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Discussion Starter #1
Aloha, I yesterday gat a 4yr F PB GSD with beautiful markings from the Humane Society. I have had GSD's in 1965-1975 and now wanted a companion/guard dog. I will give you the traits below, so maybe some of you pros can guide me.
1: This dog has had training because she know the basic stuff, go lay down, sit, down, yes, no etc.
2: She was lost and picked up by Humane Society, chip identified owners, but they did not want her back, (they must be nuts)
3: Non-barker, had small yappy puppy in her kennel and tolerated the nipping of the little dog. She took simple commands from me then and watched EVERY person coming in to the kennel area with enthusiasm. So I suppose she is lonely for her master and she whined a bit
4: I kept her on a leash in my 2 acre closed area, but after 3-4 hours, I decided to let her go. Now she will not leave me by more than 5 feet. I open a drawer, she has to look inside, I go to another room she has to follow, I open the fridge she has to look in.
5: Last nite she came up to my bed every 20 minutes or so to make sure I was there and if I was positive she tried to come into bed with me, so I had to be stern and "Go lay down" and she did, until I stired in my sleep and she tried to nudge me again.
6: My arm is worn out with the tennis ball thing and will get a racket today!!
7: OK I really love this dog and think she is very smart (I have had dimwits before). but here are my questions:

a) the above explanations seem to tell me she misses her master and needs to re-bond, will this happen successfully in a 4 yr old dog? How long can it usually take?
b) I need a guard dog .... will she become defensive after she adjusts to her territory? (I am all alone in a hi theft area wayyyy out in the country.) And BTW I am a 58yr old male in a wheelchair. (she and I went for a walk and she started to really get into pulling me and staying by my side.

Given the info above. What is the best course of training I can pursue? What to avoid? And what type of GSD do I have?
 

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Welcome and congratulations on adopting what sounds like a wonderful dog!

Not sure what you are asking when you say type of dog but I can answer a few of your questions.

Re: bonding-- Keep throwing that tennis ball. There is this thing call a chuck-it that works great for throwing the ball. They sell them at most pet stores.
I would also get some really yummy treats for her and work on obedience with her and reward her with treats! I would keep things very positive and just spend lots of quality time with her and she'll bond with you pretty quickly. I've adopted and fostered dogs her age and never had a problem with them bonding to me.

Do you have a bed for her? If not you can always put an old comforter and blanket down on the floor. They love to have a soft place to lie and it also helps them know their spot.

As for the protection factor, she may become protective or she may not, depends on her temperament. If she is a barker then the easiest thing to do is to teach her to bark on command. I find that my gsds, even when they're not barkers, are great visual deterrents.
 

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Sounds like you have a great dog and she's very interested in bonding with you immediately. Love her and I would think you'll see the protection come out very soon.
 

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Taking a basic obedience class is a great way to bond with a new dog. As far as the dog being protective that depends on what your definition of protective is. If you mean will the dog bark and alert you when a stranger comes around-probally. If you mean will the dog be able to be trained in personal protection worked in defense and bring the fight to someone and defend you with her life- doubtfull but not impossible. Your best bet would be to take the dog to a local PP trainer for an evaluation.
From what you described it sounds like you have a great companion dog. Either taking a firearm safety class and buying a gun or having an alarm system installed on your property would be a much quicker and more economical solution than training a dog in PP that has been a pet for the last 4 years.
 

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I think you have a gem. She seems to be very in-tune to you. Instead of pulling your arm out of socket on a walk, from the looks of your post she is pulling to help you along. I have no doubt that once she settles in, she will bond to you incredibly. Training classes DO help the bond, especially if they are positive-based (not positive-only, corrections as-needed are fine).

With a strong bond comes protective instinct. Also, she's a German shepherd. That will deter 98% of people. Teach her to bark on command and that should take care of an addition 1.999% of people. The rest, well it won't matter if you're walking a hyena or a grizzly bear, those people will need a well aimed shot from a manstopping gun followed by police cleanup. A really fun way to teach the bark command is to pick a strong language (German's "gib laut" ["geeb laoot"}, then preface it with a scary name to turn it into one command. So you're rolling down the street at night, a couple of kids up to no good begin to approach you and your dog. You quietly get your dog's attention with her real name, then loudly (and in a none-too-friendly voice) you say, "Killer, gib laut!" Your dog happily obliges in a big ol' barking fit knowing that treats and toys or a tug game await her and the shady people scurry off to find an easier mark.
The added benefit? If it's in another language, it'll leave them wondering whether the command only means bark or if it means "rip their heads and gnads off."


Of course, the intent is to just put up a show. To you and your dog it will be a fun game. To potential baddies, it'll be a warning. This is not protection training, nor should it be turned into protection training! Anyway, congratulations on your new family member, she sure sounds wonderful.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Aloha, Well today she is allowing a distance of 5-10 feet away and she does an occasion sortie out of my sight for a minute or two. It is downpour raining so not much action. Thanks for all the advice and the welcome everyone. Ideally I want to encourage a friendly pet, and I think as most said the sight of her when along beside me is intimidating enough, as she is quite fearsome looking if you look into her eyes. But the weak point that I would like to encourage is her territoriness that she will guard the 2 acre compound/shop if I go into town against burglers. But it may not be in her nature. as she is too friendly to strangers???? Your comments on this? thanks again

Edit, Since this is a business with employees and customers periodically coming in, I plan to put her into a 8x20 Kennel during the day and let her out at night or when closed to customers. Is this wise? thanks
frank
 

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Frank,

Am I correct that you would like her to bark at strangers to act as a deterrent? If that is the case I would not have her in a kennel during the day but with you as soon as she is ready for it. My approach would be lots of socialization and obedience training focusing on a rock solid recall and long down stays. This way if a customer comes by who is intimidated by her you can controll her and avoid possibly loosing any business. A German Shepherd with a good temperament, which it sounds like your girl has, will be fine with friendly strangers. The more time you spend with her the quicker your bond will develop and the stronger your bond will become. Once she understands the limits of her territory she should start alert barking when someone with bad intentions approaches.

Aaron
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Aloha, I do not want to encourage a yappy, bite first and ask questions later, such as you find in a PitBull, but one that is territorial and intimidating to strangers approaching my compound at night. I am on a ex-military base that has several construction companies skattered around. The ones that have dogs are left alone, the ones without get ripped off. Two nights ago, three lots down got a Ford Ranger and Bobcat were ripped off. So I am doing the security alarms, lighting, etc. as well as a dog and beware bad dog signs and just let it be known that there is a dog inside as well as my buddies, Mr. Smith and Mr Wesson. frank
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Aloha, BTW I live and work at the compound 24/7 and will be with her too, so I am not wanting a "junkyard dog"!
frank

Also she stinks big time, can I put her in the shower with me even though she got spayed 4 days ago?
thanks
 

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sounds like you have a wonderful dog. My two shepherds were both rescues although one I got as a pup the other was older and at first he was a bit shy and timid but he quickly came around and started being protective of his yard, etc... All dogs need an adjustment period but you will see the bond especially if you do as already mentioned doing some training and using treats (or the ball is a great way to bond with your new dog). It sounds like you have a perfect companion animal!

Congrats on the new addition!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Aloha, day two update....hopefully this thread will be benefitial for future viewing. Rasa (her name) just let out a bark (I though she was mute) that totally scarred the S**t outa me. Another dog 1/4 mile away was starting to bark. I rewarded and praised. I mean that bark would put fear into the devil.. She then went and wolfed down all her dry food, which she was only nibbling at up to now.

frank
 

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Frank, what are you feeding Rasa? Food can make a dog smelly! Most dogs do not do well on Science Diet, Iams, Pedigree, cheap stuff at the grocery store, etc. Even high quality foods can cause problems if they contain certain grains, proteins, and other ingredients that the individual dog doesn't do well on. They have poor body odor, poor coat condition, poor dental quality, gunky ears, huge poop, etc. There is a forum section here dedicated to Diet & Nutrition, I recommend reading through there and posting there for food advice.


Sounds like she's settling in! Don't worry. When she bonds to you, she'll likely let you know who is afoot. It seems like the "baddies" in your neighborhood know full well to keep away from dogs. Just keep her inside with you, that way you'll have an even closer bond and she'll be right where you need her.
 

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She sounds like she is settling in wonderfully. I would not overly worry about her getting protective, GSD's are protective of their people and homes naturally and just the sound of her bark and the sight of her should be quite the deterant. Even the friendliest shepherds will set of the alarm if a stranger is around. For example all of mine have been trained to accept all kinds of weird and wonderful human behavior when working but let me tell you when a car turns down my driveway they sure send up the alarm.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Day three now and she is settling in nicely. I expect her to write a novel by the end of the week. First thing in the morning I throw/play ball in the area she is to do her business. so far so good. She slept in the other room out of my sight (about 12 feet away and I woke her up about 3 am .... she was so loving and nuzzling, wagging. There is so much country area here at the abandoned air base, lots of fields abandoned this and that, miles of road where cars no longer go down. Abandoned area, but National Guard, some schools, contractors, state, city and fed agencys, tons of abandoned buildings, US Coast Guard Rescue is here as well. (the one that recently had the disaster). Today we may go for a walk and meet some "Coasties" and maybe a few MP's. Anyway thanks everyone for your help and encouragement. Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Aloha, day 4. Rasa Learned "Left and Right" commands. This is the first day of many people (customers and workers coming in) so I have to figure out what to do with her as customers may be afraid. Ideal situation though is that my office, living quarters is on an 8 foot deck, built over shipping containers (my business is making affordable housing from shipping containers). So she has a couple thousand square feet to roam around on top and an 8 foot drop, so she will not jump. I will cordone off an area so she can see me but not be in contact with customers that wander in. Also she got used to riding the elevator up to the second level (noisy converted forklift), she is even alright with it if I operate it remotely to bring her up. Seems as soon as it gets dark around 6 pm she goes into her protective mode. Hopefully she knows the difference between standard and day light saving time. cheers everyone.
Frank

BTW, thanks chuck-it works great. now to get a non-distructable tennis ball!
 

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sounds like things are going well with Rasa and you.

I would look for a ball other than a tennis ball for the chuck-it (all sorts of problems with tennis balls) & also a very large chuck-it (one that holds balls slightly larger than tennis balls) Tennis balls are just a bit too small for a gsd.

For your "walks" where she will be pulling you, you might want to invest in a harness designed for tracking or pulling. She will learn to tell the difference & know when to pull and when to walk without pulling.

It sounds like you have enough room to set up something like a modified agility course that she and you could have fun with.

I would wait for the shower. Check with your vet as to when would be a good time for that. They do make "doggy wipes" that help a lot when you can't bathe. I have two older long hairs who cannot always keep their skirts out of the way when they are urinating. The dog wipes do better than a wash cloth for removing the soil and smell.

Have you got the microchip info changed to yours?
 

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I have two older long hairs who cannot always keep their skirts out of the way when they are urinating.
I just want to say I really appreciate the wording here! Nicely said. LOL:D
 
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