Getting rescue GSD

Getting a beautiful german shepherd rescue dog soon and would appreciate any tips from those who have adopted the breed before. We have an advice sheet from the rescue place but any extra info would be great.

He's under a year, castrated, and bascially a gangly legged pup. Unknown history as he was in the pound before the rescue kennels, due to be destroyed image He's been in kennels 2 weeks. Good with other dogs, walks to heel, and surprisingly calm for a youngster. Bit nervous of strangers but he soon settles.

Clean in his kennel but no idea if he's toilet trained... guess we'll find out image



  • Don't throw it at your fella.
  • Can't beat a nice German dog. 

    Speaking of which, how's your missus DM? image (no offence mate!)

  • Have his back legs checked out - Canine Hip and elbow dysplasia is a congential defect in the breed.  I had one which needed a major opp on both back legs before she was 18 months old
  • Phew! I had a worried couple of minutes then!
  • Nah... I thought you a c**t long before that remark!
  • We had a rescue GSD when I was 10. She was beautiful, intelligent and we had 13 wonderful years with her. I hope you get one like that Siance. Back legs did eventually go, but as Corrie says - that's something that you have to deal with in GSD.
  • Corinthian wrote (see)
    Have his back legs checked out - Canine Hip and elbow dysplasia is a congential defect in the breed.  I had one which needed a major opp on both back legs before she was 18 months old
    Cheers Corinth. Having him vet checked when insurance 14 day period is up. He's not a sloping back GSD, don't know if that's related to hip score - think they're trying to breed that 'look' out now thank goodness.
  • Siance - IronWolf is your best bet for advice on to PM her as she's not always on during the day
  • Poor Maggie.


  • I love german sherpard dogs. I had one for 14 years after getting my one as a pup.
    Sometimes its best to get them when they a puppy. I think without knowing the dogs
    history, you need to make sure the dog gets use to the home and whats around them.
    For a dog that was a rescue dog, then go to a dog pound, the poor dog is probably
    abit lost and weary so give the dog abit of TLC and give him time to adjust too.
    Yes, their back legs do go which is common with GSD.
  • kittenkat wrote (see)


    Enjoy him Siance.

    I know, kk... I thought of you when we decided to get him.

    Will ask Mr S about the books, that's kind of you

    thanku image

  • We got a rescue dog and did totally the wrong thing by smothering him with love and attention. He was scared of men when they came into our house (so much so he would hide between Mr CM and I's legs or go balistic barking) and we thought by nurturing him, or removing him from that situation it would get better.

    The problem we have now in the house is that he runs up to men and gets all scared, goes submissive (ie gives a paw, or lies down) and the min the man bends down he freaks out and starts barking and goes for the hand. (He is fine outside. Very placid and payful unless a tall man runs up to him).

    We have had a trainer in and we have been forced to become far more dominant of him in order to reassure him. He can't sleep with us,  no cuddles and scraps on the sofa, no treats, no games until it is on our terms, absolutely no whining, and no running ahead on lead - which he hates as he is much quicker than me over the first 4 miles. It is a nightmare - But we can see already he is so much better and happier - but it has been a hard transition.

    In summary (phew) love him, support him, but you must, must lead him!

     And congrats - it is an amazing thing you are doing.

  • My sister got a lovely German Shepherd with a lovely personality which she got from a dog pound as a puppy. Sadly, Jenny had to be put down at the age of 12 because of the severity of her hip problems.image
  • I adopted a GSD in Botswana who was a failed guard dog and about a year/eighteen months old. He had failed tests where they beat them up and another one where other dogs got set on them. He was also starving, but had a nice face. I took a risk on him but he turned out to be a gorgeous dog.

    Be very clear and consistent in the messages you communicate, and make sure you are always the dominate one. Even if he was playing, he got told off for anything such as jumping up, play biting, etc - and that was day one.

    Mine wasn't toilet trained but learned very fast so never was a big problem. He also took to sleeping in the house very well - although he rarely slept on the mattress but preferred the bottom of the stairs.

    The biggest issue was he had been badly beaten so associated so had a big problem with black men coming towards him (this was in Africa) which we eventually solved thanks to some very patient friends, and a lot of food. The other issue is he would steal all food wrapping (plastic, tin etc) and sit with it around him outside - I tried putting chillis in the bin but never really overcame it.

    I will say i spent about six months thinking about putting him down because it felt as though he was a bundle of nerves and wouldn't settle at all. Several people warned me he could suddenly flip and attack someone - although his usual response was to run away. Then he suddenly turned a corner and became a lovely dog.
  • I have no doubt there are numerous GSD rescue organisations on the web.  Might be worth doing a search to see if any of their sites have advice.  Kennel club site may also have advice on rescue dogs.

    Start as you mean to go on.  Be firm; calm instructions are generally better than shouting.  Things should happen when you want them to, not when the dog wants them to and that includes play, cuddles, etc. 


  • Thanks guys, appreciate the advice. This site has good info too. And I understand the importance of being Pack Leader - as Mr S knows only too well! image

    I think consistency is going to be key so that he learns to trust us and get into a routine. The GSD contact said it could take a couple of weeks for him to settle; to take in us and his new surroundings.

    We really miss the presence of a pet around the place since our last cat was put to sleep 7 months ago image 

    It was time... and that's what I'm looking forward to most about getting him. That and the heavy sigh of a contented dog.

  • Always difficult to know how quickly a dog will adapt to a new home.  I do some work with rescues (Labradors) and some go in, have a good sniff around and settle immediately; others get hyper and take a while to stop bouncing off the walls/furniture/etc; others creep in, hide in a corner for a few days before feeling confident enough to take part in family life.

    I'm sure the rescue centre have advised you that behaviour seen in the first few days may not necessarily be representative of the dog's true character.

    Bit of a difference between a cat and a GSD image

  • Troglodytes wrote (see)

    Bit of a difference between a cat and a GSD image

    Lol. Last dog I actually owned was a jack russell too!
  • Siance, best advice I can give is take him to proper training classes, it'll be worth every pond and minute spent. It's worth looking for a specialist GSD class but if not one thathas a seperate class for puppy socialisation and adult groups. The dogs love it as much as the owners.

    Best of luck and enjoy your new best friend and running partner
  • Was just going to say the same thing - a weekly training class - like sunluvva says you may have a GSD club in your area - if you enjoy that there are lots of things from obedience to agility to police style work you can do with a GSD.

    Think about whether you are going to insure him too - vets bills seem to have gone up a lot in the last ten years or so though consequently so has pet insurance.  

  • The GSD contact asked if I'd consider doing agility with him - that doesn't sound my sort of thing at the moment but if the dog was responsive I may consider it. I know the breed are fast learners so we'll see how we get on.

    I definitely want to run with him when he's a bit older image

    Insurance - that's one of the conditions of the rescue, so we've got that sorted.

    We get him tomorrow imageimageimage

  • ClagClag ✭✭✭

    Not sure where you are Siance, but this guy is great:

    He lived near one of my regular walks when I was dog sitting last summer and with his advice the dog was a star with me by the end of the fortnight. He'd been playing up a bit prior to that and pushing the boundaries. At the time he had his own dog and another 4 and when he was out I dreaded walking past his house as they'd all be at the fence and barking (he lives in the country). However, when he was there not a peep from any of them!

     For a taste of what's to come, check out this: (dog blog by friend's dog - he's fab!)

  • image

    We have him! When he came home he padded about, sniffing etc. Then went into his bed and laid down to eat a chew.

    We've walked him about 4 miles this afternoon, he's good on the lead and with traffic. Freaked a bit when he saw someone on a horse, barked at them.

    He's eating and drinking BUT no wee or elimination yet (even on his walk) and we've had him since midday image Good sign is he can obviously hold it in well, but we'd really like a wee or something. Will try again in the garden later.

    He's following us around the house, so don't know how he'll cope this first night being in the kitchen on his own image Mr S was upstairs and I was with dog, then went upstairs and he whimpered and scratched a bit. Left him 5 mins, went back down calmly didn't fuss him then once he settled at my feet and I gave him fuss.

    Any advice if he barks tonight? Leave him? 

  • Ignore him if you can.

    If he really wont settle, come down without giving him any attention and then go back up again, much as you did earlier.

    The no eliminaiton may be because he's feeling a little insecure or he's previously been trained to go in a particular spot.  Not a lot you can do about it but when he does go make sure you praise him - as long as it's not indoors image

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