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A GSD was dumped in my neighborhood. Her ears are raw, and she's skinny, no microchip. It appears she may have had pups, however, she seems young. I've had her for 5 days. She's incredibly dog reactive and potentially dangerous. She's okay on the leash. She seems incredibly bonded to me already but I've been frustrated by her behavior and could use some tips while I get a dog trainer and more information from a vet.

- I take her out for 30 minutes every 2 hours, (we went on two 2 mile hikes this week) she doesn't always eliminate on those 30-minute walks. I've had to clean up 3 accidents in just 5 days. I praise her with affection when she eliminates, should I be doing more?

- How can I counter-condition her reactions to other dogs? She loses it.

- I have a hard time getting her to calm down, and not be a nuisance (nipping at me, dragging my clothing, etc.)

- Any thoughts on how old she is based on photos, does she look like a mix?

I could really use some advice on the above. I'm worried if I'm not equipped to help this girl, I'm ready to do whatever I need to, or if this all normal.

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She looks very sweet!
First things first. You need to make good and sure someone is not missing this dog. Dogs get stolen or lost and often end up a good ways from home, sometimes across the country. Thank you for taking her in.
What makes you think she had pups and do you think maybe recently? If so please thoroughly check the area she was found!
Your vet will be the best source of info on her condition, age, etc.
As far as reactivity this is a lengthy and involved process. It will require time and commitment. Start her off far enough away that she is not reacting, have her sit and watch you not the dog. Reward for good response. If she is going off, you are too close so put enough space in between her and the dog that she is capable of focusing on you. Move closer by whatever degree she is comfortable. Some dogs progress quickly, some take longer, some are never really ok but will eventually ignore. For your own safety and peace of mind get a basket muzzle.
House training is simple, get a crate and if you don't have your eyes on her then put her in it. Option two is tether her to you. Never give her the chance to get out of your sight while in the house. Take her out every couple of hours. Assume you are training a puppy.
As far as can you do this, that is all up to you. Do you want to?
 

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I don't have any advice, but I second Saibs mom. She looks like a purebred German Shepherd to me. She's probably not 5 years yet, maybe around 2? I wonder if she was dumped after having puppies and also dumped because her owner couldn't deal with her. Just the thought of that makes me angry! Thank you for taking her in! She's so sweet 😢.
 

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I have all the patience in the world for her, I just want to make sure I'm doing right by her training-wise. I'll be getting a crate tomorrow! As far as making sure no one's looking for her, I've submitted a found pet form with shelters in my area. Thanks for the advice guys, she really is a special one!
 

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I had 3 rescue GSDs before I got my first pedigree dog. All were awesome dogs in their own way, and I learned a lot about training from having to cope with some of their quirks!

They learn unbelievably fast. My first rescue had never been walked on a leash (farm dog). After going to obedience classes for 5 weeks, we took part in a fun match, and she scored 175 out or 200 points! I was SO proud of her!

Hope you can find a good trainer to help you! And Sabi's mom is right about the reactivity. The first thing I teach a pup even before walking on a leash is 'look at me'. This is done indoors with no distractions. Use a treat to get their attention. When they look at you, give the treat, and reinforce with 'YES!' (That's my version of using a clicker.) Once they have that down cold, move outside and begin adding distractions. Once they can ignore most common distractions, start walking with them, asking them to look at you every time you get close to a possible distraction.

Timing is EVERYTHING. If you wait until they are fixated on the distraction, it's much too late. Learn to anticipate, and get their attention before they notice the distraction. Then, treat and praise. If they see the distraction, break their focus on it with a leash correction/verbal correction and get their attention back on you.

This method works well for everything from teaching your pet to walk nicely on a leash to laying the foundation for competitive obedience or schutzhund!
 

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This is a pretty young dog - 1 year to 2 year old would be my guess. Vet would be able to make a more informed guess. also PB -- why would you think mix?

So persistence, patience (she'll use all you've got and then some), redirecting, getting a job ---- all help with behavior issues. For a good training read, I like Sheila Booth's Purely Possitive: Companion to Competition.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is a pretty young dog - 1 year to 2 year old would be my guess. Vet would be able to make a more informed guess. also PB -- why would you think mix?

So persistence, patience (she'll use all you've got and then some), redirecting, getting a job ---- all help with behavior issues. For a good training read, I like Sheila Booth's Purely Possitive: Companion to Competition.

Thanks for the book suggestion! Since posting this last night and going on all night information bender, we're successfully walking on a lead and I got her a crate. She also reacted less negatively to a passing dog today, which might be from my taking lead during our walks now. An appointment with a dog trainer and a vet has been booked! Feeling a little bit more optimistic today.
 

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She's a pretty dog, and my bet would be purebred GSD, based on erect ears, masking and saddleback coloration. You might get some of that combo with a mix, but I doubt you'd get all three.

In one of the photos she seems to show strong focus toward you. If she has been jumped by another dog(s) as a puppy, that may account for her reactivity.
Controlled exposure to other dogs and reassurance might help with that over time. I'd also be realistic. Some dogs just don't really care for meeting other dogs. I understand if you don't want her to yank your arm and rear up or whatever every time she sees another dog, but she may not ever be crazy about meeting other dogs.

I had a rescue GSD, best dog I've had so far, and safe to be in house with other dogs she knew, even smaller ones. Even safe to be left alone with same. But she could be sharply reactive to a dog she thought was a threat on the street. It didn't help that on a common and hard to avoid loop through the neighborhood, we had a large ass-hat neighbor dog with an invisible (and sometimes ineffective) fence. Over time, her reactivity got better. But it never totally went away. In fair disclosure, it was not something that bothered me so much that I worked on it to the degree other folks on this forum do. I'm sort of old school, in that, if a dog doesn't show signs of being the best dog to take to the farmer's market, a big box building materials store, etc., I just don't take them there. If having a non-reactive dog is more important to you, you will likely put in more time and effort on it, and it sounds like you are already making progress. Whatever your ultimate decision on dog parks, I would not take her to one right now, as you'd have little to no control over what other dogs did.

One other thing to consider, though this goes more to human than dog reactivity: Where a dog gets dumped, or otherwise abandoned from or wrenched away from one previous owner, that is traumatic. I always felt it had a lot to do with my above-described dog's aloofness toward strangers. So I'd counsel patience and understanding. She looks like a nice dog.
 

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First things first - do everything you can to locate her owner. If you don't have to time then turn her in to the nearest shelter. Meanwhile contact all the shelters and rescue groups in your area, many are having trouble keeping up with Covid so they many ask you to keep her temporarily. She may have been frightened out of her wits on the 4th of July and ran. When I had a foundling it was suggested I take him around to local vets to see if anyone recognized him. Did that. Registered him with all the local shelters. Put him on the Internet. Once you have made every effort to find her owner it will be a lot easier if someone shows up after you've gotten attached and says, 'that's my dog'.

Living on the street can turn a nice family dog into a frightened, reactive, defensive animal. Time and patience. That may also explain her reaction to other dogs. A vet can give you a better idea of her age and physical condition. She may need some medical care if she's been on her own for awhile. She looks like a beautiful girl and, in time, will become a wonderful companion. She's very lucky to have found someone who wants her and cares for her. And you are lucky to have her. What did you name her?

Dogs that come from a shelter have usually had traumatic events in their lives and it takes time. All mine have been shelter dogs and each came with baggage. It took Duke over a month decide we were okay and he wanted to stay. German Shepherds in particular will sit in the shelter ignoring any attempts at a relationship because they are waiting for their owners to come and get them. Just how loyal they are. Good vibes coming your way....
 

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You should take her to a shelter with an agreement that you will get the first option to adopt if they don’t find an owner. Or offer to foster her while they search for the owner. It’s very likely she was not dumped and someone is looking for her. Is she microchipped? Once you find out she doesn’t belong to anyone who wants her back, then you can think about training and keeping her. For now, she is not your dog. Is a found pet form the same thing as turning her in? The only reason I mention it is that I had a huge blow up few years back with a former friend who basically stole a stray dog and rehomed it without a shelter’s input. She did it through a rescue group who could have lost their entire rescue because she lied to them. I didn’t realize until then that rescues will not touch a stray until it has been cleared by a shelter.
 

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First, understand that she is full of stress hormones right now. Figure 2 weeks from her last melt down. Skip any activities that may introduce a melt down for 2 weeks. This will give her a chance to burn off all those hormones and allow her to calm down.

I agree with everything Sabis Mom said, but I would implement a 2 week respite before desensitization starts.

I would recommend tethering her to you in the house. I would recommend marker training starting with engagement for 2 days and then moving on to positions.

Give this dog a chance to settle before putting her in a situation where she doesn't feel safe. Let her learn to take your lead and trust you. It make make a huge difference.
 

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It's wonderful you have taken this dog in. First things first would be to be absolutely sure someone isn't looking for her. Post her pic in local vet offices and shelters, FB lost and found pets post for your area. Nextdoor neighborhood app post for your area. If you haven't have a vet check for a micro chip. I see posts on all the mentioned every day of lost pets in my area and more often than not the owners are found and ever so happy to get their pets back. Just yesterday someone found a bird they lost nearly 2 weeks ago because the bird was found and listed on those sites. Dogs and cats are reunited with owners almost daily.
If no one claims her then you can move on to more permanent structure to your lives together if want to keep her.
 

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For people responding about looking for her owner, I have mentioned above she had no microchip and I've submitted found dog forms to shelters in my area and have done my due diligence, after a 5-day stray hold she is officially mine. I understand and appreciate the concern about her owners, but I've done my due diligence please keep your advice on what I asked for above as that's what is useful for us at the moment.
 

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Thanks for taking her in!!

We had a milder case of the reactivity with our rescue dog, but training my dog to pay attention to me, helped a lot. First, train her to pay attention to you or sit on command ("Look at me") just in your living room - then, in empty street -then, ultimate test is when another dog is passing. She should get a reward for a calm pass. Walk where you can find wide areas (empty office complexes, park fields, neighborhoods with wide streets) if possible because it's easier to create distance from the other dog. Narrow hiking trails are the worst! In general, creating repeated experiences where other dogs are around (at a distance) and nothing happens and she gets treats, will hopefully help to relax her. I also adjusted walking times to odd hours (NOT 5-6pm) because that way you pass maybe 1-2 dogs instead of 17...

She's having accidents because she doesn't understand yet...for example, if it's thundering outside, my dog will choose to skip his walk and easily goes for 12 hours without pottying! So having accidents is more about not understanding, than being unable to hold it in! Having a regular schedule of feeding/walking helps a lot. Be sure to get rid of smells from previous accidents (enzyme cleaner) so she doesn't think it's her personal potty area in the house!

Good luck with it all, it's a lot of work but worth it!
 

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In any posting of "found dog" even if you say you have found a GSD, I would leave out any pictures and have anyone contacting you describe the dog fully. Because you have a relatively rare black/silver GSD, it will weed out the many many people looking for dogs these days who may try to take her.
 

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I adopted a stray GSD who I think had a litter prior based on her physical state. She was the best dog, ever.

I called the shelters and filed a found dog report. I also posted on Craigslist and asked around the neighborhood she was found. Turns out that's a popular spot to dump dogs.

I think you'll be fine. Give her some time to decompress and feel safe. Work with a trainer after that. These dogs are resilient. It took my girl a few weeks to be comfortable and another few months to be her normal, confident, happy self. After that, you'd never have guessed about her difficult past.

Thanks for taking her in!
 

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First things first - do everything you can to locate her owner. If you don't have to time then turn her in to the nearest shelter. Meanwhile contact all the shelters and rescue groups in your area, many are having trouble keeping up with Covid so they many ask you to keep her temporarily. She may have been frightened out of her wits on the 4th of July and ran. When I had a foundling it was suggested I take him around to local vets to see if anyone recognized him. Did that. Registered him with all the local shelters. Put him on the Internet. Once you have made every effort to find her owner it will be a lot easier if someone shows up after you've gotten attached and says, 'that's my dog'.

Living on the street can turn a nice family dog into a frightened, reactive, defensive animal. Time and patience. That may also explain her reaction to other dogs. A vet can give you a better idea of her age and physical condition. She may need some medical care if she's been on her own for awhile. She looks like a beautiful girl and, in time, will become a wonderful companion. She's very lucky to have found someone who wants her and cares for her. And you are lucky to have her. What did you name her?

Dogs that come from a shelter have usually had traumatic events in their lives and it takes time. All mine have been shelter dogs and each came with baggage. It took Duke over a month decide we were okay and he wanted to stay. German Shepherds in particular will sit in the shelter ignoring any attempts at a relationship because they are waiting for their owners to come and get them. Just how loyal they are. Good vibes coming your way....

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Buckelke. Her name is Sasha.
 

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Sasha. Nice name. I live in one of those popular to dump dogs places, too. I've had 3 since I lived here. Past the dead end sign, almost in National Forest, so I've BTDT. I know my limit and it's 2 big dogs. I don't understand why people do that. I wish both of you a long and happy relationship.
 
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