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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just adopted a 2 year old female GSD from a high kill shelter. She was an adoption return, so I knew her chances of making it out alive were slim to none, and she seemed very sweet. The animal control people said the people that adopted then returned her the first time said that the reason was that she was "too submissive"? I guess they wanted a guard or attack dog? Not sure.

Anyway, I am an experienced dog owner but this is my first shepherd. Already she is throwing me for a loop! We already have two 20 lb mixed breed dogs and a 35 lb mixed breed (full house, I know! We are moving to 5+ acres in 2 weeks). We also have cats. The first thing I noticed is that she has strong prey drive. If one of the little ones moves too fast, she wants to chase and nip. Thankfully, she seems to have had some obediance training because she called off them very quickly. She is exceptionally obedient, especially since she just met us. She does seem to have bonded quickly to me. So, my question #1, at what point can I be confident that she will not try to kill one of my cats or little dogs? There is no way I am going to leave her where she can get to any of them, but I hate to think she will be separate from everyone else her whole life, unless we are right there. Will she eventually get it that they are members of the pack, not prey?

Next question, putting weight on her. She is VERY thin. I mean ribcage and backbone protruding thin. We feed a high quality natural dog food. I had no idea how much to give her, because I don't know if I should go by her current weight, or the weight she should be (she is maybe 50 lbs and I think filled out she will be at least 80 or more, very big gal!) I gave her 3 cups of food tonight. She ate it all, but walked away from the bowl twice. Both times I coaxed her back to the bowl and she continued eating. I can feed 3 times per day, at least til she picks up weight. How much should I feed her. Any thoughts on supplementing to help her pick up weight (some people have suggested adding eggs and/or some corn oil or other food grade oil).

Last question, is it typical for the breed to bond tightly to one person in the house? I want her to listen to my DH as well as me, but right now all she wants to do is lay at my feet! I feel so fortunate that she is not possessive and does not try to get between me and the other dogs, and I am thrilled that she listens so well, but I want her to listen to DH also in case I am out of town or not home.

Any thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.

PS - I did not know GSD's snore! She is laying on the flood next to my bed sawing the logs right now! I bet she is thrilled to have carpet instead of concrete kennel floors.
 

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I'm not a GSD person per se, but I can tell you that a dog with a prey drive should probably NEVER be left alone unattended with other (especially smaller) dogs, even if her behavior continues to improve. The safest alternative would be to crate her or confine her to a separate room while you are out of the house to prevent any mishaps.

As for putting on weight, there should be a recipe for Satin Balls somewhere in the Food Forum.
 

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Last question, is it typical for the breed to bond tightly to one person in the house? I want her to listen to my DH as well as me, but right now all she wants to do is lay at my feet!
Welcome to the German Shepherd Dog ;) Signed, sealed, delivered, she's YOURS!

That said, just because she has deemed you as "her person" that does NOT give her license to ignore the commands of others.

But, it is most definitely a (STRONG) breed trait to bond to a single person.

I have two German Shepherd Dogs, Strauss and Delphi. Strauss listens to my boyfriend, but he is MY dog, and he makes that very clear in the way he interacts with Jon.

Delphi listens to me and shows for me, but she has very clearly decided that JON is her person, not me.

Your girl's prey drive is natural, and that she calls off is good. No, you can never leave her unsupervised with smaller animals...but I wouldn't do that anyway, no matter what kind of dog I had.

My Strauss is VERY good with my cats....under strict supervision. Sometimes he still gets it in his head that the kitties are a prey item, and I'll catch him with my Siamese in his mouth....

Usually though, things look like this:


 

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Unless you think she's dangerously underweight or you have difficulty getting that weight back on her, I would just feed her the amount you would if she were at her predicted "healthy" weight and go from there rather than messing around with satin balls or supplements. They are always an option but if she's not dangerously skinny the goal is to steadily put healthy weight on her, not just to get her to a goal weight as fast as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the input! Thank you for the photos of your dog and kitty, Xeph. Fortunately that is what it has looked like around here today too for the most part (the cats are absolutely fascinated with her, LOL!) But, I know the instinct is there, so I will just have to be super careful and supervise well.

Do you all think a strong, tall baby gate is enough to separate her from the cats and little dogs? Or is that asking for a disaster. I "tested" her with a small, flimsy gate which was not even attached to the wall, just leaning, and she seemed to respect it. The one I am thinking of for her is made for big dogs and is taller than her head.

I am really excited to start this journey with her. She is beautiful and such a sweetheart. I wish I had a camera handy to show you all her laying at my feet right now with her head on the pillow that the little dogs use as a bed! It is so funny because she was not my first choice, but my DH fell in love with her. Now she is bonded to me and me to her and I cannot imagine making another choice! Now we just have to get some obedience training with me and DH handling, get some weight on her, get her housing situated, etc.
 

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Personally, I like to stick with kenneling to keep everybody separated...they respect the gate when you're there, and yes, some even when you're not...but when drive is involved, if they want it bad enough, a gate means nothing.

By the way, what color is she? And what's her name? xD
 

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There has been debate about the GSDs origin as an actual Shepherd. The dogs were derived from other herding dogs, yes....but their overall use was utilitarian.

Border Collies are hard wired to herd too...doesn't mean they don't ever try to go for a grip.

Wool is also a pretty good protector of sheep.

Note:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snRygZGBja0

All Shepherding is is modified prey drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Her name is Lilly, and she is mostly black with tan jst on her lower legs, around her ears, and a bit on her face. I will get pics up soon! She has settled in so well today and I am starting to wonder if what I thought was prey drive was actually curiosity and not knowing her own size. She has shown no interest in the cats or little dogs, even when cats are running right past her and jumping up and down from counters. She sat and watched while the little dogs played outside. Of course, she may have just figured out that I disapprove of her "preying" on the other animals, so I am still not taking any chances!

I really don't want to crate her unless I have to. Once we get moved to our land, we will have to commute to work so we will be gone a little longer than we would otherwise, so I think I may just keep the little dogs/cats in one area of the house and her in another. The master bath has a door off it into the backyard, so I could even let her stay in there with a doggy door (the yard is well fenced and the perimeter fence is dog safe too).

Thanks again for the advice!
 

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My Strauss is VERY good with my cats....under strict supervision. Sometimes he still gets it in his head that the kitties are a prey item, and I'll catch him with my Siamese in his mouth....

Usually though, things look like this:


Xeph, I'm mailing Trent and Bree over to you. Bree is still only slowly slowly slowly warming up to Trent, venturing a few inches closer to him, then dashing off.

Love the pillow, by the way!

Her name is Lilly, and she is mostly black with tan jst on her lower legs, around her ears, and a bit on her face. I will get pics up soon!
Looking forward to them! She sounds a bit like my Trent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Finally got some pictures of her today. I wanted some before and after ones for once she starts picking up weight. Most of these don't really show how skinny she is in real life, but they show how pretty she is :) She was 55 lbs at the vet today, and the vet said she will probably gain 20 lbs before she is done filling out. The other thing that is funny is that the more I brush and de-shed her (The Furminator is an awesome product), the more tan coloring I "uncover"! There is way more tan showing today than yesterday, but she is still mostly black. If you look around the pics, you can see some of her hair floating around, LOL!





Here is one taken with me standing over her, really shows how thin she is:
 

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That's a lovely black and tan you have :)

She may gain 10-15, yes, just watch her weight :) People have a tendency to let Shepherds get chunky (not saying you would, just thought I'd throw that out there), and that's bad, lol.

mintesa, Kaia may well be an applehead by accident. She is NOT well bred (She weighs only 6 pounds and is a bit bowlegged). She is a shelter rescue :)

I went to the shelter to get myself a dog (this is pre Strauss)....I ended up with a Siamese.

I think she's about 12 now, and she really doesn't show her age aside from sleeping a bit more.
 

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mintesa, Kaia may well be an applehead by accident. She is NOT well bred (She weighs only 6 pounds and is a bit bowlegged). She is a shelter rescue :)

I went to the shelter to get myself a dog (this is pre Strauss)....I ended up with a Siamese.
:D that sounds like something that i would do, we are looking for a dog right now also. and when i see the cats in the shelter i want to get one too. and my husband too, and we have to try to cool down a bit and slow us down. yea but i can see the future, we will probably end up with both, especially if i will come across a siamese :D
 

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I'd always wanted a Siamese cat, and that day the Shelter was full of them. Something about that cat just called to me.

She got terribly sick when I brought her home...nearly died on me. But she certainly is well off now ^_^

I'll never be without a Meezer if I can help it. They are SO much like the Shepherds!
 
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