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My male neutered GSD really shocked me when the rescue people came over to give me some paperwork. They had not known the dog personally as he was in a foster home and his mom, who loved him but had some life situations could not take care of him with 2 jobs. My dog, only with us a week and is just wonderful with bonding with us, growled and barked up a storm, continuously, not minding our commands, we he just came to our home a week ago. He proceeded to snarl with his mouth foaming a little in the corners with his head right by one rescuers face! My heart sank because the rescue ad said, Good with people, dogs and graduated obedience school. I have had 4 shepherds so far and this was not moderate aggression. we believe it is fear based as he was with this woman for 7 months and no visitors. He did got to Doggy Camp and did well with the counselors that he knew but he seems very protective of me or he may be terrified. I put him in his crate and he continued to snarl and bark, never got quiet. It was very upsetting to me as I already am deeply in love with this character. He is super, extremely active, and at 11 months chews up everything like pillows, plastic, wicker, etc. He is crated when I leave the house which is rarely. He wants to play ball all the time and I spend about 2.5 hrs a day chucking balls but he won;t come in after that and pitches a fit, whining, barking etc. We are well aware he needs exercise a lot, takes walks plays, had interactive puzzle toys and I try to do basic training again,His recall doesn't work when he is adamant about something. A few trainers suggested he see a vet for some Prozac or something as he is really over the top. Some trainers I talked to said he might do better where he has a job like K-9 police training but I do not want to ever give him up. His foster mom got him a 3 months at a shelter where someone dropped of a basket of GSD puppies. SO he has been there, at her place, and now I am his mom. I read that GSDs , of course bond strongly with their owners and the more they are sent to new homes they get traumatized and get behavioral issues. She had put him in a train and stay boarding place where they found out the trainer was fake and the dog came out looking emaciated. He was most likely abused. I want to love him and give him the best home but I cannot have people over at all unless I board him. I was referred by several to a trainer who is also a well sought out behaviorist, very expesnsive but it would be home visits to stop the door behavior with guests. It is also from a facility that will board my dog and work with each dog as individuals and see what they like to do and socialize them slowly with people and other dogs. I never expected this but the owner did not reveal all to the rescue. Any other suggestions or similar stories that came out well in the end?
 

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My dog doesn't like visitors, she can be very reactive with people she doesn't know. I just put her in a secure crate in a back room (definitely not in the same room) when I have people she doesn't know over (which isn't often). I put her in there before they arrive most of the time, which limits the stress and the bother. If you have certain people that are over all the time, take time for them to get to know the dog, go on walks together etc, to get those people to bond with your dog. It will be worth it in the long run.

I'm not really sure what you are saying in your post, are you considering sending him to a board and train? Personally, I would prefer to work with a trainer that came to my home / that I could do day classes with. I think your dog needs some stability, time to settle in to your house, and bond with you and your family. He's only 11 months old, I would avoid any trainers that suggest medications at the first point of contact, it's not a good sign. There is plenty of time to work with him, grow his confidence, make him feel more secure and less fearful, as long as you are committed, and if you can find the means to afford a good trainer that would help a lot!
 

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I am sorry you have such a handful. Your story seems similar to mine. Complete with the recommendation for medication to calm pup down. I feel your heartbreak

I have been successful with the general approach of increasing my knowledge, establishing a mutually respectful relationship, and gradually increasing the structure and expectations in pup's life.

1. First, I would encourage you to find a trainer or behaviorist who you trust. We were rejected by several trainers and I didn't feel comfortable with a couple of others. A professional assessment, a professional plan, and professional feedback on how effectively you are implementing the plan are crucial.

2. Add structure to your pup's life. I use the crate a lot... especially when I am home. It took several weeks to change the crate from 'Doggy Jail' into Pup's safe place to relax. Not only is the crate a comfortable pace for pup to relax, but it also keeps a curious pup out of trouble so he is not hearing the word 'no' all day. You can gather your wits. Pup earns his daily kibble through the course of the day by exhibiting desirable behavior.

3. Very frequent structured playtimes below pups threshold. This was a time-consuming process of figuring out what sets Ole off, what indicators he gave before and during escalation, learning how to redirect before escalation, and recovery after escalation. Once we figured out the threshold, we spend hours working just below the threshold to learn that the world was in fact a happy place full of rainbows, sunshine, and four-leaf clovers. Overtime, Ole has been learning that more and more of the world is an OK place.

4. Learn to rejoice in the small victories and accept the setbacks without becoming frustrated.

Above all else please find an experienced trainer you trust and respect to get you pointed in the right direction and help keep you going in that direction. A good trainer can be expensive or require a bit of travel. I have found that I can make the most of my limited time with the trainer by doing a lot of home study. Like any specialized field, dog training has a lot of theory and jargon. The trainer can communicate most effectively using that language.

Thus, you get the most bang for your trainer buck.

Good Luck
 

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I was very worried when you were in a hurry to replace the dog you lost. I did exactly what you did in a similar situation and ended up with a rescued dog that bit people. Not a lot but he was very aggressive toward anyone he thought might take him from me. I know you are attached but you have not had him that long. This is going to be a lifetime situation of crating and management. I don’t think that is what you wanted or expected when you took in a rescue. There is no cure or quick fix for his behavior issues. In fact, that could be the underlying reason why she gave him up. The rescue should have fostered him and figured that out before placing him with you. I’m worried now because you had an easy dog before and you have the opposite now. I know it’s hard but please consider turning him back to the rescue while you still have a chance. If he bites someone, he will likely need to be euthanized, which I think is far worse. He needs a home where the owner/handler has experience with his behaviors. He might not do that in a different situation. I’m guessing you are treating him the way you treated your easy dog and he doesn’t need that. He needs firm, no nonsense handling. I am only saying this because I lived exactly what you are going through now. I paid an aggression specialist a lot of money but he never fixed the problem. I became a very good dog handler but at a huge price. The dog we had was very good with us and a few people he chose to like, and absolutely horrible with people he didn’t like. It was years of stress and worry. Dog ownership should be a pleasure, not a source of constant worry,
 

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A board and train will not get your brand new dog comfortable and acclimated to his new home,which is really what he needs.From your description he appears to be anxious and confused ,unable to relax and settle.What I would work on for the next few weeks/months is to establish a household routine with him so he knows what to expect when,and encourage more calm behavior.Spend time sitting on the floor with him talking softly and discovering where to pet him that he finds soothing.Tummy?Throat?Shoulder scratch?He really doesn't need to be kept busy and moving constantly,that keeps him in an anxious state of mind.Keep him away and out of sight from visitors for the time being.Involving a trainer later on that will come to your home is a really good idea.
 

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Sounds like you either need to hire a trainer immediately or return the dog. I would suggest, if you return him, you take a step back and really makes sure the dog is what they say they are before adopting again.
 

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First off the dog has been moved around all his life. Give him some time to settle in and let you work with him on your role as his leader. Put him in a crate in another room if someone comes over. One of my GSDs still hates visitors and she always will. I just accept that and keep her and visitors safe from each other.
 

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If you all remember, she had a very sweet, mellow female who she lost. It doesn't sound like this is what she thought she was getting as a replacement. Usually I favor the dog but in this case, I’m more concerned about the new owner and if this is really what she expects.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My dog doesn't like visitors, she can be very reactive with people she doesn't know. I just put her in a secure crate in a back room (definitely not in the same room) when I have people she doesn't know over (which isn't often). I put her in there before they arrive most of the time, which limits the stress and the bother. If you have certain people that are over all the time, take time for them to get to know the dog, go on walks together etc, to get those people to bond with your dog. It will be worth it in the long run.

I'm not really sure what you are saying in your post, are you considering sending him to a board and train? Personally, I would prefer to work with a trainer that came to my home / that I could do day classes with. I think your dog needs some stability, time to settle in to your house, and bond with you and your family. He's only 11 months old, I would avoid any trainers that suggest medications at the first point of contact, it's not a good sign. There is plenty of time to work with him, grow his confidence, make him feel more secure and less fearful, as long as you are committed, and if you can find the means to afford a good trainer that would help a lot!
No, We are having the trainer/Behaviorist to our home since the problem is aggression at the front door. They do board dogs that need specific attentions, the other boarding places just let them all out to play in one yard. This one is takes care of the individual's needs. We will board him when overnight guests comes. We were told that the obedience classes, after the home training would be good for socialization and reinforcement. He learned his original commands in german. We put him in the crate when we go out for a short while and put on a calming dog anxiety video on Youtube. The crate is in the back room.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Sounds like you either need to hire a trainer immediately or return the dog. I would suggest, if you return him, you take a step back and really makes sure the dog is what they say they are before adopting again.
I am having a pet behaviorist.trainer come to our home next Tuesday and some visits afterward. It's the aggression that scares me about visitors, the other things, I am used to solving as we have had 3 other GSDs. The rescue said that If I can;t deal with him I still have to keep him as a foster then because they have no one else to foster him!!!! IF I am spending my own money and lots of it, I am keeping him. They are not owning that they did not get enough info and are putting it on me to solve the problems. Hey, most GSDs need training, all of mine did and turned out wonderfully, but severe fear aggression is a serious problem, the other things are just obstacles to overcome with time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Has he been socialized outside of your house or yard
Not yet, I have only had him a week. He was not socialized before as the foster mom worked 2 jobs.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I am having a pet behaviorist.trainer come to our home next Tuesday and some visits afterward. It's the aggression that scares me about visitors, the other things, I am used to solving as we have had 3 other GSDs.
I have had 3 GSDs before, they all needed training and I have a trainer./behaviorist coming over next week for the first of a few lessons. She will be trained at home here, but will board there and socialize with other dogs and people. She may also do some agility or swimming, they will see what she likes. This is when we will already have her boarding due to a weekend visit from friends.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I was very worried when you were in a hurry to replace the dog you lost. I did exactly what you did in a similar situation and ended up with a rescued dog that bit people. Not a lot but he was very aggressive toward anyone he thought might take him from me. I know you are attached but you have not had him that long. This is going to be a lifetime situation of crating and management. I don’t think that is what you wanted or expected when you took in a rescue. There is no cure or quick fix for his behavior issues. In fact, that could be the underlying reason why she gave him up. The rescue should have fostered him and figured that out before placing him with you. I’m worried now because you had an easy dog before and you have the opposite now. I know it’s hard but please consider turning him back to the rescue while you still have a chance. If he bites someone, he will likely need to be euthanized, which I think is far worse. He needs a home where the owner/handler has experience with his behaviors. He might not do that in a different situation. I’m guessing you are treating him the way you treated your easy dog and he doesn’t need that. He needs firm, no nonsense handling. I am only saying this because I lived exactly what you are going through now. I paid an aggression specialist a lot of money but he never fixed the problem. I became a very good dog handler but at a huge price. The dog we had was very good with us and a few people he chose to like, and absolutely horrible with people he didn’t like. It was years of stress and worry. Dog ownership should be a pleasure, not a source of constant worry,
I have had 3 GSDs before and they all required training. My Cheyenne settled down , the female, but was fear aggressive at first. It took lots of socializing and training to get her to what she wound up to be. I had trainers for all my dogs. My first female was very active , destructive etc, trained her and she wound up to be a wonderful dog as they all did. My second one was male and a gentle teddy bear. I just did not realize how this one would act towards strangers! I do have to change the way I am and be very firm . The training is more for us than her! She is so sweet with us and fortunately we do not have a lot of visitors since we are 800 miles away from our relatives. As for the rescue, they did have him fostered but her situation changed and had to work 2 jobs. He was crated a lot. The rescue came to visit and that;s when he showed the aggression and snarling. I was overwhlemed by his reaction. They said that I would have to deal with it as they cannot take him back as I would be the foster home for him because they have no one else!!!!! They promoted him as very sweet he is to us, obedience trained, likes people and dogs, played at Doggy Day camp. They said they told me all they know. I found out more because I called the foster and she really did cry giving him up but I found out she did not have many visitors, two of her dogs were afraid of him, the doggy camp went well except with one dog who refused to play with him. All I got was a sweet boy from everyone. He is afraid to go in the backseat of the car, we cannot get him in there. At first she said he get's his front feet in there and she lifts up the rest, then she said he doesn't go int there at all and she has topick him up to put him in the backseat, coming or going, no matter where. The rescue did not get enough info, some things were skewed. He was painted as an obedient dog who likes people and other dogs, what's not to like? Now they got mad at me for getting exasperated at how he reacted to them and said, they would have never given him to me if they knew I'd be exasperated at his behavior ( which just happened when they came). Sheesh, give me a break. No, I would not have taken him if I had known, Then they found out he was at a board and train with a fake trainer who abused the dog. Now they are telling me I HAVE to keep him as a foster as they have noone else! Does that sound legit? I want to keep him and will work very hard at getting this behavior settled, fear aggression but I am not fostering him. I am spending my own money getting expensive training. I resent that the woman was turning it on me. IF I am training him, I am keeping him.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My dog doesn't like visitors, she can be very reactive with people she doesn't know. I just put her in a secure crate in a back room (definitely not in the same room) when I have people she doesn't know over (which isn't often). I put her in there before they arrive most of the time, which limits the stress and the bother. If you have certain people that are over all the time, take time for them to get to know the dog, go on walks together etc, to get those people to bond with your dog. It will be worth it in the long run.

I'm not really sure what you are saying in your post, are you considering sending him to a board and train? Personally, I would prefer to work with a trainer that came to my home / that I could do day classes with. I think your dog needs some stability, time to settle in to your house, and bond with you and your family. He's only 11 months old, I would avoid any trainers that suggest medications at the first point of contact, it's not a good sign. There is plenty of time to work with him, grow his confidence, make him feel more secure and less fearful, as long as you are committed, and if you can find the means to afford a good trainer that would help a lot!
I did write "I was referred by several to a trainer who is also a well sought out behaviorist, very expesnsive but it would be home visits to stop the door behavior with guests." When I board him, they will also help him with other dogs and people, some agility, see what he enjoys"
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am sorry you have such a handful. Your story seems similar to mine. Complete with the recommendation for medication to calm pup down. I feel your heartbreak

I have been successful with the general approach of increasing my knowledge, establishing a mutually respectful relationship, and gradually increasing the structure and expectations in pup's life.

1. First, I would encourage you to find a trainer or behaviorist who you trust. We were rejected by several trainers and I didn't feel comfortable with a couple of others. A professional assessment, a professional plan, and professional feedback on how effectively you are implementing the plan are crucial.

2. Add structure to your pup's life. I use the crate a lot... especially when I am home. It took several weeks to change the crate from 'Doggy Jail' into Pup's safe place to relax. Not only is the crate a comfortable pace for pup to relax, but it also keeps a curious pup out of trouble so he is not hearing the word 'no' all day. You can gather your wits. Pup earns his daily kibble through the course of the day by exhibiting desirable behavior.

3. Very frequent structured playtimes below pups threshold. This was a time-consuming process of figuring out what sets Ole off, what indicators he gave before and during escalation, learning how to redirect before escalation, and recovery after escalation. Once we figured out the threshold, we spend hours working just below the threshold to learn that the world was in fact a happy place full of rainbows, sunshine, and four-leaf clovers. Overtime, Ole has been learning that more and more of the world is an OK place.

4. Learn to rejoice in the small victories and accept the setbacks without becoming frustrated.

Above all else please find an experienced trainer you trust and respect to get you pointed in the right direction and help keep you going in that direction. A good trainer can be expensive or require a bit of travel. I have found that I can make the most of my limited time with the trainer by doing a lot of home study. Like any specialized field, dog training has a lot of theory and jargon. The trainer can communicate most effectively using that language.

Thus, you get the most bang for your trainer buck.

Good Luck
Thank you for your advice. For this particular dog we do need to be more structured. Playtime, everything must be when WE say it is time to play or eat etc. We are starting to establish that. Also pets off the bed to be the leader. I also cannot smother him with too much affection and especially at the wrong times. We must be firmer but kind with this one. We were referred to a very highly recommended, though expensive, but worth it, trainer and she is a pet behaviorist that does not pull any punches. I have had horrific trainers in the past with my other dogs. This time will be different. She will come to the house and my husband has to take off work for the training also so we are on the same page. They say it takes about 3 months for the dog to become acclimated to the environment. He is very happy with us otherwise. We can keep him exercised each day and he is knocked out right now from 1.5 hrs of playing ball.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
First off the dog has been moved around all his life. Give him some time to settle in and let you work with him on your role as his leader. Put him in a crate in another room if someone comes over. One of my GSDs still hates visitors and she always will. I just accept that and keep her and visitors safe from each other.
Thank you, I will. I have a crate in the backroom, He was in there yesterday for a while while the furnace guy was here. He doesn't mind his crate.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If you all remember, she had a very sweet, mellow female who she lost. It doesn't sound like this is what she thought she was getting as a replacement. Usually I favor the dog but in this case, I’m more concerned about the new owner and if this is really what she expects.
Aww, I really appreciate your empathy. I try my best to research and they did not know all the information, only that he was a "Very sweet boy: ( over and over), that he liked people and other dogs, and graduated obedience school and knows his commands in German. They said they told me all they know. I found out the rest by questioning the foster mom after the fact. Things were a littel convoluted and no negatives were stated to the rescue who was mad at me for being upset.
 

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I am so confused. In some posts your dog is a “she.” In others, it’s a “he.” Is the dog male or female? I’m going to back away from posting any more replies until I understand what you are asking for help on. I can’t tell if you are keeping the dog, training it, or returning it. My answers would be different depending on what you decide.
 

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I have had 3 GSDs before, they all needed training and I have a trainer./behaviorist coming over next week for the first of a few lessons. She will be trained at home here, but will board there and socialize with other dogs and people. She may also do some agility or swimming, they will see what she likes. This is when we will already have her boarding due to a weekend visit from friends.
Here it sounds like your dog is a female, but then you called the dog a good boy after that?
 
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