What to do with Boots? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
View Poll Results: Keep Boots or adopt him to a good family
Keep him! 15 78.95%
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy What to do with Boots?

I have a 4-yo GSmix named Boots. My family recently moved from Colorado, where we had adopted Boots, to Michigan. Since we landed here, he has become more independent and has actually become somewhat food/treat aggressive as far as growling whenever anyone comes near and guarding his food/treats. He has done this in the past whenever we had to dog-sit for my father in-law or brother, but never before outside of those two occasions. I believe that I could work with him enough to work this aggression out but unfortunately I am going back to school next month so my time between my son, school and life in general will be 0. My concern is for my 2-yo son and any future children we may have.
My question is this:
Should we keep Boots and limit everyone's interactions when feeding/treating OR should we give him up for adoption through a GSD rescue agency?
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 10:11 AM
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For anyone to answer this question correctly we need a lot more information. Has the dog ever acted aggressive before? How long ago did you move to the new location? Have you done any training with this dog before this? Has there been any other change in the dog's life other than the new place, such as different people or animals in the home, different type area for his own space, different health issues, etc. There are a lot of things that could be part of this behavior. I would at least try a behaviorist before giving up on the dog.


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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 10:13 AM
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"You should train him" ought to be one of the answers.
But I agree with the above poster. We would need a LOT more details. And getting a professional on board never hurts.
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 10:23 AM
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The fact you had to ask is the sad part for me

That said, if dogs are disposable in your family and that's what you know when you get a pet, contacting a good rescue who will value your dog may work out for the best in the end.

And at least you'll have learned no more pets in the future.


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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 06:22 PM
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He sounds easy to manage but it also sounds like you've already written him off so...I would re-home him but I would do it myself, not dump him on the GSD rescue. The Michigan GSD rescue is already working on several other cases.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 06:29 PM
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I think that the OP is more worried about her young children - can't blame her for that. Whatever action you choose to take, make sure it is one you can live with.


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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 06:33 PM
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Exactly. People re-home dogs all the time for many reasons and I myself have received two re-homed dogs so I can't really be against it, but I would encourage the OP to do it and not involve the rescue. I think the rescue or shelter should be reserved for emergencies like a sudden significant health issue or losing a home or something like that. However, they can contact the MIGSD rescue and they will send an e-mail to all the pre-approved adopters with info about the dog. If the rescue is to be involved I would go that route rather than actually giving the dog up to the rescue especially this time of year.
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-13-2011, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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More info required

So here is Boots' story.

My wife & I adopted him from a no-kill shelter in Denver back in July of '08. We have two cats who came before him that we still have. Our son was born in April of last year and we moved back in February of this year.

When we chose a dog we intentionally picked an independent dog because we knew that our time that we could spend with him directly would be greatly limited. At the time we both worked so he'd be left to his own devices for much of the day. We wanted an intelligent breed that could remember his training long after sessions were done which is why we gravitated toward a GSD or mix. He came fully house broken and knew basic commands, but very basically. I have taught him not to take treats from ANYONE'S hand but to accept them gently. He instinctively knows how to sit now and as far as the driveway and front yard are concerned, he knows that I am in charge.

As far as his aggression is concerned, as I had previously stated, the only time he growled at me regarding food was when he was around those other dogs. We are looking into training programs, but as I also stated, when I go back to school I will lose a great deal of time that I can devote to training a dog.

Other than the move there is nothing that I can think of that has changed dramatically in his life to cause this aggression. I don't think that it is directed towards my son because he has done it when my son hasn't been around.

Lastly I take offense that someone could question the fact that I would consider a dog disposable. Are you implying that I would bring a dog 1300 miles across 5 states just to dispose of them? If I could "dispose" of him I wouldn't need an internet forum to validate that decision.
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-13-2011, 01:10 AM
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welcome to the board. i agree, dispose was maybe not the best choice of words from the prior poster, since you are brand new here. but please understand that anyone who has been here a while or who does rescue has just plain seen too many people who do consider dogs disposable. and maybe has just plain seen too many difficult and painful things that happen to these dogs. all rescues are full to overflowing and truthfully this may very well not be a viable option for you. there is a vast amount of training and health and behavior knowledge here and i urge you to not be so offended that you stop posting, because someone surely can give you opinions that will be helpful to you.

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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-13-2011, 01:44 AM
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I think your first mistake was choosing a GSD mix when you wanted an independent dog. 'independent' would be the last thing I'd call a german shepherd. They do very poorly when left alone.

I'm in university, and I have way more spare time now than I did when I was working. Why don't you at least wait and see how much time it really takes up. Or start right now before you go back to school? Can you truly not devote maybe half an hour a day to dealing with your dogs food aggression issues?

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