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Rescuing K9's and Great German Shepherd Stories

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.) Joe (G.W.N.S.) 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #27235
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    I admit I am biased, I love the German Shepherd dog (GSD). I have had GSD’s most of my life, don’t get me wrong I do love all dogs, but GSD’s have stood out to me among the others.

    Many here know I rescue and rehabilitate dogs, mainly ones who are extremely fearful and those that have been involved in bites (not just GSD’s). Some of the fearful ones have not just been neglected, but actually tortured (beaten, cigarette burns, cut on, etc…). Most are about to be euthanized since most Animal Shelters are not equipped to deal with these cases.

    A fearful dog may take me from 2 months to a year to rehabilitate. Most bite cases a minimum of a year, usually can get them good to go much sooner, but I will not release a dog unless I am 100% sure they are good in as many situations as I can come up with. If a dog can’t be released I’ll keep them myself.

    So here is a story about a rescued GSD named Haus.

    May 11, 2016
    After losing their beloved dog Bailey 12 years, the Delucas recently rescued a 2 year old German Shepherd, named Haus. It took time to mourn the loss of Bailey, but very quickly their whole family including Donya and Adam’s two children, 7 year old Molly and 4 year old Joey, have fallen in love with Haus. He is loving, loyal and has become very protective of the children.

    Today, Molly and Haus were outside in the Deluca’s fenced in backyard playing, when a rattlesnake approached. Haus was bitten 3 times by an extremely venomous Eastern Diamondback. They’re quite certain he was protecting Molly, because he did not back away keeping himself between the snake and away from Molly.


    This is very common among any herding breeds and GSD’s in particular.

    Maxx’s Story

    April 28, 2016
    A German shepherd helped firefighters find his owners’ two young children as flames ripped through the family’s central Florida home, authorities said.

    The dog, named Maxx, helped crews navigate through thick smoke to find the 4-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl Monday night in their burning home in the Orlando suburb of Longwood, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

    Here is an older exceptional story.

    Buddy (GSD)

    #27244
    Profile photo of Andrew
    Andrew
    Participant

    Any suggestions for a GSD who is normally the Alpha between the two males and yet falls apart when it thunders or if there is a gun shot?

    He and his brother were from the same litter. We sold brother but got him back after a year or two. Couldn’t even pet brother for days after we got him back. Brother much bigger than the Alpha and still flinches if I reach out too quickly to pet him. Alpha, who is much smaller picks on him.

    Both work well together killing ‘coons, ringtails, cats, skunks, etc. Neither has learned to stay the hell away from porcupines.

    Guns shy and thunder shy Alpha concerns me most. Both excellent about notifying me about any intrusions even close to the house.

    #27245
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    …Alpha between the two males and yet falls apart when it thunders or if there is a gun shot?

    Being a Alpha and having “bang” issues like this isn’t that uncommon.

    …still flinches if I reach out too quickly to pet him.

    You need to desensitize him to overcome the hand shyness.

    1.) If he just ducks, but stays and doesn’t move.

    I would pet him only with a quick hand movement, but as soon as you actually make contact, make a big deal “Oh your such a good boy!” (what ever phrase you like since it isn’t the words, but the tone) with a slightly higher pitch than normal voice.

    Eventually as he becomes less hand shy increase the pressure. I have had dogs that finally I am raising hand high and coming down as though I am about to hit with everything I’ve got, only to turn it into an excited petting session. Different dogs adapt faster or slower to this, but stick to it and he’ll get over it.

    2.) If he actually moves away to avoid his fear of being hit, leash him and do as above at least 2-3 times a day.

    Regardless of which applies, remember you begin just outside of his comfort zone, don’t start with the big wind up.

    Alpha, who is much smaller picks on him.

    You have to set the boundaries as the true leader, when this happens a quick “NO!” and move to intercede if necessary.

    Remember in reality you are the Alpha and the one you refer to as the Alpha is just next in the pecking order.

    With four plus dogs depending on my current situation; many new, I have to set the boundaries of all behavior or it would get out of control. I decide who they like and how they behave in the household.

    Gun shy and thunder shy Alpha concerns me most.

    —————

    Note: The biggest mistake made when a dog acts scared is trying to comfort him/her! Petting while saying it’s alright, etc…

    That kind of attention is not translated into comfort, but is interpreted as “I love it when you act this way, please always act this way to a given stimuli!” It just reinforces the unwanted behavior.

    Depending where you live; rural vs town, you need to change what he associates as scary into a positive. Find the quietest gunshot that spooks him, starter pistol or even a cap gun.

    Probably the quickest would be that this becomes the new “Dinner Call!” Firing a shot or two before feeding (have food ready to served right after shot/s). He will begin to associate the shot with getting something he wants.

    Although switching it up once it doesn’t bother him and moving to a bigger bang will help get him over it for good.

    Hopefully the shot will translate to the Thunder; if not, do not allow him to cower under something or go hide. If you already have a “place command” (a designated spot he is to go when told to “place”) use it to make him stay calmly until you release him.

    If he doesn’t have a place command I would train him for it so you can use it for this. Although a sit-stay or down-stay would also work.

    Any whining during this, use a sharp “NO” or whatever verbal you normally use to correct him.

    Once he begins to desensitize, having a treat handy for whenever he doesn’t react poorly is a good thing.

    A proper reaction to any loud noise is to look in the direction of noise at a minimum and advancing to the direction of noise is preferred with a recall available.

    If any of above is unclear just let me know.

    #27246
    Profile photo of Andrew
    Andrew
    Participant

    Great advice, thank you. The formerly abused one has gotten much better about the flinching, it is barely noticeable. He is a real good dog, real affectionate, and I guess he’s not quite as bright/intelligent as the other one. Actually, he is more like the father was, but father was very smart. An aside, father loved his belly rubbed and would assume the Tango Uniform position if I told him dead dog. I would ask him if he’d rather vote for Obama or be a dead dog and he’d go Tango Uniform.

    Going to quit pampering the gun shy one. I have been guilty of going out when there is thunder and talking to him in that soothing voice thing. Have never used the “place” command, he will sit and stay, for about 10 seconds before his attention wanders.

    They are both good with heel if I take them for a walk one on one. both together turns into who can pee on the plant first and who has to go second on about every other plant, about 3/4ths of the time at least for the first 20 or so minutes.

    Note to self, get treats, lots of treats for them.

    Thanks.

    #27247
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    I would ask him if he’d rather vote for Obama or be a dead dog and he’d go Tango Uniform.

    Outstanding! :good:

    I have been guilty of going out when there is thunder and talking to him in that soothing voice thing.

    Extremely common, but the good news is it’s correctable.

    Have never used the “place” command, he will sit and stay, for about 10 seconds before his attention wanders.

    Beginning with one at a time, 10-15 minutes practice training commands a day will get this better if you want it. My personal dog’s will down-stay for an hour with distractions (doesn’t happen overnight, but quicker than most think).

    They are both good with heel if I take them for a walk one on one. both together turns into who can pee on the plant first and who has to go second on about every other plant, about 3/4ths of the time at least for the first 20 or so minutes.

    I have two types of heeling, relaxed where what you describe is acceptable and rigid where they must stay in formation. “Heel” for relaxed and “Fuß” (phoose) the German word for rigid heel.

    A normal dog walk for me is a minimum of 4 at once.

    Let me know how it works for you.

    #27248
    Profile photo of Andrew
    Andrew
    Participant

    I can get them into the rigid form in the one on one scenario and they will usually hold it. The exceptions usually involve some critter breaking cover, but they will return to heel quickly. Together different story, usually very loose unless we’ve been out over that 20 minutes or so and by then they are peed out and are panting fairly hard so they’re ready to walk at a steady pace. But, they do remain alert, just not real anxious to charge.

    Thanks ever so much for the advice. My German leaves alot to be desired. Shameful really since that’s all I spoke until I was about 5. Down here on the border I’ve got that Spanish thing going on real well though. Danke schoen mein herr.

    #27249
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Du bist willkommen.

    As far as language skills go, other than ordering a beer in several I am pretty rusty.

    My German is pretty much limited to dog training these days, but I know from experience it comes back pretty quick when get around it.

    When my kids were young people would get quite surprised hearing them give our GSD’s commands in German. :yes:

    #27257
    Profile photo of Robert
    Robert
    Participant

    Our male and half our females don’t like gunshots. The male is worst about loud noises.

    Our original Shepherd, considered “my” dog by the family is about 100 years old but still loves to go to the range with me. It’s hard for me to fathom her having any hearing left after all these years. She’s our oldest, slowest and almost smallest of 6 but she is still a scrapper and regularly starts trouble with the big gal that should be the alpha. The big gal oddly enough is our only dog that locks well and has damn near killed the old one a couple times when pushed too far. However not five minutes later goes back to totally submissive around her.

    No better family dog(s) in my opinion. We’ve had two rescue dogs over the years. Supposedly a brother and sister about 13 years ago. Was told they had to go together. The male was obviously abused. We spent a lot of time working with him but evidently got no where. He nipped at the wife at the clothesline one day and then he was gone. The “sister” (I don’t believe the sibling story) connected with my son and wife but never really connected with me. I’m guessing she was abused by a guy and maybe felt more of a connection with women, I don’t know. I never really cared for her till one day my son was about 5 and running through the yard. My dog was the alpha in the relationship between the (then) two dogs. My boy fell down near the alpha dog, alpha dog didn’t notice and ran a bit further. The rescue dog came out of nowhere, ran to the boy, stood between the boy and the alpha dog and growled and snapped at the alpha. I saw all this happen and best I can figure the rescue dog thought the alpha had knocked the boy down or tried to hurt him. Only time I ever saw her stand up to alpha. She had my affection then even if I don’t think she ever reciprocated. It was a sad day when she died.

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    #27264
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    She’s our oldest, slowest and almost smallest of 6 but she is still a scrapper and regularly starts trouble with the big gal that should be the alpha. The big gal oddly enough is our only dog that locks well and has damn near killed the old one a couple times when pushed too far. However not five minutes later goes back to totally submissive around her.

    Yea, you can never truly tell the Alpha in canine relations by looks. My current Alpha is smaller.

    He nipped at the wife at the clothesline one day and then he was gone.

    That’s why I take so much time with the rescues I rehabilitate, particularly so with the bigger/protective breeds.

    I deal with issues that wouldn’t be safe with a Family.

    Unfortunately there are not enough volunteers with the right background, training, and a safe environment to address the need. Probably about 90% of problem dogs can be rehabilitated (my experience) with the right methods, 8% can be fine with the right handler, but that other 2% is truly dangerous. Unfortunately that 2% needs a sanctuary or euthanized.

    She had my affection then even if I don’t think she ever reciprocated.

    It’s always great to see them demonstrate those protective instincts appropriately.

    I have one GSD involved in a pretty bad bite that the story and my evaluation didn’t quite match.

    I have gotten to the stage of proof testing behavior.

    As part of verifying suitability around children, I had gotten to the point of taking walks with a baby in a stroller on a bike trail. As people approached he would keep between stroller and strangers in a alert yet relaxed manner.

    He is approaching his one year point and will be testing his behavior with some inexperienced handlers as final check to being adoptable.

    My personal GSD’s over the years have demonstrated on numerous times their worth. There are two instances I believe it was the presence of a GSD that allowed me to keep my pistol holstered when dealing with a hostile individual.

    #27269
    Profile photo of Andrew
    Andrew
    Participant

    One of my daughters was dating a Saudi Air Force pilot wannabe for awhile. The boy thought he was hot stuff and one day in the yard with the two dogs, mentioned above, he was doing something and moved towards the one described as the Beta above. Beta bit the daylights out of his hand. Only time he’s ever done anything like that. I looked real concerned on the outside, but was doing back flips inside. :whistle:

    #27271
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Most dogs are better judges of character than people are.

    In fact if my personal dog doesn’t like you, you will have a steep path to overcome that in my eyes.

    #27272
    Profile photo of Andrew
    Andrew
    Participant

    Most dogs are better judges of character than people are.

    In fact if my personal dog doesn’t like you, you will have a steep path to overcome that in my eyes.

    Agree 110% on both items.

    #27286
    Profile photo of Thomas
    Thomas
    Participant

    G.W.N.S., perhaps you could give some details on the two instances at some point.

    I would love to have a GSD. Our current canine resident is a fox hound.

    #34848
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    A few more stories.

    1943

    The German shepherd tank-guard, Chips, was the most decorated dog of WWII, and probably the most famous war dog in history. Assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, he was one of the first dogs shipped overseas, serving in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. While invading Sicily in July 1943, his partner was attacked by a machine gun. Chips immediately followed the shots to an Italian pillbox where he captured 4 Italian soldiers and saved the life of his partner. That same night, with powder burns and a serious scalp wound, Chips helped capture 11 more Italians. The U.S. papers called him a hero, and General Eisenhower personally thanked him for his services. Upon returning to the States, he was awarded the Silver Star for Valor and a Purple Heart, the later has been revoked citing it as being “demeaning to service men” who were also given the award. In 1993, Disney produced a movie called “Chips the War Dog” to commemorate this great hero!

    1983

    Pictou County, Nova Scotia. Maude, a German Shepherd, owned by Deborah Johnston and Bernard Chisholm, saved a three-year-old girl from drowning in the frigid waters of Pictou Harbour. Gripping the child’s overalls in her teeth, Maude pulled the child out of the deep water.

    1992

    Mirror, Alberta. Hustler, a three-year-old German Shepherd is credited with saving the life of his owner, Debbie Inions. After a fall from her horse left Debbie seriously injured and unable to move, Hustler repeatedly fought against vicious attacks by two preying coyotes until they were discovered nine hours later.

    1994

    Vienna, Ontario. Nellie, a six-year-old German Shepherd traveled three kilometres back to her home to get help for 78-year-old Ken Emerson, who lay injured after his tractor had overturned and crushed his pelvis. When Nellie returned home, Mrs. Emerson realized that the strip of her husband’s shirt wrapped around Nellie’s collar was an S.O.S. message, and immediately sent for help.

    #64339
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Been awhile since I updated this, hopefully some will find this interesting.

    German shepherd smells gas, saves Long Neck family

    Confused, Ken Walsh looked at the clock.

    3 a.m.

    Outside the bedroom door, his 5-year-old German shepherd, Greta, was barking and crying. Usually the quietest dog the Walsh family owns, Greta was on the verge of waking the whole household.

    Walsh got out of bed to quiet her, but Greta was insistent, stubbornly corraling her human to the kitchen.

    And that’s where he smelled it.

    Propane.

    ‘She’s a hero’

    Greta is a rescue, taken in by the Long Neck-area family after behavioral issues threatened her future. Walsh trains dogs and is in the process of starting a nonprofit animal rescue, he said.

    The family has five dogs and three cats.

    “I rescued Greta knowing she was a great dog under her patchy past,” Walsh said. “She has come a long way.”

    “I thank God for bringing her into my life.”

    Walsh said Greta has more than returned the favor. He’s convinced that she saved him, his wife and their 14-year-old son when she started barking and got Walsh out of bed Nov. 13.

    When he got to the kitchen, he quickly realized the propane stove was leaking gas into the air. It had already filled several rooms and could have easily killed the sleeping family.

    Not only can inhaling propane suffocate you, but it is extremely flammable.

    “All it would have taken was a spark,” Walsh said. “It was very scary after I got a chance to sit down and think about it.”

    “She’s a hero.”

    A well-deserved treat

    Walsh said it was one of the family’s other four dogs that accidentally turned the propane on while attempting to jump on the kitchen counter.

    Greta could sense that something was wrong.

    “There are some dogs that are just truly intelligent,” Walsh said. “They’re absolutely amazing.”

    The German shepherd has been well-rewarded for her heroism, Walsh said. First, he shared the story on Facebook, getting thousands of likes.

    Then, he cooked Greta up a treat: steak and sweet potatoes.

    “We made her a special dinner,” said Walsh, who also plans on treating Greta to some vanilla ice cream.

    Walsh, who encourages people to adopt pets from shelters instead of shopping at pet stores, says there’s a moral to Greta’s story.

    Even dogs with behavioral problems can make a valuable addition to your family, he said.

    “Please remember to help shelter animals this Christmas season,” he said on Facebook. “They need love … If you are looking for a forever friend, take a look at your local shelter.”

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