Here's Remy's story- I will condense it as much as possible.
My husband found a gsp at work, he works for an apartment management company. Remy (that is what we named him, short for Remington) was found on a stairway landing and would not come down. He had to be carried. No one in the building claimed him, and neighbors near by said they had never seen him at the property before. (The property is completely gated, so we are thinking he may have come from there) My husband brought him home at lunch, and I immediately posted ads everywhere I could to find his owner. No one claimed him. I just don't understand why someone would just abandon a gorgeous dog like him! Uggh!
He was very thin when we brought him home, and his behavior was a little odd. I don't know how else to describe it. He was very friendly, but not at all housebroken. I thought he was probably around 6months old. I knew he was a sweetheart right off the bat, but he didn't seem to know any simple commands, or even the word no. He didn't want to be left outside in the yard, he wanted in right away. In the begining, he was even afraid to be alone outside. I don't know if that is because someone that lived in the apt. complex had him and never took him out or what.? He had no social skills, was timid with my other two dogs,(but happy to see them) but not outright fearful of them. The first couple of days were rough with the housebreaking, he wouldn't go potty outside, then he would come right back in and immediately pee on the floor. Even right in front of us! I didn't know what to think, so I just started from scratch. Kennel, etc. He did seem to pick it up quickly though. After about a week, he was almost housebroken. So in that way, I knew he was quite smart, but in other ways, I wasn't so sure!(ha ha) He learned how to play from my other dogs, first inside, then became more comfortable with playing outside. It has taken a couple of weeks, but he seems to really enjoy play time now. All I can say is it was as if he had had absolutely no play interaction before what so ever, either with people or other dogs. He has also done well with our cats, he is just very curious about them.
He has been with us for 3 1/2 weeks now, and I have to say he is by far the SWEETEST dog I think I have ever seen. He is so affectionate, it is unreal. All he wants to do is be near us and snuggle, climb in our laps, etc. We did kennel him at night at first, but once he was doing better with potty training, my husband gave up on the kennel at night due to the crying. He does well now out with the other dogs at night, and just sleeps. He does have some separation anxiety issues though, and since the incident with the distruction and cat food, he is now kenneled when we leave. He got over the gates, up the stairs and opened the cat food bin, and proceeded to gorge himself. We didn't know right away, as all we saw was the shredded boxes he found, and books, and stuffed animals be brought downstairs, but didn't shered. After I cleaned up all the mess, I went outside with the dogs and noticed his stomach suddenly about 4 times its normal size. I couldn't help but panic. I know larger breed dogs are susceptible to bloat, but at the time I didn't know what he had gotten into specifically, so the options as to what was wrong were neumerous. My initial fear was that he ingested something that was causing some sort of blockage. Thank god that wasn't the case. I ran him to the emg vet who said that his vitals looked ok,(so it wasn't bloat) but to just watch him closely. Being that he was a "stray", if he was in need of major medical treatment,(which I couldn't afford) if I couldn't pay for it, he would just be put to sleep. Uggh! I allready knew that there would be absolutely no way I would allow that to happen. I took him home and immediately sent emails out to a couple of gsp and bird dog rescues in my area for help. They were both wonderful, and assisted me with some great tips as to how to help him. I then realized that it was the cat food he had ingested, and quite a lot of it, too. The rescues recommended feeding him canned pumpkin to help him pass whatever he had eaten. It did work, after a very nerve wracking day or so. I have to say, I have two other dogs and they have never opened the cat food bin, so that is a new one to me! The rescues said gsp's are notorious for getting into things. (A lesson learned) Thankfully he came through without trouble, and was back to normal in a few days. Again, Uggh!
My son fell in love with him almost immediately and begged to keep him if we didn't find his owner. I told him 3 dogs was just too much to handle since our dogs are inside and outside dogs. Even my husband seemed to fall for Remy pretty quickly, which is saying something since he has always been more of a cat person than a dog person! I did some research on the breed, and the more I read, the more torn I was. I have one mutt that is about 40lbs and short. Another that is a Australlian Kelpie/German Shep mix that is about 70lbs and very, very high energy. I didn't know if I could handle another high energy breed. I have only met a few gsp's, and the ones I have met were just as active and obnoxious as my shep. mix. Remy though, is quite a bit calmer than my other dog, surprisingly. I really tried hard not to become attached because I was the only one who was against another dog, but needless to say it didn't work! He is actually everything I wanted temperment wise in a dog, when we got our other big dog. So now we have three dogs! Uggh-with love!!
It turns out he is probably around 8-10 months old the vet said. I took him yesterday and had him neutered. By the way, I have never seen a more whiny puppy at his age, ever!! (is this a breed trait?) The spay/neuter clinic called and asked me to pick him up early because he was upsetting himself in the kennel after he woke up. I could actually hear him while I spoke to them on the phone, much louder than the other dogs! I also opted for pain med. for him to take home because he is such a baby. I haven't ever had to do that with my other boys when they were fixed, and they were just fine. But this one screams like your hurting him when you are simply cleaning mud off his paws! Today, our biggest issue is he freaks out with the elizabethan collar on, so I have had to watch him constantly.
So here is where I could really use some imput about him. As I said, I haven't had a lot of experience with this breed, but I have done some research, and read through a lot of forum posts. Also, I grew up with a cocker, and a cocker/britany mix, different breeds, but still hunting/bird dogs. Remy sometimes seems very smart, and other times, makes me wonder a little He learned housebreaking quickly, can clearly open bins when he wants to, learned to sit fairly quickly, etc. This morning he went outside and got his bone, brought it in, and went straight to the kennel on his own. He has learned that is the routine when we leave. I was amazed!! But other things are a bit curious. I haven't ever had a dog that didn't know how to fectch just by instinct. With Remy, we are having to teach him. Also, when we are trying to fetch with him, I can tell he isn't focused on the ball like my other dogs are. With them, they do not ever take their eyes off the ball when playing fetch! Also, for a hunting dog, he doesn't show any interest in watching what is going on around him. We live near lakes, and there are birds and geese constanly around, flying overhead, etc. but he shows no interest at all. My other dog who is a hearding dog, watches the birds and geese constanly, and loves to chase the birds out of the backyard. Remy seems like he could care less. Again, I know he is smart, I have seen it, clearly, but some of his behaviors are a little curious. Is that normal, or is that more likely because of how he may have been raised from a young pup? Are they stubborn by nature? Everything I have read says they are easy to teach and train. Would I be better off teaching him to fetch with something other than a ball? Any suggestions as to what would hold is attention? Or any imput in general. Thanks in advance!!