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Have you ever felt like you failed a dog in any way? Whether it be inability to train it properly, medical issues or simply requiring to re-home it?

For a long time I felt this way about both my dogs, especially Zeeva. But I've grown to accept the fact that certain things about both my dogs need to be managed rather than fixed. And although it may be a failure on my part, it doesn't really matter because as long as I can acknowledge these problems, continue to work on them and manage them, things are 'ok'...

For example, both my dogs especially on walks and when together, aren't trustworthy around another dog. I wish with all my heart that I would've socialized them more. We've been to puppy classes, dog parks and had play dates with other dogs that they've gotten along with in the past. And I'm sure I'm overly cautious but I don't let them get close to other dogs because I'd rather be safe.
 

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Yup, I failed 3 times and I still think about those dogs.

I haven't failed Sin or Draco though and I 100% plan on keeping it that way.
 

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Do you mind telling us what happened?
I rehomed 3 dogs.

The first was a male Siberian Husky puppy that was extremely aggressive and I should have put him to sleep but I rehomed him to what I thought was an experienced Siberian Husky home only to find out months later that the puppy was on it's 4th home, was still extremely aggressive and was a permanent outside dog. He would be 5 years old in December, I don't know where he is anymore.

The second was a male GSD/Husky mix that I got off of craigslist, he was 1.5 years old when I got him. The owner said wonderful things about him but he ended up being food and toy aggressive, he could not be trusted around children, he growled at family members and stared them down. He wasn't fully potty trained and he would have frequent accidents in the house. I didn't trust him and I felt that he needed a more experienced owner so I rehomed him to a nice older couple with no other animals in the next town over. I saw him a couple of times since then but I haven't seen him in years. He would have been 5 years old last month. I miss him the most, I still have his dog tags and I feel like I may have given up too soon. :(

The 3rd was a female GSD. She and I were not a good fit, I tried the best I could but we had no bond, we were not meant to be so I gave her up.

I feel like I failed them because I got them and then I gave them up.
 

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One of my dogs, Sasha, (aka Boogie) is one of those dogs that cannot be fixed, so like you, we manage her.

I took her to a class that was specifically for crazy dogs - as a courtesy to the less crazy dogs in the class, we left. The instructor is a friend of mine and he said she is one of the most messed up dogs he has ever encountered.

She is a product of poor breeding and she lived the first year and a half of her life in a dark garage. She lived in there, slept in there, ate in there and relieved herself in that same dark garage. She did not have interaction with either dogs or people.

We have successfully rehabbed hundreds of dogs over the last 20 years - Boogie cannot be "fixed". Some of the dogs we "fixed" were pretty bad cases that took a lot of time and patience before they were adoptable. Since Sasha never became what you would consider adoptable, we adopted her ourselves. We keep her safe and do not allow her to make any bad decisions. We walk her in areas where we do not encounter lots of other dogs or people. For the most part, she is pretty good with all of our foster dogs. She growls a lot, but things rarely progress beyond her growling. She is ours and we love her, but she will never be a normal dog.

Please don't think that you have failed your dog.
 

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I had a "white GSD" (turns out he was all husky) rescue from down south who they didn't tell me had a bite history. He ended up biting me badly enough to require and ER visit and stitches. When I called the "rescue" to tell them what happened, they notified me that they needed to take him back. I didn't know I had any options (but frankly, I didn't have the skill set at the time to deal with a dog with aggression issues), so I agreed. He was HW+ and I had paid a fortune for treatments, but he passed away a month or so after they took him back. He was a very troubled dog...I think of him frequently. The things I learned about that "rescue" after the fact were disturbing.

I fostered a lab with some major behavioral problems (ZERO boundaries and dominance issues). I had him for four weeks and he was an absolute nightmare. When my husband's grandmother became extremely ill, I had to pass him off to another foster in the organization (we had to go to CT to care for her and make final arrangements). I was VERY clear that he needed to go to an experienced foster. The dog would not have been manageable in any environment but one that was very strict and regimented and boot-camp-esque. They ended up giving him to an elderly couple looking for a lab. As anyone who knew the dog could have predicted, he was a holy terror and broke the lady's hip, bit the man, and was euth'd. I think of him frequently as well. This was with one of the more reputable rescues in NE, or so I thought.

Sometimes I feel like I failed Echo. I was too inexperienced to be able to recognize his training needs (he's fearful, soft, and very anxious) and I feel like I made so many mistakes in training that I exacerbated the problems.
 

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My very first dog was a beautiful Border Collie/American Eskimo mix. I owned him when I lived down south. One night I was out walking him when he took off out of his collar. I ran through the city chasing him and when we got home I put him in the bathroom to calm down while I calmed down. Heard a noise and went in the bathroom to find him having a seizure, head banging the bathtub. It scared the crap out of me and I always felt so guilty. He was re-homed because I couldn't take care of him. I heard his new owner loved him so much she would carry him across mud puddles. I was happy he had a new happy home but to this day I refuse to do much to punish an animal, always believing that somehow I caused that seizure.
 

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Yes I think I failed Rorie-in terms of training-but it is what it is -she is a great dog-she's happy -I love her and can't imagine my life without her so...we're just going to enjoy our life
 

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You only fail if you don't try. Not every dog is a social butterfly. Not every dog will 'fit' into your lifestyle. You may not have the skill, location, time etc. to fix every dog.

I've had a dog that I re-homed. She and I were on totally different planets. She wasn't happy and I wasn't happy. I found her a good home. I would have failed her if I kept her out of any type of obligation I felt.

If I purchased a dog for a specific sport and the dog wasn't happy doing it, then I would fail the dog if I forced it to participate.

Failure is over rated.
 

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My dog is a perfect example of rethinking "popular" early socialization. I didn't own him until he was almost a year, but I spent a lot of time with him at a large nature area where dogs are often off leash when he was younger. He also had no formal training until I got him, so he was used to doing whatever he pleased. He is not dog aggressive, but he has a very inappropriately high interest in socializing with other dogs, and reacts on the leash or in the car in frustration when he knows he can't get to them. This manifests in weird ways like him completely losing his crazy ball drive in certain situations around other dogs, which is particularly frustrating while doing training at home in the garden.

I personally failed him by not understanding the way frustration builds drive and can create behavioural issues like this. I was lucky to find a great trainer who helped me sort him out, as well as a sport he is so intensely interested in he can completely tune out all other dogs. He is a spectacularly well bred dog and I have no doubt he will continue to make significant improvements despite my failings. I am not happy with his current living situation because having another dog around makes it difficult for him to focus on training, but we're working through it.
 

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I should have had them remove my first lab's leg instead of saving it with the steel plate. He was hit by a car and broke his femur cleanly. He died at 6 from osteosarcoma that developed exactly at the site of the repair. Might have saved him, might not, trying to think positively of it and at least he was able to run hard for those six years.
 

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Yes, in the way past I had a sweet GSD protection trained (boarding/training) per advice of a police man after the dog had let burglars in. It ruined him as he bit a child and wounded the boy. At that time I didn't know what I know now and every trainer I consulted told me to put him down and I did. It is the worst failure to any of my dogs. None of my GSDs , present and future, will ever go that route again. That pain never goes away.
 

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I do feel like that sometimes. Phoenix is very well socialized with dogs, and really doesn't mind them. People are another story. He hasn't been quite as aggressive lately, but still. He has genetic aggression (backyard breeder... Bad move, but I love him sooo much!) from his mother, and was in what I would call a rat hole for a puppy pen.
Anyway...
I thought I socialized the heck out of him, but I must not have done enough, because he is terribly territorial, and protective of me and our property. He likes people who are not afraid of him, but his name is mud in our community. Minus his aggression, he is exactly what I could have possibly hoped for, but... I feel like I failed him big time on the socialization mark.
Yep.
 

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I do feel like that sometimes. Phoenix is very well socialized with dogs, and really doesn't mind them. People are another story. He hasn't been quite as aggressive lately, but still. He has genetic aggression (backyard breeder... Bad move, but I love him sooo much!) from his mother, and was in what I would call a rat hole for a puppy pen.
Anyway...
I thought I socialized the heck out of him, but I must not have done enough, because he is terribly territorial, and protective of me and our property. He likes people who are not afraid of him, but his name is mud in our community. Minus his aggression, he is exactly what I could have possibly hoped for, but... I feel like I failed him big time on the socialization mark.
Yep.
But at least he is alive.....
 

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I rehomed a Great Dane once but I don't feel like that was a failure but a perfect success. After the honeymoon period of like 6 months she decided wanted to eat our senior female Shepherd. It was crate and rotate for months. A friend of ours female Great Dane Passed away and their male was lonely. They met our Great Dane and it was love at first site between the two dogs and with the people. So we gave her up to a better home for her than we were.

I did fail with a dog once. It's how I found this forum. After Shadow died we were offered from the breeder a 2 year old that had been returned to her that had washed out of SAR training. I don't know what we were expecting but we screwed it up big time. She bonded with me on the drive home but when I got home she was aggressive with my husband wouldn't bond to him at all, after a month of trying different things and going to a trainer I gave up. Wound up taking her back to the breeder.
 

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I'm struggling with my dads dog. He just doesn't seem to fit completely in and I haven't really bonded with him:( it is not his fault, it's mine. I made a promise to him and I need to get it together. I'm hoping that once I start him in obedience classes things will change. He is just so energetic and doesn't understand his role in the pack and likes to push Midnites buttons. I foresee a fight in their future if he doesn't get some manners quick, again my fault. I stay on top of it and watch them carefully. Hopefully with age and school he will tone it down a bit. I do find that I enjoy spending one on one time with him. He is learning how to be loveable. He also has learned how to catch a ball and bring it back. I can see in his eyes that he wants and needs to feel accepted and I will get us there eventually. Geez writing this makes me feel guilty and I gotta go play with him...
 

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My boy Shay -- it was supposed to be me and him roaming the world together adventuring as we desired. It started out great, but I had to go to Stanford when my dad had brain surgery for cancer. We were near the CalTrain tracks when a train went by full speed and scared him SO much. Then I got a special emergency approval to take him home on AmTrak due to an emergency at home compounding the emergency of my dad and had literally NO way home. On AmTrak, some guy grabbed him by the collar and scared him SO much. He was about 14 months old at the time and it just stuck like glue. He is afraid of buses/trucks/diesels/trains and strange men. We went to dog class and basic was okay, but we went to intermediate and there were three dogs that tried to attack him. Now he is beyond fearful of dogs (even the ones on DogTV). He's happy and loving at home and doing things like hiking and camping but he's so fearful. I added the sheltie because she's solid for roaming the world with and my husband has taken over my shepherd's heart (both homebodies). I think, though, he could have lived without the sheltie. She took over and he is not #1 anymore. If I could go back in time, I would go back to about this time 2012 and do everything over. We were on the right track to that point.
 

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Failing all along the way...I am....always learning however....

It's pretty true, many would agree...I hope...the more you learn and truly become aware, you simply find yourself in the same position...there is so much more to learn hence failure is always available.

Dogs have so much to offer....no limits, so it seems at times...it's all up to the human to take it where it ends up.

SuperG
 
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