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Discussion Starter #1
Hello (we are new here), :help:

We have a new member of the family, Gracie 1 year old, (new to us 6 days ago). She is from a kennel, not a rescue or home setting. She is not socialized outside of the kennel but she is sweet sweet sweet and very gentle in our home and with our family: myself, husband and 2 kids (10&13).

We are aware of her obvious trama from changing 'packs' and being unsettled with the transition however she is developing a fairly strong 'fear of strangers' over the past 2 days when we go out for walks and also if people stop by our house. "Stranger" includes everyone she has not met...kids, adults, men, women...she does not discriminate. Her interactions with strangers have been limited as we live in a small town and have walked quiet roads and trails so far. Nothing overwhelming or overstimulating. She has not had a bad encounter/experience with us.

I am trying to take it very slow and calm with her and I do not want to develop any lasting fear based behaviors. Now when she sees a person she doesn't know she does not even want to walk by them. If they try to say hello and get too close she will crouch back and bark aggressively or try to pull out of her collar.

Should I just keep her at home and not take her out until she adjusts to our family being her new home? We were told 3-4 weeks for the adjustment. After that bring her for walks? I will also be doing training with her but not until she views me as her 'mom.' I know I need to expose her to new experiences and socialize her but should I wait? Btw, I do not let my kids walk her yet as her behavior is too unpredictable. She seems to already love all of us though and follows us around looking for pats, plays and scratches behind the ears.

She is very calm, happy and loving and she is going to be a very wonderful family dog we just need to get through this 'fear phase' harm free. I have confidence we can!

Thanks for any help and advice.

Gracie's Mom :)
 

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I don't know much about this but it sounds like you need to get a really good trainer as soon as possible. I would be really nervous about her fear of strangers. But as I said I don't know much about dog training. Others here could certainly offer better advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
:) Thanks Rangers_mom. I totally agree with getting a trainer and fully intend to but was thinking that 3-4 weeks from now might be psychologically better for Gracie as she would better see herself as 'in my pack.' I would think training for fear specifically would be more successful if she feels bonded and truly 'safe' with me first, otherwise we (myself & a trainer) may scare her more.

My initial post was more wondering about right now. What is the best course to take over the next 3-4 weeks with a dog in transition who is feeling like she has lost her pack and is generally insecure when now around strangers. Do I keep her home? Do I take her out? She is not a fearful dog and was anything but when we met her. I believe this is a 'transition' issue right now and that she is just in a temporary fragile state. I want to handle it the right way. Advice?
 

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Honestly with this being a new rescue and already showing this behavior, I would locate a trainer now. Which may not be as quick as it would seem, because you'd first want to find one that knows GSD, check into their credentials, evaluations, speaking with past clients and their experience with the trainer.

While that is in process, there are some who advocate a '2 week shut down' That link will take you to tons of post, pro and con, on the subject.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
oh, she's not a rescue at all. she comes from a very well respected breeder and was house & crate trained. She was just never taken off of their rather large property. She lived in a beautiful little safe bubble. ;)
 

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oops sorry, not a rescue. Those safe little bubbles can have drawbacks can't they.

BTW - the 2 week shut down is similar to what you are thinking of doing- good arguments at that link, both pro and con.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow! Thank you Twyla!!! :hug::hug::hug:

I haven't read all the way through the threads yet but what I have read so far is what my intuition is telling me to do. Very reassuring! I just hope I haven't destabilized Gracie too much. I don't think I have. It sure is easy to see how things can go wrong. She just needs time to bond.

Now I'm off to learn about 'the 2 week shutdown' ;)

Thanks again!
 

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i agree to find a good trainer and start working with her. you can develop a bond in training with her. as said i would not push anyone on her but work slowly with set up situations and new people. it takes time to work through these things, and patience. your sucess rate highly goes up with a professional who can help set up situations teach you what to do etc. being a kennel dog and a year old the world outside that is a scarey place. i hate seeing this, i think its a breeders responsibility to socialize any dogs that remain at the kennel very sad that this pup wasn't............but hopefully you can turn things around with time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am definitely looking into training but she is still in 'shut-down mode' for now. It's really working for her. Unfortunately we live in a small town so finding a good trainer is not an easy task. She also hates treats if you can believe it. She's only ever eaten her raw food diet. Not so pleasant the thought of carrying raw meat around in your pocket! ;) LOL
 
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