Building a Lifetime Bond
You may think that it will take months for your shepherd to begin to truly bond with you. In actuality, the bonding begins the moment the dog feels an emotional attachment to you — that is, from the moment when your rescue dog chooses you. From this point onward, the bond builds and strengthens.
You can help reinforce this bond by interacting with your shepherd. It is true that the dog will bond most with the person who spends the most quality time with her. Quality time for a shepherd means learning how to perform new obedience exercises, figuring out new hand signals, practicing agility obstacles, playing endless sessions of fetch, and any other activity that involves mental and physical stimulation.
Dog owners tend to think that if they died, their canines would pine away and never bond with anyone else. Though a dog will certainly miss a loving owner, he will also be very willing to bond closely with a new owner. As the owner of a rescued adult, you have just as great a chance to bond with your dog as if he were a puppy.
The deeper your shepherd bonds with you, the more trusting she will become, too. When you have a dog that knows you would never put her in harm's way, you will find that you also have a more confident, outgoing shepherd.
The key to working with a rescued shepherd is to take things slowly. Allow her plenty of time to acclimate to your home and lifestyle. Most dogs settle in and begin to show their true, loving temperaments within a month of coming home. Some dogs will acclimate much more quickly; others might take a little longer.
As long as you continue to provide your adopted shepherd with good experiences and persist in your efforts to train her and keep her active, she will thrive and grow into a wonderful pet.