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Hello forum!

As a long time lurker, I decided to finally join soon after adopting my shepherd - 2.5 yr old Buddy - about 1.5 months ago. His story is that his previous owners did not get him veterinary care following a car accident and shattered pelvis. The rescue group that picked him up noticed his limp an had X-rays done, only to show the healed injury. An FHO was done soon thereafter. With the foster family, he was evidently fine - we saw him four weeks out from surgery and he was limping but moving around. He was also on Rimadyl once a day for pain. He was such a well behaved boy that we decided we wanted to help him and brought him home. For the first few weeks he mainly slept and lazed around. We were told not to let him gain weight for 5 months to keep strain off his leg. After about 5 weeks with us he finally began to open up and bark at strangers approaching the house. We were delighted to see his Breed instincts show. He has been great with everyone until a couple days ago: my neighbor was running to his backyard and buddy started barking and took off after him and "air snapped" at his back. Today(we are out of town with relatives), at my uncles house in the morning, he again air snapped and got some of my uncle's pants as he turned around to leave for work. In both scenarios, it was a new person that turned his back to buddy and walked away that got him to show this behavior. Should I be worried?

Any advice and help is greatly appreciated!
 

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Hello forum!

We were delighted to see his Breed instincts show. He has been great with everyone until a couple days ago: my neighbor was running to his backyard and buddy started barking and took off after him and "air snapped" at his back. Today(we are out of town with relatives), at my uncles house in the morning, he again air snapped and got some of my uncle's pants as he turned around to leave for work. In both scenarios, it was a new person that turned his back to buddy and walked away that got him to show this behavior. Should I be worried?
Should I be worried? Yes!

We were delighted to see his Breed instincts show. THAT statement is also an issue. Because you don't know that this was a real protection barking (good thing from a confident and knowledgable dog) or from a FEARFUL place (from an undersocialized, untrained dog that is afraid of EVERYONE but his new family).

It's very important to start up all the socialization and training (dog classes?) OUTSIDE the home as your dog is settling in. So they don't get overly attached to the home/family and start believing that every thing else is scary, bad, fearful and needs to be bitten, growled, barked at and kept away cause it's OH SO SCARY!

Pack that pup in the car and go to tons of new places so he starts to learn that YOU are the leader and get guidance from you (rather than believeing you WANT him to bark/grow/bite strangers like your 'We were delighted to see his Breed instincts show.' shows. In the real world, lets be honest, just because someone is a stranger that isn't 100% = Mass Murderer. So to EVER encourage a fearful and unsocialized dog to think that's true is asking for trouble.

By taking our dogs out and about and GUIDING them thru a world full of friendly people, 'strange' new people that keep giving him liver/cheese/chicken, makes these people much less scary. Plus gives our dogs much more confidence in OUR ability to keep them safe and take control. So they can back off and relax rather than react (BITE).

Joing up so dog classes right away. Pack the pup up into your car to exercise your dog in new places. And look at the following for other great ideas:

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/development-socialization/89870-why-bother-socialize-i-want-photos-videos-puppies-dogs.html

:)

 

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I agree 100 percent with MaggieRoseLee! When we first got Heidi, she was so good, even though she was fearful. She was great with other dogs and all the people she met. She never barked--even when the doorbell rang. She was totally mild mannered. In hindsight, I think she was still shellshocked when we got her.

About a month later, she started getting VERY leash reactive with other dogs. A couple of months after that she started barking when the doorbell rang and when dogs walked by the house. Then, she started getting fearful with some men and barking at them ferociously. Then, she started doing that with most men and some women.

It took a lot of training, but we got her to the point where she was much better and we could even put her in daycare. It's something that you have to keep up on though and since we've moved into an apartment she has regressed quite a bit. We need to go back to square one again. :(

So, my advice to you is start right now with classes and training (clicker training worked great with Heidi). AND be sure and keep up on it and the socialization.

Best of luck to you and thank you for rescuing Buddy!
 

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Thanks for the quick replies! I guess I should reword my statements- we were happy to hear a bark thinking that he was finally opening up, but you're absolutely right - at this point it's hard to tell what that bark means since we're still getting to know each other. Thats excy what I have read about as well. I have been trying to get him out as much as possible and I let him meet any people we come across and praise him for good behavior. I've been Trying to read as well and have kept in mind signs to look out for: I.e., ears up tail up etc. This week we'll be staying 12 hrs from home with my cousin who has a 1.5 yr old lab mix and hopefully we can use that to help him learn to how to act around other dogs as well and get him used to other people and environments. I'm afraid to take him to the dog park or let him play too much with other dogs because of his leg as well.
 

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I am going thru the same issue with my rescue boy. I fostered him for a gsd rescue org and he was easy cheesy - good as pie. After he was adopted out and settled in to new home - he bit a man in the calf. I would say DEFINITELY fear motivated if doing so while person is walking away. So he was returned and I placed him one more time with folks telling me what I wanted to hear - basically they wouldn't expect him to be a "coffee shop dog". Well - 2 days later they told me he bit someone in the leg but was totally unexpected b/c he had already been out and about meeting over 50 people . . . at a restaurant cafe! Argh. So the rescue said he was a liability = euthanasia - and I fought to adopt him. I make sure EVERY encounter with a human is positive - and calm behavior is reinforced. I carry around a squeeze bottle of pureed green tripe to feed him every time he sees someone and looks away. So far - I haven't experienced his biting behavior but that could be due to my diligent management - or b/c he knows I've got the situation under control so he defers to me. Either way - I live in a state with very strict dog bite laws - losing him or my house is not worth the risk - so management is number one. Thank you, thank you, thank you for rescuing! :)
 

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That's great that he's at least being managed with you! Fortunately, buddy hasn't actually bitten anyone- he's just made the motions. I want to stop it before it goes any further though! Ill continue working with him, and will get him into some classes when we get back home. When you all say pack him up in the car and take him places, do you mean places with lots of people, or just other environments such as parks, trails, etc?
 

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You should take him out to both. To be safe, you might consider a muzzle when you are around people. Do you have a pinch or prong collar? If yes, get training to use it properly for correction. So that when you see him start to bark and get aggressive, you can give him correction.


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Forget the prong collar as that can really amp up aggression, especially in a fearful dog. And yes, I'm speaking from experience.

This same scenario happened with my Basu and I did not realize what was going on until he bit someone. After that I really stepped up the structure and positive-reinforcement training, Nothing in Life is Free, lots and lots of exercise, etc. He was actually a very extreme case (adopted him at 4.5 and he was neglected and abused prior to that) but he came around eventually with a lot of patience and work on my part.

I would keep him leashed around strangers and keep things really positive for him.
 

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I recommend a prong collar for control in this situation, but absolutely NOT for a correction whatsoever. BowWow has the reasoning right above. That is an absolutely TERRIBLE IDEA. The fact that a "service dog handler" suggested that is a huge worry to me. :O
 

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I'm not very familiar with those, but I will definitely ask about it when I meet with a trainer. Thanks for all your responses!
 

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Take him out and about to lots of new places with people, but you do NOT want to overwhelm or accidentally put him in a scary situation (to him, not a true scary situation but something scary to him) while you work thru this.

DISTANCE is your friend! If you need to start by going to a busy park but spend an hour just sitting on a bench with him watching the world go past and feeding out treats everytime something goes past or near, then that's fine.

Every time you go out and YOU are calm and confident showing him life is full of fun exciting NORMAL event and you then go home alive and well with no drama........ the next time will be easier. Even more importantly he'll start thinking you know what you are doing and are to be trusted to take the lead so he can relax and enjoy himself.

So exposing him to everything at a level he can handle (treats and your calmness/happiness help speed this up). While gradually pushing the boundaries to up the game all help.

Remember, you can always choose to turn around and NOT engage!

A fantastic DVD that I think will be a huge help is called Calming Signals by Turid Rugas. There are hints and tips on what to see and recognize when your dog is NOT comfortable before they react. Along with hints and tips on what we can calmly do to help them out!

For some reason she uses quite a few GSDs as her demo dogs, the benefit being it's really easy to see what she's descibing in our own dog.

Amazon.com: Calming Signals: What Your Dog Tells You: Turid Rugaas: Movies & TV

 

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I have fostered several dogs and it is really the norm for them to be really well behaved for the first couple of weeks and then to show their true colors after they settle in. I would get him training immediately just like others here have already said.

On the bright side, I kept one foster because his behavior made me a little fearful about placing him in another home. I was convinced that he would eventually bite some one. He had never nipped, but he had a very fearful look in his eyes. He also changed after he settled in and to my delight he got better. He totally lost that fearful look and became a confident stable happy dog. Now he is the type that is totally unfazed by anything. So there is hope.
 

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yes socalizing your dog would be great but to be honest i have a territorial shep that will not let anyone enter the yard/house, no matter who, no matter when, why, how, unless I am there and difuse command or unless its my parents. ANd my dog will do ANYTHING to stop them.

I think you should also educate people who live near you and anyone you interact with, how to act around your dog. Just make sure nothing careless happens that could lead to a serious mistake. Be picky who you let interact with your dog and learn to watch triggers. Id go with group classes first before you take him out in busy public areas so you can understand him better.
 

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I am going thru the same issue with my rescue boy. I fostered him for a gsd rescue org and he was easy cheesy - good as pie. After he was adopted out and settled in to new home - he bit a man in the calf. I would say DEFINITELY fear motivated if doing so while person is walking away. So he was returned and I placed him one more time with folks telling me what I wanted to hear - basically they wouldn't expect him to be a "coffee shop dog". Well - 2 days later they told me he bit someone in the leg but was totally unexpected b/c he had already been out and about meeting over 50 people . . . at a restaurant cafe! Argh. So the rescue said he was a liability = euthanasia - and I fought to adopt him. I make sure EVERY encounter with a human is positive - and calm behavior is reinforced. I carry around a squeeze bottle of pureed green tripe to feed him every time he sees someone and looks away. So far - I haven't experienced his biting behavior but that could be due to my diligent management - or b/c he knows I've got the situation under control so he defers to me. Either way - I live in a state with very strict dog bite laws - losing him or my house is not worth the risk - so management is number one. Thank you, thank you, thank you for rescuing! :)
that is so nasty to even look at i bet lol how my dog would love that though

and dont use a prong color for anything to do with this situation. :rolleyes:
 
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