth home at only 15 mos.) and the other who'd been trained through punishment. So I'm not trying to be miss know it all, I just learned that I really had to rethink everything that I do. And it's been great for all the beings here.

But anyway, you and Seamus the GSD mix will look back on this day in wonderment for all the progress you've made in only a few weeks. Take heart! We're all rooting for ya! Yea!


And I might buy some bubbly tomorrow night to celebrate for you two plus a few other things we have to celebrate around here including just being so blessed with our 4 awesome dogs (and to try and stay warm, a la the bartender on the Titanic- so danged cold tonight!)
 

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Baggage (The Meaning of Rescue)

By Evelyn Colbath(c)1995 Baggage All rights reserved
Now that I'm home, bathed, settled and fed,
All nicely tucked in my warm new bed,
I'd like to open my baggage,
Lest I forget,
There is so much to carry,
So much to regret.

Hmmm...Yes, there it is, right on the top,
Let's unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss,
And there by my perch hides Fear and Shame.
As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave,
I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain.
I loved them, the others, the ones who left me,
But I wasn't good enough - for they didn't want me.

Will you add to my baggage?
Will you help me unpack?
Or will you just look at my things,
And take me right back?
Do you have the time to help me unpack?
To put away my baggage, to never repack?
I pray that you do - I'm so tired you see,
But I do come with baggage,
Will you still want me?

--------------------
I met my Kramer-picked him out all myself. I took him to Petsmart to get his things and he took the biggest, stinkiest dump ever. Got him home and he peed a pool of urine in the kitchen. Gave him a bath because he smelled. He whined all night. Went to work and came home to poop on the floor and a dog on the couch who had broken through his barricade. He could not be crated. He tore up my landlord's carpet and I lost my security deposit. He screamed in obedience classes. He ran away from home. He pushed me around. He tried to attack my little cousins. That was Month 1. Fast forward 14 years-my old guy is laying in an x-pen after emergency surgery and I am grateful for that. I am nervously awaiting a biopsy result for him. He has lost me more security deposits, had a few more close behavioral calls, and each and every day I have to make sure he knows it really is me who is in charge. He is dominant fear aggressive. He is the most wonderful dog and the very best teacher-he has helped me through times that I could not have gotten through without him-because I am not always the best person in the world-and he doesn't hold me to any such standard. The best gifts don't come in the nicest packages. It's always, always, always about the dog.
 

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Jean,

You just said it all....it takes time and who knows what this dog has been through. I know one thing . He will be forevermore grateful that you removed him from his awful past. It may be a year before the true seamus emerges. There has been some wonderful advice given here. I will add time, patience ,love, a good bottle of wine and this GSD forum.

Cindy
 

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Excellent posts Strongheart and Jean! (Strongheart if you weren't so far, I would swear we have the same trainer!)

Jean...you hit it home! I think it's safe to say a large majority of us have gone through our share of issues. Mya came to me at age 5 with a ton of baggage. And I, being a complete novice, this being my first dog as an adult...and my very first GSD, sat on my porch MANY times crying. Wish I had known about this forum back then! She had severe separation anxiety, completely destroyed my house (which included tearing the door jams right off). But, I have to say, my heart went out to her...and I loved her even more. It takes time and patience. If I could work it out...anyone could. I had no support, had to figure it out on my own. It took about a year...but today she is the perfect dog...and all her issues are gone. I am so grateful that we found eachother...she has given to me much more than I have given to her. The rewards are great. Take it one day at a time.
 

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Wow, sounds like Seamus is already starting to bond with you. The dog to dog dynamics are going to take time but if he is learning that you are his leader then I am guessing that things will progress at a good pace. Take care of the injury...I hope it isn't too painful
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Strongheart....you're 100% correct that I scolded him when he peed on the living room floor and I'm the first to admit it. But bear in mind, I had just driven 12 hours through a snow storm, had just had to lock up my two dogs (who were very confused as I had been gone for hours and they were so happy to see me) before I brought Seamus into the house, had just fought to give him a bath and frankly, I was just plain exhausted. I had known bringing him home late at night was going to be a problem for all of us, especially me. It was like that the first night with Freya too. But a good night's sleep helped all of us.

As for the nicknames I have for him, that's just my wacky sense of humor. It actually is an affectionate name, if you knew me. You can interpret that as you want it but I know what it means to me. If I were frustrated or upset, I'd call him "Seamus Graybeard" in a less than friendly manner. If it sounds like frustration here, it probably is, but here is the only place where I actually rant and show it.

But thanks for being concerned...now go get that bubbly. This household is doing fine and I hope some of the other miraculous rescues recently mentioned on the site are doing as well.

Some fun news though. He's a Houdini. At 8:00 this morning, I heard someone knocking at the front door. It was my neighbor...holding Seamus by the leash he's been dragging around (I guess that leash came in handy in a way no one expected). He had been out romping around the neighborhood, the door to his hall was wide open and cold air blowing in. Did HE open the door? Who knows.

I wonder if he finally peed or pooed while he was out. I wish I knew. I'd like to let him join the rest of the household for short periods of time. He and Thor have stopped growling at each other, probably because Thor is less of a pain in the neck than Kat's puppy pug. But hate to set him free just to pee again in the living room. *grins*

And several times today, he actually SAT on command. Both Kat and I have been working with him and he is in much better frame of mind...not as hyper though still tending to hide in corners when something upsets him (hard to tell what those might be as we see nothing different happening around us but apparently he does).

Things are progressing.
 

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Glad to hear he's settling in a little better--that's really quick! But that's scary that he let himself out! Thank goodness he didn't wander far and that your neighbor saw him and knew where he belonged! So many rescues get lost in the first few days they're in their new home. Guess you'll have to lock your door now to keep Seamus in! And I imagine he did use the outdoor facilities. They can't hold it forever!

Do you have a long line you could put him on? Maybe until he learns to go on a leash he will go on that.

And, Kat...that would be your daughter? Guess she knows he's there now, huh?
 

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Dont put it past him that he can open doors.......I had one that not only could open any door in the house, but the refrigerator as well..........The other thought is maybe Thor tried to "set him up"? He wouldnt be the first dog to try to "eliminate" his competition and he seems a pretty smart guy....
 

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I have heard of shepherds who will crush door knobs to let themselves out:) You have a smart boy there. Isn't it wonderful that he let one of your neighbors catch him? He must have stayed near home which is great and perhaps he will be a good off lead dog some day. Pretty funny thought that Thor may have set him free. It sounds like things are progressing quickly.
 

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hey my good woman down there in the wilds of NC ...i am SO glad to hear that things are working out! take care...
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
WE GOT A POOP!!! OK, a tiny little plop but a poop nevertheless. Still no pee though. Good boy, Seamus!

I feel like one of those nurses in hospital who asks 20 times a day 'have you passed gas yet? have you urinated yet? have you had a bowel movement yet' *giggling*
 

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That not peeing thing isn't healthy. What if you let him drag a couple of leashes attached together? He is going to have some serious health problems if he doesn't start peeing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
WE NEED A FORUM NAMED "Daily Journal" to keep a record of all the small gains/losses every day.(just a thought)

DAY 3

Seamus PEED, such a long one that his supporting hind leg was shaking with the strain. This was followed by a lovely poo. Is there anywhere else in the world that people sit and talk about how good or bad a pee and a poo are? *snickers*

As has been suggested on this site, I have him tethered to my waist. *SNORTS* That works if a dog walks with you willingly but it can be very tiring if the dog digs in his heels and refuses to move or worse, runs in a circle and tangles your legs. Right now he's sitting next to me (oh how I've praised "sit" like it was the gold at the end of the rainbow) and quiet.

Thor and Freya have tiptoed up to sniff occasionally but basically are staying clear of him. I'm thinking it has something to do with his battle scarred face...he's tough and unbelieving strong for such a half-pint. Of course I'm kidding about why they're standing back but he has seen a tough life.

Kat (my daughter) and I have determined he's either part chow or part husky....he has all the stubborness of the chow and the pelt around his neck as well as odd coloring. Some GSD b&t but a creamy curled-over-his-back tail. As I said, he's small with GSD conformation but really looks interesting with his weird coloring and curly tail. I know, I know....pictures. When have I had time? The few pics I've taken don't show how much of something other is a part of him.

End of journal for now....
for the poo and pee!
 

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Yahoo..congrats on the poo and pee...every little step counts.
 

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glad to know all the boy's elimination systems are GO, so to speak.

re: shelter description -vs- reality...my jeni's shelter picture (head only) looked EXACTLY like a german shepherd dog. in reality only jeni's erect ears look like a german shepherd. i believe she is a shepherd/greyhound mix. her legs are brindle, and she runs like the wind. when i first got her i'd call her "bat-girl", now her nickname is "sausage-girl", and i'll bet you can guess why. miss jeni-take-a-ride likes to eat!

as always, take care and many blessings...
 

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I have heard that when greyhounds retire they love to lay on the couch and watch tv:)
 

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Hatterasser, re: the letting himself out, my GSD Jess can open doors. She just uses her paws like hands, standing on hind legs, and turns the handle with her paws. She did this the first week. I watched her do it, she's amazing! I didn't stop her and say anything, I just stood there with my jaw on the floor, I was *impressed*!

Also be careful of windows. We went to a horror movie ("I Am Legend") and left them uncrated in the sunroom. Came back and they had busted 5 windows! They saw squirrels (backyard full of acorns...nothing but acorns and dirt) and the squirrel buggers actually taunt them and throw acorns at them. So they tried to go through the windows! Luckily there were screens on them so they didn't get cut (small amount of blood on wall though). Some dogs will go straight through a window if they see something.

Also, when we crate Jess, we have to padlock it...twice! Just one padlock on the bottom and she can still get out if she really wants to. Two padlocks is no guarantee. Once we came home after a short errand and she nearly had the top off the doubly pad-locked crate! OMG! So think wolf containment.

Do you have deer around your house? He might bolt through a window over that. Well anyway, it's an adventure isn't it? Still haven't had my bubbly.

And re: poop--my DH and I have at length discussions *during dinner* about the dog's poops. We have a 'poop log' (no pun intended) where we record everytime we see the dogs poop and when they ate or went out. When the poop looks really good, he takes a picture of it! He comes in one day all excited saying "Jessie's poop was so good, it stood up all on its own!" and had a photo to prove it!

So yea, that's normal (right?) (maybe not, who cares?)

And one more warning/tip: always throw out those little bags of dessicants you find in the premium treat bags. Every now and then, they will manage to abscond with a bag of treats and rip open the bag and eat everything in it incudling the dessicant which makes the really sick!
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Journal Day 4 (Is that all it's been??)

I know it's early days to become depressed but I am. Seamus is like one of those mythological children who's been raised in the wild, and has no idea how to live in civilized society. He does not seem anything like a 'pack' animal, but rather he is a loner. 'Alpha' means nothing to him....he does his own thing regardless of what I do or say. As I said, basically he ignores me. If I manage to hold him, pet him, stroke him, scratch his ears or belly near me for a minute, his head turns and stares off in the distance and acts as though no one is there, all the while stiff as a board. He even ignores treats. What dog ignores treats?

He likes for me to sit on the floor in 'his' hallway while he runs around ignoring me. But he listens to nothing, makes no eye contact. And I can't spend hours sitting on a floor. My dogs are already suffering from my separating them from me for long periods while I focus on Seamus.

And while in the hall (with the glass door open but the gate in place), Thor and Freya came to the gate, doing nothing...just watching. Seamus went beserk and lunged towards the gate snarling, barking, growling in Thor's face. Thor reacted in like manner and the gate was almost torn from the wall while they attacked each other over the top of it. I told Thor 'Back' and he backed off but Seamus went on antagonizing him. I finally caught the leash Seamus drags around with him and pulled him back as well.

Walking him is a trial of endurance. He pulls so hard that I have to stop and just stand to rest my legs and arms from the strain. Or he stops and refuses to move, all the while pulling intensely on the leash. He has pooed again but we're back to not peeing today. I did try the 'act like a tree' bit (*chuckles*)....Seamus in turn acted like a statue, his back turned to me and straining on the leash. Neither one of us moved for a full five minutes. I gave up first. It was cold outside and I still needed to take Thor and Freya out.

Kat, as I knew she would, thinks I am insane. I have two huge dogs, who in some ways have their own small issues, both being rescued dogs, and she is concerned (rightfully) for my health and welfare taking on Seamus. She asked what I would do if I couldn't handle him. The only thing I was 100% sure of is that he'll never go into a shelter again. Beyond that, I don't know. But I am wondering if I've taken on more than I can chew.

I have to go to work today and tomorrow...I'm paralyzed with fear of what I will come home to. The gate and the glass door broken? Thor and Seamus bloody? *sighs*

Ah well, I'm just ranting. I'm permanently exhausted, I ache all over, I want life to go back to normal and I just needed to lean on all your shoulders for a few minutes.
 
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