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Hello! I've recently started taking care of an 80 lb dog that was picked up from the streets in Texas. I don't know much about his past but I believe he's some sort of German shepherd/ great dane mix. He's a big boy but afraid of his own shadow - everything from ceiling fans to microwaves. He is about 3 years old and potty trained but doesnt know any commands (unless he speaks another language!) He's been in my career for 3 days now and is now comfortable around me but still wary of my partner and people on the street. He is a sweetheart and would prefer to run into his crate rather than act aggressively when spooked, but his behavior with strangers especially on the street is a little concerning as he is such a large dog. Currently he's just barking and pulling, gets low when he meets the person and pulls away and comes back but then will sometimes jump at their hands and mouth a little.

Looking for techniques to destress him around new people and socialize him. I think it would be best to get him acclimated to meeting people before he gets too comfortable and possibly protective around me but I'm open to suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Another thing to note, even at far distances from stressors he rarely will take a treat and he doesn't quite comprehend verbal reinforcement either which makes things a little more complicated.
 

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Rather than have him meet people, I would have him learn to ignore them.

If I were you, I would start a positive counter-conditioning prototcol and looking into leash reactivity. Whole Dog Journal has some good articles as well. Here are a few articles though


 

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I agree. I think dogs that are fearful/ambivalent around new people relax so much once they learn that they will not be expected to interact. I would (slowly, starting with really long distances and very short durations and working up to typical social chat distance and lenght, if/when the dog could handle it) build a ritual around how to behave when meeting strangers, but it would not involve any greetings or direct interaction. Having a clear thing to do, but knowing from experience you will not be required to interact, just calmly ignore, can often put them at ease.

p.s. If he was a street dog, a leash can be very weird, even scary. It’s a good investment of time/effort to really build positive associations with the leash, even if his leash manners seem fine.
 

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Something to keep in mind is that newly rehomed dogs need some time to decompress and settle in and feel comfortable, safe and begin to trust in their new home.

Dog Vertebrate Dog breed Carnivore Mammal


May I suggest the book: Love Has No Age Limit – Patricia McConnell , it may be helpful in giving some insight and guidance into how to help your new pup to adjust and adapt to all the changes in his life.
 

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This happens when a dog is abused. My son just got a new rescue yesterday ... Dobie / ASD mix. We were lucky to get her as the 'cute' dogs will often get interest the 1st day thay hit the rescue web sites. Fortunately we got a anonymous tip:) Whe was ectremely shy, balked at lewash walking and seemed OK by time she got to her new home. But when I tried to brish out the tufts of sheeded hair, when I lifted the brush over her head, she cowered in fear. She gets a bit better each day

We had a lab named Barney who was given to a woman's grandaughter after a messy divorce... the ex hubby tookoffense and mercilessly beat this dog daily. I called him Eeyore after that perennially sad donkey friend of Winnie the Pooh. We had him11 yearts and till the day he died he was still afraid of men. The only happy days he had his entire life was at the dog which we had to make separate trips asyour younger fenmale dobie was too playful for him. he was happy running around playing chase me chase me but never engaged in any roughhousing type play . Best thing you can do is give himtime to get comfy with you ... that accomplished bring your partner into the family. be careful to observe how he reacts to children, men, people with beards, people in dark clothing...whatever. He will react to whom he ses based upon what those who abused them look and sound like. When yoiu see this reaction, do not push contact...rather let him see you offering food, touching them.. speaking in calm voice. he will learn over time that people who treat you well will treat him well.

And eventually do examine socialization ... I hesitated bringing Barney to the Dog Park because of his fears and that tuned out to be the happiest days of his life.
 
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