Timid and nervous adopted Shepherd.

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Member Since
Barked: Sun Dec 9, '12 4:15pm PST 
We adopted a 3 year old female Shepherd, Kira,from a shelter about 2 weeks ago.She is very timid and nervous. She is very reluctant to leave our bedroom to go outside, etc., even when coaxed with treats that she really likes.
We have to put her leash on her most of the time and practically force her out of our room.
She often goes into "mule mode" and simply will not budge! She knows her name, but still will not come when called most of the time.
We understand she's new to our home and it will take time for her to feel at home, but it's getting very frustrating for us. We have lot's of love and patience and will definitely not give up on her.
If anyone has suggestions for us, they are both welcome and appreciated.

Thank you.
Tommy and Janet

Do you even- lift?
Barked: Sun Dec 9, '12 8:34pm PST 
The best advice I've heard for a situation like yours is to let the dog come to you on its own time. Don't force affection on her, call her, or make her go anywhere or do anything, unless you absolutely have to. Basically just ignore her and go about life as normal as much as possible. Give her the option to come out of your room, but let it be her choice (other than obviously going out to potty).

As she starts to feel more comfortable, she should become curious about what goes on in the rest of the house, what you're up to, ect. and will start to come out of her shell. She will probably always be somewhat uncomfortable in new situations, so take everything new very slowly, but give it some time and she should relax in the house and open up to you.

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Mon Dec 10, '12 9:33am PST 
Thanks for adding a bit more info to your post in Answers.
Two weeks may seem like a long time, but really it's a drop in the bucket.
Do you have a crate for her? It sounds like the bedroom is where she feels safest right now. I would put her crate or bed in there & just let her adjust. Feed her meals there. When you go by the door just drop/toss the yummiest treat possible..like teeny bits of cheese, chicken, or steak.
Let her come to you. Don't make a big fuss over her. You want her to associate you with calmness & trust. And of course a giver of good things! smile Forcing her out of the room will make it harder for her to trust you. Patience is key right now.
Some gsds are nervous, soft nerved. It is possible that she will always be on the timid side. That does not mean she will not be a fantastic dog

Edited by author Mon Dec 10, '12 9:37am PST


Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
Barked: Mon Dec 10, '12 11:43am PST 
Hmmm... two of you, eh? If Kira were a puppy, you might start her recall with a game of puppy ping-pong. Bedroom... fine if you have a bit of space. Small and yummy treats. First person calls... click/treat for success. Second person calls... ditto. Repeat. _I_ would work on the recall as a way to get over this. When ping-pong in the bedroom works... gradually increase distance.

Go slow... as others are pointing out, 2 weeks is a short time. And go gentle.

Spunkums, Spunky- Munky, Spunkman
Barked: Sat Jan 5, '13 9:11am PST 
I'm the owner of two female German Shepherds, Czarina and Olympia, an empress and a goddess big grin, who both live up to their names. Olympia is the more timid of the two, and many times she is reluctant to try new adventures or as the case currently, getting used to a new puppy. She runs into the laundry room and hides.

I agree with the advice already given in that do not force her, but let her come to you on her own terms. Make sure you pet/stroke her and call her good girl on a frequent basis, give her some toys she might enjoy, some soft blankets to lay in, and let her discover that she's safe and in her forever home. Since she's from a shelter, this will take time, and I know you're probably anxious to show her your world. As you may not know all in her past, she may be scared of either being given up again, or was not socialized properly as a puppy.

Showing your love and commitment on a regular basis will bring her out of her shell, and you'll have a wonderful girl. I can take my two anywhere, but that behavior was caused by my always talking to them, petting them every time I walk by them or they by me, letting them cuddle up next to me, playing fetch. German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs, and they know instinctively and sense when they are loved and wanted. You sound very committed and happy to have her, so give her time and she'll reward you with the incredible love and devotion that these pups are known for.
Sammi Fulla Grace

Sam-a-lama-ding-- dong
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 3:44pm PST 
Love and affection are great, but only as a reward for the behavior you seek. Often we intensify the issue by rewarding the unwanted behavior/state of mind with affection. that can really throw a dog off! "You mean you WANT me to be freaked out all the time?!?!?"

What a pack animal, who is a dog, needs, is a pack leader who is calm, confident, clear, and consistant in creating expectations. I must disagree with the notion that leaving her alone will help. What she needs is leadership. If she feels that you are large and in charge, she will respond to you as her pack leader. She will gravitate to discipline, (NOT punishment!!!), and respond to confident leadership, not negotiation.

What causes insecurity in dogs is the lack of structure and direction; especially a more submissive dog, as she seems to be. If a submissive dog doesn't have clear leadership, they feel they must assume the dominant role and it's a frightening experience that won't improve by being passive and letting them come to you.

Punishment to a dog is not knowing what you expect, what makes you happy. Discipline is calmly, patiently, consistantly, clearly expressing your expectations. When she does something you would like her to continue doing. show her affection. When she's doing something you don't want-like feeling insecure-offer a clear redirection toward a different behavior or state of mind. (All of a positive nature, of course!)Time-wise, you have to take the time it takes, not the time you think it should take, or the time you've "alloted" to fix the problem. Just keep moving forward in your thoughts, and she will respond by moving forward with her body, mind, and soul!

Shower them with affection when they are calm, and they will chose to be calm rather than not. But this means thinking like a dog and becoming her pack leader! Your reward will be a dog's version of love and affection: Loyalty and devotion!

My Sammi is the biggest chicken on the planet, but she's not afraid to live life because she knows she has a pack leader who has her back.

God bless you for taking her in, and all the best to you!


too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Thu Jan 10, '13 7:49am PST 
Sammi..another Cesar advertisement..but no advice specific to this poster, or her situation. What would you suggest the OP do?