“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen” ~ Orhan Pamuk
Foster Homes Needed
In order for us to help save more dogs we need people like you to open up your home and foster one of our dogs until their family comes. A foster home provides a safe and temporary home for dogs while we search for their permanent home. Please click on the Fostering Guidelines for more information about our foster program. Some of our dogs come to us with behavioral issues, so we have found that previous experience with German Shepherds is helpful. If you have the desire and the interest, but are not familiar with German Shepherds, we ask that you fill out the application. Regardless of your experience with this particular breed, our dogs need good foster homes. We hope to soon have a program available to educate future foster and adoptive parents about the breed and provide training tips.
We want to thank you for your interest in helping GSROR by opening up your homes, families, and hearts to help a dog in need. Rescues would not exist if not for the thoughtful time and generosity of foster parents.
German Shepherd Rescue of the Rockies (GSROR) serves the public as a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue of homeless and abandoned German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) in Denver, Colorado and surrounding areas. While providing loving and temporary care, the goal of German Shepherd Rescue of the Rockies is to find well-matched, carefully-screened, permanent homes and families for each dog. As a community resource, we provide nutrition information, referrals, education, and other services.
Brian’s Bite-sized Behavior Bits
Crime doesn’t pay, but it does pay to be a winner
Click here to see all of Brian’s Bite-sized Behavior Bits
Have you ever gotten a bit perturbed with a certain bad habit your dog has and asked yourself “Why on earth does my dog do this?!” I know that I have. The answer I always seem to arrive at is that it must have a payoff of some sort. My dog might find an activity like chewing on the banister rewarding because it releases angst. Why is she feeling this way? Perhaps she doesn’t have enough exercise. Or maybe she’s releasing tension brought on by major schedule changes in the family or maybe she’s just plain bored.
How does one go about fixing such a situation? The bottom line is I need to teach her that demolishing the banister doesn’t pay. If I catch her gnawing on one of the posts I need to diminish the satisfaction she derives from that activity. I could do that in a number of different ways: I could try catching her in the act and then clap my hands to startle her; I could have her go lie down in a different room; or I could spray her on the bum with a spray bottle while she’s committing the offense. I need to experiment to find something that is meaningful to her and makes her think it might not be worth her effort to dine at the Banister Buffet any longer.
On top of that, I really need to make sure that I make any necessary adjustments to the environment so that she has better alternatives. If she needs to spend more time out with me on walks, I can make that available to her to burn some excess energy. If I can modify my schedule so that it’s more predictable and less stressful, I will do that. If she’s bored and likes to chew, I’ll make sure she has some chew toys available. Every time I see her passing up the banister to go get a toy, I’m going to be her biggest cheerleader and make sure she knows how awesome I feel about that. It pays to be a winner is the message I want her to hear loud and clear, and I can communicate that in a number of ways: I can gently tell her “good girl” and pet her; I can ask her to bring me the toy so I can throw it for her or play tug with her; I can also walk over and give her a treat.
So think about how you can apply these principles to fix challenging behaviors you face with your own dog. Does she dash out the back door whenever you open it and nearly take you out in the process? Think about what she could do instead that you would consider a “winning” behavior. What if she waits when the door is opened? How many ways can you think of to make it pay for her to be a winner in this situation?
If she chooses to go bounding out into the back yard without an invitation, what are some things you could put in place to make sure it’s not as fun as she once thought it was? What if you began attaching a leash to her before you open the door so you can prevent her from rushing out? That’s going to be a bummer for her – and it should be, at least until you feel you can trust her to do the right thing again.
Remember: your dog only does things if she thinks there’s sufficient payoff. Once she perceives the mannerly route as rewarding and the disorderly path as riddled with problems, she’ll begin to choose the former.
Content Copyrighted 2014. Brian Bergford. All Rights Reserved.