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Hey guys! So I'm new here, and that is because last night I adopted a German Shepard mix from my local animal shelter and in her file, it says she is a former emotional support dog. I named her Emma Bob, Emma for short. She is 1.3 years old. I was basically just asking for any advice you guys might have for me? This is my fist very own dog although I've raised a dog with my boyfriend for the past 2 years, I consider him my son though technically he is my bf's dog lol. Any food brand recommendations, etc.?
She is incredibly loving and sweet, she does NOT leave my side (i've got anxiety and depression and suffer from panic attacks so I'm wondering if she senses that), she loves my cat although my cat is verrrrrry slowly trying to come around.
I really appreciate all your help and input :)
 

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Congratulations and welcome to the Dog Forum!

Sorry that I don't have more time (my dog is by my side waiting for his evening stroll around the neighborhood LOL), but I wanted to see "hi."
 

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Is she the one in you avatar? SHES SO CUTE!! I love GSD, they're one of my top breeds for a future dog, once I'm living somewhere I don't have to worry about breed bans/renting. And she has one of my favorite colorings- I love the darker ones as opposed to the ones with a smaller saddle/mask. And thats a great age to get a new dog, you're through the puppy crazies/adolescence but you still get the tail end of the puppy wigglies, as I like to call them. And I love the name!

I also have depression and really bad anxiety and I got a new pup in November- it was the best decision I ever made. She gets me out of bed in the morning and gets me on walks most days (ie when its not pouring or really cold, she's a Boston Terrier so she's not super weather tolerant unfortunately, another reason I like GSD, they're a dog anything kind of dog). She may very well sense it- some dogs are known to be natural alerters and can sense panic attacks coming on in their handlers. Do be mindful that with a protective breed like this, though, that your panic can "travel down the leash". Part of anxiety is us seeing threats where there are none, and this is a breed that has been bred (at least recently) to be mindful of the handler and react to perceived threats.

An "emotional support animal/dog" is really no different from any other dog. This is opposed to a "service dog" which is a highly trained dog proficient in high level obedience skills (ie, able to maintain an hour long down/stay at a restaurant without anyone knowing its there) which is also task trained to assist a disabled person (this may be in many different areas, examples are dogs taught to pick up dropped items, wake from nightmares/panic attacks, taught to brace their owner for mobility on command, or seeing eye dogs, among others). Pretty much, "emotional support dog" just means dog.

"emotional support animals" are granted housing protection (ie, allowed in public housing and 'reasonable accommodations' must be made by landlords in private housing, although that's a definition open to interpretation under the law) but their owner must be legally disabled. They aren't granted public access like service dogs, and they don't have to be specially trained. Recently a lot of people have been trying to pass their dogs as "emotional support animals" and bring them into public, which is illegal, or are not disabled and still call them that, which is also illegal.

My guess would be her old owner mentioned something about it and the shelter wrote it hoping she'd be adopted. It's possible she has some link to a service dog program and "washed out" for not being 100% perfect (they wash dogs out even for very minor things because service dogs have to be 100% reliable in public), but I would guess the place would have tried to place her themselves rather then send her to another shelter. Sorry I ended up writing so much about that, I'd recently looked into the difference myself and learned a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
@SusanLynnThank you so much for that! Hello right back to you :)
@Moonstream, no apologies necessary for the long post! I love everything you wrote :) I'm sorry that you also deal with the same struggles, it's truly the worst. & yes she is the pup in the picture! Having her for only a couple days has already changed my life. She gives me a reason to get up and take care of things and her and my life in general...I totally get what you mean. And it's only been 2 days!
I also completely get the overuse of the term "emotional support" dog. I agree that most if not all dogs can sense their owners feelings and emotions and react/mimic them. I had a particularly bad day today & I came home crying and who came running to me licking my face with her paw on my shoulder? Good ole' Emma Bob. I'm very excited to be a part of this forum and to pick up all kinds of tips and advise, as I want the best life for Emma with me.
The fact that people try to pass their dogs as emotional support dogs the way people have seeing eye dogs, etc. is a bit aggravating to me. I find it to be a little pretentious, under certain circumstances.
But on a lighter note, I'll post more pictures of my girl :)
 

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@SusanLynnThank you so much for that! Hello right back to you :)

@Moonstream, no apologies necessary for the long post! I love everything you wrote :) I'm sorry that you also deal with the same struggles, it's truly the worst. & yes she is the pup in the picture! Having her for only a couple days has already changed my life. She gives me a reason to get up and take care of things and her and my life in general...I totally get what you mean. And it's only been 2 days!
I also completely get the overuse of the term "emotional support" dog. I agree that most if not all dogs can sense their owners feelings and emotions and react/mimic them. I had a particularly bad day today & I came home crying and who came running to me licking my face with her paw on my shoulder? Good ole' Emma Bob. I'm very excited to be a part of this forum and to pick up all kinds of tips and advise, as I want the best life for Emma with me.
The fact that people try to pass their dogs as emotional support dogs the way people have seeing eye dogs, etc. is a bit aggravating to me. I find it to be a little pretentious, under certain circumstances.
But on a lighter note, I'll post more pictures of my girl :p
 

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Welcome to the forum and congrats! :)

As far as advice goes...
I always tell people to sign up and take a good reward based training class pretty soon after bringing a new dog home. Just provides support for any issues that come up as the dog settles in and more importantly helps boost the relationship building/bonding process if you and your dog are having fun together and seeing successes.

Food wise, I typically feed and recommend high protein, grain free options for healthy dogs. However, often the switch from shelter foods to these options can be rough on dogs with more sensitive systems. Transitioning first to a nice grain inclusive food (I prefer foods with grains like barley, brown rice, oats to corn) first and then later on going grain free (if you want) helps. There are several great brands out there (Fromm comes to mind) with a wide range of foods both grain free and grain inclusive that would be good to work your way up gradually should that be your want.

GSD's tend to be very owner oriented. it's fantastic she is naturally offering the attention you want/need!:)
 

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For what it's worth I'm planning on making my dog (just the big guy) an emotional support dog. Basically Google and a credit card will make any dog an emotional support animal. I'm doing it so I can take him with me to concert festivals, and hotels etc, and saving on boarding costs. It's quite likely the emotional support moniker means nothing in your case.
 

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For what it's worth I'm planning on making my dog (just the big guy) an emotional support dog. Basically Google and a credit card will make any dog an emotional support animal. I'm doing it so I can take him with me to concert festivals, and hotels etc, and saving on boarding costs. It's quite likely the emotional support moniker means nothing in your case.

You have to have a dr declare your dog an emotional support animal, and it does not mean that you can take it everywhere with you. Anyplace that does not allow pets will not allow ESA's, the exception being flying and housing, that includes concert festivals and hotels. To skirt the law (not saying that is what you plan to do) makes it harder for people with legitimate service dogs to be taken seriously and not have to fight for the rights due to them.
 
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