I got this email, what do you think? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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I got this email, what do you think?

She got my info on Breeder's Club.net. Names have been deleted to protect identity, other than that, this is the e-mail:
I own a German Shepherd, see attached picture. I have had her since she was 8 weeks old. She is currently 6. I love her dearly , she has been a wonderful pet for me. I live on 5 acres in xxxxxxxxx, Ohio with an underground fence around approx 1 acre.

Xxxxx, my shepherd, has grown up with 4 boys, myself and my husband. I took her to puppy training and the gentlemen who installed my underground fence when she was about 1 worked with me in training her.

She is very intelligent and well behaved. She is very territorial, a characteristic of the breed I think.

Here is my dilemma, if someone comes on our property that she does not know well she will bite them. She has bitten 5 people in the last 6 years. Thankful, maybe, only one person has reported her to the local authority.

Now I am faced with a 30 year old nephew who had a run in with her this past weekend. She did not bite him but she wanted to. He is going to report her which will be her second offense.

I know this is going to sound really stupid but she is not an aggressive dog.
I do not think I am going to be able to keep Xxxxx. Extended family pressure and the legal aspects is making it impossible. I don't want to put her down. I have talked to my vet about this option but he says she is not aggressive, I just need to be in better control of her - he is so right! But I have not.

Can you give me some advise? I am heartbroken and trying to save my dog.

I did respond to her with containment first, then a behaviorist, NILIF, training classes, and euthanasia -- a small discussion about rehoming a dog that bites, and why she should not drop her off in a shelter. So here are my questions:

1. Was she trying to get me to take her dog or try to help her find a home for it?

2. How would you respond?

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:29 PM
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Re: I got this email, what do you think?

It sounds like she is desperate for help. 5 ppl in 6 years...she has a problem.




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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:29 PM
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Re: I got this email, what do you think?

Well, in a lot of places the "second" offense means PTS......so I'm not sure it really matters.

I would have done what you did (esentially act as if it was this board and dole out the advice).

I do think this woman is in denial....I mean most GSD's bark and can be obnoxious with strangers sometimes, but to bite that many people!!!!!!

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:31 PM
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Re: I got this email, what do you think?

Quote:
Quote: 5 ppl in 6 years...she has a problem.
Yeah it's called get a fence or a pen, stop letting your dog run around terrorizing people.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:35 PM
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Re: I got this email, what do you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: SunCzarina
Quote:
Quote: 5 ppl in 6 years...she has a problem.
Yeah it's called get a fence or a pen, stop letting your dog run around terrorizing people.
That would be my first choice. I read the post three times to really verify she only had an underground fencing. It sounds like the problem is when someone comes onto the property.




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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:42 PM
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Re: I got this email, what do you think?

I get the immpresion she wants your professional advise since your a breeder, she says when someone comes on her property she has/could bite someome. she should invest in a large pen/kennel that she can keep her dog away from these people who come on her property. My Kasey bite two people just a nip in the butt who came on my property and scared numerous away including theifs who broke down my door. I got the kennel and learned to keep close watch on her. She was a great dog just very territorial and protective.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:59 PM
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Re: I got this email, what do you think?

it also sounds to me like she is looking for advice,,and I am all for the above advice,,get a kennel and keep her in it when you can't be in total control.

that many bites, the dog has to much unsupervised freedom and is going to be a big liability some day

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: I got this email, what do you think?

This was my response, too much info? I am trying to learn hear how best to answer such requests:

Yours is a very hard situation and I am surprised you still have someone willing to provide homeowner's insurance.

Ok, territorial aggression is not uncommon, but it is not necessarily good either. I have one bitch that bares her teeth and barks and growls when strangers come up to her kennel or if she is in a crate. Outside of the crate/kennel and outside of my property, at the vets, groomers, training classes, etc., she is fine. This dog will never be bred because what I want to see is a dog that gives an alert but can also calm down if I am there. I see it as flaw in temperament.

When I am not right with a dog, that dog is generally kenneled. My kennels are a minimum of 10' x 15' and 6' high made out of treated 4x4s, and nine gage chain link fencing on a concrete base and covered over with fencing. They are located in my back yard which is fenced around as well. This is to protect my dogs, because if my dogs bite a person, than I stand in peril of losing all of my dogs. If I cannot have homeowner's insurance, I cannot have my house loan and will lose my home. If I lose my home, I will lose my dogs. This is my attitude and why I take the stand I do and why I am vigilent with my barriers.

The first thing You need to do is FORGET that you have an electric fence. You cannot allow a dog to go outside on its own. The dog has bitten five people. That is huge. You need to take your dog out on a leash, a six foot leash and allow her to potty, and then take her back inside. Even if you had a six foot fence around your acre, it is not ok to let her out on her own, because she could dig under or climb over that fence.

If you truly want to keep this bitch, you need to First contain her properly, meaning that you must take her out on lead only. I would suggest building a kennel like mine where you can be 100% sure she is safe -- escape proof, concrete base, nine gage wire, covered over, etc. This could be inside your home in your basement too, when someone comes to your home if there is any question, remove the dog to her sanctuary.

Chances are your dog is fear biting. She is afraid that these people are going to hurt her. Put her in her kennel and keep them away from her.

After she is properly contained, then you can go to competent behaviorist and determine a treatment plan. Training does not consist of a puppy class and a 45 minute training session to keep her in the yard. Training consists of taking her to classes weekly, six week classes, Basic Obedience, Advanced Obedience, Canine Good Citizen, Another Basic course, An agility course, another advanced course. My current dog has been through ten sets of classes and he is not yet four years old. I do not do this for ribbons and titles. I do it because the dog needs to get out amongst people, and he needs the mental and physical work that training classes give him. It improves his bond with me, and solidifies my place as leader and his as follower. It increases his confidence level and makes him less likely to overreact in every situation.

Google on the net NILIF. This stands for Nothing In Life Is Free. It is a new attitude for you to use with your dog. It does not entail striking or punishing your dog. Some corrections, but for the most part you are the leader and it gives you simple, non-confrontational methods of treating your dog that will make it clear to her that she is the follower and you are the source of all good things. Even if she loves and respects you, if she is Protecting/biting so much, than she has a problem with understanding who is the leader and who is the follower.

What you really need to do is to write down all the facts of each bite incident without cleaning them up, the honest picture, not making your dog better or worse than she is, and discuss each of them with a behaviorist. They can give you the help you need. Training is good, but you may need bahavior modification before attempting a class. Leadership at home is good, but it may not be enough. Containment is essential. If you cannot contain your dog, please put her down.

Euthanasia is at least not painful. The vet puts her to sleep and then the drug shuts down the organs. Generally, it is the last gift we can give our best friends, when the dog is in pain and not going to get better. It is never easy to make this decision, and particularly when the dog is healthy. I look at it as a last choice. I do not know if you are there yet.

Rehoming this dog has to be done with careful consideration. Hopefully, she is spayed, so she will not land in a puppy mill because she should not be adding to the gene pool. What aspect of her temperament that is not genetic, she may still imprint on puppies while she is caring for them in the litter. She should not be bred.

There are not necessarily lines of people willing to give a home to a six year old dog. Add physical problems to that and the line gets way shorter. Temperament problems are much worse because of the liability. You have had your dog since she was eight weeks old, this makes her your responsibility. If you cannot handle her and give her what training and containment necessary, then you should put her down. Dropping her at a shelter would be a hideous thing because her last few days will be emotionally terrible, being confused and abandoned, and the shelter will likely find her unadoptable and put her down, probably by heart stick or gassing as they can administer these without wasting money on the vet. They cannot euthanize humanely as the vet does as it requires drugs and the vet must administer. Worse though is if they do not find her unadoptable and give her to another family and she bites more people.

I am not sugar coating this because this is the reality. You need to decide what you are willing and able to do for this dog.

If I rehomed an adult dog and it bit someone they could come back and hold me liable.

I think that if you could properly contain the animal in a proper kennel, you can show your family that the dog will not be left outside unattended or unleashed and will be properly contained when people come over, I think that it would be a start, and you could probably release the family pressure.

Our breed has a negative reputation because some people allow their dogs too much freedom, and allow them to become repeat offenders. Right now the choice is yours to contain and work with your dog, or to put her down. With another incident, that choice may no longer be yours. A hefty lawsuit may accompany and heartbreaking situation.

I am really sorry that I cannot do much for you. Containment, NILIF, a behaviorist, step up the training, and if you cannot do all of these, then, euthanize her at the vet. I will not say any of this is cheap or easy or quick. It is not. You will need to be careful of her for the rest of her life. I know it is hard.

Sue

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: I got this email, what do you think?

I do not know this person at all.

Was I too harsh?

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 07:22 PM
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Re: I got this email, what do you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: selzer
1. Was she trying to get me to take her dog or try to help her find a home for it?
Okay, this is going to sound crazy, I know. But I have had a few experiences that started out in almost exactly the same manner.

Every now and then I'll have someone respond to a Petfinder listing on a foster with a long story about the current dog they have and the issues they are faced with and eventually they will ask for a trade of my foster dog for their current dog. It usually took a few e-mails for them to come right out and make the proposal. Once it wasn't a trade, they wanted me to take their dog as a foster and adopt it out myself.

I am not saying this person will eventually ask for a trade of a puppy for their current dog, but the seeming randomness of a stranger asking for advice from someone who is not portraying themselves as a trainer or a behaviorist is so similar! Kind of like they are setting the stage for explaining how necessary it is for their dog to be somewhere else.
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