New Dog.....

Posted by kermiy
Oct 28, 2009
We have a German Shepherd cross Husky called Joey who is 4years old has been with us over a year and was rescued from a shelter where he had been all his life . He is very chilled out, doesn't pull, bark he was very timid when we got him, didn't know how to run or play in a year he is a changed dog. We have recently (2 weeks) rescued another dog called Tilly she is a german shepherd cross rough collie about 5 years old, she has been done and is a little more highly strung than Joey.

They both met on neautrel ground and hit it off straight away playing and running around (Joey is selective on the dogs he gets on with) we tried him with several different dogs and he chose Tilly.

Since having Tilly home she does have a few training issues we are working on. She barks when left in the garden whenever anyone / thing comes near. (i work from home so have been able to monitor it) We are using the hand around the mouth "no" command for two days now so it's too early to tell if it's working. She also pulls on the lead so we are using the stop, pull, "no" technique you advise in your book.

Two issues that both of them have is recall. For the first few days we kept Tilly on the lead. We were told her recall was good so after this time let her off. She didn't go very far from us for the first week and were thinking excellent and then she started pushing the boundries and Joey was following her until the point where it would take us 10min/ 15mins to get them both back and they ignored our command (especially if there was something to chase.!!!!). We now have them on a lead and are awaiting two 6m leads to train them you have any good training techniques using the leads?

We are using the Alpha techniqies because at the moment Tilly acts like she is the Alpha, she always try to run through the door first, paws, and pushes your hand to stroke her...we ignore this and alwways get through the door and eat first. With Joey being our first dog (our baby) it's hard seeing him pushed away from us by Tilly or being fed last...can you confirm that we are doing the right thing? They had a fight where Tilly got a little cut on her face as did Joey and i think pack status was settled although im not 100%.....i jst want to ensure we are doing what we should be..

Another problem we have is barking at other dogs whilst on the lead, i nearly got pulled over by them last night when two dogs walked by. I tried to walk away from them but it was two late, i tried to get the dogs to sit but they didn't listen? Joey has always been a little funny whilst on the lead but paired with Tilly he is alot worse.!

Thanks for your help in advance - Kirsty
Posted by kjd
Oct 29, 2009
Hi, Kirsty,

I'm not going to give you any suggestions for solving your problems, just some insight into what has been happening with Tilly. She was very good in the beginning because she was unsure of herself. "Is this going to be my permanent home?" As she becomes more secure, just like a kid, she starts to push the boundaries. This is normal and, in a way, is actually good -- it shows you are giving her the love and security she's been lacking. Remember how long it took Joey to settle in? I'd give her at least a year before I took anything for granted. She is working through issues you don't know about.

I am working with my third adult rescue dog. Each has been the only dog. I don't recall these kinds of problems with the rescues under a year old. They seem to have been more plastic. The older ones can be scarred by their earlier experiences. However, I think their first problem is a lack of trust in the permanence of the new home. They'll get out of the car to greet someone, then promptly turn around to get back in before you can give them away.

I think Tilly hung close at first because she didn't trust that you might not leave her. Now she believes you will wait/look for her so she can afford to be bad.

I'm lazy and am letting my new dog mostly chill out for the first few months (had her a little over a week), except where immediate boundaries are needed, so I will leave it to more ambitious people to give you advice on correcting problems. This is just to congratulate you on giving two dogs a loving home. (So loving, they find it safe to be bad!) I'm looking forward to hearing more about Joey and Tilly.

Posted by kermiy
Oct 30, 2009
Hi Kkd,
Thank you so much for your response, what dogs do you have?
I'm living in Cyprus where there are so many resuce / stray dogs in need of good homes it's heart breaking. I help out at a local shelter and have to stop myself from wanting to take them all home. I have seen some horrendours things what Cypriots do to there working animals when they don't perform or after hunting season is over! We think Joey was beaten as he was very skitish when we got him, didn't really like men and cowarded at bags, doors slamning the ironing board you name it he was scared of it.......and your right it took us well over 9 months before we saw an improvement, he is such an amazing dog that has so much love to give he makes me smile every day. I love the challenge and have the time whilst we are out here to spend on them.

We had a break through with Tilly last night, we allow Joey on the sofa when invited and last night i had Tilly on oneside snuggled up to me and Joey the other she didn't stay for long (unlike Joey who will snore for hours.!!) but it's the first time i've seen her relax with her eyes shut......slowly, slowly as the cypriots would say.!!

Good luck with your new addtion. xx
Posted by kjd
Oct 30, 2009
Hi Kirsty,

Sunna is a small German Shepherd. She is a great little dog who seems to have only one issue -- her person may punish her. Every time she does something she thinks is bad, or I tell her "No" she runs off and doesn't want to come to me. I keep encouraging her until she does come. Then she is amazed that all I do is praise her and tell her she is a good dog.

How can I punish her? She has never repeated something she has been told "No" for, so those aren't being bad at all. What she thinks is bad (and it could be) is using the garage for a bathroom and using the car for a bathroom. Garage was the fault of my yard people, who blocked her dog door and never unblocked it. I didn't realize she couldn't use it until she went into the garage and barked. Car was my fault. She'd wanted to get out when we stopped and I thought she was just acting up, so didn't let her. In both situations, it was a case of "I HAVE to go!!! What should I do?" So there is no reason to punish.

Actually, I suspect she is always going to be a good dog, with mistakes only things she either cannot help or doesn't know are wrong. I am looking forward to the day she realizes being called is NEVER a bad thing.

Good luck with Tilly and Joey. They are lucky to have you. I am impressed with what you have accomplished with Joey.