Meet Pyrrha!

With Pyrrha at Blue Mountain Brewery
Pyrrha and me at Blue Mountain Brewery, on our third day together.

Wow: We have a dog!

I kind of don’t believe it yet, but allow me to introduce you to Pyrrha, formerly known as Lyndi.

On Thursday night, we brought this sweet, super-beautiful, and groggy shepherd home from Southeast German Shepherd Rescue. She had just been spayed that morning, so she was (understandably) really out of it on Thursday and Friday. She handled all of the craziness–our moving, still unpacking, having our sweet in-laws staying with us, and the added pain and disorientation from her surgery–like a champ!

Happy Pyrrha
Happy Pyrrha.

A bit of back story: Pyrrha (*pronounced “peer-ah”) is 14 months old. She was brought into SGSR with about 14 other dogs after a backyard breeder in North Carolina closed his operation. Since then, she’s been fostered by the absolutely wonderful Cassie, who has been a joy to work with and a superb resource already.

Pyrrha is naturally shy, owing most likely to her under-socialization. Up until she was taken in by SGSR, it’s believed that she lived her whole life outside in a kennel. Cassie worked on house training and teaching her how to live indoors with humans. So far, that transition into home living has been very smooth. She loves her crate, which we keep in our bedroom, and sees it as her “safe place.” She goes in there very willingly and often opts to crawl in there herself. She hasn’t shown any signs of separation anxiety, which is great.

Watchful
Watchful.

I’ve been very relieved to notice how well she’s met and handled all different kinds of people. She is a little timid at first, but always willingly greets people and seems naturally interested in them. She’s also met several babies and little children and handles them graciously. She’s not kissy like a retriever (e.g., sweet Bo), but I already knew to expect that with GSDs. Rather, she likes to politely greet you and then submit to your petting and attention. No jumping, no excessive displays of affection from Pyrrha, but politeness and calmness instead. She’s extremely mellow with people.

We’ve been trying to take her to as many places as possible over the weekend, to the best of our ability, without overwhelming her. She ate outdoors with us at Blue Mountain Brewery and was great. She met lots of new people and children and laid calmly under the table for the duration of our meal.

Pyrrha by the back stoop
Pyrrha by the back stoop.

Our one major issue with her right now is teaching her dog manners. The main consequence of her under-socialization is that she is terrified of other dogs and reacts with growling, snarling, and barking. It’s clear that she has no idea how to greet and interact with other dogs politely. (She was even terrified of a roly-poly lab puppy that we met at the brewery.) We arranged a “play date” with a super-chill Great Pyrenees mix yesterday that did not start out very well–but I’ll write more on that later (and have some photos to share, too).

All in all, we are very, very happy with Pyrrha and can’t wait to learn more about her. It’s been so encouraging to already see her confidence grow, her tail wag, and her tongue hang loose in a happy smile.

Thanks for ALL of your advice, wisdom, and encouragement over this past year! I need it now more than ever! More to come soon!

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26 thoughts on “Meet Pyrrha!

  1. Oh, congrats! I love her name! Dog socializing is a tricky thing, but it’s wonderful that she seems to be so great/submissive with people – the dog thing can be worked on 🙂

  2. Congrats! My advice is to take is slow. It sounds like you may be doing something similar to what I did when I adopted an older dog last year. I wanted to help him address his fears without overwhelming but still – as quickly as possible. And this didn’t seem like a contradiction to me at all when I was living it.

    What I know now a year later is that they probably aren’t ever going away fully. They are much better but still there. Also, I really didn’t know him at all the first month. He was more reserved and I just didn’t know his nuances. If I had to do it over again, I would just chill that first month and really get to know him.

    For Pyrrha, there isn’t any rush because at 11 months, she is set. You can’t remold, you can just chip away. And you’ll do it better when you know her better. I don’t know if this helps. I don’t know if I would have listened a year ago because I didn’t feel like I was rushing it at the time.

  3. Yay! A dog! And such a gorgeous girl she is! I like the advice of taking it easy the first few weeks, let her get to know you and you her, and then it will be easier to know what to adress and how. Best wishes for all of you!

  4. AHH! CONGRATS! So exciting! I can’t believe it’s finally here… WOW! Welcome home, Pyrrha!

    I totally agree: you have years with her — take the socializing catch-up slow and enjoy your new [finally!] companion. In fact, I’d avoid dog-to-dog greetings until she’s settled in your house; she’s earned a vacation, so to speak. Play shaping games – 101 Things to Do with a Box – that allow her to see that good things come from you and that her behavior controls the delivery of those good things. When you have a dog who will offer behaviors, Look at That exercises get ten times easier.

  5. congratulations!! she’s gorgeous, and it sounds like all things considered she will be a nice, easy dog for you guys.

    our kiba was like pyrrha in her interactions with other dogs when he first came to live with us. It took 8 months to fully integrate him with our dogs, and it takes a long time to introduce him to new dogs (3 weeks for him to accept our foster dog now). You’ll get there though, it’s slow go, but its worth it.

  6. Yay! What a happy day! Pyrrha probably doesn’t know yet that she has won the doggie lottery. . .but she will! Very glad for you, Abby.

  7. Congratulations! Pyrrha is beautiful. Don’t worry about socializing her right now, she just needs to get acclimated to her new home and routine. When she has a bit more confidence, set up play dates with friends and their dogs. Looking forward to reading about your journey together!

  8. Just so so excited for you!!!!!! I especially love her name, where it comes from, and that Milton translates it as “golden.” Who’s idea was it?

  9. Just wanted to recommend Leslie McDevitt’s “Control Unleashed,” to you. It can be amazingly helpful for dogs that are reactive to other dogs.

  10. Congratulations on your new dog! 😀 She’s beautiful! I’ve always loved German Sherpherds and Pyyrha is the perfect picture of a GSD. ^.^ I hope she overcomes her uneasiness with other dogs!
    I’m so happy for you, I could just burst! XD I know what it feels like getting a new dog. 🙂 I’ve only had Dixie for a short time but I’m so attached to her. May yours and Pyyrha’s days be filled with happiness! ^.^ She’s a lucky girl to have such a mother as you. 😉

  11. Congratulations. She looks very sweet.
    BJ was fine with other dogs when he first adopted me. Then we went to a dog park and an Australian Shepard decided he wanted the ball he had in his month PLUS BJ’s ball. He attacked BJ – there was much commotion and BJ was hurt. Since then he is sometimes aggressive to dogs he doesn’t know. Since I live in NYC, that’s a lot of dogs.

    What I have found that helps is if I begin talking to the owner. Once BJ sees this he stops the aggressive growling and goes into sniffing mode.

    Good luck with Pyrrha. It seems like the all of you lucked out.

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