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Rescue German Shepherd - Help!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by jules8055, Jul 19, 2009.


  1. jules8055

    jules8055 PetForums Newbie

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    I rescued a male German Shepherd in May called Murphy, he is 18 months old and neutered.

    I have had him just over 2 months and he is extremely timid. He clearly isn't used to mixing with people or used to everday life. It took a couple of weeks but he gradually built up a trust with me, at first he didn't like my Dad but now he walks him and introduces him slowly to different experiences.

    He is fine with me and Dad, not so keen on Mum but skirts around her and doesn't show any aggression, the real problem is my 11 year old Son, he growls and snarls at him if he is in sight. Today however, he barked aggressively (he hasn't barked since I picked him up?!?) and was up on his feet snarling, this frightened the life out of my Son and he scarpered.

    How can I get Murphy used to my Son and trust that he isn't going to hurt him?

    I would hate for him to have to be rehoused especially after his bad start to life :confused:

    Any help or advice would be appreciated.

    Julie
     
    #1 jules8055, Jul 19, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2009
  2. DKDREAM

    DKDREAM PetForums VIP

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    Hi Julie

    I think it maybe the right choice murphy finds a new home, because if hes showing that behaviour it may get worse once hes more settled and you cant take the chance with a child they are powerful dogs. Maybe contact a behaviour expert if you want to try and resolve it.

    Good luck
     
  3. sallyanne

    sallyanne Guest

    Hi Julie,
    I think it's really important to get in touch with the rescue that Murphy came from and let them know that he has some issues and could they advise you.

    Don't stop him growling or barking as he could just bite without warning.Have you tried giving your son some food and then let Murphy approach on his own terms.If he was timid etc he may feel threatened.
     
  4. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Hi. Welcome to the forum and congratulations for taking on a rescue.

    Just wondering, what sort of house rule are in place? i.e is he allowed in any room? sofas, beds etc?

    What do you do when he starts growling?

    How often is the dog getting walked? Has your son ever walked him? Who feeds him?

    To be honest (I have 3 rescue dogs), I am surprised they re-homed this sort of dog with you, baring in mind you have a child.

    Your son needs to assert him self as pack leader. The dog obviously see's you and your dad as this, but not your son.

    Ensure your child and dog are not left together.

    I would recommend getting a behaviourist in.

    Although I admire you for taking on a rescue, I would not have recommended a GSD. However, he is here and it is great you are trying to solve the problem.

    x
     
  5. jules8055

    jules8055 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi thanks for the replies.

    Murphy gets three long walks a day, he is great on or off the lead, comes back when he is told to etc.etc.

    He doesn't go on my furniture, in fact he has made my spare bedroom "his" safe haven. The dog behaviourist from the Rescue said he was being territorial and to let my son feed and water him and remove him from the spare bedroom asap.

    I've tried to introduce my Son into filling up food and water but if my Son goes anyway near Murphy's room he growls at him. My Dad has just converted my Car Port into a large outdoor kennel for Murphy so that he can go outside rather than take over a room that he now sees as his, the behaviourist said it is a pack "thing" and that in the five months she spent with him he wasn't aggressive at all.

    If my Son comes on walks with us, Murphy doesn't bother him at all, it just seems to be in the house!
     
  6. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    I made the mistakes of giving my first two rescues a spare bedroom. One of the biggest mistakes....... My dad went in there one day and Max attacked him. He didn't just bite, but actually attacked. My dad says that on hindsight he should have made himself known. He went up there quietly and without turning on the lights and scared them. However it was the worst thing to date that has happened with the dogs.

    The biggest mistake I made was allowing them to get territorial. I am still paying the price now (year and a half later). We are moving soon, so I can start again.

    I take it you feed him in the spare room? Feed him in the kitchen, with your son doing it. You don't leave food down all day do you?

    Get him a bed of his own, on the floor in the lounge and maybe one in the kitchen if you need to.

    You seem quite focused on the dog having his "own space". Having this mentality will only cause the behaviour to move to the car port. What happens if your son's friend goes into his "space"?

    The only way to cutting out this behaviour is to not allow him his own space as such, a bed on the floor is sufficient.

    x
     
  7. jules8055

    jules8055 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi

    Thanks for your advice, I think perhaps I've started off on the wrong foot. Because he was so timid I thought I was doing the right thing and allowing him space.

    I've spoken to the Rescue Dog Behaviourist, she said it is important to introduce him to family life and remove him from the spare room that he's turned into "his" territory.

    I have just bought him a dog bed that he's delighted with, the Behaviourist also said I need to put his food and water downstairs along with the bed.

    He doesn't show any signs of aggression to my Son when he is in any other part of the house or outside apart from the bedroom. I'm not focussed on him having his own space, I decided to convert the car port into a large kennel for when I go to work so that he's not stuck in a bedroom and gets fresh air - I'll be careful with this too and make sure he doesn't see it as "his".

    I'll give it a whirl and see how I get on.

    Thanks again for your reply and advice - Julie
     
  8. ad_1980

    ad_1980 PetForums VIP

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    Sorry how old is your son if you don't mind me asking?

    Im glad you are already working to fixing the problem from your last post - hope things pan out well :)

    Just asking about your son's age because if he's old enough to take the dog out himself then maybe your son should walk the dog just to be able to get a bond with him?

    If not then perhaps get your son to do some training with him. Training and play helps with bonding.

    Just my opinion though. But you are doing a good job so far from what i read on your last post. Good luck :)
     
  9. jules8055

    jules8055 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi

    My Son is 11, we've just been out for a walk with Murphy, I held the lead and my Son walked alongside.

    Murphy was fine with him, didn't growl or snarl, I took Murphy off the lead when we reached the field, he run around happy as Larry without so much as a look at my Son.

    He happily wondered between us, occasionally sniffing around my Son - the difference is amazing, the problem seems to only occur in the house.

    I'm definitely going to feed him downstairs and put his bed in the lounge - fingers crossed :)
     
  10. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Territoral dominance can easily lead to aggression, but thankfully you have nipped it in the bud early.

    I would just be warned that your dog will need careful managing and very strong leadership. He has already displayed dominance and if you are not the firm pack leader/boss, in his eyes, this could rear it's head in another area at some point.

    Best of luck and well done for tackling it so early! x
     
  11. ColliePower

    ColliePower PetForums Senior

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    Hi Jules

    I just want to say how wonderful it is that you're sorting this out now..Alot of ppl would probably get rid of the dog, but you're determined and that is fantastic!!

    All I would say is dont give up...sounds like the dog has a wonderful home and with the right steps and rules I bet he and your son will gain a wonderful bond together :)
     
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