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Meet Archie. Archie is an ex Military working dog, who was re homed with a young family when retired, where he struggled with the children,  so we took him into our care.

He is 10 years young, neutered, fully vaccinated and chipped.

Archie went to an experienced couple who have had an ex Military dog in the past but he really struggled to accept mum as part of his life. Here is what they say:

“We have looked after Archie since 19th December 2014.

He is an ex- MOD dog who has spent a long period of time on Gibraltar. We were told he had been male orientated so right from the start Kim (female) did all the feeding. When Archie first moved in he seemed underweight and very nervous. After three days and trying about 6 varieties of dog food which he refused we took him to the vets. The vet agreed he could do with putting on some weight and gave him some expensive tinned vet food which Archie gulped down to show he was hungry. We left with our expensive food and an Adaptil plug in to help with his anxieties.

We purchased every variety of food we could find and discovered Archie quite liked Pets at Home own brand in Jelly and Gravy with mixer having turned down many brands such as Pedigree chum and Natures diet etc. What we also discovered was although Kim was feeding Archie, if Mark left the room so Archie left his meal untouched as he would need to follow Mark out of the room. Thereafter he was fed without Mark in the room where possible to prevent him from leaving his meal. He also did not like the metal style dog bowl as it moved on the floor preferring  a heavy ceramic bowl which stayed in place. With two large meals a day and plenty of treats he soon reached a healthy weight.

We bought him a large selection of heavy duty toys from previous experience but he will not touch these. He has a soft monkey and very soft rubber squeaky hound which he favours and he likes rope toys which he chews. He does not appear to enjoy hard treats or anything that requires some effort. He likes meaty softer style treats and loves Tripe sticks and denta sticks. Once he has had a particular treat for a few weeks he appears to go off it so we keep a large variety.

Around the home he is very well behaved with both Mark and Kim. He knows all his basic commands and responds well to both of us, unless Mark moves and then he needs to follow Mark instead.  If Mark goes out then he is very good for Kim within the house. He does not walk well on a lead and the only way to stop him pulling is by the use of a Halti-Harness. If another person is approaching walking a dog he instantly begins making an aggressive noise by growling, barking and pulling to get at the other dog. Mark makes him sit and stay and wait until the dog passes before continuing the walk but this does make passer-by’s nervous. Due to this we have never allowed him loose near another dog yet.

Right from the very beginning he would not go out into the garden with Kim to play. If Kim takes him out he races around the outside of the house trying to get back inside to Mark. This has not changed in the time we have had him. If Mark takes him out into the garden he has a run and a play and really enjoys quality time with him.

Mark works from home whilst Kim goes out to work and Archie lies outside Mark’s office in the room next door and he enjoys this as his favoured position during the day. Most of January this was his routine, accepting Kim would feed him again later when she gets home from work. If Kim calls him for affection he stands up but goes and sits at Marks side or refuses. If Kim continues he gets stressed by it.

With visitors to the home he is always put into another room whilst we greet our guests and then allowed to meet them once we are all settled. He would greet people by sniffing them then be a little indifferent and sit next to Mark.

I recently had a day of work and Mark continued to work in his office which he would not normally do at the weekend. He raced between me and Marks office for a long time ensuring I did not go near the office eventually leading to us having to put him in another room. When I later went to see if he had calmed down he barked and snarled at me trying to get past possibly to check Mark was OK. We felt at this point he was trying to guard Mark.

We also had a trades person in our home and he was introduced properly and was quite friendly for several hours and they both appeared fine, however once the trades person moved rooms with a brown dust sheet over his arm and approached  Mark for some advice on what we wanted he then jumped and grabbed the tradesperson very unexpectedly. We suspect he thought it was a bite sleeve with which he would have been trained in his past.

The following day he aggressively barked at me when I was talking to Mark and he put himself in between us.

He has given himself the job of guard dog to the house. We have a glass door and if anyone approaches it he goes into fierce barking and jumping.

He is happiest when he is active and has a lot of energy and likes to be out running and exercising with Mark but unfortunately will not leave Mark to do the same with Kim.

Initially we felt we had failed him but we believe he is only doing what he has been trained to do all his life which probably is to guard and protect and for his handler he will give devoted love to them and be 100% faithful.”


Mark and Kim did wonders in settling Archie from his confusion from MOD to a family with children to kennels to them. He had arrived very stressed and very confused with life. Unfortunately Archie still wanted to work and saw Mark as his handler and could not get his head around a normal home environment where he had to accept more than one person in his life.

Archie has been in foster with me for just over a month now. The truth is we did not think we could turn Archie ‘off’ from working so we had thought that it may be kinder to let him go to Rainbow Bridge, however when a happy go lucky lad trotted through my front door, I knew it was just about finding him the right home.

I knew that MOD dogs did not usually get any proper socialising with other dogs so muzzled him and let him meet my older girl who has seen it all. His immediate reaction was to fly at her but she quickly floored him (he is not a huge dog) and told him firmly this was not acceptable. The fact he accepted this discipline also made me realise I did not have a dog aggressive dog, merely one who had not learnt the social skills.

Archie was kept seperate to the rest of the pack, as more importantly at this time I had to establish his ‘working’ behaviour. The reality is I cannot and have not found it. I strongly believe that Archie only goes into this mode when he has a male owner as he sees him as his working partner. He has probably only ever known women to look after him in kennels so does not see them as a need to go into work mode. I have not seen any aggressive behaviour, or any ‘working’ behaviour at all. I have a 10 year old who is enjoying play, who has now learnt to take treats even if he hasn’t done anything to deserve them, and who has met several vollies that have visited and just been friendly and polite towards them wanting a fuss.

After a few days settling, Archie would spend evenings in the cage in the room next door to the rest of us where he could see the other dogs and ‘feel’ integrated as they walked past to get a drink or whatever. He would react but that soon stopped. When I felt the time was right I put him in the ‘pack’ situation in the garden, with the reactive dogs muzzled just in case. Before he had a chance, my girl told him in no uncertain terms what would happen if he was bad! His reaction was to avoid looking at her so he did not have to ‘man up’! Archie was now with 6 other dogs, large and small, male and female, and the only one he was careful of was Sophie. He was slightly overawed but was well behaved.

Then came the real test. I took him out with 2 of the quieter dogs (as I now had another polite older lady in) and let him off lead with them. Archie just wanted to play and could not understand why the older lady kept telling him she couldn’t be bothered. So next step was all 8 together. Muzzles for those who reacted, but very quickly, because they were all used to each other now and more interested in the smells, muzzles were removed as we walked along. He is now with the other dogs more and more, but still has time out if I see him getting slightly stressed or overawed. It is still early days.

I honestly believe that this lad would be best in a female only home as I do not think he would ever switch on to work mode, and yes, he could live with another dog or dogs. He does like his attention though so would be quite happy being the only dog getting all the attention. He will probably always be dog reactive on the lead as this is how he spent his life, but again, with time and patience this may be calmed.

In return for the right home this dog will give his owner so much love and loyalty.He just wants to be by your side.

No issues with food or toys and happy to be handled and touched all over. No longer fussy over food and clears his bowl happily.

Archie is a very special lad who has served his country and deserves to live out his twilight years in a great home!

This lovely lad has found himself a very special home!

This very special lad had over 2 years of retirement in a wonderful home before departing for Rainbow Bridge.



Why we do what we do

German Shepherd Rescue Elite was not only set up to help as many unwanted, abandoned and neglected German Shepherds as possible, but to also offer education to the general public on the responsibilities / pros / cons of owning a large working breed dog and to be able to offer help and advice so hopefully we can become the prevention for once instead of always being the cure.

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