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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-20-2014, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
Michael Valentino
New Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Chicago
Posts: 6
Trying to re-home my GSD but he is aggressive - what to do


I'm new to this Forum. I have a large (115 lb) male GSD who turns 5 y/o next month. He was neutered last summer in hopes that it would calm him. It hasn't.

Ritty is a playful dog. He is wonderful with other dogs and he is good with people in public, especially when he's off the leash.

Inside our home, Ritty displays either fear aggression or territorial aggression, or a combination of things. No one is truly safe in our home because Ritty is always "on edge" even with my son's friends who have been to our house hundreds of times over the years.

I got Ritty from Shewana Shepherds in Harvard, IL. The owner breeds working class dogs. They tend to be large.

The breeder took my deposit for Ritty when he was 8-10 weeks old. At one point she was going to sell him to nuns living in a convent out west. That fell through and though my wife did not want Ritty I finally got him from the breeder at 16+ weeks.

I immediately took him for walks and let him play with other dogs (in safe situations). As he grew, at 6 months he began playing with an adult chocolate lab. They were great together.

I took Ritty to obedience training with a well known trainer, Frank Brader. Ritty learned commands quickly.

We found that Ritty was never an affectionate dog. He could not be held and cuddled. Giving him medicine was a major struggle. He always pulled on the leash not matter what type of correction I administered.

Ritty also only saw me as the alpha leader. He did not respect my wife and he always growled at our son, who was 10 when we got Ritty.

I would bring him to soccer practice so my son's teammates could run around with him. Kids had so much fun with him.

But any child who entered our house was unwelcome. As was any adult.

My mother-in-law has not been to our house in over four years.

We tried to introduce Ritty to my daughter's boyfriend. It was going very well. Then when I was not home Ritty lunged at and bit the young man. Ritty did not draw blood but left a bruise on the man's bicep.

Ritty did the same with my other daughter's boyfriend. Things were going great and then Ritty lunged at the man's shoulder when he turned his back on Ritty.

There have been several "close calls" involving kids.

There is a great deal of tension in our home anytime someone visits. If I am not home Ritty has to be put behind a closed door. His hair stands on end and he will not stop barking. If I'm home he will listen to me when I place him in a down/stay position. But he will whimper and whine and inch forward. When a guest leaves Ritty will dash to the front and rear doors anxiously to make sure the unwelcome guest is gone.

Because he has bitten 5 people - never latching on, never breaking skin - all the GSD rescues and other avenues I've reached out to will not accept him. He is considered a risk.

Dog trainers and experts I've talked to the past month have told me to euthanize him.

For many reasons, my wife and I can no longer keep him. Having a large dog in our small home has taken an emotional toll.

I cannot afford a behavioralist or to have a pro trainer come into our home for a number of sessions.

I've asked one trainer who owns a GSD from the same breeder to take Ritty but like everyone else, he will not.

A local no kill shelter told me they would put him down because they would consider him unable to rehabilitate.

He is a good dog in so many ways. He is just a different animal once he is inside the house. It is immediate family only and no one else.

Did I socialize him wrong? I got him between 16-17 weeks - that is still a very young puppy, isn't it?

Any suggestions on what to do that might save his life?

Thank you,
Michael Valentino is offline  
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