Fearful/unsocialized German Shepherd can barely go on a walk and has never let anothe

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Fearful/unsocialized German Shepherd can barely go on a walk and has never let anothe

This is a discussion on Fearful/unsocialized German Shepherd can barely go on a walk and has never let anothe within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello everyone, My family has two German shepherds, brother and sister roughly 5 years old. I mostly try to take care of the female but ...

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Old 11-24-2018, 03:49 PM
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Fearful/unsocialized German Shepherd can barely go on a walk and has never let anothe

Hello everyone,

My family has two German shepherds, brother and sister roughly 5 years old. I mostly try to take care of the female but nothing I do seems to help.

When I take her for a walk we’ll make it 300 feet before she stops for absolutely no good reason and pulls on the leash towards the house or just sits down and won’t move forward (regarding the direction of the walk). I believe my family got the puppies from the breeder so I’m not sure about abuse, genetics, or lack of socialization as I wasn’t around when they were pups. My family never takes the dogs anywhere and they are always stuck inside the house except our small backyard or when I try to take the girl for a walk. The boy is scared of 25% of the house and has an extremely limited room to play. His owner has never taken him on a walk and rarely lets him out to exercise.

I bring treats, make her sit, when she won’t move forward I try and create a trail of treats for her to follow but all to no avail. It’s actually quite embarrassing in public when a large dog won’t move forward and tries to force you back to the house.

Most recently little children got out of school and I did not know as I usually walk her earlier. I didn’t see one approach from behind and try to touch her but she did and escaped from her tight harness. I’m surprised she didn’t rip the girl’s arm off instead because she barks incessantly at any human that exists, but when they get too close she becomes extremely frightened of them. Every time one of our own family members enter the house the dogs go wild and bark incessantly. A few times family members have been bitten lightly before the dogs realized who it was.

Is she (and he) a lost cause? I’ve asked my family dozens of times to get some help/training but no one listens to me and it makes me so upset sometimes I wish they were at our local kennel living in slightly worse conditions but with people who actually care about them.

Is she doomed to this fearful and house-ridden fate until death?

Thank you for reading.
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Old 11-26-2018, 04:20 PM
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Wow. That situation really makes me sad. Im so sorry to hear about this.
It seems that the only problem is socialization of the dogs which they clearly have had none of as you've recognized. As far as the walks, I would just continue to take her on walks regularly and try to go a little farther every day and continue to encourage her positively every time and hopefully she will get more used to seeing other living people and animals and slowly become more used to it.
If you do put them in a shelter, I would really do some research on a good shelter to put them in because aggressive German shepherds are good candidates to be euthanized.
The only other option i can think of is a professional trainer, but your family doesn't seem too interested in that. i don't believe that any dog is a lost cause. Some just need a little more guidance than others.
But wow I'm sorry i cant be of more help
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Old 11-26-2018, 05:27 PM
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How old were these two when you got them? From the sound of it, they're really family dogs, but the female is more "yours". You mention the "owner" of the male. Is this a sibling? From the sound of it, you're potentially a minor, and the rest of the household doesn't seem to have much of an issue with the dogs' behavior?

It sounds like you have two dogs who likely have some level of co-dependency, who both have pretty intense fear issues (possibly with a strong genetic component), who both sometimes turn to aggression when the are afraid.

Could you go more into detail about the male dog being afraid of the living room? When you say dogs have bitten family members, have they bitten anyone else? What were the situations that they bit in?

Have the dogs had any kind of training in their lives? How are they disciplined? Do they generally spend time inside, outside? How much do they actually directly interact with family members?

Is the female able to take treats at all outside the house? Inside? How interested in them is she and what are you usually using?

Have you had them checked at the vet recently? Is there a possibility that she (or both) may be in pain (especially of concern would be arthritis/hip issues)?

Given their age, they're not just going to become less afraid. Helping them to become less fearful is going to take time. They may remain fearful for their entire lives.

In terms of helping them, what have you tried so far? Have you done any kind of research into fear or behavior generally in dogs?

I know it probably feels like a lot of questions, but a little more information can give a more focused base from which to suggest how to help your dog!
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:33 PM
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yeah First before giving advice on how to get this dog further- I would also be asking for more info. Because safety of others, dogs & yourself needs to be considered. It doesnt sound safe from the description. Also it does help alot in public if the dogs responding to basic training at home. The dog is telling you something & you must listen to what she's telling you . . there may be good reason not to go past that spot that she's learnt. Like scary dog/ person/ event has happened there before. If I had to walk this dog- & to be honest Im terrified of large g.shephards that are aggresive coz 2 lived nextdoor when we were kids- I would 1 muzzle her( there are lots of different types now) 2 practise basic training in the yard 1st with treats she likes like real dried meat. sit stay stop come here. 3Then I would drive the dog somewhere else & walk her where there's not people & dogs around & there's no bad memories for her. If the same thing happens & its generalised fear- 4.walk her away from scary noises/ traffic etc 5.I may bring someone with me- so I'm not alone if there's an incident. 6 Praise & pats can replace treats if she's still too anxious to eat. 7.As far as getting out of her harness- you cant take her in that one. You need a harness that she cant get off. My dog was doing that too. She has to wear the halti harness & collar. The harness attaches to the collar. She cant get it off. 8. dont let her know your afraid if you are.9 be aware of your body language & hers- read her signals. 10 teach her to stay/ sit off the path when other dogs pass by & treat. 11 dont let any1 put their hands near her on walks. 12 If she WONT go further go back & further in the opposite direction & when she stops go back again- trying to extend in both directions. Thats just to start with!!!! Beyond that you will be learning about fear aggression- causes/ prevention/ solutions.
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Old 11-28-2018, 06:23 PM
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Having a fearful or cautious dog can be very difficult and challenging. But YES you can certainly help them if you have a lot of time, patience and understanding--- and use only humane gentle training.

I have written many posts on this forum about helping fearful dogs like yours. I have a fearful, cautious dog named Gracie that I rescued that I have helped immensely over time to become more confident and happy and stress free and safe! She is a highly intelligent, sweet, Blue Heeler mix that was returned to the shelter 4 times before I adopted her. The last family kept her 5 days and returned her to the shelter.

Gracie's list of fears were so long, truly unbelievable, and yup she too, could slip her harness when spooked!! Very scary. I was like you in the beginning wondering how in the world could I help her. So I started nonstop studying like crazy...Now I like to share what I have learned works with her and other dogs.

Feel free to read my posts and I am betting you will learn a lot about understanding your fearful dog's behavior and mindset--- and also how to really help your special highly intelligent-- and sensitive dogs--- get over their fears.

Thank you for really wanting to help these special dogs!!!
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