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Thread: Please Help with Gsd Issues

  1. #1
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    Default Please Help with Gsd Issues

    hi i dont know if this is the right place for this post, but here goes...
    we (my partner and i) have adopted a 1yr old gsd from the rspca.
    she was found wandering the streets in a terrible condition and is a very anxious and timid dog. she was also very hand shy and scared of men.
    the rspca told us they believe she has been beaten badly, by a man.
    any how we have had her for around 4 months now and she is coming along in leaps and bounds. we have bonded very strongly and she is my shadow. at first she was very nervous around Daniel and would not come near him, accept treats off him or play, however now she will do all of the above (and happily).
    however we have a few issues that we are struggling to understand and fix.

    1. she has an anxiety attack and hides if daniel tries to feed her but will accept treats readily ...(however is very excited when i feed her )

    2. also if daniel enters a room that she and i are in she will bark and growl at him, even if they have been playing literally minutes before.
    he has tried calling her before he enters, i have tried disciplining her when she becomes aggressive, completely ignoring it..... we dont know why she does it so its hard to fix it any ideas??????????

    3.she used to play well with other dogs, however now she is fit again she has become a bully and slightly aggressive and i am not sure how to fix this!!?

    i need some gsd expertise i think!!!!! please help

  2. #2
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    May 2009
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    Just remember, this is a dog who has most likely had a terrible past.
    It sounds like your doing a great job with her.
    Try to get your partner to do everything her.
    Walking, feeding and a lot of snuggling.
    If she gets scared when he feeds her, try not to make a fuss over it.
    Let her take her time.
    She will get there.
    Anywa, im sure theres other with some better information
    Education not Legislation

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by laura77 View Post
    hi i dont know if this is the right place for this post, but here goes...
    we (my partner and i) have adopted a 1yr old gsd from the rspca.
    she was found wandering the streets in a terrible condition and is a very anxious and timid dog. she was also very hand shy and scared of men.
    the rspca told us they believe she has been beaten badly, by a man.
    any how we have had her for around 4 months now and she is coming along in leaps and bounds. we have bonded very strongly and she is my shadow. at first she was very nervous around Daniel and would not come near him, accept treats off him or play, however now she will do all of the above (and happily).
    however we have a few issues that we are struggling to understand and fix.

    1. she has an anxiety attack and hides if daniel tries to feed her but will accept treats readily ...(however is very excited when i feed her )

    2. also if daniel enters a room that she and i are in she will bark and growl at him, even if they have been playing literally minutes before.
    he has tried calling her before he enters, i have tried disciplining her when she becomes aggressive, completely ignoring it..... we dont know why she does it so its hard to fix it any ideas??????????

    3.she used to play well with other dogs, however now she is fit again she has become a bully and slightly aggressive and i am not sure how to fix this!!?

    i need some gsd expertise i think!!!!! please help

    Perhaps have Daniel hand feed her her dinner so that they can built a bond. She obviously has trust issues and these need to be dealt with by a behaviourist - don't try to go it alone. Her apparent aggression with other dogs probably stems from a lack of what she feels is effective leadership - dog training will help this.

    GSDs can be real bullies when they set their mind to it, esp bitches

    This will take time and she may never be 100% right but you should be able to improve her behaviours with help.

    It takes 6 weeks to really get to know a dog - for example I adopted Rufus only 4 weeks ago and whilst he is still a doll he did become aggressive with my 6yo neice when she was playfighting with me and he is still nervy with anyone that isn't me. I don't particularly think he was abused - perhaps too roughly handled - but he hasn't had a lot of life experience.

  4. #4
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    I forgot to add - your dog is possibly an excellent candidate for clomicalm
    CLOMICALM® for Dogs Home - Novartis Animal Health US, Inc.

    It is not a drug to consider lightly - but with consultation with a vet and behaviourist

    Perhaps some bach flower remedies from your health food store would help - Ive found them useless but plenty of ppl find them useful

    A dog trainer is NOT a behavioursit btw!

  5. #5
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    laura77

    You could try some Victoria Stillwell ("It's me or the dog") remedies:

    One she used for the dog wanting to attack the postman was to have the dog on lead, and continually fed treats by its favourite owner (ie you) while the postman did his thing. So you could have a handful of yummy stuff and feed piece by piece as Daniel enters the room and sits down. Get Daniel to repeat leaving and returning many times, each night until she thinks it is no big deal.

    Alternately you could remove her from the room until she calms down - no scolding, or talking - just take her out until she stops carrying on and only let her back in with Daniel when she is calm. Ie the consequence for her growling is some alone time, and the reward for being calm is together time.

    Another thing Victoria used was distraction - give the dog something else to do like "Sit Stay" or play with rope (with you), or for visitors to toss treats into the room or hall as they entered.

    There was one episode where there were two badly behaved dogs, and to solve the problem they were tethered to the wall somehow and their bad behavior ignored. Eventually they calmed down. I can't remember the details about that one - I might have to go find it on my recorder and watch it again.

    And is generally best to ignore bad behaviour that isn't dangerous, and reward any good behaviour. A click and treat thing could be good here ie as soon as she stops growling - click and treat.

    If your dog is growling and you growl too - she most likely sees that as re-inforcing her behaviour ie you're both, as a pack, growling at Daniel - he must be really bad, growl some more.

    I don't know how you fix the bullying other dogs problem. Keeping her on leash and feeding her lots of treats might work (ie other dogs bring good things), but how to get her to behave off lead - I don't know. I guess it depends on how well she comes when she's called - ie the minute she goes into bully mode (or just before) - call her away. But this won't teach her to play nicely. I'm thinking the professional behaviourist might be your best option for this.

    I'm hoping Occy will be able to tell us how to know the difference between a dog trainer pretending to be a behaviourist and a proper behaviourist. What are "bark busters"(tm)? (Bark busters use distraction methods a lot, rattles and such to distract a dog's attention away from whatever it's doing that it shouldn't).

  6. #6
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    Laura, which State are you in? If you are in Victoria I can highly recommend expert behaviourist Dr. Robert Holmes , PO Box 135 Malvern.3144. Mob. 0419 384 922

    If you live in another State, I am sure if you ring him he will recommend someone for you to see.

    GSDs are terrific dogs and I have known many over the years, lots of friends with both dogs and bitches and like any breed , so called bullies are rare. Depends on how they are reared and treated , how they see themselves within the pack.


    1. she has an anxiety attack and hides if daniel tries to feed her but will accept treats readily ...(however is very excited when i feed her )

    You will never know what her past has been , very horrible by the sounds of it . Maybe who ever had her (male) ,offered her food and then beat her for taking it? Maybe it was their SICK way of trying to train her to not eat until she was given permission? Then their partner(female) would feed her when 'he' wasn't around? So the dog associates trust when being fed by a female and distrust when being fed by a male?

  7. #7
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    thanks for your quick responces, we thought the growling at her when she growls might reenforce her behaviour so we've stopped that... and right from the start daniel has done all the nice things with her he hasnt even said no to her yet.. ...she will bark and growl and he will ignore it and come and sit down and she'l come over and snuggle up with him( of her own accord!!??) so its not like she doesnt like him. oh and shes only bad with other dogs if im around. if one comes near me she tries to pin them. (the poor 11yr old lab i grew up with hates it when we visit).
    yes im in vic and will look up the behaviouralist you mentioned thankyou.

    also i know she needs socialising i just dont want her to hurt another dog, so i am apprehensive

  8. #8
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    Where in Vic are you located?

  9. #9
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    I wish you all the best with your lovely GSD and good for you for rescuing her. She is beautiful. Afraid I can't give you any advice but you have the best people advising you here. What is her name?
    The more people I meet, the more I like my dogs.

  10. #10
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    bundoora, melbourne

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