German Shepherds Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I'm planning to adopt an aggressive dog and I was wondering what I should do to prepare myself, and anything that can be done to improve his behaviour. I am also thinking hard about how to introduce him to my family as I'm also afraid of their safety. Let me start with some introduction and background.

The dog that I plan to adopt is a military guard dog (Belgian Malinois x German Shepherd) and I actually worked with him for 2 years while I was in the army. He's 9 this year and should be due for adoption next year, and my wish is to adopt him so that he can enjoy the rest of his years as a normal pet, with someone he has at least worked with. Due to covid, I haven't visited him in 2 years since I left the army and I don't even know if he remembers me, but I think he does...

About his aggression: he's a little different from most of the dogs we have in camp. He is aggressive towards strangers and other dogs. He would growl and bark aggressively at strangers and have also bitten other humans a few times (when unmuzzled) as such I take muzzling him very seriously. He would also hump new people who enter his kennel (some kind of dominance issues as well?) In camp, I think most handlers try to avoid him because he's been 'blacklisted' as an aggressive and scary dog.

He has never been aggressive towards me and I trust him, but I am just afraid that he would also be a danger to others Hence, I'm looking for some advice - on what my options are after adopting him to manage his aggression.

If he does get put up for adoption, anyone can adopt him and I'm not sure if it would be better for someone to adopt him or to adopt him personally.

I'm faced with a few dilemmas:

- I live in an apartment and would have lesser space, but I am committed to bringing him out for daily walks

- If I don't adopt him, someone else might and I'm not sure if it's better for him to be with someone who knows his condition better

- If eventually, no one adopts him, he would be taken care of in camp. However, I know that he would not get as much attention and care because he's been kinda blacklisted as an aggressive and scary dog and he definitely does not get a lot of care and attention

- I'm also worried about how I can handle his aggression

- Most importantly, how do I introduce him to my family? As I live with my parents, I want them to be safe as well.

Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Zeppelin
Joined
·
98 Posts
If you are worried for your and your family’s safety, I don’t think bringing the dog into this type of environment is wise or safe for any involved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,440 Posts
Having this dog in an apartment does not seem like the ideal situation to me. It might be better to let him go to another home. I'd be worried about him growling when he meets strangers in the halls or elevators. Even if he's wearing a muzzle, there are likely to be complaints. :(
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,851 Posts
Just saw this. I was at work all day.

Lots of questions.

Was he ever aggressive with you?

When he bit other people, are you referring to street bites or to unwarranted bites?

If they were unwarranted, how bad were the bites?

Do you use some type of correction collar with him?

What is your schedule like? How long will he need to be in a kennel daily? How committed are you to fulfilling his exercise and work needs?

When you say guard dog, do you mean a roving security dog, trained to attack intruders on sight?

How is his OB? Bomb proof recall? Out? Down stay?

How dog savvy are your parents?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everybody for your response! He's estimated to be due for adoption next year, and I'm just trying to figure things out and decide on whether I should adopt him (or let somebody else).

Answering @David Winners

Was he ever aggressive with you?
- No, he's never been aggressive towards me and I think we really bonded well

When he bit other people, are you referring to street bites or to unwarranted bites?
- the bite happened in the first week of me handling him. I did not muzzle him and a buddy of mine was walking by, and he just lunged at him and started humping him, when my friend pushed him away, he bit his arms (I don't think it was a minor bite). Since then I've always muzzled him when out, unless I'm alone with him.

If they were unwarranted, how bad were the bites?
- answered above!

Do you use some type of correction collar with him?
- no, we've never used that before.

What is your schedule like? How long will he need to be in a kennel daily? How committed are you to fulfilling his exercise and work needs?
- I'm studying now and it's all conducted online, but once I graduate next year it'll probably be an office job or largely working from home due to my work. I will definitely be bringing him out on two or more walks daily and definitely more. I dare to say that he will definitely be out way more than he is now in his current camp.

When you say guard dog, do you mean a roving security dog, trained to attack intruders on sight?
- yup, he is an attack dog and will attack (bite) on command.

How is his OB? Bomb proof recall? Out? Down stay?
- he is not very motivated, so I can make him do the basic drills but he's always a little slow. But he definitely can come, down, sit and heel without problems.

How dog savvy are your parents?
- sadly, they are not very experienced with dogs
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,851 Posts
So no, he is not a roving dog. He works with a handler and only bites on command? I'm just trying to understand how he is trained. A guard dog, by definition here, is a dog that roams an area alone and engages any intruder in that area. A patrol dog is trained to bite on command or in defense of the handler.

Is there a trainer you can work with using a prong collar? This dog needs proofing on commands and black and white rules with consequences.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Benjaminb

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So no, he is not a roving dog. He works with a handler and only bites on command? I'm just trying to understand how he is trained. A guard dog, by definition here, is a dog that roams an area alone and engages any intruder in that area. A patrol dog is trained to bite on command or in defense of the handler.

Is there a trainer you can work with using a prong collar? This dog needs proofing on commands and black and white rules with consequences.
Oops my bad, nope he is not a roving dog and always prowls with a handler - he is thus a patrol dog (we just call it a guard dog here, but it may not be the correct term).

If I do adopt him, I need to send him for compulsory trainings (as part of the adoption rules).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,851 Posts
Oops my bad, nope he is not a roving dog and always prowls with a handler - he is thus a patrol dog (we just call it a guard dog here, but it may not be the correct term).

If I do adopt him, I need to send him for compulsory trainings (as part of the adoption rules).
What do the compulsory trainings include? Is it at the same place you trained with him?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What do the compulsory trainings include? Is it at the same place you trained with him?
The compulsory training would just be for obedience, and it is from any external training centres (not from where we trained together).

What sort of training would he require? I've read about behaviour mortification.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,851 Posts
The compulsory training would just be for obedience, and it is from any external training centres (not from where we trained together).

What sort of training would he require? I've read about behaviour mortification.
That really depends on the dog and I don't have enough information to attempt to build a plan.

The dog needs rules. Hard, fast, do it or else rules, and hard fast don't do it or else rules. How you implement these rules depends on the dog and it could change throughout training.

You need an experienced trainer capable of handling this dog and training you to react appropriately in given situations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,198 Posts
I'm concerned if adopting this dog will result in your parents living in fear in their home. As they're not dog savvy, I wouldn't do it. Are you likely to be in your own home when the dog becomes available?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,906 Posts
My parents couldn’t even handle Hans as a puppy... 😳
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hello! Thank you all so much for your kind advice and responses.

The truth is, I'm still deciding hard - I want the best for not just Stan, but also my family.

Also, I haven't seen him in 2 years now, and I did get some feedback that he has become a little less aggressive (somehow).

Question: do dogs tone down a little as they age?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
From experience with MIL and POL dogs. Apartment is not a place for this dog. You need a house with a kennel at a minimum. Considering you have not seen or handled this dog for 2 years is a long time from a handler perspective. The dog may 'remember' you but you are not the current handler. Keep this in mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Plus, I forgot, temperaments change. Especially with working dogs. As they get older they still expect a job to do. They do not just 'calm down'. Again with any working dog it is highly dependent on drive and what type of work they were doing. Know your dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Aw man. You seem like a really nice guy and thank you for wanting to save this dog and give it the best life as a retired working dog. I think with A LOT of work, dedication, and extra caution anything is possible.. however it’s very difficult. I had to stay at an apartment for some time while my home was being renovated with a gsd and it was very frustrating. High energy dog in a small place just do not mix from my experience. Unless life at camp is really that bad then maybe it would be happy. It would help if you had a park down the street where you can play fetch several times a day. I’m worried if he does have aggression that meets boredom could go wrong. My rescued gsd went through extensive 1x1 training with me and a pro and she’s SO much better but i still muzzled her while leaving the apartment going in an elevator. I would not consider her aggressive she was extremely abused so lacked confidence, guidance and was very fearful ( does not do well with children, she’s dog selective so I never know which dog she gets along with and have to play it safe, she’s fearful of men not to the point of biting but more barking no history of biting as she’s been with me for 5 years but again I’m extra careful and she is SO protective of me so something to keep in mind if you end up having a partner later will your dog be aggressive towards your significant other and possessive over you? this can become an issue. it’s a lot to always have to muzzle your dog and take on this journey. It’s hard to give the best advice as we do not know exactly what the dog is like now and his energy level and temperament. Clearly 2 years ago he was extremely dominant with the humping I doubt that behavior is gone. I personally would not do it just based on living in an apartment especially with your parents not having any experience with dogs — gsds can be a lot for people — gsds with issue is a whole diff story. How do they feel when you brought this idea up with them? Are they on board? I’ve even had a hard time finding an apartment that allowed German Shepherd dogs ( they are restricted breed in a lot of states) and it was a fat non refundable fee. I’ve rescued gsds from TN, TX & NJ and all required a home with a 6 ft fence obvi I have no idea what the requirements are for military dogs . Rental or homeowners insurance exclude German shepherds under the personal liability so if he happened to bite someone like a visitor or even someone forgot to close the door and he ran down the hallway — that lawsuit is coming out of your pocket :/ I doubt you can register him only as a mal x and disclosing known history of aggression would really be up to you to your landlord & rental insurance.

Work wise I do 3 days back to back 12 hr shifts. I take my dogs on a 2 mile run every morning. They have a dog door and a huge fenced in yard and they chill and chase squirrels. I often see them sunbathe on outdoor cameras or play together. I worked really hard to get here and I waited to have dogs until I could give them a life they deserve and I was dying for a dog in my early 20s it’s just the right thing to do. I have someone come to feed dinner & I take them to a park after my long ass day. Other days I work from home and I still do the same thing otherwise no work would get done. I have a 7 year old gsd and a 1 year old gsd Belgian mal ( to be determined 💯) Rain snow or sunshine. It’s really the only way to have a working breed act cool and calm. My boy does well at boarding but my girl does not My trainer from TN would watch my girl when I would travel so maybe you can find a trainer who also dog sits. You’re gonna want to live your life and go places that sometimes you won’t be able to bring your dog with you who will watch him for you?
Just wanted to share my honest experience.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top