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  1. #61
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    Well Apple has been great, except she's awful, and I mean awful, when someone comes to the door. Like my SO. I thought she was going to go through the front door at him when he came back after starting his truck this morning, then again this afternoon after his run. Even when I went out with him and came back in she barked and growled from the top of the stairs. My mother came over while we were at work to see how she would react (in her crate in the spare bedroom). They met Sunday night with no issues. dog was in crate when she arrived and came out to meet her fine. Today my mother came in the house and there was no barking. Just the sound of her getting up in the crate. Went to the doorway and nightmare. Apple was clearly terrified, shaking and cowering in the back of the crate. But snarling and barking at the same time. She couldn't get her calmed down no matter what she tried. She left and came back about a half hour later. Called Apple's name when she came in the door and was greeted with wiggling and happiness once she hit the spare room. But who knows what might have happened had she been loose.

    Speaking of loose-unless she's in her crate when we are gone she will likely tear the house apart-judging by the damage to the front door when we left for a few minutes.

    This dog will fetch forever, loves my SO inside or outside. He can get out of the truck in the driveway without a problem when she's outside, let her out of the crate with no trouble. She's not food aggressive, knows several commands, loves her toys, I taught her to run on the treadmill in 5 minutes. She can be trusted in the yard to stick around.

    But I'm not sure she's safe with the episodes today. He did go out once and come right back in and she was fine. I had my cousin come over and come in slowly while I held on to her at the top of the stairs (elevated bungalow). She barked and carried on then ran over to her when I let her go and did nothing. Tried again without me hanging on to her and all she did was bark and run down the stairs.

    She was fine with my mother's dogs at their place other than when my mother's Havanese got a bit nippy with her and they snarled a bit but quit when told to. Haven't taken her back yet-will try again tomorrow. We are going to the vet for a check up so we will see if she behaves. I don't know how I'm going to keep her if she won't let my SO or anyone else in the house safely. We will try again tomorrow morning. My cousin from PA wants to take her if it just won't work here but she has a 7 year old daughter so we just aren't sure.

    Anyway, I'm fairly sad and quite scared she will hurt someone. We can overlook lots of minor issues, but this seems like a dealbreaker if it doesn't improve.
    Last edited by Equine Studies; Jan. 7, 2013 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Added info
    "Those who know the least often know it the loudest."



  2. #62
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    Does she bite, try to bite, appear to want to bite - or is she just flipping out? And does she do it when you enter the house? This sucks, but lots of dogs are big, loud and controlling about people coming into the house. If she's fine once they're in, you might try always crating her when you're out, and putting her in the crate if you're home and someone knocks on the door. But a trainer/behaviorist would be my next call after the vet.

    Quote Originally Posted by chancellor2 View Post
    By all means, then, please point to a non biased source.
    Why? You're the one with the weak sources. You go find some good ones, and start a pit bull thread about it. Jeez.



  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by vacation1 View Post
    Does she bite, try to bite, appear to want to bite - or is she just flipping out? And does she do it when you enter the house? This sucks, but lots of dogs are big, loud and controlling about people coming into the house. If she's fine once they're in, you might try always crating her when you're out, and putting her in the crate if you're home and someone knocks on the door. But a trainer/behaviorist would be my next call after the vet.
    She hasn't offered to bite, and I certainly don't think it's her first option. However I am not 100% convinced she wouldn't in the right circumstance. She has already reached the point in 2 days that when the someone is at the door she is to sit at the top of the stairs and await instruction (not sure I'd rely 100% on it, but she's doing that now with my SO when he comes in).

    Doesn't do it with me. At all. Haven't had a single issue with her myself. With anything. 5 hours in a car. My first hint something was up was how much she barked at the drive through people on the trip and the border guy in the booth.

    Took her to the vet today to see about a heartworm/lyme test. It was more of a heart to heart/socialization practice for her. She was nervous but tried hard to meet the techs/receptionist. They were so good. She did NOT like the tech dressed all in black. Barked at her and wouldn't go all the way to her. Came back and hid behind me when she spoke. Didn't like the male tech either in the exam room. He and the nice lady vet sat on the floor and worked very hard with treats to make friends while we chatted.

    My cousin whom I was visiting when I adopted her wanted her (and was deep down hoping I'd take the other dog I was looking at) and has gone through the same thing with another dog, so is far more experienced and willing to deal with the situation. It's a bit of a dealbreaker here given it's my 65 year old mother who would look after her if we are working late/gone away and she could handle it I'm sure but I don't want to put her, her dogs or any visitors to our house or hers at risk.

    And before anyone has a hissy fit on me, that plan was already in place when I adopted her. So for now we work on things, and she is crated when we are at work, and we are trying to line up people to practice with her. I'm not so sure the carrying on with people at the door isn't her idea of doing her job alerting and protecting, but mixed with the fear itself............I just don't know.

    Sigh.........not what I was hoping for, but there's a Plan B.
    "Those who know the least often know it the loudest."



  4. #64
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    In your position I'd take her back. Shy/sharp is really hard to deal with in my experience. Having gone through that kind of stress before, it is a certain deal breaker for me now. You adapt and change and end up getting used to a certain level of stress when you know your dog is not reliable around people, this has been my experience. For me right now, a dog has to be, out of the box, at worst aloof.

    Been there, done that, ain't doin' it again.
    JMO of course, YMMV
    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  5. #65
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    I hate to say this, but your dog's behavior toward people entering the house sounds very much like a friend's dog. He is off the wall with barking and snarling when anyone comes to the door, and if very growle-ly and cranky even when the person is there for a while. This behavior continues every time someone, even someone he knows well enters the house. He even seems to really dislike certain people, and he never stops growling at them, even if they are staying for days. He finally bit a friend who he's known for years, and the man was coming over to feed and walk him while the owners were out of town for a weekend, and the man has done pet sitting with Oscar repeatedly without a problem before. Oscar is totally unpredictable, and turned and bit the pet sitter fairly badly. He didn't break the skin, but the man had a heavy jacket on, so I'm sure that protected his arm. The bite apparently wasn't reported, but the friends are unable to find anyone to take care of the dog at their place, so they have to board him or put him at doggy day care-the strange thing is outside the home he's very friendly and good with strange people and with other dogs. This dog's behavior has never improved, and he remains unpredictable and very excitable. The owners have also consulted several behavioralists, and nothing has worked.

    This dog is a legal nightmare, and I am sure that someday he will go after someone who will report it, and probably sue (doesn't almost everyone these days?). This dog has never improved one iota, and that's with repeated behaviorialist consults, obedience training, and regular stints at doggy day care. He's just a loose cannon at home, and has been since they acquired him as a small puppy.
    Last edited by JanM; Jan. 9, 2013 at 07:14 AM.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  6. #66
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    She's good once they are in, friendly even, but that short window is a real deal breaker I think. I'm used to dogs that can be trusted, practically 100% around other dogs and people. This one didn't show the problem
    until I got her home. I suppose the shelter wouldn't have known if she was indeed a stray. I will call tomorrow and let them know. I've missed the 3 day return policy they have (since I'm so far away it wasn't really an option). The adoption fee was $130 and then the stuff we bought for her. No big deal-it was worth the gamble knowing I gave it a shot. Damn. She's awesome in every way except the one that is really and truly necessary. But I think it's fair to have that expectation of a dog. I'm hoping my cousin makes it work.

    Thanks for the replies-makes me feel better it's OK to not want to deal with this.
    "Those who know the least often know it the loudest."



  7. #67
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    It is definitely okay not to want to deal with this! This is alot.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  8. #68
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    Is that the GSD mix?
    I have known way too many GSDs in years of giving obedience classes to the public to know to be a bit touchy is part of some of them.
    Too bad that seems to be who that one is also.
    That kind of temperament is hard to train and live with, because we really can't reason with a dog that thinks the whole world is scary.

    Only you know what you can handle and it looks like your household is not appropriate for that, but maybe you can find another solution.

    I am surprised whoever you got her from didn't notice, knowing that there may have been some GSD there.

    It is heart breaking, because we put so much into choosing a dog and then we have to think of the dog too.



  9. #69
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    The shelter said she was timid, she was a stray that hadn't been there long. And she was good there from what I saw. I imagine they are all sketchy behaviour when they first arrive so they overlook some things. I don't think it takes her long to adjust to things but it is not my dream to deal with it. I know Shepherds can be tough but I've known so many that are fantastic. I'm hoping she turns out to be, I just don't think it'll be here. I've never in my life had this experience, and it's already getting old after 3 days.
    "Those who know the least often know it the loudest."



  10. #70
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    I can only describe my experiences and my friend's experience with reactive dogs.
    1. You start making changes in your life to accommodate the dog like not going to the park or not having people over without alot of planning.
    2. You live with a certain amount of stress since you can no longer be spontaneous with your dog. The smallest thing -like getting the dog to the vet without (in my case) encountering another dog between the parking lot, the lobby and the examination room- requires a huge amount of planning.
    3. You worry about encountering other dogs on your walks so walks become exercises in hyper-vigilance.
    4. You worry about your dog offending.

    All these you take in stride and you won't realize how much stress you're under until the dog is gone

    Like I said, YMMV.
    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  11. #71
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    You may want to check out the germanshepherds.com forum. Lots of discussions there on how to handle a reactive/hyper-protective dog.

    Be warned, if you do post about your girl there, you will immediately get advice to do a "two week shutdown". I've never used the technique myself, but apparently it's a way to introduce a dog to a new household that allows them to acclimate very slowly. Apples may just be trying too hard to be the super dog of the house and doesn't understand what you want.

    Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure we accidentally did a sort of "shutdown" with our GSD rescue. He was so smelly he had to live in our backyard for 2-3 weeks until we got his skin infections under control. Though he got lots of loving, he didn't get to "fully participate" in the household until he moved inside. That may have given him a chance to observe the existing pack dynamics (a.k.a. The Kitties Rule Everywhere) and made it easier for him to integrate.

    Or he's just so sweet he was going to be laid back no matter what. It did take him at least a week to even bark at something (the cat on our fence).



  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equine Studies View Post
    it's already getting old after 3 days.
    Have you consulted a behaviorist or trainer that runs a fearful dog program? Before giving up on this dog, why not have someone in to help?

    Call local rescues, vets, trainers, groomers, GSD clubs (fearful reactive dogs are discussed again & again on GSD forums) for a list of people that will have the skills to help you with this dog.

    If you think this dog is beyond the skills of locally available trainers, then make an appointment with your vet - I would absolutely not put this dog through another vast upheaval & I would not be comfortable placing this dog in a home with a small child.

    For your next dog, look closer to home, choose a local rescue that thoroughly assesses the dog before placement & then assists the adoptive family with any issues

    I'm used to dogs that can be trusted, practically 100% around other dogs and people.
    Really your best bet is choosing a local breeder that can match you & your family with a suitable dog/puppy - & again will offer followup support.
    If possible, meet both parent dogs, spend time with them, ask to meet pups from previous litters etc.

    Be forthright about your requirements/limitations when you speak to breeders, rescues, shelters about prospective dogs.

    (I'm not really much surprised by her actions based upon her photo & shelter description - I don't know what the protocol was at the shleter you adopted from, but my "local" would've had her on a restricted availability list)


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  13. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Have you consulted a behaviorist or trainer that runs a fearful dog program? Before giving up on this dog, why not have someone in to help?

    Call local rescues, vets, trainers, groomers, GSD clubs (fearful reactive dogs are discussed again & again on GSD forums) for a list of people that will have the skills to help you with this dog.

    If you think this dog is beyond the skills of locally available trainers, then make an appointment with your vet - I would absolutely not put this dog through another vast upheaval & I would not be comfortable placing this dog in a home with a small child.

    For your next dog, look closer to home, choose a local rescue that thoroughly assesses the dog before placement & then assists the adoptive family with any issues



    Really your best bet is choosing a local breeder that can match you & your family with a suitable dog/puppy - & again will offer followup support.
    If possible, meet both parent dogs, spend time with them, ask to meet pups from previous litters etc.

    Be forthright about your requirements/limitations when you speak to breeders, rescues, shelters about prospective dogs.

    (I'm not really much surprised by her actions based upon her photo & shelter description - I don't know what the protocol was at the shleter you adopted from, but my "local" would've had her on a restricted availability list)
    Agreed:


    There are so many red flags in the way you are handling this dog, if you are not able to actually work with an animal handler on this, please return her so that she has a chance with someone who has a better understanding and ability with socializing an animal who has obviously been isolated and used for breeding only.

    Especially in light of the BSL in your area, where even a small mistake on your part will count harshly against the dog.
    Last edited by chisamba; Jan. 9, 2013 at 08:49 AM. Reason: just so bad at proof reading!!


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  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by chisamba View Post
    Agreed:


    There are so many red flags in the way you are handling this dog, if you are not able to actually work with an animal handler on this, please return her so that she has a chance with someone who has a better understanding and ability with socializing an animal who has obviously been isolated and used for breeding only.

    Especially in light of the BSL in your area, where even a small mistake on your part will count harshly against the dog.
    I think that is what the OP is already doing?
    She knows the dog is not a fit for her household, has explained why they are not up to working with a difficult dog.
    I think that shows good common sense and a person already doing the best it can, no need to try to make her feel guilty for not going out the extra mile when she obviously is not in a situation to do so.

    Want to blame someone?
    Blame the rescue she bought the dog from, that should have listed the dog as of questionable temperament.
    How much is inherited, how much learned, that is immaterial here.


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  15. #75
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    That's one of the differences between rescues and shelters (all other things being equal). A rescue is more able to put the dog into a foster/evaluation situation than your typical shelter (I'm not making quality statements about shelters vs rescues, just discussing this issue). A foster home or trainer would have profiled this dog more accurately. The shelter relies more on luck -of having a good evaluator on staff, and having someone come in to look at dogs with perhaps a bit more experience. Personally I would not have taken a timid shepherd cross -but that's just because I have some understanding of GSDs. It wouldn't be reasonable to expect people to know that right off.

    I think the OP is doing more in these first few days than I did when faced with a ton of red flags on a dog I adopted some years ago -he turned out to be quite dangerous. What is she doing better than I did;

    1. She has the courage to say, this is not going to work in my house.
    2. She has the foresight to talk to people about it.
    3. Her evaluation is honest. She has yet to use the "denial" words like -a little too excited, nippy or any of the other words some of us have used to try to come to terms with our dogs' unacceptable behavior.

    Good for her. Well done, OP!

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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  16. #76
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    It's always a risk, higher from a shelter than a rescue who has fostered out a dog and knows it better. We knew that when we adopted her. Timid can mean timid (we've had that before, many times), or it can mean fear biter. We aren't 100% sure which she is. We did the best we could evaluating her at the shelter
    (3 visits at different times of day, different people-male/female getting her from her kennel and walking her, taking her out of the kennel when she was eating, walking her past and with other dogs etc. etc. etc.) and the vet when we took her for the health certificate so I could get her over the border. I don't know a ton about GSD but all the ones I've ever known have been fine. We made the decision to adopt based on if she didn't work out with the other dog we are adopting (retired breeding dog from a breeder we got our other dog from) my cousin would take her. So I think I did as much homework as I possibly could with a possible solution before she ends up back in the shelter. She may turn out to be fine, but based on our situation the potential issues are unfortunately a dealbreaker. For my SO, my pet sitter-they will never be comfortable around her unfortunately, so any rehabilitation is not going to make a difference. If it were just me I would seek out some more experienced assistance.

    She's at the stage already where if there is a knock on the door she will bark once and lay down at the top of the stairs and wait. Or go to the window and look out, then go to the stairs. I am hoping she's just doing what she thinks her job is and she will be less timid with time. To be honest, if I lived alone she'd be perfect.

    With any luck she'll be fine there. I do feel badly she's going to have to settle into a new place again so soon, but their set up is better I think. She has had more shepherds/rotties before so will likely be a better judge of what is happening than I am. She is usually a good judge of dogs and helped pick this one so I'm crossing my fingers.

    Bottom line-I took the risk and it didn't work out. I don't feel too badly about it as I thought through the options. If my cousin wasn't an option she would still be at the shelter. I knew that might be an option going in-if that makes me a bad person so some such is life I guess. I've done the same with a couple of horses too and resold them as they didn't work out. If people think that's wrong, I'm OK with that.

    Thanks Paula, it sounds like you know where I'm coming from. Hope it's a bit of a lesson to others-every shelter pet I've ever had has been awesome. And I'm hoping this sweet dog will be too, just not at my house.
    "Those who know the least often know it the loudest."



  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equine Studies View Post
    It's always a risk, higher from a shelter than a rescue who has fostered out a dog and knows it better. We knew that when we adopted her. Timid can mean timid (we've had that before, many times), or it can mean fear biter. We aren't 100% sure which she is. We did the best we could evaluating her at the shelter
    (3 visits at different times of day, different people-male/female getting her from her kennel and walking her, taking her out of the kennel when she was eating, walking her past and with other dogs etc. etc. etc.) and the vet when we took her for the health certificate so I could get her over the border. I don't know a ton about GSD but all the ones I've ever known have been fine. We made the decision to adopt based on if she didn't work out with the other dog we are adopting (retired breeding dog from a breeder we got our other dog from) my cousin would take her. So I think I did as much homework as I possibly could with a possible solution before she ends up back in the shelter. She may turn out to be fine, but based on our situation the potential issues are unfortunately a dealbreaker. For my SO, my pet sitter-they will never be comfortable around her unfortunately, so any rehabilitation is not going to make a difference. If it were just me I would seek out some more experienced assistance.

    She's at the stage already where if there is a knock on the door she will bark once and lay down at the top of the stairs and wait. Or go to the window and look out, then go to the stairs. I am hoping she's just doing what she thinks her job is and she will be less timid with time. To be honest, if I lived alone she'd be perfect.

    With any luck she'll be fine there. I do feel badly she's going to have to settle into a new place again so soon, but their set up is better I think. She has had more shepherds/rotties before so will likely be a better judge of what is happening than I am. She is usually a good judge of dogs and helped pick this one so I'm crossing my fingers.

    Bottom line-I took the risk and it didn't work out. I don't feel too badly about it as I thought through the options. If my cousin wasn't an option she would still be at the shelter. I knew that might be an option going in-if that makes me a bad person so some such is life I guess. I've done the same with a couple of horses too and resold them as they didn't work out. If people think that's wrong, I'm OK with that.

    Thanks Paula, it sounds like you know where I'm coming from. Hope it's a bit of a lesson to others-every shelter pet I've ever had has been awesome. And I'm hoping this sweet dog will be too, just not at my house.
    We did the best we could evaluating her at the shelter
    Please learn how to properly assess & temperament test a dog.


    It sounds as if you never really committed to this dog, are not interested in any dog that has issues because, really, giving up at the 2-3 day mark, AND not even trying (willing to work with a dog trainer/behaviorist), assuming that she's not "fixable", transfering the responsibility of your decision onto your DH & pet-sitter (if this is a professional, bonded person - they should NOT be doing this as a profession), essentially "flipping" this dog ...
    but you're not interested in helping this dog, you just wanted agreement that you're right, this dog is BAD & un-recoverable & this situation has nothing to do with your (impulsive) decision-making process.

    I do feel badly she's going to have to settle into a new place again so soon
    except it sounds as if this was always high on your list of "next step" - whereas, committing to training/working through any issues, was not.

    If your cousin wanted the dog, why didn't she adopt the dog & you stay clear of the situation - dogs are NOT toys, careless creatures to be traded about.

    If people think that's wrong, I'm OK with that.
    Your actions with this dog would put you on the DNA list for every shelter & rescue in BC, though a few of the rural dog pounds might still sell you a dog & the puppy brokers definitely would.

    Bottom line-I took the risk and it didn't work out.
    Curious, what risk do you think this dog took?

    The real irony, is that you actually came on wanting to adopt a bully breed from a shelter (no papers means the dog is whatever the local AC declares the dog to be & if someone lodges a complaint against your dog, the ACO must follow regulations) into a province with strong BSL in place: Canadian shelters & rescues were inundated with bully breeds shipping out of Ontario, many ended up euthanised or living in cages for months & even years.


    if that makes me a bad person so some such is life I guess
    Paula said, Her evaluation is honest.
    & that's what I want you to do as well - honestly assess your & your DH's & your pet-sitter's requirements and expectations.
    Waiting on the dog from the breeder that you know & that knows you, is waiting for the right dog.
    When you get that "I want a dog now" feeling, go walk some dogs at your local shelters/rescues, apply to be a foster for the same


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  18. #78
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    Let me say this clearly. If today I went and adopted a dog and he acted the way she describes he'd be back at the shelter. This kind of behavior is an absolute deal breaker for me. It has nothing to do with whether the dog is worth a home or my being good, bad, or indifferent, it purely has to do with what I am willing to deal with. Like I said; been there, done that, not going to do it again. I think it is unfair to condemn the OP because you would not have made the same decision. Heck if you feel that strongly about it, give her your address and have her send the dog to you.

    That sounds really harsh, but there it is. Everybody has deal breakers and they are not always the same.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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  19. #79
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    let me see if I've got this correctly- you drove a long way to get a bulldog from a shelter. Instead you came home with a shepherd mix, whom you now don't want, after only 3 days.

    The shepherd mix barks when people come to the door, and seems fearful at the vet, and for some reason this means you have to get rid of her?

    Honestly, doesn't that sound like perfectly normal dog behavior? does to me. Most dogs bark when people come to the door, and most dogs are fearful at the vet clinic. I have to physically drag my hound into the vet clinic while she fear-drools, and she's the friendliest dog ever whelped- she also barks at people who come to the door, followed by happy wiggles + greetings.

    I don't get it. I'm pretty sure if you keep the dog long enough for the dog to realize mom + SO + dogsitter are allowed members of the household, the dog will stop barking AT THEM and instead start greeting them when they arrive. Since it's a shepherd mix, it'll probably keep barking at strangers. Kind of what you expect from a guarding breed.

    Before you hand the poor dog over to someone else, you might want to check your adoption agreement- most don't allow you to give a dog to someone else. Pretending to adopt dogs from shelters and then quickly passing them to someone else isn't an activity the dog community appreciates, and you'd be amazed at how much cross-talk there is between various rescues and shelters. You'll get blacklisted. Might even be blacklisted by breeders who hear about it- you might be a broker for dog fighting or other nasty activity.

    Aside from the above, most dogs don't exhibit their "true" temperament until after weeks of living in their new home- it's quite normal for them to act fearful at first, even if they aren't that way naturally. The poor dog just went through a really traumatic experience and doesn't know you or anyone else in the home. You'd be stressed and fearful too. It takes time.



  20. #80
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    This is a great example of what I meant as "denial words".

    The shepherd mix barks when people come to the door, and seems fearful at the vet,


    Is not what the OP said. She said,

    Well Apple has been great, except she's awful, and I mean awful, when someone comes to the door. Like my SO. I thought she was going to go through the front door at him when he came back after starting his truck this morning, then again this afternoon after his run. Even when I went out with him and came back in she barked and growled from the top of the stairs. My mother came over while we were at work to see how she would react (in her crate in the spare bedroom). They met Sunday night with no issues. dog was in crate when she arrived and came out to meet her fine. Today my mother came in the house and there was no barking. Just the sound of her getting up in the crate. Went to the doorway and nightmare. Apple was clearly terrified, shaking and cowering in the back of the crate. But snarling and barking at the same time. She couldn't get her calmed down no matter what she tried. She left and came back about a half hour later. Called Apple's name when she came in the door and was greeted with wiggling and happiness once she hit the spare room. But who knows what might have happened had she been loose.

    Now, whether the dog will settle down after a while is not the issue. Some of them do and some of them do not. That is the reality. There is no guarantee of the outcome so I would never condemn someone for not wanting to take the chance. Frankly there are many many dogs that have much better temperaments out of the box, the first day they are in your house.

    Paula again JMO
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



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