German Shepherds Forum banner

Foster Shepherds

2902 Views 44 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Timber1
I have been reading though this forum and finally set up an account.
I do not own a German Shepherd at this time but am looking at adopting one and that is why I joined.
I took her for a walk today (the dog I'm thinking of adopting), and she didn't really seem to interested in me.
When I first walked up by her cage she did look at me and didn't bark at all.
But once I took her outside she kind of did her own thing. Go pee and sniff around.
My question is for th people that ever adopted a dog.
How long before they became attached to you and your family/ come out of there shell?
Did anyone feel like the dog was ignoring you the first time you took them for a walk?
I know the shelter is very stessful and she was probably just happy to be outside.
I will be going back tomorrow and taking her for about a half hour to 45 min walk.
I just wanted to know what everyone elses experiences were liek when first looking at adopting there German Shepherd.
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
I am sure they are grateful to be out and walking. I think you really need to spend some time. Trust is earned. I foster dogs and usually by the 2-3 day they are their true selves. Have you had shepherds b4?
They do tend to be aloof too. But once they get to know out. Give her a chance, give her treats, talk to her. Once you do, she will be yours! Keep us informed on how it goes.
Hi Martin, there is a whole forum on rescues that is a wealth of information on here. I foster GSD's for a rescue and they are all different depending on the life they came from, some are neglected and abused or starved......A GSD often will apear very aloof while they test the waters, but dont believe for a minute that they are not paying attention to every thing you are doing. I had one that was like glue from the moment I brought her through the door, another that was so scared he peed everytime anyone raised their voice in the house and then my last foster was just a real happy go lucky guy that liked will find that once they doesnt matter, they will become attached to your hip.
Thanks for the quick replies.
I have not owned a German Shepherd before on my own. My parents had one when I was younger.
She does seem really nice. I will try and go there tomorrow and spend more time with her and see how she settles in when I spend more time with her.
They say she appears to be 4 years old, and has no aggression.
I just wanted to know some of your stories. So keep them coming.
I didn't get two of my dogs until they were about 6-7 months old.

My first girl Echo took a few days to become accustomed to us, but after a few days she became my shadow.

Cyrus my male came from a breeder/trainer at about 6 months old, he was neglected and crated for very long periods during the day. It took me about a month to really make friends with him. We bonded over hot dogs.

Keep in mind that not all dogs are outright affectionate. Just because she is not all over you does not mean that she does not like you. My Cyrus is not all that affectionate, but I know he loves me. He is a total Velcro dog...

I think it's great that you are spending time with her, I would suggest finding a place where you can just sit with her and feed her some yummy treats and just make friends.

I wish you the best of luck.
See less See more
is this girl at a shelter?

i adopted teagan from a shelter, not a rescue, and she was not immediately interested in me. quite the opposite, i was this incidental thing on the other end of the leash.

that changed once i adopted her, but it took time before she really started to come around. i think she was depressed initially, or in mourning (not having been away from whoever owned her before that long). she now is the dog who goes everywhere with me - i can't go to the washroom without a german shepherd sitting down in front of me - and is very loving.

i would bet with time, patience, and love, she'll come around and give you everything she's got.
Ditto to all of the excellent information given above.

I have a GSD mix of my own and, twice in 2006, we had the privilege of being a foster family for our local rescue group (

Both dogs have <u>long since</u> been adopted into loving, permanent homes, of course.

The first dog, when he first arrived at our home, was clearly somewhat uncertain about these new circumstances. He drank water; he went potty outside; but <u>he didn't eat anything the first day that he was with us</u>!

Silly me--I thought all dogs were "eager eaters"!

I called our rescue coordinator to let her know, and she told me that's not unheard-of with GSDs. They're very smart; some of them want to give a full assessment of their new situation before they trust any food given to them.

Well, she was absolutely right--by the second day, he was eating his food just fine!

The second dog we had adjusted to his new circumstances with no problem at all. He, too, was housetrained, well-socialized, and he ate his food and drank his water just fine.

As has been mentioned above, GSDs tend to be very smart dogs; it might take a short while to earn their trust. But once they've given you their trust, they are loyal beyond description.

In fact, the common description of their personality is "velcro dog"!
They want very much to be with their family and live for the companionship of their people!
See less See more
Well I went to the shelter again today to take her for a nice 45 min walk around.
She walks very well, doesn't pull on the leash too much and keeps up just fine. We even got time to sit down and relax a little. When I sat down she just came right up and sat down next to me not pulling me or anything.
I filled out the application and hopefully she'll be home this weekend.
Just another question.
What should I do when I fist take her home? Just let her roam the house and find her way around or have her on a short leash?
Thanks for all the stories I love hearing them.
Do you have a yard? I know silly question but if you have a yard take her home and let her roam the yard by herself for several hours so that she can find her boundaries and get un-stressed. Don't mess with her much except to maybe step out and let her know you are there. Bring her in a couple hours before dark and let her roam the house. Again, if you are comfortable just let her roam around on her own.

About dark feed her and let her stay out a half hour or so then bring her back in. She will have had a good day getting out of jail, getting some fresh air, getting her belly full and then be ready to take a rest. This worked well with my last dog. No pressure the first couple of days then we got down to work and fun.
Yes I do have a yard.
That sounds like a good idea.
Anyone else?
I was thinking letting her roam around outside for a couple hours checking up and playing with some toys. Them coming in getting washed up and roam around the house while keeping a close eye on her.
Please do be careful with letting her out in the yard by herself - before I got my six foot stockade fence, I had more than one foster shoot right over my fence and then the chase was on!

We always hit the yard first for some sniffing and hopefully at least a good pee outside!

Then I usually keep a new foster on a leash, let them walk all around inside my house and get a good smell of things, and then walk them back outside, using the door that we always use for "potty" breaks. That way they have a point of reference for the future. We stay out in the yard until we have some sort of bathroom action and then we head back inside for what will be hopefully a calm evening.

MOST dogs are so happy to be out of the shelter or a bad situation that they adjust fairly quickly.

Thanks for fostering!
I would supervise her outside as well. I would stick to her as closely as she will allow you to, handing her small treats every once in a while.

I have had my dogs for years and they are rarely outside by themselves for more than 10 minutes. Unsupervised dogs can get into tons of trouble when left to their own devises. Fence jumping, digging holes or chewing things that can be harmful are just a few. (I am speaking from experience here lolol)

Get her some outside toys, jolly balls and cuz's are a favorite of mine.

When bringing a new dog into my home I try to get as close to them as they allow, I help them investigate the house and yard and keep them close.

I would also suggest a crate if you do not already have one, You don't know how she will do in the house yet on her own, and a crate can be a great comfort for a dog adjusting to a new environment.

Can't wait to see pictures of your girl!!

I printed, highlighted and even took it with me when I went to the shelter to pick up my first foster over three years ago. The best advice I ever got!!
Sorry folks, it worked for me but obviously is not the chosen method. Guess I was lucky.
It also worked for me with my first rescue, but not after a few days of keeping her on lease. Suffice it to say 90 percent of the folks on this board, plus my breeder and rescue group told me not to let a foster dog off lease.

My point is you have to have a general ides of how the dog will react to you off lease, and also live in an area that is mostly dog safe from cars.

As an aside we got about a foot of snow today here in the Milwaukee area, and it was great watching my rescue, my forever GSD and the neighbor's lab play on the snow.
I got my current GSD at 3.5 years old and she was glued to me from day 1. She's just about 5 and I haven't quite peeled her off me yet.

Still, if she had not been like that, I think I would have followed the advice you've gotten above about keeping her with you at all times. If she's with you, you know what she's doing and that she's not getting into mischief.

If she gets into mischief, you will be unhappy and she will know that, even if you don't scold her. Her knowing you are not happy with her will be confusing to her.

Preventing her from making mistakes by keeping her with you as much as possible when you can and crating her when you can't will help facilitate bonding and will teach her good behavior by not allowing her to practice bad behaviors that seem to happen when dogs are unsupervised.

We have a fenced in yard, too, but the dogs (1 GSD and `1 Corgi)don't like to hang out there by themselves. They go potty and then they want back in. One day I told them they were going to stay out there longer because I was mopping the floor or something. I I left them out there for a while and guess what they did? They dug a crater in my back lawn halfway to China. Boy, did they teach me why I shouldn't leave them outside unsupervised!

Good luck with your new girl! Can't wait to see pics of her...................waiting!!
See less See more
I think I will keep her close and on leash for awhile.
The shelter said she was found running around the town, and no body came to claim her so she went up for adoption.
We went and spent some more time with her. She smelt the treats as soon as I took the leash.
She knows sit, and now after a little bit of time with me knows stay and down.
Can't wait to take her home on Tuesday. She gets spayed tuesday morning.
The shelter said to take it easy on her for about 14 days because of the surgery?
Thanks for all the advice.
Can't wait!!
Congrats to you and Her! Enjoy your life together!
Congratulations on your new girl! Just another couple of thoughts -- our male was a stray, made it into rescue and was adopted by us.

Because he (and your girl) were strays found running around, chances are she has become accustomed to wandering. Due to that, she most likely has no fear to set out on her own and explore. As you don't know how she became a stray, one thing to think of is fence climbing!

We do not know how our male became stray -- but we did learn he can climb a chain link -- not jump, but climb with his little feet in the links and climb at least an 8 foot. We did not, for a long, long time leave our boy out in the yard alone, because of that. We actually stay outside with him. When we can't, on a beautiful day that he wants out, he had to be on a long-line within the fence.

Just don't give her any chance to fall into her comfort zone of wandering!

In a few months she will realize that she is home with dad!
Originally Posted By: Martin007Hi
I have been reading though this forum and finally set up an account.
I took her for a walk today (the dog I'm thinking of adopting), and she didn't really seem to interested in me.
When I first walked up by her cage she did look at me and didn't bark at all.
But once I took her outside she kind of did her own thing. Go pee and sniff around.
My question is for th people that ever adopted a dog.
How long before they became attached to you and your family/ come out of there shell?
We have a "rule of thumb" of 2 weeks. Some dogs take longer to completely settle in, particularly the shyer, more sensitive ones, but at the end of 2 weeks, you will see a completely different dog than the one you walked out of the shelter.

Quote:Did anyone feel like the dog was ignoring you the first time you took them for a walk?
The best dog I EVER had did this the first time I went to see him. He stayed at the back of his kennel and just looked at me. I asked the shelter worker about him and he said, "He's a good dog, but it just takes him some time to warm up to people. He almost got adopted last week, but just as he was coming out of his shell the people gave up on him and adopted a different dog." This was the conversation we were having as he was literally dragging the dog to the get-acquainted room.

The key is whether there are any hints of aggression when you're approaching or trying to interact with her. Major avoidance, hard stares (like she's searing holes in your brain with her eyes), pinning her ears back, "whale eye," growling, etc., are red flags.

I know the shelter is very stessful and she was probably just happy to be outside.
I will be going back tomorrow and taking her for about a half hour to 45 min walk.
I think this is key. With the dog I reference above, I went to see him every day for a week before I decided to adopt him. By the 2nd day, he lifted his head when I walked into the kennel; by the third day, he came to the front of his run when I walked in; the 4th day I got a little "woof" of recognition; the 5th day, I took the kids to see him (they were 4 and 7 at the time), he loved them and went home with us.
See less See more
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.