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Hi,

This is my first time to this site and i registered just to share my story and hopefully get some feedback.

My GSD, Baxter, is approximately 5 years old, and my wife and i have had him for 4 years. We adopted him from a reputable rescue organization that my wife has volunteered with ever since.

We met Baxter at the booth of the rescue org at a "pet expo" and fell in love with him. They let him out with us and he just curled up to me....long story short they brought him for a home visit later that week and we adopted him after he was neutered.

My wife and i both had GSDs as children and loved them, and felt like we knew them. Neither of our childhood dogs showed any aggression, and they weren't trained at all, at least not that we saw.

We quickly learned Baxter had separation anxiety and that it would be impossible for him to be home alone while we were at work. I began bringing him to work (luckily i have that option) and he has a big crate in my office and we go out and walk a couple times a day.

At first Baxter was just shy, unsure, but loving to us. We signed up for obedience classes and went through two levels. He sits, stays, etc, and goes to his big crate when we ask.

About 6 months in he randomly bit my uncle on the backside after my uncle had been petting him. He got up and walked away and Baxter kinda chased him down and nipped him on the butt. Didn't break skin. We chalked this up as a fluke.

Months later he nipped my wife's father at home during a holiday visit. Again no skin broken, father in law was in the middle of telling an animated story and Baxter seemed to be telling him to calm down.

Then we had a trainer over a few times for some sessions teaching us how to be better masters. It seemed to help a little, but he was showing more aggression on walks while on leash and becoming VERY protective of the house and my office. Mailman, UPS driver, etc, bring the most vicious sounding barking i've ever heard.

But we went along without major incident for a while because we were very careful with him. But one day at work my aunt was visiting (family business). This aunt is the wife of the uncle that was previously nipped. I got Baxter out for an outside potty walk and leashed him right from the crate. We walked past my aunt (who he knew) and he turned and quickly went for her crotch area (like sniffing, as they do). This was weird because Baxter has never been a crotch sniffer. She backed off quickly as i told baxter to "leave it" (trainer command) and he just bit. Jumped up and got her pretty good in the stomach area. This was devastating. She was okay, healed in time, but things were never gonna be the same.

Now since then we've been very careful with him. At home he goes in his crate in the bedroom when we have guests (it's just my wife and i, but she is currently pregnant with our first child).

But two nights ago a friend came by to drop something off to my wife. My wife had sent Baxter to his crate with a verbal command before opening the front door (his crate is in a bedroom down a hall, far from the front door). The friend was only handing something off and was leaving, not coming in, car running outside. My wife opened the door and said hello, and for some reason my dog, without bark, growl or warning bolted from the bedroom, down the hall, flew past my wife and bit the visitor on the porch. Got her in the leg pretty bad. I was in another room and only came running when i heard the screams, and pulled Baxter away. He bit and released but had her pinned to the back wall of the garage basically when i got there.

I took our friend to the ER, the bite was bad. This person now two days later is still kind of bed resting because it hurts to walk. I have done everything i can to help her, and i'm going over later tonight again.

My wife is inconsolable, and stressed, which scares me because she's pregnant. I am on and off crying as well. One second i want to take my dog and run away, the next i want to end his life immediately. I am really confused and worried about this....i do not want to end my dog's life but i wonder if this is the only answer because i can't have him hurting people.

With my wife and i at home he's the best, just hates everyone else apparently. We love our dog. I just would really like some advice. Thank you and sorry for writing a novel.
 

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I am very sorry to hear of your problems with your boy.
Can you give us an idea of how much training and exercise the dog is getting?
And how is he treated in the household? How much freedom does he get to do what he wants? How much attention is he getting just because he is gorgeous and adorable?
Also, do you practice any NILIF at all?
Here is what it entails:
http://www.greyhoundlist.org/nothing_is_free.htm
Nothing in Life is Free
 

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if my dog bit multiple people and i'd immediately put him down or give him to someone else better suited to train him. you're basically living with an unpredictable time bomb. people shouldnt be in danger coming into your house. dog sounds like it has a very low threshold and at the first sign of discomfort will bite. just sounds like a poorly bred dog. you can either manage him the rest of his life hoping he doesnt bite again or put him down. with a baby on the way there is absolutely no way i would keep him. find someone who really knows what their doing to take him or put him down. if i had a baby on the way there would be a 0% chance i'd keep an unpredictable dog.
 

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Totally agree with Boomer. He's progressively getting worse. I would never take a chance with that dog around a baby... He needs to be put down or a new owner that has had ALOT of experience with gsd's and this issue. No other option!

I'm sorry that you're in such a horrible position.
 

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I am so sorry to hear about this. I think that you may want to focus on the fact that you were able to give him four lovely years and look into other options. You might want to talk to a behaviorist and see what they may recommend, there might be a combo of meds and modifications that may help. I would also look into sanctuaries that may let him live out his life with minimal human contact. I can't imagine how difficult this must be and it's made more complicated by a new baby.
 

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What about the rescue where he came from? Do they have any advice? Can he go back there? I know most rescues around where I live all have a clause in the adoption agreement that they get the dog back if there is ever a reason that you cannot keep it any longer. If you wife still volunteers with that rescue I would think that could be a good option since she could help ease him back into the rescue and could also help screen potential adopters since she knows his behavior first hand.
 

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If you have had this dog for four years, and now he is aggressing to people, could it possibly be a response to a change in body chemistry? Sometimes when the thyroid is not working properly, or I think Vitamin B is low, it can increase aggression, or cause aggression. And some medications can cause aggressiveness.

A dog in chronic pain can bite, but I do not think the way you are describing, they would be more likely to bite when someone gets near to the parts that hurt, though it is possible that it can shorten the fuse. Dogs do not always let you know if they are in physical pain, and the aggressive thresholds just diminish.

Some dogs can have a serious condition called Rage Syndrome, which may be a form of epilepsy, but that does not seem to follow here, because the dog is not showing aggression toward the people he is most familiar with, only people he thinks are outside his tiny circle. I don't have any experience though in this or in brain tumors.

Has he been vaccinated recently, it could be a vaccine reaction, but that seems far-fetched.

This is really hard. Do you put the money into a full physical with bloodwork? If it is thyroid or a vitamin insufficiency, then medicine can do the trick. If it is totally behavior/leadership/management then I have to agree that having this dog present with an infant and then young child isn't something I would want to do. It is hard to supervise every second, interaction between critters who live together, and a mistake can be unimanginable.

As hard as it is, I think that euthanizing the dog is better than rehoming him. There is just no way to ensure he is going to someone who can truly manage him.

I am sorry you are going through this.
 

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If you can afford a full vet work up, that's the first place to start. This is a devastating story. If you can have medical reasons conclusively ruled out, you need to rehome to someone proven to rehabilitate human aggressive dogs. So sorry!


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Ugh... :( :( :(

This pains me, because I endured a similar situation with my previous GSD, also from a rescue. Cheap shot nips, progressive unpredictability around strangers...all despite good training, exercise on trails and at the beach, everyday consistency, calm but firm handling (benevolent master), NILIF and a loving home where he wasn't home alone all day by himself. That's about as good as it gets for a dog!

Fast forward to a bite to the neck of someone approaching me from the side, one day, 1mm from the person's carotid with cartilage hanging out. Not pretty.

I'm sorry, but your baby needs to be rehomed, in my opinion, to someone who is fully aware of his issues. Or a sanctuary, if possible. I know it's a sensitive topic, but I would also consider loving euthanasia if the situation and options require it. Someone is going to get hurt. And you both are already hurting inside, and your friend, too! Yikes.

Plus, are you willing to have a lawsuit on your hands? That kind of financial payout may affect your living finances quite a bit. Not sure how well off you are, but it might make a difference in affording your house, the wife's ability to stay home with the baby, etc.

And, with the baby coming along, all the more reason for your big boy to be even more fear aggressive and unstable with strangers. :confused:

I'm crying with you. Been there. It took a year for me to get over it (and then again, I'm not totally over it). But my next GSD was totally planned. I selected a breeder with 20 years of consistently sweet dogs, CGC, therapy and service dogs, etc. Those were her breeding goals. And now I have sweet Myah, who loves everyone and has SOLID NERVES. :wub:

Best wishes to you. I know it's hard. I've been there. It's terrible. But make the best decision for your family in the long run. :hug:

P.S. - There are some sound dogs from rescue...just wanted to put that out there before people came unglued at the seams. :) It's true.
 

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Just to make sure I understand, You have had the dog for 4 years? The nipping behavior started after you had him for 6 months? The behavior has escalated over the past four years? I would be more inclined to see this as a health issue if it just started and he lived most of the 4 years with you without incident. You cannot have an untrustworthy dog around your child. The risk is too great.

I am so sorry for what you are going through. It stinks.
 

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Just to make sure I understand, You have had the dog for 4 years? The nipping behavior started after you had him for 6 months? The behavior has escalated over the past four years? I would be more inclined to see this as a health issue if it just started and he lived most of the 4 years with you without incident. You cannot have an untrustworthy dog around your child. The risk is too great.

I am so sorry for what you are going through. It stinks.
The OP says the dog started nipping and biting humans at 6 months of age.
 

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We quickly learned Baxter had separation anxiety and that it would be impossible for him to be home alone while we were at work. I began bringing him to work (luckily i have that option) and he has a big crate in my office and we go out and walk a couple times a day.

At first Baxter was just shy, unsure, but loving to us. We signed up for obedience classes and went through two levels. He sits, stays, etc, and goes to his big crate when we ask.

About 6 months in he randomly bit my uncle on the backside after my uncle had been petting him. He got up and walked away and Baxter kinda chased him down and nipped him on the butt. Didn't break skin. We chalked this up as a fluke.

Months later he nipped my wife's father at home during a holiday visit. Again no skin broken, father in law was in the middle of telling an animated story and Baxter seemed to be telling him to calm down.

Then we had a trainer over a few times for some sessions teaching us how to be better masters. It seemed to help a little, but he was showing more aggression on walks while on leash and becoming VERY protective of the house and my office. Mailman, UPS driver, etc, bring the most vicious sounding barking i've ever heard.

But we went along without major incident for a while because we were very careful with him.

To me he sounds like a classic fear biter. He has been slowly getting worse....you managed him well for a while so went without incident then you had a slight lapse where he was in a situation where he was able to display again what has always been there.
Very sad situation....with a baby coming he needs to go elsewhere.
If it were me he would be PTS. I feel very sorry for him living in fear to the point where he feels he has to protect himself like that.
If you re-home him make sure they know what they are getting themselves in for.....re-homing would be very stressful for a dog like this.
I really feel for you.....just not fair you have to deal with this especially at such a happy time in your lives.
 

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Since you know he is a aggressive, I would be worried about if he ever hurt someone really bad. As Myah's Mom mentioned 'lawsuit.' Just the same Jericfos...if I was you, I would hold on to him and go to GREAT lengths to keep him away from other people. I would put up Beware of Dog signs everywhere.

I wish Elly May was more aggressive and I'd make sure all my neighbors knew it.
 

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Since you know he is a aggressive, I would be worried about if he ever hurt someone really bad. As Myah's Mom mentioned 'lawsuit.' Just the same Jericfos...if I was you, I would hold on to him and go to GREAT lengths to keep him away from other people. I would put up Beware of Dog signs everywhere.

I wish Elly May was more aggressive and I'd make sure all my neighbors knew it.
:confused::confused: And what about the new baby on the way??
 

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Thank you for all these responses. I really needed to hear from fellow dog lovers anonymously, it helps.

I'm gonna try to answer some of the questions posed.

After work every day, with few exceptions i take Baxter to a park near my house that is (strangely) empty all the time. It's about a 10 minute walk each way, and when we get there we play fetch with a chuck it ball for about 10-15 minutes or until he becomes exhausted and lays down. This stopped two days ago obviously, because now he'll never be off a leash outside again. I just walked him tonight. Anyway, he does get exercised daily.

I don't think this is a diet change, or anything like that. Because he's always been a little aggressive towards strangers. Sometimes on walks when the wrong person goes by he would do the "grrrrr" growl while kinda spazzing out, like not exactly pulling towards the person but just physically thrashing a little. If anyone walks by us close and i can't avoid it i only give about two inches of leash basically, because i don't trust him. He's been this way for awhile.

I think i forgot to mention we went through obedience training with him too, early on.

But there's something else i didn't mention, due to not wanting to make the original post any longer than it already was. Baxter has some behavior quirks unlike any dog i've ever known. My wife and i call it doggie autism. He likes to lay near us, but not always touch us. It's hard to explain but his personality reminds me of autism. He's also a nervous dog. On top of that he tries to be real dominant. This was a big part of the training we did, trying to make him realize he's not the leader. He listens to me and sits when i say, goes when i say, etc... but if i let him he will revert to trying to police me around the house, you know come up and swing his butt at me to try to get me to do something. He's big on the butt swing thing, and this is something that i have never been able to change.

He's laying two feet away from me as i write this just staring at the door to the room, trying to protect me i guess. The only time he seems completely relaxed is during sleep, or when locked in his crate.

We met with the people who run the rescue org last night. The woman is very nice and also runs a kennel/shelter type thing that had about 10 GSDs there last night running around. We talked about all this, and she told us she wouldn't judge us under the circumstances for any decision we make. And i don't want to re-home this dog. I feel like he was re-homed to us unwittingly (rescue org got him from kill shelter, probably there for same issue i'm thinking). I cannot in good conscience just hope they find him another home, and it doesn't sound like they would anyway.

I am not a trainer, or an expert, and don't claim to be. But we did classes, i paid for some in home stuff with a trainer. Both my wife and i have worked with him as much as we reasonably can, and followed guidelines from training the best we could. This dog has been well loved, well fed, and well exercised. My wife keeps thinking "we could have done more" and this gets her crying and i have had to look her in the eye and tell her to stop that type of thinking, we have done the best we could.

This is too much. The bite is pretty bad, serious. I was just over at the bitten persons house. She's a pro wedding photographer who has a wedding to shoot tomorrow, and instead i paid for a colleague of hers to to do the job instead. This cost me a thousand dollars, so she wouldn't be out the money, and the colleague is doing it for about a third of his normal price. She has re-assured me she is not the "lawsuit" type and her husband and i are bonding fairly well over this. So i think that part is okay. I am also gonna pay whatever bill comes from the ER and follow up after her insurance adjusts and she gets a bill.

Here is my current feeling...we have been real vigilant as far as keeping him out of trouble since the first serious bite. But one slip up and this happened. By slip up i mean we should have actually locked him up before the door was even opened, i just couldn't have imagined him running all the way through the house without barking once and practically knocking my wife over on the way to bite the visitor. This woman has a six year old daughter as well and i thank God she wasn't with her.

My fear of my dog hurting someone else, possibly even worse, is greater than my sadness over losing my dog (which is devastating). My wife, though in denial a bit at first, is starting to feel the same way.

It's a very hard time. I thank you guys for reading my story, just the few responses from all angles helped.

-Jason
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about your situation with your dog. You gave him four years of love and a great life. I'm sure he appreciates it. Unfortunately a fear biting shepherd is just too dangerous- if it were my dog I would lovingly set his spirit free. My thoughts are with you and your family.
 

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Jericfos, I repeat myself...I'd keep him and double down on not letting get near anyone.

One thing you didn't mention was do you have a yard ?

I wanta tell you a story about the lady who took her son to the doctor because he talked loud. The first doctor examined him and couldn't find anything wrong. So she took him to another doctor, who examined him and he couldn't find anything wrong with her son either. So she takes her son to a third doctor and he examines him and says...there is nothing wrong with your son, he just talks loud.

You have a K-9 breed to be a working dog and it's coming out of him, just at the wrong time. Every GSD can not be perfect or the perfect pet. You just have to weigh (?) the negatives against how much you love him.

You could also muzzle him and to be honest, if Elly May ever nip'd someone...I would never let her near anyone unless she muzzled or was on a leash .
 

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Jericfos, I repeat myself...I'd keep him and double down on not letting get near anyone.

One thing you didn't mention was do you have a yard ?

I wanta tell you a story about the lady who took her son to the doctor because he talked loud. The first doctor examined him and couldn't find anything wrong. So she took him to another doctor, who examined him and he couldn't find anything wrong with her son either. So she takes her son to a third doctor and he examines him and says...there is nothing wrong with your son, he just talks loud.

You have a K-9 breed to be a working dog and it's coming out of him, just at the wrong time. Every GSD can not be perfect or the perfect pet. You just have to weigh (?) the negatives against how much you love him.

You could also muzzle him and to be honest, if Elly May ever nip'd someone...I would never let her near anyone unless she muzzled or was on a leash .
Forgive me for being blunt, but that is insane. The dog has something wrong upstairs. To bring a child into this...fast forward when the child can't have anyone over to play, because the dog has to be banished everytime someone comes over! And what if someone opens the door? Like my neighbors girl did (all she did was come home, open the door, and the dog rushed out to bite someone). The dog clearly won't be able to go to little league games, participate in birthday parties. Nothing. A life in solitary confinement? Or the family becomes antisocial?

My heart BREAKS for this family. But the heartbreak now is still not as much as it will be later. Like when the child is bit, or the child's friend, or someone's carotid is nearly severed (like my foster did), the list goes on.

Don't beat yourself up. Make a clear decision for the safety of your family. Move quickly, or it will become increasingly difficult.

All my love.
 

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Jericfos, I repeat myself...I'd keep him and double down on not letting get near anyone.

One thing you didn't mention was do you have a yard ?

I wanta tell you a story about the lady who took her son to the doctor because he talked loud. The first doctor examined him and couldn't find anything wrong. So she took him to another doctor, who examined him and he couldn't find anything wrong with her son either. So she takes her son to a third doctor and he examines him and says...there is nothing wrong with your son, he just talks loud.

You have a K-9 breed to be a working dog and it's coming out of him, just at the wrong time. Every GSD can not be perfect or the perfect pet. You just have to weigh (?) the negatives against how much you love him.

You could also muzzle him and to be honest, if Elly May ever nip'd someone...I would never let her near anyone unless she muzzled or was on a leash .
Muzzling sucks, BTDT. The OP would have to do it ALL THE TIME once baby comes. Even a small nip in the wrong place could kill a newborn.

To the OP: As the parent of a child who has been bitten more times than I can count (I swear he had an aura), you must get him out of your home before baby comes. Personally, I vote for loving euthanasia, I know it's terrible to put down a younger dog, but can you live with yourself if he kills a child? YOUR child? Check out this website, read Liam's story: Liam J Perk Foundation - Cape Coral, Florida

I'm quite surprised the hospital didn't automatically report the bite. I wouldn't be at all surprised if their insurance doesn't come after you to pay all of the hospital bill. I know Tricare tries to get payment from someone, anyone, anytime there is a claim for anything "accident" related.

If you can find a place that guarantees the dog can never escape, and will never be around people again, by all means, rehome him. If not, I really think euthanasia is the best option.
 

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Sorry your going thru this:(

I think you have two choices, you can be even MORE vigilant with him regarding strangers than ever before, or euthanize him:(

I'm actually surprised (and it may be your area),,that anyone he's bitten that's gone to a dr or er hasn't reported the bite(s) and you haven't had AC on your doorstep..

I would say you 'could' manage him since you've done a pretty good job of it in 4 years considering, but your wife is pregnant? That would worry me..He's good with you two but how would he be with a baby in the house? No one can answer and I don't think I'd want to try and find out.

Very hard decision for you to make. And no I would not rehome him, he's a liability to you and your managing him, but he would be a liability to someone else as well.

He is what he is, I don't think 'training' is going to reverse his behavior into a socially accepting dog.
 
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