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Just adopted a 5yrs old GSD, 2 weeks ago, from DFW German Shepherd Rescue. He is very shy/timid and no aggression. He's afraid of other dogs, doors, gate, & men. He loves his walks with me on trails 2x's a day and loves his crate. He just now joined me in the living room, on his own, to his other bed - this was a motor stride yesterday! We just came from our vet and he was prescribed 1x's a day Prozac.
I would like a recommendation of a trainer in the Dallas area that will specialize in helping our sweet boy and build his confidence and being around others (human & animals). Not looking for something immediate but for sure to start in May. My hope is for him to be my running buddy in the future.
 

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Congrats on your new dog :) Feel free to share pictures! Have you owned GSD's before?

What behaviors are the Prozac treating if I may ask? If you've only had him for 2 weeks, it sounds like you are doing great! I'm unfortunately not near TX so I can't help with a trainer recommendation, but maybe someone else in the area can help.
 

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How does he react to things that frighten him? Shows of aggression to scare the frighting thing away? Cowering?
 

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Congrats on your new dog :) Feel free to share pictures! Have you owned GSD's before?

What behaviors are the Prozac treating if I may ask? If you've only had him for 2 weeks, it sounds like you are doing great! I'm unfortunately not near TX so I can't help with a trainer recommendation, but maybe someone else in the area can help.
Not seeing any changes and he's been on the Prozac for a week - since last Sat. The vet gave the medication I think because of his cowering, fear of people & other dogs. He tends to freeze and hide his face when we call him or get close to him. He is the happiest when we are walking but if there are other people approaching, he stops and hides behind me and freezes with ears and head down. I try late and early mornings when no one is really out walking. He eats very sparingly - like every other day and we used to have food out all the time but another trainer I got a hold of last Sunday told me to put out food in the a.m. for 15-30 min. (I do more like an hr) and same in the evening. He ate the a.m. - yay!!! We are taking him back to vet Sat., as I think he has a ear infection in left ear. He tries to shake head but does it half halfheartedly and holds his head-left side down sometimes when we're walking.
Any advice or help - I would LOVE. He is a part of our family and I'll do anything for him to be happy.
 

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How does he react to things that frighten him? Shows of aggression to scare the frighting thing away? Cowering?
Hello - he rushes through when I first open the gate with tail between his legs and them same when I open a door for him to leave or come in. When he sees other dogs or people - they can be far away too, he'll stop walking, freeze and tail and head down. No growling or aggression at all - he is very quiet and not a peep - not even a bark. I've heard him yawn twice with a slight noise... that is all.
 

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I hope you can find a good trainer it is pretty important that someone with expertise actually watch you and your dog work and play together to form a recovery plan.

In the meantime, I would focus on adding structure to his life. Help him settle into the structure of the house and show him that you are a consistent and reliable owner. These can be simple things like sitting and waiting before going through a door. Going to his place while you eat. The actual activities probably don't really matter, what matters is that you have expectations for him and he can confidently meet those expectations time after time after time. Give him time to settle in.

It also might help to do a bunch of fun and positive obedience training. Working together will help you learn to communicate and trust each other. A successful training session can help him build confidence that he understands the world and can function successfully in it. As before ease into it.

Finally, do a bunch of fun stuff below his threshold. Hopefully, he will learn that maybe the world isn't sunshine and rose... but the part of the world you two share is safe and pleasant.
 

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I hope you can find a good trainer it is pretty important that someone with expertise actually watch you and your dog work and play together to form a recovery plan.

In the meantime, I would focus on adding structure to his life. Help him settle into the structure of the house and show him that you are a consistent and reliable owner. These can be simple things like sitting and waiting before going through a door. Going to his place while you eat. The actual activities probably don't really matter, what matters is that you have expectations for him and he can confidently meet those expectations time after time after time. Give him time to settle in.

It also might help to do a bunch of fun and positive obedience training. Working together will help you learn to communicate and trust each other. A successful training session can help him build confidence that he understands the world and can function successfully in it. As before ease into it.

Finally, do a bunch of fun stuff below his threshold. Hopefully, he will learn that maybe the world isn't sunshine and rose... but the part of the world you two share is safe and pleasant.
I like the waiting thing and do it at the gate before we walk and always talk positive when we go. What is some fun stuff to do that is below his threshold? I did the eating thing this week - thank you and that's gives me confidence that I'm doing things o.k. I know it will take time and want to find the best trainer to help build his confidence and know he can trust us.
 

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More experienced trainers probably could do this in fewer steps and less time.... but this is what worked for me with my fear reactive pup.

'Find It' The foundation started with 'find it'. The basic idea was that I would toss a few pieces of kibble and ask Ole to 'find it'. This helped because find it encouraged Ole to sniff and explore things he might not have otherwise explored. And it reinforced that I was a valuable part of his life as 'the thrower of kibble.' Every morning I would measure out his kibble and put it in a Tupperware container. Throughout the day I would take from the Tupperware and play 'find it.'

As things progressed we expanded where we played 'find it.'; The garage, the front porch, the driveway, the sidewalk. We started going to more and more places to place 'find it.' I worked well for me because if Ole was too anxious to 'find his teats' we need to go somewhere with lower stress.

Over time 'find it' continued to evolve. I would toss treats in harder and harders place for Ole to find. As Ole learned the wait command, "I would hide food in another room." 'Find it' became a general-purpose distractor for keeping Ole below his threshold. If I saw something that might trigger Ole I would toss a handful of treats and say find it. The theory was that Ole would learn that I was more interesting than the environment.

'Find it' was the first step, basically me tossing treats. Next was 'look', before tossing treats I would require Ole to 'look.' This meant look me in the eyes. We continued playing find it. But I would occasionally add a look cue before the treats came out. Just like 'find it' we started doing 'look' in harder and harder situations. We shifted to using 'lool' more and 'find it' less. If he was running through a snowbank and I would say cue 'look'. If he looked at me he would get some treats and immediately return to playing. The theory was that Ole would learn to work for rewards and that working was not a chore.

After 'look' was pretty good we moved on to 'step up' and 'hop up.' We started wi a one-step stepstool. I would put increasingly weird objects around the house that Ole could either put his front paws on or put both paws on. Often Ole would be wary of these things at first. by a process of desensitization I would enough him to; sit in front of the object, 'step up' on the object, and return to sit in front of the object. The theory was that even though Ole was initially wary of the objects, he learned to trust that I would not ask him to do anything he couldn't do.

Now, whenever we are out and about, we 'step up' and 'hop up' on and benches, stones, logs.... anything we come across.

Finally, it is not really a below threshold activity. We worked a lot on 'place.' 'Place' is not only a great way to get the dog out from underfoot. It can be a safe place the dog can retreat to when you, or he, feels he is getting overwhelmed. We started with 'place' being his bed. After I figured out how useful the command is, I changed it to be any item I point to. I usually use a carpet sample because the training facility we go to has carpet samples. If it ever looks like he is getting overwhelmed or even bored I send him to his place for a few minutes to get his wits about him.

I treat place almost like a food bowl. Once he is in his place no one, including me, bothers him until I call him back. His place is his and his alone.

We also do basic obedience work while we are out and about.

In between the above activities, we do a bunch of long lead walking and chasing toys and tugs to keep things fun.

Hope that helps.
 

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That is great ideas. But Frodo is not food intrinsic and does not value treats. He tends to turn his head aware when food or treats is placed near him. I leave the room for him to eat and gives him lots of space. He is now drinking in front of us and this is a HUGE step. Thank you for the ideas and I'm looking forward to getting him a trainer in May that can work with us. Have a good one!
 
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