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I have been using forums my entire adult life to learn and share information with/from others. I am pleased to find a forum dedicated to these beautiful dogs so I could share my story and stories to come.

My name is Jared and me and my family live in Stanwood Washington My wife (Tina) and my 11 year old daughter and I just adopted "Jake" from CASA (Camano Animal Shelter Association). CASA is out on Camano Island and about 10 minutes from our home. Jake is 11 months old and is an AKC registered GSD. Although they did have his papers on hand, they are being destroyed as is the policy of the shelter.

Sadly we buried our 13 yr old Cocker Spaniel/Rat Terrier mix "Billie Jean" this last Wednesday. She had some medical issues compounded by a recent stroke and rather than have her suffer we decided to put her to sleep. This although being really hard for me, was the best course of action to take. Friday after work I started doing an online search at the local shelters for another barker.

A little background...... although I have never owned a GSD in my adult life (I'm 37) I grew up with them as my father has almost always had one. I am familiar with the breeds temperament and the extra work that can be required with the breed........ especially when you own a male GSD.

We signed the papers for him and paid the adoption fee today and will bring him home after work on Wednesday. Tomorrow he is being dropped off at the vet to be neutered, chipped, and an overall wellness checkup. His previous owner took very good care of him and they handed over all of his paperwork and medical records when they surrendered him to the shelter. Apparently they just didn't have the time to spend properly training him..... which is too bad because he seems very intuitive.

My first meeting with Jake was on Saturday morning as soon as the shelter opened. As I figured would happen he just pretty much barked at me for the first 5 minutes and had a ton of anxiety. At one point he attempted to jump 3 feet through a closed viewing window. He started to settle down and took up residence on a bench under the window and that is when I went to work with him.

I spent probably 20 minutes just walking towards and then away from him bouncing a tennis ball the entire time. After it got to the point where he wasn't constantly focused on me, while still bouncing the ball I would offer him a treat. Initially he wouldn't take them...... and it went like that for a few more minutes. Eventually he did take a treat from me and I just continued that back and forth motion bouncing the ball and offering a treat when I reached him. I think I gave him 5 of these little venison jerky treats during this walking back and forth. My last time back towards him I stroked him behind the ears and walked away. He was paying attention to me again for sure now. Walked back towards him with a treat and sat down next to him on the bench. He took the treat, then stuck his nose in my ear and tried to lick my brains out...... then he did it to the other side (I guess to even them out) and was bouncing and running all around my lap.

Success! Went ahead and threw the tennis ball for him for about 15-20 more minutes and decided it was time to go. The gals working the desk were impressed by the fact he warmed up to me at all as there had been 3 other families come see him and they didn't really make any progress....... but that didn't stop them from filling out adoption papers for him..... go figure. I told them he could be kenneled and that I would be back in a few hours. I came back as promised and the dog from the initial encounter was completely transformed. He tried to knock me over when I came back through the door into the yard!! I put a leash on him and took him for a short walk and was encouraged by the fact that he had obviously spent some time on a leash...... but he needed a little more work. He is after all still a young dog.

Fast forward to today. Initially it was just my wife and I that went to see him this morning. He was completely indifferent to my wife and warmed up to her almost immediately. Decided the next step needed to be a meet and greet with our other dog "Harley". Harley is also 13 like Billie Jean but is full blooded Cocker....... all black....... and he's a lot of fun to trip over in the middle of the night. I stayed with Jake while Tina drove back home to pick up our daughter and Harley and they had a really good meeting. Jake wanted to play, Harley wanted to play, and at that point ALL of our minds were made up...... including the girls at the shelter. We got bumped to the top of the list and signed the papers and paid the fee. Jake is already reacting as I am the authority figure. After the butt sniffing and bouncing around during the meet and greet, Jake laid down at my feet and would just glance up at me from time to time whist us humans were talking amongst ourselves.

I am really excited for Wednesday. I will be sure to let everyone know about his initial encounter with his new home and am happy to be a new GSD owner.

Jared
 

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Congratulations! Sounds like Jake has found a perfect forever home and your family has found a new companion.

I'm just curious why the shelter is not letting you have his AKC papers. He will be neutered so you won't be able to breed him. Having his papers would allow you to easily participate in AKC events such as obedience, tracking, agility etc. if you wanted. You still can with a PAL registration but why not just let you have the original papers. I'm sure they have a reason, just wondering what it would be?

And welcome to the forum!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Congratulations! Sounds like Jake has found a perfect forever home and your family has found a new companion.

I'm just curious why the shelter is not letting you have his AKC papers. He will be neutered so you won't be able to breed him. Having his papers would allow you to easily participate in AKC events such as obedience, tracking, agility etc. if you wanted. You still can with a PAL registration but why not just let you have the original papers. I'm sure they have a reason, just wondering what it would be?

And welcome to the forum!!!
I'm not sure why they HAVE to destroy them as he is being altered. Apparently she wasn't even supposed to divulge that information. I think it has to do with privacy concerns as I am sure his last owners name is probably on the paperwork. I have considered pressing for more information or if I could possibly view the papers before they are shredded.

They are funny about privacy laws here in Washington state as well.

Jared
 

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Welcome and Congrats-Sounds like you know the breed and how to handle dogs in general. It's great to hear about a rescue that lands in a great situation ---Jake's a lucky dog. Once again congrats too you and your family !
 

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Obviously Jake knows a good thing when he sees it!
So glad you found each other.
Best wishes for success in the transition at home.
 

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Thank you for your condolences regarding Billie Jean. She was a good dog and is certainly missed. I struggle with the thought if there was anything else we could have done for her.

I am looking forward to bringing Jake home. During our interactions (when he was paying attention) he knows Come, Sit, Shake, and is house-broken and kennel trained. "Stay" seemed to escape him....... there was a lot going on around us though so he may know it...... he will learn it regardless lol. I'm pretty excited and couldn't help but share his picture with a few guys at work. He is a handsome boy.

Anyways all, thanks for your support and kind words. I will be back on Wednesday/Thursday to give an update on his initial transition.

Jared
 

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Decided to change my wake-up alarm since I have a new pup to walk in the morning. Hence the early post.

His first day at home went as well as I could have hoped for. I am considering changing his name to David Copperfield...... he made my cats vanish!! I have high hopes that maybe one day they will get along....... but for the moment the cats are just eyeballs under my bed. The nice thing is we have a sliding glass door in our bedroom out to the deck so they have a way in and out of the house without doggie confrontation.

As I remember and as my father reiterated to me........ I have a new trip hazard! He wants to be in whatever room I am in.

My cocker Harley stands his ground with him which is pretty funny to watch. It's like watching Gary Coleman scream at Arnold Schwarznegger.

Jake seems to have an issue with my Macaw. I have a 19 year old Ruby Macaw that is very rarely ever in her cage and I had to lock her up yesterday as any movement she was making was sending Jake into a frenzy. HE CAN almost reach the top of the cage. He calmed down as the day went on. I am hoping with some continued discipline he will eventually ignore her.

Got him in his kennel last night and after about 10min of grumbling and whining he settled down and drifted off to sleep.

I half considered taking him to work with me and kenneling him in the SUV between breaks..... I abandoned that Idea but may re-visit that in the spring time.

After work today I am going to take him to pet-co to pick out some chew toys. The one tennis ball we could find is now in 2 pieces.

All in all, he has his full throttle moments and is mellow the rest of the time. He shows absolutely no fear or signs of aggression. He did bark at my daughter when she got off the bus. He was on his leash and I took him to the ground. After some hand sniffing and ear rubbing he was fine again and at times was following her around the house.

More to report later!!

Jared
 

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Sorry to hear about your billy jean and congrats on the new addition to the family he will keep the heart pumping. They sure do know how to make cats vanish. Good to have a separate area where the cats can get to so they can feel safe. All our older cats had passed away but we have this one cat who is sweet but a grand spook who never comes around and when she does she looks she is a slinky shadow so it is constant reminders and work for the dogs to leave her alone when she wants to come around. We use to have parakeets and they were mostly in the cage and in the office upstairs not often out with us. I found it Max never really got used to the parakeets because of that separation and would be hyper focused on them when he was around them. Our newest addition to the family is a moustache parakeet a small parrot who is often out of his cage - well supervised. He is always around us and a big part of the family and the dogs gradually became very used to the bird. Even if the bird decides to take a short fly the dogs ignore him. Max would get uptight if the bird was on my shoulder or nibbled my finger before he climbed on but now is relaxed about it. We keep the cage in another room that can be separated but my daughter always has the bird loose on a perch wherever we are and the dogs completely ignore the bird. All this was done with leave it and small reminders until there was none needed and again there is always supervision when the bird is loose. Leave it and even if the dog needs to be leashed around the bird at first until he settles in and is taught the rules of the house.
https://youtu.be/asVQYYSWPJc
 

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OP, congrats. Your dog's story is the story of many, many adolescents -- cute as puppies but overwhelming to unprepared buyers once they got big and strong, so they end up in shelters as confused youngsters.

Take things slowly at home with your small dog, even though they got along well at the shelter. Read up about the "two-week shut down" as a method of introducing a new dog into a home -- it can avoid many problems (and some dogs need only a week).

I'm just curious why the shelter is not letting you have his AKC papers. He will be neutered so you won't be able to breed him.
There's supposedly a market for bad breeders to buy the papers and forge registrations for whatever litters they've got from some other unregistered dog under this dog--even though this dog didn't sire them because he's neutered, and they're not the former owner. I don't know the details of how it works, but apparently some shelter director busted people doing it.

When we get registered dogs in rescue, I take the step of calling the AKC and telling them to put a note in the dog's file that it's speutered and no future litters should be registered under it, but they make it really hard to do that (and they're so indifferent that I'm never sure they're not saying, "Yeah sure, whatever" to get off the phone without even updating the file).

The shelter mightlet you take a phone pic or photocopy of the pedigree (with a post-it to redact the former owner's name) so that you could research the dogs behind him, if you explain how helpful it is for health and training to know something about genetics in this breed.
 

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I appreciate everyone's comments and wanted everyone to know that I feel I am the lucky one in this situation.

A quick update... My mind struggled to stay on task at work today so I was forced to listen to my music a little louder and run on autopilot. My heart was hurting at the thought of him being kenneled for the few hours he was. My father says it is tough to think about but Jake and I will both get used to it.

He is ignoring my bird for the moment...... that is a plus. Problem with that is she like to get down off her cage and come beg for attention. Sooo.... Her cage is behind our recliner and couch and I have the areas Jake can fit through cordoned off with chairs from the kitchen...... although he can jump right over the arm of the recliner and end table like they aren't even there. I think she's okay for the time being and I don't believe he means any harm.... he just wants to play.

The cats. I put my buddy "Tucker" up on the fridge and although Jake stared at him for a minute he didn't freak out or try to knock the fridge over. We decided to move the cat food to the top of our dresser and will be picking up a cat door sliding glass door insert thing. I am certain he doesn't want to harm the cats.... he just wants to play.

Had him outside today off leash, we ran and played and tossed a tennis ball around. We live at the end of a dead end road with only 1 other house and zero traffic. He finally pooped. That had me a little concerned. My wife used to work at North Cascade Veterinary Hospital and had the theory that he might not poop when he is on a leash. He never got more than a tennis ball toss length away from me and he ran up and sat in front of the door when he was ready to go back in.

Took his cone of shame off under my wife's instruction. If he licks tell him NO, if he doesn't stop, put the cone on him. He is ignoring his stiches entirely.

We have started working on some commands and strengthening the commands he knows..... He is kind of freaking me out at how fast he picked up lay down and stay. Stay needs a little more work but he gets it.

Figured I would post a few more pictures as well.

Jared
 

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Day 3.

Jake had a pretty active day yesterday. After I got home from work, he and I spent almost the rest of the day outside tossing sticks and tennis balls.

After some recent heavy rains, and because we have a lot of clay in our soil, our side yard on the house will hold water for a few days after it rains for a few days. we call them the great lakes. Anyways..... Jake discovered the great lakes!! Wet dog much?? He must have run back and forth at wide open throttle a dozen times. He would drop his tennis ball in the water and bob it with one of his paws. I had him wore out.

Bought him the largest wire kennel that our local co-op sells...... which was cheaper than the exact same one at Pet-Co by $100. I've always shopped at Pet-Co in the past but our Pet-Co store is a satellite location and doesn't carry the variety that the bigger stores carry. Besides the fact you can't buy fish at the Co-Op..... they have a much larger pet products selection. Food, Toys, Treats, etc. Seems like everything was 1/2 priced over Pet-Co.

Decided to have my MIL and FIL come to the house last night to meet Jake. Now I am regretting not meeting them at a neutral location. He barked and barked and barked. When he wasn't barking he was grumbling. No hair standing up, no super tucked tail, he looked normal and non-aggressive.......... he just barked!!! There was the customary hand sniffing. It wasn't until near end of our hour visit that he started to settle down and took up residence on the couch next to me. As soon as they got up to leave he was at it again!! I was not expecting him to be so vocal.

Me and my dad are meeting up today at a field up near his house so Jake can meet "Elkie". Elkie is my dads 2 year old female GSD.

I will report back this evening or tomorrow on the results of "The Encounter" as I am calling it.

And of course.... more pictures.

Jared
 

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Well my father being the smart guy he is..... decided we should go up to the Port of Skagit County and walk the trails with the dogs. And what a great idea it really was. Lots of random noises, airplanes, trucks, cars, joggers, bicycles, other dogs, etc. It made it an environment that makes it hard to really focus on one certain thing and the dogs did great together. I was so excited with my fathers praise and with how Jake was doing that I spaced taking any pictures. He barked at Elkie in the beginning, they sniffed and did there thing and then they were good. Every so often Jake would just randomly start barking at my dad. Dad came prepared with some milk bones in his pocket and the world would start spinning again.

He was surprised at how well the dogs were behaving with each other on our 2 hour stroll around the airport. It appears to my father and as I suspected that Jake just needs more socialization. He commented that even when Jake was barking that it wasn't aggressive at all, more nervous barking than anything else. He gave me some good tips on how to help Jakes behavior as well. Distraction, soft talk, hands on the dog to soothe, and Jake was fine again. 99% of the time Jake was as cool as a cucumber. The gals at the shelter did mention that he seemed to like women more than men but my father said there is no denying that Jake knows he is MY dog. We will be setting up regular walks as the weather permits..... I talked to my father more today than I have in the last 2 years. I don't like that we don't talk often...... but life does happen to all of us eventually. Truthfully and unfortunately my family has always been the type to get together on the holidays and almost ignore each other the rest of the time. Communication has gotten more frequent since the invention of the "Text Message"..... I swear nobody really talks anymore.

Jake is currently passed out on the couch next to me quietly snoring :)

I feel so blessed to have him.

Jared
 

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I wouldn’t advice having your hands on the dog when he is barking....that would be rewarding the behavior


My shepherd does the same barking thing in the house...usually lasts a few minutes only but she will bark again if they stand up. It’s a fearful anxious behavior.
 

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I wouldn’t advice having your hands on the dog when he is barking....that would be rewarding the behavior


My shepherd does the same barking thing in the house...usually lasts a few minutes only but she will bark again if they stand up. It’s a fearful anxious behavior.
I can look at it that way as well, but I can also say that it was working. My father was giving an explanation for everything he was having me do and he said that by rubbing his chest and shoulders it is a soothing distraction. That coupled with softly saying "it's ok" in repetition. It is like giving a treat for a good deed as far as he associates the "it's OK" to the soothing rubbing that he is getting and eventually I won't have to rub him down, a simple "It's OK" will suffice...... just like not giving them a treat every time they obey a command after they learn the command. I can honestly say that it was working and towards the end of the trail he was no longer barking at people walking or bicycling past us. A few times my dad said "wow", good job Jared.

Jake is a little nervous still. I don't know exactly what his previous circumstances or living environment were and it will take him a little time to realize that he has nothing to fear from anyone.

Jared
 
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