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Hello Hello. I used to avidly post on here for support, help, advice etc...Well. After Hurricane Harvey we relocated in Texas and our dog Apache is now 2 years old this month. If anyone cares to remember our issues with Apache...I'm sure that can be done easily on here :)

Well.... this should not come as a shock to many of you... we kept having recurring issues with him. Food aggression, growling when my oldest child would walk by, ( I notice if he was laying in his "spot" he would just randomly low growl at her. not okay. ) He was being very dominant. Not ALL of the time...sometimes he would act puppyish and very loving. This is all confusing because as you all know We have had him since he was 10 weeks old.

The breaking point was...when my husband was at work ( and my husband told me to pop him and be dominant. big mistake)

He low growled at my daughter...when she was walking by in the living room..I wasn't allowing that so I got up walked over to him and grabbed a folder, rolled it up and popped his nose and said NO SIR loudly.....he then showed his teeth and started growling at me...So I repeated popping him a couple of times...(please don't be too judgy on me..I am NOT a trainer.) and he got up and kind of lunged at me, and acted like he was going to bite me ( teeth on my hand) but he didn't penetrate my skin....you could say it was a bite, but he didn't actually bite. Make any sense?

I call my husband crying and very upset....mainly because I thought we would have to get rid of him and the whole ordeal was terribly upsetting. I love him dearly. But...in that instant I saw what can happen. I can't allow it to happen in our house. I just...thought that was our last day with Apache. Heartbreaking.

I had talked to a trainer who also lives in Texas...and that was when Apache was around a year of age...we talked and talked on the phone, but I never followed through.

My husband called him when this happened...explained our situation...and he came to our home and picked our dog up that same week...he dropped off a video for us to watch, about his training etc...and he did muzzle Apache because Apache was being very aggressive ( to be expected since he's had no training and he entered our home).


This was 8 weeks ago now....I have to stop myself from calling because I know he's trying to help and it's a real process. He did tell me on the phone when I called today...that he's making progress but it's a slow process and it takes time.


He used to train k9 dogs primarily and now does basic obedience mainly. I used to think I could never send him off...but I had.no.choice. I can't just get rid of him...he is our dog and we love him dearly...I am so worried...worried he's aggressive still and won't come back with progress...worried that he will still growl....it's just all heartbreaking because I figured after 8 weeks his progress would be phenomenal. I was told...in a nutshell...he is doing better...but it's taking time. He said he is aggressive...and it's taking work.


I hope I made the right choice. I honestly didn't have another one. Do you think...he will come back better? I just miss him so.
 

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There's a lot of info now on not extinguishing growls -- (I'm not saying your dog's behavior was acceptable) -- because a growl is a warning. But you want a dog that you can trust not to bite, not to boss the kids around, etc.



But I think the result is going to depend on your family following through with the dog. When he comes back you will probably need to take lessons on "dog". I suspect that optimally all of the family should be involved in this.


That's what I think but I'm something like 2k miles away....
 

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Hi, I applaud you that your family is spending the $$ to help this dog become a good member of your house hold and not just dropping him at a shelter or putting him down. People do that all the time, even when the love their dogs.

Just maybe, if Apache is an aggressive dog, would you consider letting the trainer "re-home" him? His personality might work well in another situation / job rather than family pet. Then you could open up your heart and home to another that has the right temperament for a family dog.
 

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First I admire that you are doing everything you can. At least whatever happens you know you tried your best.

Though nobody can (nor should) say with certainty what should be done based on a text description of a behavior...if a dog was growling at any family member just for walking by, especially with kids but in general, that is not a dog that I would have in the house period. I think if the trainer is good he may come back with a more controlled dog, but no I don't think you can train that type of temperament away. I would completely expect it to return once he settles in his house again. Rehoming a dog with these tendencies is not always doable either. Again, without seeing it I would not say for sure. It does not sound good though. I would see if the trainer can either keep him or place him with someone he knows can handle a dog like that. But, to be honest, the more breed savvy a person is the less likely they are to want to spend resources on a dog with genetic issues (unprovoked behavior is usually genetic) when there are was many stable dogs that they get asked to take as well. I also wanted to add that I know you know it wasn't the right thing to do, smacking him with a folder, that actually was provoked (the no teeth warning shot). I would not call that an unprovoked bite. However, you may have unwittingly pushed him to a place he really didn't need to be with his already cantankerous disposition. In other words incidents like that can only escalate a behavior.

It sounds to me like you are in a position I have been in before, and I know how tough it is to be where you are.
 

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I just read your older posts on Apache. From September 2017...from last April... I am not trying to mean, just trying to be real and to the point. This isn't going to get fixed. He has bitten your face...he has been handled wrong (nose pops, holding his snout, struck), that in combination with his genetic disposition WHO HE IS is just a powder keg situation. And you have a child. I'd be uneasy telling you do do anything except see if the trainer will keep him. People asked a few times but in skimming I did not see you answer- have you reached out to his breeder at all about this? A good breeder will want to know, and often always wants the dog back if the buyer can't keep him.

Again, not trying to be mean, just looking for out for all involved. Nobody can say without seeing the behavior if it is manageable or trainable..but I can say with kind confidence you are simply not equipped to be the family managing or training him. This is dangerous. Depending on his pedigree/genetics it could be handler aggression which some skilled K9 handlers can really work with considering their goals. You are not that person, neither is your husband. This dog might not be fixable or workable, but if he is he really deserves to be with someone who can mold him into some working potential.
 

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I just read your older posts on Apache. From September 2017...from last April... I am not trying to mean, just trying to be real and to the point. This isn't going to get fixed. He has bitten your face...he has been handled wrong (nose pops, holding his snout, struck), that in combination with his genetic disposition WHO HE IS is just a powder keg situation. And you have a child. I'd be uneasy telling you do do anything except see if the trainer will keep him. People asked a few times but in skimming I did not see you answer- have you reached out to his breeder at all about this? A good breeder will want to know, and often always wants the dog back if the buyer can't keep him.

Again, not trying to be mean, just looking for out for all involved. Nobody can say without seeing the behavior if it is manageable or trainable..but I can say with kind confidence you are simply not equipped to be the family managing or training him. This is dangerous. Depending on his pedigree/genetics it could be handler aggression which some skilled K9 handlers can really work with considering their goals. You are not that person, neither is your husband. This dog might not be fixable or workable, but if he is he really deserves to be with someone who can mold him into some working potential.
Beautifully said.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Hey everyone. So...let me add some clarification. ( please I hope I do not sound rude, it's the typing! :) )

My dog....Apache...maybe I shouldn't have thrown the world "aggressive" around like I did in this post, true...he has shown aggressive behaviors...but overall he is a pretty darn good boy. The behaviors are unacceptable though. We bought him from a good reputable breeder, solid bloodline.

He shows affection and love towards all of us , even the children...at night he walks the house and checks on them in their beds...I know that it is SO very hard...to try and convince others about his behavior, when I am really the only one other than the husband who SEES it...well, and the dog trainer when he picked him up of course.

When I spoke on the phone...to check on my dog....he said that he has "high hopes" and he is just not as docile as some dogs may be....he has shown fear aggression when he arrove to the kennels and both the trainer and I can understand that. I value all feedback, I can't lie...it's a dagger in my heart when "re home" is mentioned...I am trying to avoid that at all extremes. If that means when the he comes back and we all need to incorporate changed behaviors ourselves...we will do it. Walking more, working more, etc. I DO notice.....if this means anything at all.... that when I wear him out physically he is too tired to act dominant. He definitely seems happier and tired of course. lol. I know it is hard...for me to type out ALL of the behaviors he has exhibited....I would think...if he wanted to actually cause damage he could have by now. Is that ignorant to think??

He loves my mom and brother fyi, he has basically been in our home and "outside" to potty and run around....so we didn't socialize properly and I can unfortunately admit that. His trainer said for week one he had a red clip on his kennel for aggressive, to warn the helpers. But in retrospect I can understand that, I'm sure he felt fear, abandonment, etc. I was told. He is showing improvements but the true test will be when he brings him home. He will stay for 2 hours and we will all go over what has been done....and what we need to continue in order for it to work at home.

He says Apache needs to pass with 90 percent at home when he comes back....I'm no trainer so it's kind of hard to understand all of the technical terms I was given....

He is still unneutered also.
 

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I don't think neutering will solve this behavior. Things like "dog belongs on the floor and not the bed" help. Getting the dog a "job" also helps. (ie give him something productive to do). The trainer probably has some suggestions. From here, I'll add that a dog with good drive needs work -- it can be really sad when they don't get it and end up making their own. Doesn't bode well for the human/dog relationship.
 

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What we replied was not what you wanted to hear..l get that.
I get that you love him, I get that, somehow, you think this could have been your fault and that you can fix him.
It isn’t, and I don’t know if you can. What I do know is that you can’t change this type of dog into a sweet pet.
The dog is who he is, and no amount of socialization would have changed that.
The red tag in his ear around professionals would be enough to convince me.


There are so many wonderful dogs out there needing loving homes. Remember that, when you consider what you need to do.
You keep repeating, “ I am no trainer.”
A GSD is for homes where owners know how to train. They are not “adopt and let him hang around the house and all will be fine” dogs.

PS— neutering, if anything, might make him even more aggressive.
 

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yes.....point taken and you are correct. I've had to learn all of the the hard way rather than the easier/simpler way. I used to think he was a lazier shepherd and didn't require so much...but I was wrong!! I've done him disservice by not giving him all of what he needs. I hope to God that some real changes will show a true improvement.
 

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yes.....point taken and you are correct. I've had to learn all of the the hard way rather than the easier/simpler way. I used to think he was a lazier shepherd and didn't require so much...but I was wrong!! I've done him disservice by not giving him all of what he needs. I hope to God that some real changes will show a true improvement.
Please stop blaming yourself.
The dog is who he is.

Please put your children above this dog. He is an animal. We tend to humanize dogs too much.
Rehoming is not a horrible thing. It is actually necessary, if the dog is not a good fit.
Think without your heart interfering. If he does something to one of your children, you will never forgive yourself.
 

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I just want to say I really, truly admire your behavior here. Your response to the situation and how everyone has responded to this thread, you have really inspired me. You are such a wonderful dog mom. You are doing everything right in this situation. I wish you the best of luck, and my heart breaks for you, you seem like a wonderful person. Sending hugs, I am sure this isn't easy.
 

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i ddin't ready your past posts but yea loving your dog is fine, but making sure they are compatible with your existing family is more important.
like someone said, what if something were to happen to your kids.

i don't like to assess dogs over the internet because i simply am not an expert, and more importantly, i'm not there in person to see and feel the dog. we are all just going off of the little snippets of behaviors and little summaries that you provide in word form.

it doesn't matter if you are bringing in a new dog or a new human into your existing family, if they can't get along, then the new addition must go. they are simply not compatible.

anyways, i wish you a favorable outcome.
 

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He low growled at my daughter...when she was walking by in the living room..I wasn't allowing that so I got up walked over to him and grabbed a folder, rolled it up and popped his nose and said NO SIR loudly.....he then showed his teeth and started growling at me...So I repeated popping him a couple of times...(please don't be too judgy on me..I am NOT a trainer.) and he got up and kind of lunged at me, and acted like he was going to bite me ( teeth on my hand) but he didn't penetrate my skin....you could say it was a bite, but he didn't actually bite. Make any sense?
Yes, I'm sure he could have done much more damage to you (or your daughter) if he had wanted to. It's still really alarming though. Did he leave puncture wounds? How old are your kids? As a mother of two young boys, it worries me that Apache is growling at your kids just for walking past him in the room. I think it's phenomenal that you're working with a trainer, and if the trainer is hopeful then so am I, but if you bring him home and find this kind of behavior creeping back in (and it might not!), I'd probably think about re-homing him while you still can. I am really sorry to say that. I know it's not what anyone who loves their dog wants to hear, but if he ends up biting someone (especially a kid) that's a really bad situation for everyone, including the dog. Does he challenge your husband too, or only you and the kids? I agree with others who have said to talk to the breeder, if you haven't already.
 

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I'll begin by saying that I hope this trainer is good enough....confident enough and cares enough for Apache that he'll take the TIME and put in the effort to gain Apache's trust......I'd have hopes that the problem may be fixable....granted I'm seeing Apache through your words here..not through the eyes of your family...to me it says a lot that IMO he had you right where he wanted you when you had the rolled up folder and yet...he didn't draw blood.......


I hope the trainer if he thinks the situation can work...spends enough time with both you and your husband to get one OR both of you on board for training with Apache....exercising and spending time simply playing with him...it's a recipe that usually doesn't fail with these dogs.....it's clear you've been doing things wrong at home and you already know that.....I do have a question I don't think you mentioned---how is Apache with your husband ?....how do you think Apache sees him ?...does he respect your husband at all in your opinion?....or...does your husband not spend much time with him?


Anyway ...please..PLEASE keep us posted on how this goes for you guys....since I've dealt with problem dogs before I always pull for and believe in the dog... every time....good luck to you and your family...
 

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I don’t think you did anything wrong so much as you didn’t do enough right for that dog, if that makes sense, but the dog is not a match for your abilities or for your family. If it’s taking an experienced trainer 8 weeks to make a little progress, I think you are not facing reality. GSDs need firm handling from an early age. If they don’t get it they develop their own habits. Some dogs are solid enough that weak handling doesn’t really affect them negatively. I had a rescue who occasionally fear bit a stranger but was very good with family I didn’t do anything wrong, he came that way. I am experienced but I couldn’t get him past that, so we managed him. I would not keep a dog that has tried to or might bite a family member. Now that the trainer knows him, please seriously consider giving him up and replacing him with a family dog. Loving a dog sometimes means giving him up.

A woman contacted me about her friend’s rescued shelter dog. It was a beautiful young female who had become leash aggressive and the woman was unable to handle him. I offered to help her train the dog, but I soon realized she and the dog were not a good match. It broke her heart but she found a younger couple with GSD experience who had the time and knowledge to handle her dog. The woman is going to either get a Golden puppy or a very carefully selected German Shepherd rescue dog,
 

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The way I'm reading your initial post and subsequent replies is the absence of what you and your family as a unit is working on while Apache is in training. Since you have already agreed that you aren't a trainer thus lack experience, have you considered going out as a family and just learning about dogs. I.e., visit a dog park (stay outside of the fence and do not interact with the other dogs. It should be considered a training session for you.) and just observe. Observe the dogs. Observed the owners. Then go home and discuss it and research dog body language. Practice with your children things that strengthen self discipline. Practice a daily schedule that you will have for Apache. Play time, the whole family go play as if apache were there. Practice how you should play. Practice walks, full length of an expected walk, and appropriate behavior for calmness. Practice appropriate praise and rewards. Have you talked to the trainer and asked what you can do to instill the changes that you and family have to make while Apache is in training. Practice at home appropriate behavior towards apache with your children while Dh takes on the roll of Apache using different scenarios. You take on apache's character and act out as Apache would and have the rest of the family practice how to appropriately handle you.

These things may sound hair brained (it probably is since it is just my thought process and have never seen it suggested before) and ton of work but if nothing else, at least it will show whether or not the family can stick with a schedule and stick with the changes. If you aren't able to Practice every single day, rain or shine, tired or well rested, in a bad mood or happy mood (no exceptions)while he is in training then imho, you need to contact the breeder or ask the trainer for help with rehoming to an experienced person. If your family fails to practice every single day, then you have your answer as to whether or not the training that is done with him will hold up or come undone.

Fwiw, what I suggested is what I would be willing to do if I were in the same boat. I hope a resolution for Apache is found.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'll begin by saying that I hope this trainer is good enough....confident enough and cares enough for Apache that he'll take the TIME and put in the effort to gain Apache's trust......I'd have hopes that the problem may be fixable....granted I'm seeing Apache through your words here..not through the eyes of your family...to me it says a lot that IMO he had you right where he wanted you when you had the rolled up folder and yet...he didn't draw blood.......


I hope the trainer if he thinks the situation can work...spends enough time with both you and your husband to get one OR both of you on board for training with Apache....exercising and spending time simply playing with him...it's a recipe that usually doesn't fail with these dogs.....it's clear you've been doing things wrong at home and you already know that.....I do have a question I don't think you mentioned---how is Apache with your husband ?....how do you think Apache sees him ?...does he respect your husband at all in your opinion?....or...does your husband not spend much time with him?


Anyway ...please..PLEASE keep us posted on how this goes for you guys....since I've dealt with problem dogs before I always pull for and believe in the dog... every time....good luck to you and your family...
Hello! Okay... I can definitely give more information. I know this is the internet so it's really hard to get the best "picture" of this situation.

Apache respects my husband. He has gotten a little bratty with him once in a great while ( maybe if he's not feeling great, he had sprained his leg a couple of times and was grumpy...he would growl a BIT at him also just being a teen i'd call it...and immediately he would feel guilt and rush over to him and lay his head in between Aaron's legs, trying to make up)


He definitely respects Aaron most. When I was sick....I had a BAD flu for a whole week...he layed on my bed beside me the entire time, hardly leaving my side. I know that's not really an important piece of info...but he definitely has a loving demeanor when he's not being a brat.


As far as his trainer goes.....He came and stayed for almost 2 hours, sat and spoke with us and he has been doing this for over 30 years....he seemed down to earth and his main concern is TIME and not RUSH. He really emphasized the time...that it will take to help change the behaviors he's been showing. He doesn't believe in sending a dog off for 3 weeks and expecting a big change, he said that it simply doesn't work that way.


I really am putting so much hope and trust in him...When he returns with Apache ( it's been 8 weeks now. he usually trains dogs for 8 weeks but he told me since Apache is 2 years old and it's time consuming to change those behaviors, he says he spent the first 2 weeks basically trying to earn his trust) when he returns he said he will stay a good two hours and he will hopefully pass the home test he gives him with a 90 percent success...also he will go over details and what WE need to do to maintain the changed behaviors.


I think when I called him..i thought...Gee it's been 8 weeks! Time to get my dog home! He basically let me know it's a job doing this and he's trying to do different training and techniques every week, slowly introducing to him. I'd rather him stay a little longer and actually have success than him rushed back home.

thoughts??
 
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