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My GSD is an abused/rescued female that has lived for us for almost 3 years. She does not and has never liked my husband and we can't get her to come around. She isn't aggressive with him, it's more fear driven it seems. She'll run to the corner when he comes in the room and will sigh with relief when he leaves - and it's been that way from day one. We have tried everything and she just won't warm up to him - are we wasting our time, will she ever come around?

Also, she is VERY protective. My brother-in-law will come in our house EVERY morning at the same time EVERY day, yet she will bark at him EVERYDAY even so - even all the way down the hallway to the bathroom after she clearly sees it is just him. Is that normal? Also, I was watching a 1 year old child and all of the sudden she just started wildly barking at the baby as I held her, which doesn't seem normal to me - and she is doesn't seem to like any males around me or my children at all and will bark and lunge at them if they try to just touch myself or my children.

I am also concerned with the fact that she doesn't play with ANY toys we give her and all treats are buried or hid until she can bury them at a later time. We will throw the ball and she will head in the direction we threw it, but them veer off at the last second and ignore the object, is she scared or just telling us that she's not interested?

She seems to just want to "be" with me. We have a very strong bond, one reason is because I stay at home most of the time and another reason is because, oddly enough, we seem to have similar personality traits. There is no usual doggie stuff, it is almost like she is a mini human. She seems to just want to follow me room to room during the day and sit with me outside (even follow me at 2am a mere two feet to the bathroom). It seems to make her happy, but is it healthy? We go for walks and play on a course my husband made but, it just worries me she won't try to play fetch or anything. She is absolutely depressed when I leave and just sulks in the corner till I get home (which breaks my heart) and I want to know if I can make it more easy for her when I leave, if anyone has any suggestions, maybe.


Any thoughts or input appreciated.
 

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I would take her to training, either group or private and try to build her confidence. She probably needs more to do than live through you. Another suggestion would be to rescue another dog with a confident personality, maybe bring out her strengths? Some dogs need to learn how to be a dog, and that is only from seeing a happy confident dog doing what it knows best.
My GSD's also follow me at every move, so that IMO is normal...:)
 

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Raising my hand to say I have a GSD that follows me everywhere too. Also I'm all for getting another GSD to give yours a friend. I've been thinking of that myself.
 

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My GSD and the GSD mix follow me religously, they are at my every becking call too, so I think that part is "normal" for a gsd.

If I were you, I would consider in getting your GSD a friend to be with, which may help more than you think.
 

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I'm sure you have already done so but I would start with a medical work up just to rule out any health issues. Next I would enroll her into a small, group, basic obedience program. Some of this behaviour borders on the excessive side. I would be a bit concerned with her reaction to the kids.

Try to socialize her more - take her to areas where she will see lots of people (like walking around the mall parking lot). When her comfort levels improve, let her actually approach some one. Dogs attract people - especially GSDs. I'm sure that she will come around but it won't happen overnight; so you'll have to be careful and patient. You're going to get lots of good advice - take advantage!
 

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Does your husband try to interact with the dog?? If so, exactly what does he do?? Or does he ignor the dog?? Tell us more about your husband and the dog.
 

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It sounds like she had no exposure to men.. or babies.. or many other types of people. Dogs classify others into "familiar" and "other" (scary). To a dog who never had a chance to see men for example, they are scary.. like space aliens, kinda.

How about having hubby feed her? How about you and hubby BOTH go to fun training classes with her? Look for a "positive training" class.
 

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My rescued girl was in a similar state when I got her---abused and VERY fearful of all people, but especially men. She also was clueless about toys, but I cared a lot less about that in the early days.

A few thoughts... Your dog is not a mini you, she is a dog. As a dog, she will take her cues from you. If she senses your unease when your husband is near and if she is not encouraged to interact or be around him, she will never get comfortable with him. As this has been going on for 3 years now I think you definitely need the help of a professional trainer. (Call Cesar!! They are accepting applications! Dog Whisperer )

What have you and Dh tried relative to getting them closer?

With Bear I asked my husband to be the dinner guy.
Bear was too afraid of him initially for him to pet her or get too close, so we had him go about his business without attempting to interact with Bear--she would watch him move through the house & do his thing. Every night, however, as soon as he got home from work, Dh would feed Bear. We wouldn't force her over to the dish or even verbally encourage her to get near it when DH was fixing her bowl... BUT each night I had Dh put a little something "extra" in her dish (chicken, ham, or treat) along with her food. Eventually she got closer during this knowing goodies were coming. And as time went on, she got really excited just hearing the garage door open! Needless to say, the whole thing generalized and she started approaching Dh on her own & giving kisses.
(These days, forgetaboutit! Bear is Daddy's little girl!)

I'd try a similar approach with kids. Allow her to watch them but ask that the kids not approach her. Abused dogs are very leery around fast movements and lots of loud noises. If she can watch the kids at a safe distance she'll get used to the movements and shouting. An offered treat or two probably would help here too.

Bear these days is a hilarious dog! She is a Velcro Supreme (always by my side), but she adores my husband, LOVES kids, plays with her many toys (never destroys them either), and races me to the car for rides (she was terrified of the car when I got her). What touches me most though is how happy and confident she is now. She's still skeptical of some men--and lets them know it!--but she will follow my direction when told (either coming over and sayinh 'hi' nicely & getting pats or simply sitting and staying quiet).

I hope this helps a little?! Definitely check out Cesar Millan and talk to a local dog trainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for all your replies!

As far as what my husband and I have done - we have her lay on the bed with both of us, but we place her on his side sometimes, but she would rather lay in our walk-in closet then by him. We have him do most of the feeding / treat distribution. He gives her lots of positive attention but if I let my husband and her outside alone, she will just sit on the porch and will not run around with our other dogs.

We have 2 other rescued dogs. Both males (one full blood Lab and one GSD/? mix) and both are well adjusted as far as social behavior goes. She will assert herself in the house with the males and let them know that it's "her" home as we had her long before they arrived. She seems to want to play with the cats more then other dogs and is VERY protective of them if the males get near them even though they show no aggression and always play nice with the cats.

As far as the Dog Whisperer, we watch the show religiously
and would love to have him come, but he stay on the West Coast and we live in the South East. Yes, that saddens us! We know one of the issues we have from watching the show is that we don't walk the dogs together and the males are outside (fenced in area) most of the day, while she is in the house. I try to get her to play with the males and she will only for a few minutes and only if I am out there with her. So, that pack mentality is weak in that way, I believe.

I am going to look into classes for her - are the ones offered by PetSmart decent? Any suggestions on reputable training courses?
 

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Originally Posted By: ncentity
She seems to just want to "be" with me. We have a very strong bond, one reason is because I stay at home most of the time and another reason is because, oddly enough, we seem to have similar personality traits. There is no usual doggie stuff, it is almost like she is a mini human. She seems to just want to follow me room to room during the day and sit with me outside (even follow me at 2am a mere two feet to the bathroom). It seems to make her happy, but is it healthy? We go for walks and play on a course my husband made but, it just worries me she won't try to play fetch or anything. She is absolutely depressed when I leave and just sulks in the corner till I get home (which breaks my heart) and I want to know if I can make it more easy for her when I leave, if anyone has any suggestions, maybe.

Seems to me nothing wrong there. I had to train mine to follow me, lmao. But now she watches my every move, but i have been practicing the whole NILF tech so that could have helped too.

What i do with alex when i leave is i will make her to do a sit stay on her bed then i will hand her one of her favorite treats/snacks. She is preocupied with the treat and i walk out the door with ease and no whinning. It turns something bad into something good so to speak. Try something like that.
 
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