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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20172
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I got a german shepherd rescue dog 2 and a half months ago

Customer Question

I got a german shepherd rescue dog 2 and a half months ago and we bonded well then he got an infection and was treated by the vet but now every time I approach him he cowers down as if I'm going to hurt him. I'm still treating him as normal but it doesn't seem to be helping can you please give me any advise.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

How old is your GSD?
How long did you have him before he got the infection?
What kind of infection was it?
Did you have to give medication and if so, what were you giving him, i.e. pills, drops, etc?
Have you tried anything specific or just treating him the same way as before the infection?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He's 7-8

Had him 2 months before the infection

Vet didn't know what the infection was.

He spent a night at the vets on a drip had some xrays of his abdomen and some anti biotic injections and pills when I got him home.

I have treated him the same as before he got the infection to just try and keep things normal.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.

He may associate the pain he experienced at the vet with you unfortunately. If you had to make him take pills, that also may be contributing to the situation. If you used food to get him to take his pills, you want to give some of that food without pills so the dog realizes that those treats, etc do not always contain pills. That will help.

You also do not want to lean over him. When you do, it is seen as a dominant gesture and depending on the dog, you might see some cringing or other submissive behavior. In more dominant dogs, you might see aggression. I recommend stopping a couple of feet from a dog and having them come to you. Crouch down in front of them so you are not leaning over them. That may help your situation.

another thing that will help your dog become less fearful of you if he is now would be obedience training. It helps show a dog what you expect them to do when you give specific commands. Once they know what you want and are comfortable responding to your commands, they gain self confidence and are less fearful of humans. It has the added benefit of teaching them commands, establishing you as the boss and socializing your dog around other people and other dogs in a controlled situation.

The following site is helpful to teach you how to train your dog until you get into classes. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .

If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.