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Dog: Was she abused before or is she just afraid of my kids?

My husband brought home a German shepherd recently. She's an almost full-sized puppy and the lady who gave her to him said that she was fostering the dog to keep it out of a shelter that would euthanize. The dog is really sweet and well-behaved. She loves going for walks and will stay close by rather than trying to drag me like other dogs I've had in the past. She is great at letting us know if she needs to potty and has never had indoor accidents. The thing is, she's afraid to come inside the house. It takes twenty minutes or more of looking her in the eyes while petting her head, snout, and ears and talking in a soft soothing voice to get her to come inside. She'll slowly inch forward. I can't figure out if she was abused before or if she's just afraid of my children. My 3yo is rough with animals (yes, I discourage that behavior), but can also be sweet to them. The dog doesn't cower or act timid in any other situation, as I've observed other dogs do when I knew they had a history of being abused. I can't figure out why the dog is acting this way and how to fix it.


Asked by AmourSpork at 10:59 PM on Apr. 25, 2011 in Pets

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Answers (7)
  • When you're bringing her in have some treats in your pocket. When she comes to you to go in, before she gets to the door take the treat out and let her smell it. Then slowly inch her up to the door with it. Once she steps in give her the treat. Do that each time, and eventually she will forget her fear, and remember the treat, and the positive experience. Our Husky we rescued a few yrs ago was outside for a very long time when we found her, her pads on her feet were raw... She didn't want to come in, we did this, and she finally realized she was okay, and went in. Give her time, German Shepherds are very smart, and loyal. She will want to please you, so praise her for good behavior. We also have 2 German Shepherds, so if you have any questions feel free to ask! Thumbs up to your DH for bringing her home to you all...

    Answer by MrsLeftlane at 11:07 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • She could have been however this could also be apart of her personality. She may just lack confidense and if she was not socialized that can play a part also. You can help her gain confidense by desensitizing her to whatever makes her nervous. My oldest dog is a timid dog and lack confidence when we got her. She was afraid of many differant things. I made many of things that made her nervous apart of her daily life so eventually she was not bothered by them. I also made a point to get her out in public around as many people as possible. When she show fear do not pet her. What I would do is put her on a leash to bring her in if she puts on the brakes just stand there and wait her out. When she moves forward you move towards the door a step or two. she will probably put on the breaks again do the same thing and wait her out. Don't make a big deal out of it and she will come out of her shell.

    Answer by KyliesMom5 at 11:07 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • Time and love. She might have been abused,just have patience and love her. Try to have the kids treat her gently. No wildness!

    Answer by dancer at 11:01 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • Maybe she just wasn't allowed in the house before?

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:06 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • getting her into a training class will help build confidence. You might even look at agility because that is a great way to build their confidence.

    Answer by KyliesMom5 at 11:08 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • maby she was not allowed to go inside b4, and is afraid she will get in trouble. also if your children are loud, a timid dog will b afraid of them.

    Answer by sarahlu at 11:20 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • Ask you kids to be as calm as possible and give her treats as she comes in. I fostered many dogs that had issues and that usually helped. Training will also help. You dog needs to see the kids as friends to help her overcome the issues.

    Answer by sweetangie79 at 1:34 AM on Apr. 26, 2011