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A bit of a long story, perhaps convoluted, but thanks for reading.


When we adopted our pup a year ago, he was a good-sized boy (88 pounds, 30 inches @ the withers), bi-colored, and loud voiced. We have a neighbor that, from the time we brought him home, has made many disparaging comments – You better watch out for that dog, etc. Once while my wife was walking the dog on the street, he approached and made threatening insinuations that we should watch out, indicating he had his concealed carry license if the dog made any trouble. He has gone so far as to yell at my wife to “get that dog under control” while pup was on our property doing his business. He ceased yelling at my wife the day I stood in our driveway, staring him down.


Honestly, our pup is very protective. If he hears a car door, or someone knocks at our door, he alerts loudly and continuously until we investigate. When family or friends visit, he would make lots of noise until we learned that if we let him out to investigate, he was perfectly content.


Fast forward to last week. I stepped out to bring our trash cans back from the curb, and the pup came out with me off leash, as he has done many, many times over the last year. I get close to the end of the drive, tell him to stay, and he waits for me to come back and release him.


Well, this day, he went to the back of our house, so I decided to get the cans while he wandered. As I got to the street, the neighbor struck up a conversation with me – got me distracted. As we talked, pup came tearing across the yard, across the street, barking and finally jumped up on the neighbor. I called him, he came to me, all good (I thought). As I apologized, the neighbor talked for a minute, looked at his arm and said, “he got me”. He showed me an area on his arm about 1/8 inch that was bleeding. In hindsight, I believe a claw caused the injury. Pup has never bitten anyone.


Long story short, the neighbor called the sheriff’s office and reported the incident. They came out and took a report, informing us we would be visited by the animal resource center. When the folks from the ARC arrived, we were informed that due to the unprovoked “attack”, pup would be labeled as a dangerous dog. This requires us to put up warning signs, and keep him in an enclosed area (fenced yard or kennel) or on a leash/tether at all times. If off our property, he may also need to be muzzled.


I’m heart broken. I messed up big time by being distracted. I feel like I have doomed my pup to wearing this scarlet letter for the rest of his days, and he is only 3 years young.


So, on to my questions. Is this something that anyone else has experienced, and if so, what are your experiences? Does this albatross hang around his neck forever, unable to run off leash even at a dog park? Is there any way to get this wiped from his record? We have him in obedience training, and are working towards AKC Canine Good Citizen certification.



Again, thanks for reading, and any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Two things. Your dog is not ready to be off leash. He charged a neighbor and injured him. Instead of feeling bad, get training so that never happens again.

The other is that my neighbor’s rescue was off leash and charged at my dog from across the street. I was furious, but I did not call AC. I talked to the neighbor. Actually, kind of shouted at him. Be honest with yourself. Is your neighbor a thoughtless animal hater or were there signs before that might have worried him?
 

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I'm sorry that this happened but I have to agree too he needs more training. At 3 years old I wouldn't find it acceptable for a dog to be jumping on people. I'd expect that in a young un trained puppy perhaps but a dog over 80 lbs jumping and scratching people can be seriously intimidating especially to a person that isn't a dog person and if the dog is running around loose. I'd take this as a lesson and be grateful the dog didn't get put to sleep.
 

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I would be careful how you view him. You say he is protective, but what you wrote reads as not particularly clear-headed. Or perhaps a dog that hasn't been taught how to behave appropriately with other poeple. A stable dog that is actually protective will not attack a neighbor you are chatting with. There was no threat. I am incredibly sorry you are in this situation, and I’m very sorry your neighbor was on the receiving end of this. Continue to work with your dog and make sure you really proof his obedience. I wouldn’t let him call the shots in your home, nor would I allow him out with visitors. I would make everything extremely black and white for him.
 

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It's all hindsight now. But this guy has repeatedly provoked and yelled at your wife in front of this dog. Dogs remember. Did you ever report this guy for threatening you and your wife? He may have acted inappropriately. Or he may have been "hey...there's that jerk near my person"

So now, you put up a fence and you work twice as hard on obedience. And by obedience I mean OBEDIENCE. IPO level obedience. Not CGC level. If you say Down, he better drop. if you say Here, he better pivot and return. You just don't have any other options at this point. He doesn't get to make decisions on his own.

I'm sorry this happened. We weren't there to observe the back history or the event so I won't pass judgement on anyone. Unfortunately, your choices are very limited now. I would make sure to record any and all instances of the neighbor continuing to threaten you and do everything you can to contain and train your dog.
 

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USA always gets me. I was raiseid in the Europe, village, now living in Asia, village. I can't put my head around that somebody would call police over a dog bite. Not even talking about some scratch from pawn! :confused: I would expect that police would laught at your for reporting a dog bite. :laugh2: Completely different mentality I guess. And it even seems that it has serious consequences for both of you. :frown2:

Sorry I can't offer any advice.
 

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Sorry, this happened to you. A couple of things; 1) why would you even talk to this neighbor? I wouldn't give him the time of day. 2) Your dog is not a "pup", he is an adult German Shepherd. You should not be referring to this DOG as pup or view him that way anymore. That mentality of viewing the dog as a "pup" will cause more trouble.

You now know he will charge people, you should have known this already, and probably will bite. Don't make excuses, just mage your dog properly. I would never take him out in the front yard ever again off lead. You do not have the control over him and he will pay a very serious price if you do this again. Yes, this will be with your dog forever. You need to learn how to handle and own a dog like this. You have gotten your one freebie, he could have just as easily been hit by a car running across the street.

Your dog is not doomed by this scarlet letter by any means. I have dogs that will and have appropriately bitten people, they go everywhere with me. They are not off lead in my front yard and they are extremely well trained. I do not go to parks, and I suggest that you do not either. Dog parks can be nothing but trouble, especially with a dog with limited obedience and poor manners.

Honestly, I wouldn't worry about this too much. Accept who your dog is, what he can do and handle him appropriately. Don't put your dog in another bad situation, but enjoy your dog and do things with him. I would also avoid the neighbor, he sounds like a moron. It is a little odd that he had to tell your wife to "get your dog under control?" Obedience training is going to make a huge difference in your lives. Good luck with your boy and don't stress over this too much.
 

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USA always gets me. I was raiseid in the Europe, village, now living in Asia, village. I can't put my head around that somebody would call police over a dog bite. Not even talking about some scratch from pawn! :confused: I would expect that police would laught at your for reporting a dog bite. :laugh2: Completely different mentality I guess. And it even seems that it has serious consequences for both of you. :frown2:

Sorry I can't offer any advice.
Some people do not like getting jumped on and bit or even scratched by loose out of control dogs. Some people are very afraid of dogs. Some people do not like dogs. It is their right and we have to respect that and control our dogs.

People call the police for all kinds of things, you'd be surprised. In this case that was probably the best way to handle this. The neighbor had already voiced his concerns with the dog several times, now what he was worried about happened. Far better than him acting on the veiled threats he made in the past.
 

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I'm very sorry to hear that this happened. I have to echo what everyone else said - solid, strong obedience will go a long way with this dog. While dogs do remember negative behaviours from others, especially if it's compounded over the years, discretion and obedience makes a huge difference in their behaviour. I agree with what Slamdunc said... when we have large, intimidating dogs, it's kind of on us to be ambassadors for the breed and show that we have well mannered, well trained dogs that we have control over that won't cause unease.

Your dog may have to adhere to certain things now, due to having a history and a label, but it does not mean he is going to live a miserable life. It just means that it's on you to work with him so that he can be the best ambassador for the breed by showing the public that he is well behaved and under control at all times when in public. Yesterday I saw an APBT with both prong and muzzle on while I was walking downtown with friends. That dog looked perfectly happy and was incredibly well trained, and clearly was having a great time walking with his owner to enjoy the sunshine.
 
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Thanks to everyone that has responded for the positive comments, and I look forward to more.
A few comments just to clarify things.
This dog has been outside off leash in our yard almost every day since we have had him. He had previously received training from the original owners, as well as the rescue we got him from, and has never exhibited this type of behavior. While located at the rescue, he visited nursing homes and was beginning to learn to be a therapy dog. We have taken him into various retail locations, albeit on leash, and he has been an angel. That’s part of what makes this so puzzling.
He is currently in training with us at a professional facility to solidify and increase his obedience. We are currently pursuing CGC, but do not expect that to be the end. Not certain that IPO is in his future, but approaching that level is intended.
When we first got him, he had a bad habit of jumping on people to greet them. That behavior was addressed and, in general, he does not jump on anyone without their asking.
My use of the term “pup” is something I have done with all our previous dogs, regardless of age. Sorry if that presented the wrong impression. I am fully aware of his age, and I thank you for bringing that up.
Most of all, I truly appreciate all the comments that have provided me a less gloomy view of his future. I guess I feel that I failed him by not keeping an eye on him. Complacency can really bite you (no pun intended) when you least expect it.
 

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reality check -- sotp calling this big dog a pup "When we adopted our pup a year ago, he was a good-sized boy (88 pounds, 30 inches @ the withers), bi-colored, and loud voiced."

that is a big dog . That is a big GSD. He can be obnoxious with his loud mega-phone voice.

He is adopted. You said you adopted him one year ago and the dog was already 30 inches tall and a hefty 88 pounds .So the dog may be two or three years of age . Not a puppy.

Because

the neighour made it beyond crystal clear that he does not like the dog , does not like your management of him.
("s to yell at my wife to “get that dog under control” )

"Honestly, our pup is very protective. " Well maybe not . Maybe just reactive because this is not a threat "If he hears a car door, or someone knocks at our door, he alerts loudly and continuously " and if he were "very protective" then you would not have done this "if we let him out to investigate, he was perfectly content"

you don't know how the people will react -- they could trigger some prey or aggressive action.

if you think the dog is "very protective" then you need to take that into consideration and control the dog - not have him greet at the door -- not nuissance bark .

so the dog accompanies you off leash on a routine chore and instead of waiting in his spot to be released the dog casually decides to drift to the back of your house . That indicates that his training isn't as reliable . Out of sight out of mind .

now you need to take extra measures . A spacious kennel in your yard . Dog is put into tjhis kennel when outside and not under supervision. The "yard" is not good enough because doors are opened and dog can sneak out or fence run and bark.
Instead of running leash free you can strap on a pair of sneakers and job with the dog .
NO dog parks . you can't afford any more aggression tags on this dog .

Important that YOU and the dog go to a traiing class where the dog is taught all the basic exercises of the AKC
Companion Dog levels of obedience - and be tested , and score well , reliable , no fails in the exercises . You keep on going till you get it.

The dog must be taught quiet. He does not need to greet at the door - and no releasing the dog to make contact with the people who are at the door when the dog is over stmulated. He is rewarded for barking.

I see on re-reading your post that the dog is three years old. That is not a puppy.
 

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USA always gets me. I was raiseid in the Europe, village, now living in Asia, village. I can't put my head around that somebody would call police over a dog bite. Not even talking about some scratch from pawn! /forum/images/smilies/confused.gif I would expect that police would laught at your for reporting a dog bite. /forum/images/Germanshepherds_2016/smilies/tango_face_smile_big.png Completely different mentality I guess. And it even seems that it has serious consequences for both of you. /forum/images/Germanshepherds_2016/smilies/tango_face_sad.png

Sorry I can't offer any advice.
Completely agree.
 

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In this kind of situation, as hard as it mind sound, try and be thankful he's still your dog and they didn't take him away. Having your dog is a blessing everyday, and I hope this situation won't limit his life. And also, your neighbour is an arse.
 

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I agree with stopping referring to and perceiving this dog as a puppy/pup. This is extremely important.

Now you know.

The dog does not care one wit about the "scarlet letter." You do. You are now forced by law to be responsible with the dog, which is what you should have been all along. But, let's face it, many of us let our dogs run in our yard, fence or no fence while we are going to the car, getting the mail, or bringing in groceries.

And on occasion, some of us get a wake up call. Your dog went across the street (out of your yard) to go after the neighbor. The idea he was jumping on the neighbor to "greet" him, I think is odd. It sounds like this neighbor was no "friend" of his, and even a threat.

I also think that it is likely it was a claw and not a tooth. But, it doesn't matter, really. If he knocked the person down by his jumping up on him, then it would be just as bad.

I have a 5 year old male that has never liked horses, since the day I brought him home at about 18 months. I live with Amish across the street from me. All my dogs can run in my unfenced front yard because they run right to the car and wait there for me to let them in. Or the run to the back where the rest of the kennels are and they can bark at their buddies. Until Cujo decided that he really, REALLY did not like the horse that was being ridden down the road by the Amish fellow. He did not scratch or bite anyone, but it was highly embarrassing to get him out of the street and up into the house, without getting his head kicked in.

I am sorry this happened. Take it as a wake up call. Your dog could have been killed if he ran in front of a car, or if he actually did serious damage to the guy and the court ordered him put down, or if the guy did pull out his weapon and shoot the dog.
 

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Some consequences you need to keep in mind:

1. With this history, another bite often results in a euthanasia order--a canine death sentence. You have NO room for error. Your dog's life depends on your vigilance.

2. You likely have a duty to report this to your homeowners insurer even if the other guy doesn't sue. Check your policy on that. When you renew, you are representing to the insurer "I have no material change in risk". Having a dangerous dog designation is a material change. They underwrite based on the representation nothing changed. In some states, not telling them about a change in risk can trigger rescission (retroactive cancellation) if you ever have a claim, even unrelated to the dog. So if your home burns down years from now from an electric short, the investigator finds the public record of the bite incident, then they rescind your policy without paying for the fire. It is very scary in states that allow it. Read your policy documents to find out what your reporting obligation is, or talk to your agent.

3. You may lose HO coverage. Be ready to have to shop.

4. You may need a separate, expensive dog liability policy. That's often a condition of a dangerous dog order.
 

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It is good that you have a trainer. A couple things aren't clear though and maybe that info will help with seeking advice. I would defer to your trainer though. Experienced eyes on something is much much better than determining things from a texted post.

What was your wife doing when he yelled at her on multiple occasions? Was the dog bounding up to him? Barking at him while off lead?

You say he has been impeccable off lead on your property before, correct? So what made him yell at your wife on your property? If it was the mere presence of the dog I'd be highly suspicious of someone who was trying to create a situation where the dog would finally approach him...so he can sue or make you get rid of the dog because he hates GSDs or something..it genuinely happens.

Whether the guy was at fault, or you just weren't reading your dog being trusted off lead properly.. the only thing that matters is you couldn't stop him from making contact with someone, provoked or unprovoked.

It sounds cliche but there are people that plan these types of things. Not saying that is what happened, just introducing it as another possibility.

What happens next if you allow something to happen again varies greatly by state to state and even from municipality to municipality. Look at the town level, your town's dangerous dog statutes. Don't let it happen again of course..but IF it does at least you will know what is next.
 

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Oh and another thing because I just reread your OP. If your wife was walking down the street and the dog was not acting as a threat to him and HE was initiating threats and intimating he has a concealed carry, that is considered in most states as threatening in the absence of a need of self defense. In some states, threatening someone who is not threatening you, by saying you have a gun, carries the same penalty as "brandishing"

In NJ, brandishing is considered use of deadly force even if no shots are fired. So, I didn't look to see which state you are in, but your neighbor better watch his you know what when bragging about a firearm. Unless he is being threatened, saying stuff like that...most places...das verboten and could cost him at the minimum, his CC permit.
 

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A bit of a long story, perhaps convoluted, but thanks for reading.


When we adopted our pup a year ago, he was a good-sized boy (88 pounds, 30 inches @ the withers), bi-colored, and loud voiced. We have a neighbor that, from the time we brought him home, has made many disparaging comments – You better watch out for that dog, etc. Once while my wife was walking the dog on the street, he approached and made threatening insinuations that we should watch out, indicating he had his concealed carry license if the dog made any trouble. He has gone so far as to yell at my wife to “get that dog under control” while pup was on our property doing his business. He ceased yelling at my wife the day I stood in our driveway, staring him down.


Honestly, our pup is very protective. If he hears a car door, or someone knocks at our door, he alerts loudly and continuously until we investigate. When family or friends visit, he would make lots of noise until we learned that if we let him out to investigate, he was perfectly content.


Fast forward to last week. I stepped out to bring our trash cans back from the curb, and the pup came out with me off leash, as he has done many, many times over the last year. I get close to the end of the drive, tell him to stay, and he waits for me to come back and release him.


Well, this day, he went to the back of our house, so I decided to get the cans while he wandered. As I got to the street, the neighbor struck up a conversation with me – got me distracted. As we talked, pup came tearing across the yard, across the street, barking and finally jumped up on the neighbor. I called him, he came to me, all good (I thought). As I apologized, the neighbor talked for a minute, looked at his arm and said, “he got me”. He showed me an area on his arm about 1/8 inch that was bleeding. In hindsight, I believe a claw caused the injury. Pup has never bitten anyone.


Long story short, the neighbor called the sheriff’s office and reported the incident. They came out and took a report, informing us we would be visited by the animal resource center. When the folks from the ARC arrived, we were informed that due to the unprovoked “attack”, pup would be labeled as a dangerous dog. This requires us to put up warning signs, and keep him in an enclosed area (fenced yard or kennel) or on a leash/tether at all times. If off our property, he may also need to be muzzled.


I’m heart broken. I messed up big time by being distracted. I feel like I have doomed my pup to wearing this scarlet letter for the rest of his days, and he is only 3 years young.


So, on to my questions. Is this something that anyone else has experienced, and if so, what are your experiences? Does this albatross hang around his neck forever, unable to run off leash even at a dog park? Is there any way to get this wiped from his record? We have him in obedience training, and are working towards AKC Canine Good Citizen certification.



Again, thanks for reading, and any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.
First of all, I agree with others. Not a pup and referring to him as such lulls YOU into a false sense of security.
As to the bolded part, I KNOW that JQP has multiple issues with German Shepherds. I do all of this anyway. Unless we are somewhere appropriate my dogs are leashed, I don't do dog parks, My yard is fenced and my current dog is muzzled in public areas. I have warning signs up, I monitor my dog at ALL times outside and keep gates secured to prevent accidents.
I used to let Sabi accompany me to the sidewalk to get mail, toss the trash, or just chat with neighbors. Off leash but under firm control. Her OB was solid and ALL of my neighbors adored her and enjoyed her coming out to hold court. I also knew most of my neighbors did not like Bud or Shadow so both were never off leash in the area. Know your audience.
 

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I agree with everyone who has posted about taking precautions, but I do find it a bit sad that we live in a society where a dog who jumped up and barely scratched someone is determined instantly dangerous. I don't know the dog, and am going only off the OPs description, but this wasn't even a bite. No ER bills, no treatment required, dog might have barely scratched the guy- less than a kitchen accident with the carrot peeler and the dog is deemed dangerous and might die if the same exact minor thing happened again.

I guess the moral of the story is that you must have 100% control of your dog, at all times, and make no errors of any kind. Ever. Because that is the world we live in. Kind of scary, and puts a huge onus on GSD owners to train, manage and contain. But that is where we are as a society, I suppose.

I'm certainly not excusing jumping on strangers. Not at all, but I just wish that people would try to work toward resolution of something like this through meaningful dialogue, neighbor to neighbor, rather than jumping straight to the authorities.

OP- Train, train train! If there is one thing I train for it is emergency recall. Dog must stop on a dime and return to me at a specific command. I keep this command sharp and honed with practice. Could save your dog's life and also will prevent any future incidents. Make sure you not only work on the recall, but that the dog stays with you after the recall until released.

I think if you have a certain number of years with no incident and proof of training- CGC might help- the order can be lifted in some areas. You'd have to check local laws. I also would think you have right to appeal the order.
 

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one more thing in regards to training .

I do believe that you said you were going to a trainer - and that trainer better be balanced and clear in the head because there are those that are NOT.

I do believe you said that you may take him to IPO .

for YOU , I would NOT suggest this. JQP doesn't really understand what is going on.
You may not understand what your greater responsibility is or how to manage the dog with "the training"

If your excited neighbour finds out there will be an "ah hah!" moment wich consolidates and entrenches his
ideas that you WANT a VICIOUS dog .

this will work against you. Big time.

the canine good citizen , in my opinion , doesn't mean much .

join a training class -- so that you work with the other dogs of all sorts and dispositions.

you work , old phrase "in the sun" meaning that what and how you do will be open and seen
not hidden away with one opinion on your progress

you need to be able to demonstrate crisp reliable obedience and that is where the format of the AKC basic Companion Dog exercises come in handy

why not? we have discussed that level more than a few times over the years on this forum when trainers
who market "protection" dogs charge $$$$$$'s for categories that they fancify with names like "elite" level
when all it is is CD . , companion dog , heel, change of speed, left-right turns , about turn and stop and automatic sit . The a recall . A sit stay, a down stay , A stand for examination.
 
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