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I am a 1st gsd owner. So anything will help. We got our 1yr old from a girl who always kept her in the kennel. Seems like she was never really socialized at all. The puppy is very nervous and skittish about everything. Likes to be inside and outside. But once she is outside it’s very hard to get her back inside. I know it’s a very different and new environment for her and actually have freedom to roam. So I guess my question is... how can we train her not to be skittish about everything? Also to be a great friendly dog for us and the kids. Thank you in advance for y’alls help.
 

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time. Ellie was our challenge. I know for sure she'd been in 3 shelters in the previous 18 mos. The shelter estimated she was between 5 and 7 years old. She had horrible PTSD and was afraid of everything and everyone. Her first few weeks were spent hiding behind the couch, in the bathroom or the garage. It was months before she would let anyone pet her and it was only for a few seconds at first. She refused to eat the first few days. But with time and patience, she came around and we had her 10 years. She never got over loud noises and a few other fears but she was a functional family member. Just give her time and spoil her, you can worry about other things when she's ready to accept them. We called it, "doing things the Ellie way."
 

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That’s good to hear. We were kinda of hesitant. But we know we can help her. I appreciate your comment and story. Makes me hopeful and excited. She’s just so cute just wanna hold her. Lol. Did you do any special training with Ellie. Or just strictly on her own time
 

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Exposure. I once had a dog that was afraid of (almost) literally everything. A bottle being opened, something dropped on the floor, click of a door, EVERYTHING. I started by sitting on the basement floor with her in a tiny room where she had nowhere to run and hide and I smashed a metal coffee can with a hammer for about half an hour... that’s how long it took for her to get really stressed out and then tired of being stressed out and just calm down and fall asleep. The next time I did it, she wasn’t scared. The trick is to keep doing the thing that scares them until they pass the point of being scared and just calm down. They are more afraid of the fear than the actual threat. Once they learn there is no threat, they start to gain confidence.
 

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Oh that is a good call. We feel like we are being careful around her. So we don’t want to make it ok for her to always be afraid and run away when we try and bring her inside after letting her out back.
 

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No, there was no special training with Ellie, just keep reassuring her. You may find it difficult to hug her, try waiting for her to come to you. We got past the loud noises fear by drowning them out with loud action movies. The TV didn't bother her. She also was terrified to go out if the smell of gunpowder was out there. Inside she would pace and try to get through walls and doors head first. Nptice in her photo that she's missing part of her ear. She must have had a terrible time before we found her. Ellie Snow Nov 001_crop (640x497).jpg
 

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She is a very pretty girl.
Time, patience and exposure are all things that helped my nervous, anxious rescue-2 yrs. old. Talk quietly to them.

Thunder Shirt does help at specific times like if a bad storm is coming in.

Also B Complex vitamins, as they are the main ones that help the nervous system. I feed beef and calves liver par cooked for a natural source.

Than you for taking her in and improving her life. Some of these rescues have had a terrible life in their past.
 

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We just did normal, everyday things when I took in my rescue hound so he could get used to our routine. He felt safe in the crate from the beginning so I left the crate open. It still is, he goes on and out as he pleases. He had a bunch of neurotic behaviours, he'd grab a mouthful of kibble, run to a corner, chew and swallow, come back for more. He didn't want to be petted. I remember folks trying to forcibly pet him, which I tried to stop. He'd lurk behind you, slouch away if you raised your voice.

I practically ignored him for the first few weeks. He came around in stages. I have a great memories of the first time he put his chin on my leg, touched me with his paw, leaned against my leg... some of the best moments of my life.

Rescuing a dog takes courage but it's immensely rewarding. You'll figure it out.
 

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Aw, she is so pretty.

It will just take time for her to relax into her new environment. Everything, even you and your family, is new and strange and scary to her.
Keeping things quiet and having a daily routine, letting her come to you when she wants interaction, will help her to relax.

I don't know if you live rural but I'd consider fencing off an area for her or going out with her if you think she might make a run for it...
the last thing you'd want is for her to run away too far or fast, and get hit by a car.

Maybe you can figure out a way to make coming back in, super-rewarding - like, she gets a chewy or a treat or a meal when she comes in.

Thanks for changing her life!
 

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Long line for going out. Once you call her, start pulling on the line. Never give her a chance to disobey, this teaches her that she can blow you off.
I like to cut the loop for safety. That way it can’t get caught on something.

Once she arrives, have a reward, either a toy, praise, or treat. Teach her that good things happen for coming to you.
Take it slowly, and don’t coddle her. Skittishness and nervousness could be genetic, though.
 

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Maybe your new gal has never been around kids. How old are they? Can you remind them to be calm, well behaved and quiet for a few weeks til your new dog gets accustomed to all the activity.
I live alone so didn't have that problem w/ my rescue dogs but this current one, I thought had been raised in a closet, cause she was afraid of so many things. And if I dropped a fork on the floor, she'd run and hide.
She also would take bites of her semi-raw food and run off to the other end of the house to eat it in peace.

They do gradually get better but they have to calm down at their own speed. It was several months before mine relaxed
a little. The first few weeks here, when I took her out first thing in the morning, she would run at top speed like a greyhound racing all the way around the house, over and over. My farm is totally fenced and cross fenced so no worries about her escaping, but she acted like she'd never been free to run.
 
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