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My last dog passed away last November and I decided in Dec I was ready for another dog and I always liked GSD's..a friend of mine had one and he was awsome. I knew little to nothing about the breed and their characteristics. I know..I was the idiot that got a dog because it looked cool was smart etc.

I got Roscoe (GSD) as an adoption from Craigslist. Roscoe was a year old. The previous owner told me he was forced to taking another job an did not have the time to spend with Roscoe. Looking back I now beleive Roscoe had bad fear agression and the guy didn't know what to do. When I first met Roscoe with the previous owner at first sight I loved him however Roscoe bit me in the stomach..no love returned..LOL. Anyways, I thought nothing of it and off to my house we went.

In all my internet reseach it all said get training get training. Part of me said I have had dogs all my life what do I need "special" training for? LOL. I had shelties, a couple mutts medium and large. For most of my adult life I had three dogs so I thought now it will be one why do I need training? I trained my other dogs they were ok for the most part. LOL.

I decided to start training in the begining of January and boy am I GLAD I did. I went to a one on one trainer. Roscoe was chock full of fear agression..BAD. When I first got him and walked him he did his best cujo act to any person walking down the street. Barking, hackle up, lunging the whole nine yards. I let him off leash twice when i first got because the previous owner said he loves frisbee..LOL he took off on me and it took quite a while to get him to stop the catch me if you can game they play. When I had guests over he would run up an bark, nip, and then run away an sit across the room and bark.

I would NEVER give up on a dog EVER. I figured hmm well I guess I am going to have to crate him when guests come over or not have guests over that much..I would do what I had to do and adjust my lifestyle for the dog..I didn't know any better until I went to a professional trainer.

When I went to the first training session my trainer was like "wow I am glad you came here because Roscoe could easily turn into a Red Zone dog" I was hmm ok whats a red zone dog? My training was twice a week for 6 months and my trainer was VERY cool..meaning training was suppose to be 2 hours a clip sometimes it would go as long as 6 hours. it was most ly me who was being trained. Thank-God I am self employed and things were slow this past winter and spring so I had the time. I learned so much and the results with Roscoe speak for themselves.

Today I went with my trainer to take Roscoe swimming. As we left the water in a public park I had Roscoe walking off lead in a perfect heel position with people all around us and walking by us.His fur was rubbing my thigh. Roscoe ignored them perfectly. I got in the car to leave and I had to get back out and thank my trainer. It just hit me so hard how far Roscoe came from January to the end of June. I can have guests over now he his social and friendly. When I walk him he no longer barks at people. He is 99.9% on his off leash recall under all sorts of distractions. I guess when something gradually changes under your nose sometimes you dont see the major change because you see the small stuff all the time daily. I put in a lot of time with him..I mean a lot..thank god I had the time.

I would say to anyone who is thinking of getting a GSD make sure you are willing to make the investment of time and money...the time spent with Roscoe is mind numbing when I think about it. But I have enjoyed every minute of it. After the intense training and everything I have learned I feel like an idiot with my previous dogs. Yes GSD's are intelleigent so intelligent they will outsmart a weak owner easily and when that happens so does fear agression and a lot of other unruly and unwanted behaviours. But when a handler is trained and committed to putting the time in they are the best breed ever. I can fully understand why a lot of GSD's end up in shelters - owners were clueless what they were getting into. I was one of them but I was committed to training and found a great trainer - Welcome to Shore Service Dogs.

When I first started thinking of getting a GSD I dreamed of the highly obdient an smart GSD that everyone loves and wants. When I first got Roscoe I was like hmm I didn't think it was going to be like this..ie barking lunging not listening etc. It all hit me today when I was walking in a park with people around and Roscoe off leash walking in a perfect heel fur rubbing my thigh. I looked down and thought yep you are the GSD I dreamed about but **** your a lot of work..LOL had me misty eyed.
 

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Wonderful story! Thumbs up to you for sticking it out and turning Roscoe into the balanced dog he was meant to be. Some people would have just given up on him (like his previous owner apparantly). I wish you many great years with your new improved buddy!!
 

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Brilliant work on your part for persevering! Well done and you have much to be proud of. We need photo's of him :)
 

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great story, I'm sure this dog has/will teach you soooo many things .

I'm also sure he came into your life for a reason,,glad you stuck it out with him, many would not have..

and definately we need PICTURES !
 

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My story with Onyx is similar, but I've had her since she was a young pup, so can't blame her past on her behavior(it is genetic).
All my previous dogs(GSD included) have been easily trained with no issues.
Onyx made me learn how to manage a FA dog and learn more about behavior, health, nutrition and everything in between. Had she been the easy type as my past dogs were, I'd still be just another dog owner!!
And had she gone to another home, she may have ended up as another shelter statistic.

Your trainer should be commended for helping you. Many don't treat FA the right way and it ends up backfiring.
Your story does show that fear aggression can be overcome!!!!! Thank you for sharing, please let your trainer know how special s/he is :thumbup:
May you and Roscoe have a happily ever after!!
 

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AWESOME! If Roscoe doesn't know how lucky he is to have you, we do!
 

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Thanks for the nice replies. Me give up? LOL Not an option..once I get a dog thats it...it's for life. Example one of my three dogs, he passed in 03, had hip dysplasia. At 9 months old he was falling down walking. He had two operations the one where they cut the femer bones and all that held him up was muscle. The physical therapy after that..OMG but he walked again just handicapped. Then the poor guy developed a problem with his immune system 5 years later..more vets and medication. He lived a relatively happy but handicapped life for 11 years before he passed.

With Roscoe I would have seriously just adjusted my life style. No more guests, on walks avoid people, avoid places with people etc..whatever I had to do because it was my responsibility to him. After training I realize that is foolish but prior I had no idea. All it took was some intense training on MY part and the trainer showing me what to do. Granted, 6 months 2 times per week with the average session 4 hourish is a little over the top BUT I had the time. The neat part is what learned with him works on other dogs perfectly. I am helping my GF re-potty train her lap dogs..works perfect on them. Same theories apply. They are just not as head strong and intelligent as a GSD.

I don't think Roscoe was an extrordinary or out of the ordinary case just another GSD who lacked the proper guidance and a handler who was initially clueless..lol me. I now have a DEEP respect for any GSD owner I meet with a well behaved Shepherd. I know the work it takes. Kinda what I love about this breed..like NILF on our end to them..they also make us work for it...wonder what they call it :). Besides the basic obdience and me learning to be the alpha and a strong handler..no easy feat..I had to build his confidence and my own in him. A lot of socialization ...lol a lot. So many trips to petsmart and hanging out buying nothing with "Hi I'm John will you pet my dog" as I had him on a leash with a pinch collar...the pinch collar did correct the barking and lunging and allow me to bring him up to people..lots and lots of people... which allowed me the oppurtunity to show and teach people are ok and actually fun. Today 99% of fear agression gone. I make it a big priority to never let a week go by without having him around people..ie strangers.

He is getting ready to take his therapy dog test which the trainer thinks he will pass with flying colors. Yep it is definitly the begining. He has opened a whole world of dog that I didn't know existed. I am joining a dock dog club with him...if you met him in January there would be NO WAY..My trainer thinks he would be good at shutzhund with the proper training and guidance..I know he would but not sure if I would...LOL..funny how most things with GSD's come down to the handler.

Having a deep appreciation for a well trained balanced dog has made me very wary now and easily annoyed with un-trained dogs Roscoe and I meet on walks outings etc. for me and Roscoe dog parks no way. I had a couple incidences where a smaller dog bit Roscoe..thank god Roscoe tolerated it and let me handle the situation...one the dog was unleashed came out of it's yard in the street where Roscoe was leashed and got him then the owner was blaming me until I pulled my cell phone out and said I am calling the police and animal control. A neighbor saw the whole incident..I never called but that lady was nuts...always the big bad GSD's fault.

I will definitly say this the breed I will have for life now...I love it. It seems like once you have a basic obedience trained and balanced shepherd anything after that is highly possible..ie shutzhund agility flyball dog frisbee routines etc.
 

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Many times the dogs breeding/genetics are the crux in how trainable they are. No matter how much socializing, training, etc they get they can still be a bag of nerves.

This is why it is so important to support the good breeders and do research into the lines.
I'm happy Roscoe ended up with such a devoted owner, he deserves it!
He's very handsome btw...I love the dark dogs :wub:
 

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Thanks for the nice replies. Me give up? LOL Not an option..once I get a dog thats it...it's for life. Example one of my three dogs, he passed in 03, had hip dysplasia. At 9 months old he was falling down walking. He had two operations the one where they cut the femer bones and all that held him up was muscle. The physical therapy after that..OMG but he walked again just handicapped. Then the poor guy developed a problem with his immune system 5 years later..more vets and medication. He lived a relatively happy but handicapped life for 11 years before he passed.

With Roscoe I would have seriously just adjusted my life style. No more guests, on walks avoid people, avoid places with people etc..whatever I had to do because it was my responsibility to him. After training I realize that is foolish but prior I had no idea. All it took was some intense training on MY part and the trainer showing me what to do. Granted, 6 months 2 times per week with the average session 4 hourish is a little over the top BUT I had the time. The neat part is what learned with him works on other dogs perfectly. I am helping my GF re-potty train her lap dogs..works perfect on them. Same theories apply. They are just not as head strong and intelligent as a GSD.

I don't think Roscoe was an extrordinary or out of the ordinary case just another GSD who lacked the proper guidance and a handler who was initially clueless..lol me. I now have a DEEP respect for any GSD owner I meet with a well behaved Shepherd. I know the work it takes. Kinda what I love about this breed..like NILF on our end to them..they also make us work for it...wonder what they call it :). Besides the basic obdience and me learning to be the alpha and a strong handler..no easy feat..I had to build his confidence and my own in him. A lot of socialization ...lol a lot. So many trips to petsmart and hanging out buying nothing with "Hi I'm John will you pet my dog" as I had him on a leash with a pinch collar...the pinch collar did correct the barking and lunging and allow me to bring him up to people..lots and lots of people... which allowed me the oppurtunity to show and teach people are ok and actually fun. Today 99% of fear agression gone. I make it a big priority to never let a week go by without having him around people..ie strangers.

He is getting ready to take his therapy dog test which the trainer thinks he will pass with flying colors. Yep it is definitly the begining. He has opened a whole world of dog that I didn't know existed. I am joining a dock dog club with him...if you met him in January there would be NO WAY..My trainer thinks he would be good at shutzhund with the proper training and guidance..I know he would but not sure if I would...LOL..funny how most things with GSD's come down to the handler.

Having a deep appreciation for a well trained balanced dog has made me very wary now and easily annoyed with un-trained dogs Roscoe and I meet on walks outings etc. for me and Roscoe dog parks no way. I had a couple incidences where a smaller dog bit Roscoe..thank god Roscoe tolerated it and let me handle the situation...one the dog was unleashed came out of it's yard in the street where Roscoe was leashed and got him then the owner was blaming me until I pulled my cell phone out and said I am calling the police and animal control. A neighbor saw the whole incident..I never called but that lady was nuts...always the big bad GSD's fault.

I will definitly say this the breed I will have for life now...I love it. It seems like once you have a basic obedience trained and balanced shepherd anything after that is highly possible..ie shutzhund agility flyball dog frisbee routines etc.
I think I love you :wub:

You are amazing. I wish more dog owners shared your view about getting a dog and not giving up on them. I wish more people took the time to train their dogs so that they behave amongst people. I wish more people did everything in their power to make the dog comfortable and more confident.

My Sinister is the first GSD I have ever owned and because of him, I will always have a GSD in my life. Always.
 

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I think this thread should be a sticky for the people considering getting a GSD for the first time, crown86 my hat is off to you and Roscoe, getting into Therapy work will open a whole new world to you and Roscoe, congrats
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Your trainer should be commended for helping you. Many don't treat FA the right way and it ends up backfiring.
Your story does show that fear aggression can be overcome!!!!! Thank you for sharing, please let your trainer know how special s/he is :thumbup:
May you and Roscoe have a happily ever after!!

The FA my trainer dealt with it by controlled socialization to build his confidence. I used to think it was kinda like face the fear and the fear dies...which I guess it is just a lot more controlled. It was very neat to watch my trainer handle Roscoe in public he would behave almost perfectly...turn the leash over to me and bang FA. She said besides his confidence it was mine that needed work also. He is a barometer of barometer on how I am feeling..lol before I feel it or think it...So I have to be on my toes of being calm and confident...Yes I owe my trainer many thanks. This was the first problem we worked on inconjunction with teaching me to become the alpha. Funny, I didn't realize becoming the alpha meant meant feeding roscoe out of my hand his morning food, making him "look at me", waving it under his nose, not allowing him to eat until he had a good stare on. I love my boy, but man it was nasty feeding him 3 cups off food out of my hand a handful at a time for three weeks...his slober was nasty. Even the way I said "look at me" was wrong initially. I would automatically tend to go higher up at the me part and my trainer would correct me each time...funny so would Roscoe if it was high he wouldn't look at me...when I matered saying "look at me" bang he looked at me.

Funny, I would ask my trainer why am I doing this she would say shut up an do it..I felt like the karate kid or something LOL Wax on Wax off.I NEVER dreamed all the small things like the above exercise lead up to the big stuff
 

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Ditto to LaRen's post! If only there were more like you in the world.
 
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