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My husband recently rescued an approx one year old Male unneutered GSD. He was on the side of the road about 1/3 mile from our house. DH spotted him sitting up in the weeds every time a car came by then lying down again. He went down to check it out and the dog walked away from him. He put down a bucket of food and went back the next day. This time the dog walked a little ways off then stopped when DH called to him and rattled the food pail. HE started back and stopped, then approached some more. DH sat down and the poor guy walked up, laid down and put his head in DH's lap. So he leashed him up, loaded him in the Jeep and brought him home. He has been to the vet and altho he is very thin the vet says he is healthy enough to be neutered so that will happen next week. He is just a velcro dog to my husband, still a bit shy with me but will approach esp for a treat. We have two other GSD's, one is very friendly, easy going, well behaved...just the light of my life (age 3 neutered male). the other (spayed female) is nearly 10, not friendly and basically has been a huge amount of work since we adopted her 9 years ago. She has quite a bit of arthritis also and is not up to any cavorting. What I need to know is about how long does it atke for his real personality to appear? We did a bit of a walk on neutral territory with my friendly guy and altho he did approach and sniffed (which my guy was fine with and was throwing out all kind of friendly dog signals). But then he barked and did a little charge thing.
We are keeping everyone seperated and safe but just would like to hear what others have done to ensure a safe transition.
 

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3-4 weeks, then again 3-4 months is how I always looked at it. Then growth an improvement as they are with you and can trust and learn.
Congrats!

Also: http://www.brightstargsd.org/mainpages/adviseforowners good article

I think others will have more to say on transition, etc.
 

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Did the vet scan for a microchip? Thank you, and your hubby for saving him!
When we got Kacie(neglect, abandoned case), she took about two months to really feel comfortable. When anyone came over, I think she felt as if she would be taken away, as we were her 5th "home" in her 1 1/2 years, so she was very timid, lost feeling. We do have two other dogs, so the transition was easier. The dogs all female, get along fine. Kacie will be three in three weeks and I am so lucky to have her in my life!
 

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So are we to assume that you are not looking for the dogs owner? And are just going to keep him and have him neutered without trying to find out who he belongs to?
 

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I tried to find Kacies original "owner" thru her chip, but luckily her phone was disconnected. She never paid the vet for the spay at 6 mos. (trail went dead end as I tried thru the rabies cert. to contact)and IMO wasn't a very responsible caretaker. So sometimes the dog knows best and a new home is a Godsend...
 

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Having a few strays/rescues I agree with Jean. It depends on the dog, and I am sure how the animal was treated in the past. My rescue Otto, a few hours. This dog would bond with anyone. The dog I adopted, Paris, she may always be shy and a bit fearful. But her progress has been remarkable.

The big positive, your dog will come around.
 

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I think you'll know what you're working with after a week or so (I did) but with a young dog, you always have to make room for all the general 'growing up' changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sorry to be so long in replying.! Oh my I do not want anyone to think we would just keep a dog that might simply be lost! We did try to find an owner of course. I did post in paper, (and read every local paper for a lost dog ad) called all local vets, did the radio Pet Patrol announcement and contacted the closest rescue. Also called one 30 miles away just in case! And I have networked around as this is a rural area where everyone knows everybody else! I know how very frantic I would be if my Major went missing! So we did try to find where he belonged. He did not have micro chip (or collar), the local rescue checked and so did the vet. We were told by both rescue organizations that regulations require you to hold the dog for 7 days and then he is considered yours.
He woke up on Wednesday limping badly, quick trip to the vet and it was a cyst between two toes that had to be lanced. Poor baby! He could hardly walk. And he has so little muscle mass that he was pretty tottery. I believe we got to him just in time actually. Today we had the neuter surgery done and he came thru it fine, pretty groggy still but home and drinking water and sitting in his new dad's lap.
Thanks for the suggestions and the moral support! I will probably be back for more help.
 

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There is no reason to apologize and even respond to one of the posts.

The person that posted posted the someone critical reply must have had a bad day, and I appreciate everyone that tries to help a dog.

Let us know how the dog is doing.
 

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Bless you and your husband for making an effort for this boy. No matter why he ended up on the side of the road, his survival rate was pretty much zilch before you came along. Please keep in mind here that my style leans both towards hypervigilence and extreme caution - and the dogs I take are most times the worse case scenario, as far from healthy and well-adjusted as you can get. My first priority is to insure the safety and well being of my dogs which, in turn, insures the safety and well being of all those around us.

While there may be triggers you could not possible know about, my greater concern in this particular situation would center around food and shelter safety. While without shelter and a steady diet, a dog will go into survival mode which increases every day he does without. Survival food aggression issues go way beyond the food bowl on the floor and they must be not ruled out after 1 or 2 successful "tests." Any food, in any hand, is a hand in danger. If other pets are present, the danger is hugely magnified. One of my best dogs ever was a GSD starved to the point of eating insulation and wood off walls. It took 3 months of intense work to bring her back to a place of confidence in us and herself. During this time, while socialization was very important, it was never, ever done when food was in the picture. It's easy to forget - a little one has a hot dog in hand, a cookie, friends come over for a cookout, etc. I almost lost her before she had a chance because an inexperienced rescuer sat down between the GSD and another dog with a treat. The GSD lunged and took part of the rescuer's ear apart in an effort to get the treat first. This was after the rescuer had easily given the GSD an earlier treat. Thankfully, the rescuer, while inexperienced, realized immediately her mistake and rather than having the GSD put down called me. For the rest of her 10+ year life, we never had another issue after the first 3-4 months of intense work.

The shelter issue has to do with self-preservation. I would take extra precaution with strange/unusual or unusually loud noise at first. This may remind him of time on the road and trigger any number of behaviors. I'm sure you have a feel for whether he's been in a house before (how he approaches stairs, furniture, etc.). Take care when he's sound asleep (if he's actually sleeping well at first) for his startle reflex may be greatly enhanced, again part of survival mode while on the road. I've seen a dog without confidence run from loud noise far less than firecrackers, but I've also seen a dog react with fairly extreme aggression when startled especially from sleep. I personally feel dogs suffer PTSD much like their human counterparts. Each dog I work with is handled according to their particular issues. However, some things do not change with each dog - as I am confident, my dog is confident, as I am consistent, my dog is consistent. Where neglect or abuse are evident, consistency is especially key in building confidence back. One of my boys was never raised with or around women in any form. When he came to me, I was like an alien. He interacted with my partner but I was invisible. I accepted this but made up special little rituals over the years that only he and I do, and I see a special alliance that has grown, despite my being a girl and all.

It sounds like you are off to a great start with your new addition and hopefully any issues will be few and easily overcome with lots of love and the good health a great home brings. Please let us know how he does.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you for your advice and encouragement. We are taking great care to keep everyone seperate at this time, altho they have seen one another thru windows, etc. And of course feeding is done very seperate! Do you think that the neutering will reduce any aggressive tendencies?? He was neutered on Monday and I suspect it takes several days for testosterone levels to drop. He is still barking when he sees the 2 resident dogs. He also barks at his reflection,in the mirror, window or even the oven door! NEver had a dog do that. Not a maniac barking but he does react. From a lot of reading etc. I am thinking that a reward of tiny treats when he sees the other dogs and remains unaroused would be a good positive reinforcement. ANy thoughts on this? He is going to be my husbands best buddy it looks like. That's fine as I have the wonderful Major as my best buddy. And our concern is to keep everyone safe and to make it work for the new guy. Thanks again for help and advice!!
 

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There are some great books by Patricia McConnell that have been recommended on this forum. I was just re-reading her booklet The Cautious Canine. She deals specifically with "triggers" and how to desensitize. Ex: When the dog sees the other dogs from a distance and doesn't bark...give reward. Do this over and over and then decrease the distance between the two.....if he doesn't bark....give the reward (hot dogs etc...something yummy!) If the dog barks, increase the distance again. The hoped for result is that he sees other dogs and thinks...oh wow...that's a good thing!
Also, Help for Your Fearful Dog; Nicole Wilde.
The Other End of the Leash: Patricia McConnell
The thinking is that the dog is fearful and unsure of himself and that's why he reacts that way.
Hope that helps. You've done a great thing by taking him in!
 

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With one exception on my end, you are right. My costly, high end dog went from mellow to protective of my property. I picked him up at eight weeks from a very good breeder, and he seemed to layed back. I enrolled him in a protection class and he failed because he had no desire to play tug. That has changed, and subsequently, we (a specialist) have been working to control his protective instincts.

I also do rescue, and every dog I have housed has shown their traits, literally in the first week or so. Shy, aggressive, abused, whatever.

Of course, with the young ones I am not as sure as you are.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have the cautious canine booklet...just re read it!! So today we tried some walk-bys outside. Husband sat down with him and a bowl of treats. I walked by with our friendly Major (also a rescue by the way) ..we started out a ways off and gradually got closer to within 8 feet or so. Then quit for now. Will do some more later. The new boy is quite food motivated so a bowl of cooked chicken bits was lots more interesting then Major! He never reacted which was our goal for right now.
Having to ease my husband into the use of treats. But he is committed to making this work and so am I.
 

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It sounds like the dog is lot like my rescues. Some say they are aggressive, mean and all that stuff. But mostly they are shy with us humans. I hve yet to meet a so called mean rescue, and it sounds like you are doing well with the guy picked up on the highway.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
an unwelcome development...he reacted aggressively to our visitors yesterday. That was a first as he has not been shy but no aggression towards people until now. It is week 3. We are still waitinf for a visit from the trainer/behaviorist. I was REALLY discouraged about the human aggression stuff. sigh.
 
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