Stray or Abused Dogs
We do not “rescue” stray dogs or dogs from abusive or neglectful situations without the owner’s permission; that is Animal Control’s job. We can only work with a dog’s legal owner. If you know of a German Shepherd or any dog that is straying at large or is being abused or neglected, you should report it to your local Animal Control. We get the majority of our dogs from our local pounds and shelters, so if you notify us that you’ve turned a dog in and where, we will evaluate the dog to see if it’s suitable for our program.
If you are an independent rescuer or a good Samaritan who has taken in a stray dog, you must have completed your county’s due diligence requirements to become the legal owner before we can help. Contact your local county or city for due diligence requirements.
AKC or Other Registered Dogs
If your dog has registration papers and came from a professional breeder, your first step should be to contact the breeder from whom you bought the dog. Responsible breeders should take back their dogs, and many of them have homes waiting for adult dogs of their breeding.
Rehoming Your Own Dog
We encourage you to rehome your dog before giving your dog up. Please screen prospective homes carefully and go visit the physical home. Make sure the new home has a safe environment and is one that your dog will be happy to live in. Ask for a modest rehoming fee, as dogs that are given away free aren’t valued as much as dogs that are paid for.
Some resources for owners to re-home their dogs include:
- Rescue Groups with a Courtesy Listings section. We do not currently provide this service but we hope to add it soon.
- Your local newspaper
If you are giving up your dog because of behavior issues, please seek the help of a professional trainer first. No one cares as much about your dog as you do, and you are responsible for your dog’s behavior, health, and welfare. Behavior problems can often be solved with the right training. We suggest going to The International Association of Dog Professionals and looking for help under Find A Professional.
The 30 Day Leadership Protocol
If your dog is biting, threatening anyone, acting in a territorial or aggressive manner, or just generally unruly and disrespectful manner, then your dog is convinced he (or she) is in charge—which would be all well and good if your dog were bringing in the money and paying the bills, but that’s probably not the case.
So, you need to convince your dog that YOU are in charge, and your dog’s attitude is not wanted or appreciated. That applies to ALL humans being in charge—dogs are always lower in the pack order than humans.
Greater California German Shepherd Rescue hosts an article that explains The 30 Day Leadership Protocol. If you and all the other people in the household will follow these guidelines for 30 days, you should see a definite change in your dog. If your dog is still not quite as respectful as you’d like, give it another 30 days. Remember, your dog developed these issues over many months, and just like humans, changing habits takes a little time.
Giving Us A Dog
Our primary purpose is to save adoptable, purebred German Shepherd Dogs from euthanasia in pounds and shelters and to place them as family pets. An adoptable dog is one that is safe, healthy, and reasonably well-socialized to people and other dogs, and that has no major health or behavioral issues.
What We Can’t Do
We are not a shelter, we are not a sanctuary, and we are not professional trainers. We don’t have the resources to rehabilitate dogs with major behavior issues. We don’t take dogs with aggression issues, serious behavioral issues, or medical issues that are terminal, degenerative, incurable, or prohibitively expensive to treat or maintain.
Foster Homes Make Rescue Possible
We have no kennel or other physical facility; all of our dogs are housed in volunteer foster homes. If we have no foster home available, we cannot take the dog, no matter how much we would like to. If an owner is willing to sign up as a volunteer and foster their dog until it is adopted, we can usually take the dog into the program. Alternatively, if an owner is willing to board the dog in a boarding kennel for a month, we can usually take the dog by the time the month is up.
Proof of Spay/Neuter
Before accepting an owner-surrendered dog into our program, we require proof that the dog is spayed or neutered and is up to date on all vaccinations, including rabies and distemper/hepatitis/parvo. California state law mandates that dogs must be spayed or neutered before being adopted out by a rescue or shelter. See California Food & Agriculture Code Section 30503.
If the dog is not spayed/neutered and vaccinated before surrender, we require a surrender fee to help cover those costs, and we ask for a surrender fee for all dogs to help offset our costs. We are not tax-subsidized like government shelters or pounds; we must pay for all our veterinary work, food, and supplies.
Evaluating Your Dog — IMPORTANT!
We will evaluate your dog’s temperament before bringing the dog into our program. We will test your dog to see how safe your dog is while being handled by a stranger and to determine whether the dog is appropriate for our program. This will be the same evaluation we do in a shelter setting, and it means we’ll take the dog from you and put a chain slip collar on your dog for our own safety. We will subject your dog to a variety of stressors and triggers to see how tolerant your dog is without actually hurting the dog.
We will only take dogs that have social attraction to people and that we feel are safe for us to take into our own homes with our own dogs and children. If you have any reservations about this test, or if the dog has an injury that may prevent an evaluation, then we can’t take your dog.