Rehabilitating an Abused German Shepherd

by Denise

We have a wonderful german shepherd named Angel that had a rather hard life before she came to us. In the beginning she was very timid and tenative with us all. We also have a miniture snauzer that in the beginning Angel was very frightened of.

If Shautzy was in the front yard Angel would not go out without one person pulled on her leash while someone else shoved her out from behind. When it was time to come in you had to literally carry her.

My fear at the time was that because she was so timid, she might turnout to be either neurotic or dangerous but for the most part she has settled in rather well. That is she has settled in rather well with us.

She and our snauzer are best friends, she loves to be petted on, and she wants desperately to please us. Still there is something of a problem with timidness when things are outside the norm.

My son came home from college and fell in love with her but she was afraid of him. While you could see she wanted to to be with him and be petted by him, He wasn't there long enough for here to build up enough courage to try.

She's very much afriad of the hands of strangers. She'll shy away and hide. The other day we took her for a walk and came across a chihuahua. She was very frightened but at least this time we didn't have to pick her up or try to drag her. Finally, while she now plays with Shautzy she never, ever plays with us.

My question is this; will she ever really out grow these things or will we always have to deal with her fear? If there is hope that we can help her gain confidence, how do we accomplish it? Will she ever learn how to play with any of us?

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Dec 27, 2009
Abused GSD Rescue
by: Trish

Abused GSD's have a high percentage rate of rehabilitation. Do you have access to another dog? I find it very helpful to work with a stable dog when rehabilitating a GSD.

Just like a mommy dog teaches her pups how to interact with other dogs and humans... a balanced dog can do the same to an unbalanced or fearful dog.

There is no quick fix to the fear and mistrust. It takes time, strong leadership and commitment. Don't expect an over night recovery but usually with proper rehab your GSD will be back on track shortly.

Dec 22, 2009
Baby steps
by: Kirby

Abused, it's hard to say how traumatized she is. If you can pet her comfortablely, I'd say then things look promising. Remember not to expect a one-shot miracle.

First, find a toy she likes. During a moment of non-play, try to get the toy focused on by rolling it past her or tossing it a short distance. Praise any interest she shows other than just noticing it.

If she can be encouraged into playing, step 2 would be getting her interested in the toy when it's still in your hand. Step 3, being petted while playing with the toy. Be subtle if she quickly disengages. Maybe even start with just prolonged staring while she plays with praise when noticed. Step 4 is trying to be part of the fun while it's occurring, like fetch.

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