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Dax was recently posted on the rescue board and was pulled from a kill shelter at the last minute by some good samaritans to keep him form being pts. He ended up in the shelter by his owner who said he'd nipped at his teenage son when he went to chain him up and he didn't want the dog anymore. The only other information that came with him was that he was a year old and was housebroken. He is a very friendly dog but has a bad attitude in his run, barking aggressively at some, but not all, people who stopped to look at him, but a big bluff. Once out of the run he is an absolute love, friendly and easy going, and loves attention. The shelter staff, as well as myself, couldn't believe this sweet dog could have intended to malicously bite anyone and thought he was well worth saving.

Since being pulled he was recently adopted out to an individual who has two teenagers, a boy 16 and girl 14.
Well, it appears Dax does have issues with teenagers. He has nipped at the teenage boy twice, once after the boy stepped on his foot, and also has growled at the girl. Mom rushed in and punished him, (one incident happened in the garage) and after being corrected Dax jumped into the parked car and sat there for 4 hours. I wasn't told how she punished him. The mom gets along really well with the dog and absolutely loves him, but she has given him a week to see if his behavior improves with her teen children or she is returning him. I'm going to have to assume his nipping at her son wasn't a major aggressive outright attack on the boy or she would have returned the dog immediately. I'm getting all the information second hand, and not directly from the new adopter so bare with me!

Since he was raised in a home with a teenager it would seem to me that he should be accustomed to young adults, but now I'm wondering if he was mistreated by the teenage son of the family who turned him into the shelter to creat this dislike for teens. Would that make sense? I'm really worried as there is now talk of Dax being put down if he is returned by his new adopter if he continues to show unacceptable behavior towards teenagers. I really feel responsible for him since I recommended he be pulled from the shelter.
Any suggestions on correcting his behavior that can be passed on to the new adopter? Neutering will help chill him out I would imagine, but seeing as she's not sure if she's keeping him I don't think that's going to happen immediately. Also, do you think letting the dog to sit in a car" in hiding "for that length of time after the incident will only make matters worse?
All the kind folks involved with sponsoring and placing this dog have expectations of him being a well rounded family dog, which obviously isn't the case, and if he is returned he stands a good chance of being pts. Can anyone offer insight or suggestions on correcting this behavior that can be passed on to the family he's with? I had nothing to do with the adoption so know nothing of their experience with dogs, or gsds. I'm sorry this is so long and drawn out, but I knew of no short way to explain the problem without all the background info!!
 

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Originally Posted By: FORRUGERI'm wondering if he was mistreated by the teenage son of the family who turned him into the shelter to creat this dislike for teens. Would that make sense?

I would suspect that is *exactly* what has happened.

I actually think it was very bad form for the rescue to have placed the dog in a new home with teenagers to begin with, as the reason he showed up at the shelter in the first place was for nipping a teenager. That's a big red flag that there is some issue with the dog and a teenager, and it is not unheard of for dogs to globalize and turn their feelings toward one teenager to all teenagers.

Additionally, his behavior in the kennel is a major clue that he has issues. He reacts defensively when he knows he's trapped and doesn't have an escape route (in a kennel) but not when he's out and about. This is a very common behavior for a dog who has been kept chained (which according to the first paragraph he was), and especially for a dog who was tormented or abused when chained.

Put the two together and it paints a likely story of a dog who was kept chained and teased (or worse) by one or more teenagers while chained up. So it's very likely these issues are not the result of genetic temperament, but rather environment and previous learning.

Doesn't sound to me like there is probably anything wrong with the dog other than some issues related to feeling trapped and teenagers, no doubt based upon negative experiences in a previous environment. He should be placed in a home that does NOT resemble that previous environment, and he'll probably be fine. With time, patience, training and lots and lots of positive experiences he could be taught not to globalize his feelings toward teenagers to all teenagers. But it's not going to happen overnight and if the current home can't or won't do that, he should be placed in a home where it's not an issue.
 

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He has to be trained positively or the problem will get worse! This sounds like fear aggression. It is absolutely workable but the more fearful he gets (being punished for trying to protect himself) then the worse he will get. If the family wants to keep him then they need to find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement and reconditioning and take him there together.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Chris, thanks so much for your input! I just want to clarify that Dax wasn't adopted out by a rescue, it was more or less a private adoption. After being pulled from the kill shelter, he was posted on Petfinder as a courtesy posting by a neighboring county humane society while being sponsored in boarding by good samariatans since we have no rescues in this area able to help. The information on his past was disclosed to potential adopters, but I guess his adopter also saw his pleasant sweet temperment as an indication he would work out fine.

I'm hoping that if he is returned that they will repost and indicate he needs to go to an adult home only, and not just give up on him. I don't think at this point he'd be accepted by an official rescue in another area.

I really appreciate your conformation that his problem with teens sounds it was most likely created and not just a genetic bad temperment problem. I want so much for him to have a chance to show what a nice dog he is and be in a home that understands him and can guide him to overcome this issue with teens. I just hope if he's returned he'll be given another chance to be adopted out to a more suitable home.
 

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Yes I agree with BowWowMeow... don't punish the dog but instead don't let a cause for aggression occur. If the dog aggresses remove him quickly and quietly from the situation. Time out in a crate. Also, it could be body language from the teens. If the dog is already stressed around them from previous experiences and the teens are reacting or showing fear then the dog will react back.

Yeah teenagers...have to agree with who likes them anyway:) I still have one and one just pass through the teen years. Oh dogs and cats are so much easier than kids.
 

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Chris is right. It is quite likely that children and teenagers harrassed and teased Dax while he was on chain. He is probably quite stressed out in his new environment too, which is making things worse. I think he would do well in a quiet adult home (without many visitors and parties) and there are quite a few homes like that out there.

I rescued a chained dog from OH. The owners dumped her at the shelter because the area children were teasing her and they did not want her to become mean. So instead of bringing her into the house they dumped her at a kill shelter.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OK. Dax is being returned by the adopters as it's not working out... haven't heard any specifics on other incidences but evidently they have continued to have problems with him and no one is willing or able to work with him. Since he's not a candidate for a rescue to take or to go back on Petfinder because of his issue with teens(he is on the urgent rescue board) he may be sent off as a candidate to be trained for police work( i was told )if a dept would accept him. I personally don't think it's the right direction for him to go in if that's where he ends up, but guess it beats the alternative.
 
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