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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, we have a now 5 year old female GSD that we have had issues boarding since she was a puppy. Initially we thought it was because she had separation anxiety that would get better with time, but we have been asked to take her back with us every time that we've tried to board her somewhere (aside from with the breeder we got her from).

An example of her behavior is that she'll start barking and growling at others trying to lead her somewhere without us, or if someone tries to come up to her to pet her on the street. During the pandemic we didn't go anywhere, so it has been about 2 years since we have attempted to board her.

We've since moved to Philadelphia, and we're trying to find a solution to this because I'm expecting and I'll need to be in the hospital in a few months for labor. I've read through some posts from others and I'm not sure if having someone come to our house would help because she gets VERY aggressive whenever we have anyone that she's unfamiliar with enter the home, even if we tell her to stop.

From my google search, it seems like giving her Prozac and drugging her up before attempting to board her again is the best solution, but I'm not sure if that is the right one, which is why I'm asking for advice here. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you in advance!
 

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Would a good friend she familiar with and likes be able to check in on her? Of start getting a dog walker in now and have them bonding and everything before hand so she gets used to it. That's what I would do if I had to do something like that, or have my girl room at her breeder's but I'm lucky and they're only an hour away. Good luck, sounds like a challenging situation.
 

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My sister's pup got a rough start with people, some bad initial training. I have a friend out that way who has GSDs and her male is good buddies with my sister's dog now. My friend has kept her dog on a number of occasions while they were traveling or whatever, and now my sister is keeping my friend's dog while she travels. This is working out great. If you could have a friend or a dog trainer who would be willing to get very comfortable with your dog, and then keep her for you while you are away. Or, not sure how far Philadelphia is from your breeder, making the trip maybe a week before you are expecting would be the way to go.
 

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First, don't let people approach your dog on the street to pet her and make sure anyone else who walks her does the same.

Willow also has issues with strangers, though she's less of a pill when she's in the care of others (she just gets really anxious). But for the same reasons you've said, I can't have people come to my house to take care of her, because she takes it as an invasion of her home. I have to leave her with someone else.

I have never boarded her at a facility. For the entire time I've had her, I've left her with our trainer when I've had to go out of town. I know she's kept in a crate a lot of the time, but this trainer knows GSDs very well, and it's a private home so much less of a chaotic/loud environment than a boarding kennel. I've also been exploring other options for when my trainer leaves town (as is likely to happen soon) and we've found a boarding kennel about 30 minutes away that seems like a great environment....or at least, much better than most kennels. Each dog has a 1/3-acre run with a heated enclosed shelter, and the runs are generally shared with one other dog, they have staff on site 24/7...that'll be what I do if I have to. I've also dropped her off there for daycare a couple times so she'll be used to the place by the time I may have to leave her there overnight. That or leaving her with my nextdoor neighbor, who's been building a relationship with her for the past 3 years.

I guess my advice would be to see if you can get her used to a place or a person before you have to leave her there overnight. If it's going to be a kennel, leave her there for doggy daycare a few times. But my preferred option would be finding a home environment that is less stressful, like a neighbor's house, and get her used to it first.
 

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I'm a bit surpised at this boarding history... taking an insecure dog, then calling to ask you to take her back because they can't handle it. There's miscommunication going on here, on both sides. How could that even be?

Find a dog professional who actually knows how a dog functions and how to assess behavior. Preferably a dog trainer or someone who has good knowledge of dog psychology and, also, passion for what they do. That is, not just someone who expects to grab your dog and go, like they grabbed a parcel. That isn't how it should be done (for any dog by the way, but especially an anxious dog).

Maybe it's utopic, but what about using that opportunity to actually help your dog? A good specialist could help decrease her stress levels and find the balance she lacks, plus put you both on tracks for what comes next, the baby, etc. Boarding isn't the main issue here, I'd definitely deal with the deeper imbalance and anxiety in that dog, especially with a baby on the way...
 

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Hi…This happens a lot I think. My dog is friendly enough to go with me inside any store and get pets from strangers etc etc but she has some anxiety when she is not with me and barks a lot when we board her in unfamiliar places. I now leave the dogs at home nowadays when we go away with a housesitter. And we took the time to get the sitter interact with the dogs and take care of them when we are home so that the dogs get used to her. This worked out pretty well. Our second option is boarding her at their regular daycare since she is used to the environment and that doesn’t stress her that much either. But you may need to train her on the growling and see what is triggering that…is it a protective instinct because she feel she is being taken away from you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for the suggestions! We’ve been able to drop her off at kennels before because she is okay until with the workers until she realizes we are gone a few minutes later. They’ve usually called us within 15-20 minutes (or shorter) so they don’t really keep her for that long. Granted this was also when she was younger and less scary.

I think we will have to try to get someone we know to come over more often and gradually get her used to them. Or find a local trainer who is good with GSDs and can board her.

The breeder is unfortunately not someone we trust anymore (we had gone to him for a year for training when we first ran into her anxiety problems and reactivity) and I think poor breeding is a large part of why she is this way (he offhandedly mentioned during training how my dog’s mother had attacked his ex-girlfriend for no reason and yet still bred litters with her).
Thank you!
 

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Can you find a boarding facility that also does doggy daycare maybe you can try daycare start out with an hour and then increase it to a couple hours to longer that way they’re getting used to the facility and the people that are there I work at a dog grooming facility we also do doggy daycare and overnight boarding we’re not a big facility we have 5000 ft.² but we’re cage free so the dogs are able to run and play all day newbies we have them come in for daycare so they get used to being there if it’s a first time border that’s been away from parents we recommend that you sleep in an old T-shirt that way they have their your sense of smell from home
 
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