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Hi all: don't even know where to begin. Very long, sad story, will try to make brief:

I am looking for a home for my 2-year old (will be 3 in Feb), intact male purebred long haired boy Silas. Know this first - he is ... aggressive/potentially aggressive. I am going to copy and paste below here from other emails I've sent to various people to try to make this easier to describe his basic issues.

Sent this April, 2019 to potential trainer:
"Basically he’s been wary of other dogs and people since he was a puppy. Same terrified of other dogs so I just stopped trying to socialize him with them. He was OK with people until he was being mouthy at the vet and they muzzled him. When the muzzle came off he lunged at the vet tech, this was around seven months old. I then took him to a trainer last summer who was a nightmare: alpha rolled him, dragged him around Through an agility course on a leash when Silas was clearly terrified, etc. Very dominating. On the third session, Silas took one look at him and ran up and bit him on the arm, no growl, no warning. I stopped the training sessions after that. When people come over, I keep him outside. He becomes very agitated and barks but there’s times where it does seem like he wants to play. It’s very hard to tell if he’ll bite someone and obviously I don’t want take the chance as I think he might when they turn their back. I’m obviously very anxious around him whenever we encounter people so certainly he’s picking up on that. He’s extremely sensitive in general, I can barely even brush him. But of course, he can be amazingly sweet with me."

This trainer did come and evaluate him -- she said she could help him but that I would need to let her take him to her place for up to a month. She offered an EXTREMELY fair rate (under $3000) to do so, but sadly, I cannot afford it. She thought that perhaps he is not "fear aggressive" but seemed to react to *movement* as he was calm with her near (wisely, she did not attempt to touch him) but as soon as she moved, he reacted by lunging and barking. She did say that if he she (or another trainer) did not work with him, he probably should be euthanized.

On that last bit: I called his breeder earlier this year, described the situation. She was very kind as was I -- I'd been to the property and have full confidence his breeder did nothing wrong/are quality breeders. She was concerned he may hurt me someday (I'm female, 5.7, 117 pounds) or someone else and thinks he is unhappy/anxious, etc. She recommended putting him down.

My veterinarian agreed to put him down, should it come to that. (He still has not been to vet although we did work with him to wear a muzzle around the house. I am going to attempt to take him to vet soon for at least Rabies shot in new few weeks -- will see how that goes.)

He was evaluated by a PhD in Animal Behavior when he was a year old and showing these behaviors, March 2018. Key snippets from her report:

"To be up front from the “get-go” I have to say, and will say many times in this report that I find Silas to be a serious liability. My recommendations begin with safe management + training respectful behavior towards you and you son. I’ve included some information about managing Silas with strangers but we really can’t put the cart before the horse. He needs to listen to you in no uncertain terms and because he’s a super smart, albeit highly anxious dog, training will benefit him for a variety of reasons. If you want to keep him in your home, avoid being injured or getting sued I’d jump on the training bandwagon ASAP. I don’t care a lot about what you train him to do. I supply some general recommendations in the handouts and Training section below but we’ve got to get his youthful cheeky behavior on the home front under control. "
"his young behavioral history speaks more to me about a genetic fearful tendency than a specific issue with other dogs UNLESS he had some particularly untoward negative experiences very early on. I think he is insecure by nature and likely always has been. I’m going to toss this instinct out here in the middle of all my thoughts and tell you it crosses my mind more than once that you and Silas are equally excitable, emotional soul mates but that may not make you the best pair for the long-term. I understand you are emotionally and financially invested in Silas but you are going to need to make some significant changes in your behavior and emotions in order to keep him safe with you…said out of kindness and not judgment. "
"You really need to seriously work on changing your relationship if you want to safely keep Silas in your home. He seems incapable of adjusting his emotional state towards his presumed “enemy” or “competitor”. I do believe Silas views you as more of a resource than a guardian. I am sorry to be so negative over and over again, but Silas is a behavioral caution. You can’t travel. Boarding and pet sitters are not an option. Entertaining guests is a liability. Basically Silas holds you hostage. I understand behavioral euthanasia is not an option for you. I get that, I truly do, BUT I really wish you would consider reviewing your contract and contacting the breeder. OK. I’ve had my say….sort of… and I’ll move forward with recommendations as to how you and Silas can move forward to safely cohabitate."

So that's a bit of what's going on in a wordy nutshell. He is also on Prozac, has been for about 7 months, don't see much of a change. He continues to be WAY undersocialized and I accept full responsibility for that: this has become a vicious circle as I am afraid to take him out for fear he'll become reactive (and would YOU want to see a 117-pound woman in public with a lunging GSD??? Probably not. I'd fear she couldn't control him, rightfully so.) Also, full disclaimer, due to personal situations, I've been out of state nearly every weekend for past 8 months during which my 20-year old is home with him. I fully accept that this doesn't help the situation and am ashamed. I have owned one other GSD for 9 years before -- so I'm not a COMPLETE newbie but not the most experienced either.

Bottom line: there MAY be hope for him in home with experienced GSD owners. Or, I may have to face facts and eventually euthanize. But this breaks my heart.

I'm not sure how this works from here but should anyone be interested, of course I will have to be sure he will be safe. I did post an ad on Craiglist for about 24 hours a few months with a similar post and was horrified: received messages like "Don't give him to someone named "Ann," she is my aunt and already talking about duct-taping his mouth and breeding him!" and "Be careful, people will use your dog to train for dog fights." IT WAS HORRIBLE.

But here, we are GSD folks and ... I don't know. Maybe there's a chance for my poor boy to have a happy life somewhere.

Thank you.
 

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I would do a vet check and blood panel merely for my own peace of mind ..check thyroid, tick borne illnesses..and if it came back ok which I strongly suspect it would I would probably euthanize this dog. I normally would not say that based on a thread of text, but it sounds like you have already been steered in that direction by accredited trainers and behaviorists who are concerned about safety. That t me is a huge flag. And you have a son? That is deal break stuff for me.

You can't rehome him. You will never truly know what his future holds. He may hurt someone while under control of someone who "thinks" they can control him. They may hurt Silas. There are so many bad things that can happen with a dog like this. Unless I personally knew a well known K9 person who would take him on, I would not be offereing this dog out for rehoming.

I am so sorry. I have had to do this twice in my life, once due to mystery change in behavior (could have been medical or genetic). Spent a TON of money on vet tests and top notch trainers. The other dog was pure genetics. Very unstable dog that was always waiting for death to come knocking, from puppyhood, from day one, like what you are describing. He reacted to being startled by biting. Everyone who knew him (and I hang out with trainers) supported the decision. Shame but he needed to be released from his demons. Seclusion is no life for a dog, and like a previous poster said he was a dog that would keep an owner hostage should they choose management.

Please stay FAR away from craigslist or FB listings. Honestly if the breeder said to euth..I mean..I know you said the breeder did nothing wrong, but I seriously hope the breeder seriously reconsiders this dog's pairing of lines that were used as not suitable for future breeding.

Again. very sorry. Been where you are.
 

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I would never ever ever put an ad on Craigslist or Facebook to rehome this dog. If you want an experiment, post again and state he has been altered (neutered) and see the change in responses you get. I still wouldn’t rehome him that way, but it’s interesting to see that responses to the ad will go wayyyyy down, because unscrupulous people would likely do a one off breeding and pass him along to another BYB, creating who knows how many pups that could have the same ending as yours.

Are you actually wanting to rehome, or would you prefer a board and train and just can’t afford it? I’m getting both vibes from what I’ve read.

For me personally, I wouldn’t euthanize, but I wouldn’t rehome either unless a full background check was run, and had an attorney draw up a contract releasing you from all liability after transfer of ownership. But I’ve spent 20 years taking in aggressive dogs that are on their way to euthanasia. My current senior was exactly like your boy, except I got her when she was 4 and they no longer wanted to deal with her aggression to get money from her pups. But it will be difficult, if not impossible to find someone willing to not only take on your dog, but all liability as well.

I’ll be blunt, it seems like you probably handle him with kid gloves, and don’t like confrontation in any form. If I took any of my dogs to a trainer, and they pulled any macho alpha crap, I’d step in and immediately end the session, and tell them their services were no longer required. My vet also knows, and has a big neon note on the front of al my dogs files, that if a muzzle is necessary for any reason (beyond an emergency) that they are to notify me, and I will muzzle my dog. Not only do you need to be a confident handler, you need to be the spokesman for your dog as well. Both scenarios did nothing to help your dog. I’m really not trying to be rude, and I could be reading you all wrong, but when it comes to dogs, I tend to be more outspoken and direct.

If you don’t mind answering, how much did the trainer want to take him for a month? If you don’t want to post, you can PM me.

If your only two options are to rehome or euthanize, I would opt for euthanasia if you weren’t confident in the person you are rehoming to. I would personally demand a full tour of their home and yard, ask for any prior training or trialing experience they had, with proof, and go all Sherlock Holmes on all their social media accounts to ensure they have never bred any animal before. Or have him altered before rehoming to prevent anyone from breeding him.

The behavioralist was correct, the dog will likely need a lifetime of management. My senior is still one of those that requires it, but I have taken her from attacking me and shredding my arms the first two weeks, biting (or trying to bite) any dog or person that came near her, to her successfully living in peace with 4 children and 3 other dogs. She’s loyal, sweet, cuddly, and amazing, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world, but it took a lot of time and constant effort to get her there, and like I said, we still have a lifestyle of management with her. It is what it is genetic wise, so we work with what we have. She does go in public now, she’s walked daily with zero issues, and she still loved to hike with me even though her joints didn’t. She’s the most loyal dog I’ve owned. So there is hope, but it’s a long shot finding someone willing to take on that type of project.

What part of CT are you in? Maybe, if you’re interested in keeping him, members here could give you excellent trainer information that may be the turning point you need.

Good luck on whichever decision you make, and please keep us updated.
 

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That looks like a west german showline. Have you contacted the breeder? That is really this dog's only option. You can not rehome a dog that has been designated a "serious liability". It's incredibly wrong on many levels and setting this dog up to live a life of **** in the wrong hands.

And - if you have a contract then you are legally obligated to return this dog to the breeder per the contract.
 

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Are you sure that person was an actual behaviorist? I've read behavior reports on dogs before and they didn't sound anything like that.

It does not sound like a dog you can keep or rehome responsibly. Can you give him back to the breeder and let them do as they see fit?
 

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I would do a vet check and blood panel merely for my own peace of mind ..check thyroid, tick borne illnesses..and if it came back ok which I strongly suspect it would I would probably euthanize this dog. I normally would not say that based on a thread of text, but it sounds like you have already been steered in that direction by accredited trainers and behaviorists who are concerned about safety. That t me is a huge flag. And you have a son? That is deal break stuff for me.

You can't rehome him. You will never truly know what his future holds. He may hurt someone while under control of someone who "thinks" they can control him. They may hurt Silas. There are so many bad things that can happen with a dog like this. Unless I personally knew a well known K9 person who would take him on, I would not be offereing this dog out for rehoming.

I am so sorry. I have had to do this twice in my life, once due to mystery change in behavior (could have been medical or genetic). Spent a TON of money on vet tests and top notch trainers. The other dog was pure genetics. Very unstable dog that was always waiting for death to come knocking, from puppyhood, from day one, like what you are describing. He reacted to being startled by biting. Everyone who knew him (and I hang out with trainers) supported the decision. Shame but he needed to be released from his demons. Seclusion is no life for a dog, and like a previous poster said he was a dog that would keep an owner hostage should they choose management.

Please stay FAR away from craigslist or FB listings. Honestly if the breeder said to euth..I mean..I know you said the breeder did nothing wrong, but I seriously hope the breeder seriously reconsiders this dog's pairing of lines that were used as not suitable for future breeding.

Again. very sorry. Been where you are.
100% agree.

Frankly I think it is way more humane to this poor dog in the grand scheme of things to bring him home some hamburgers, fill em up with tranquilizers and let the last thing he knows be his person feeding him hamburgers
 

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It is hard to assess these types of things online but usually, the problem lies with a variety of innate traits of the dog in the hands of an ineffective owner. The German Shepherd is not supposed to be the right dog for every family but the perfect dog for the right family. I would not put this dog down. I would enlist the breeder's help in assessment and rehoming or I would locate somebody who truly is experienced in the breed and that does not necessarily mean a trainer that has five German Shepherds but somebody experienced with herding breeds and aggression and have them help rehome this dog. The dog should not pay with its life because it is in the wrong home.
 

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He bit a veterinarian and a trainer. The trainer seemed like be did not know what he was doing. Just because people are professional does not mean they are any good.
He can not come in the house because you are in fear he will go after friends and guests but you are not sure. First of all I would never quickly give someone advise to put their dog down unless there was some obvious wires crossed with the dog. The dog just seems he has some nerve issues and needs some structure and instruction but the biggest thing is handling. He was put on Prozac not sure how necessary or helpful that is.
I would also would not rehome the dog on Craigslist , facebook or who just wants a gsd that would be a disaster.
I do think the right home can be found through an experienced trainer that can also further evaluate the dog.
 

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Two questions: How serious are the bites? Did they require stitches/hospital treatment?
What are his lines? I am interested in knowing what lines produce dogs like this that are not stable, so as to avoid these combinations when breeding.

If you don't want to post this info publicly, please PM me.

I THINK this dog can be reformed, but it would require much, much more experience with dogs than you have. The problem is most people with that level of experience have dogs of their own, and unless they own a kennel, or have a large enough property that the dogs could be completely separated, would be afraid of him attacking and hurting their own dogs, so would be reluctant to take him on.

If he were mine, I'd get him neutered, to avoid having him fall into the wrong hands, and be used for breeding.
 

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Two questions: How serious are the bites? Did they require stitches/hospital treatment?
What are his lines? I am interested in knowing what lines produce dogs like this that are not stable, so as to avoid these combinations when breeding.

If you don't want to post this info publicly, please PM me.

I THINK this dog can be reformed, but it would require much, much more experience with dogs than you have. The problem is most people with that level of experience have dogs of their own, and unless they own a kennel, or have a large enough property that the dogs could be completely separated, would be afraid of him attacking and hurting their own dogs, so would be reluctant to take him on.

If he were mine, I'd get him neutered, to avoid having him fall into the wrong hands, and be used for breeding.
That's the bottom line....there pribably are prople out there who could turn him around but they don't want to deal with it, and there are WAY fewer of those people than there are dogs like this, so....
 

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It is hard to assess these types of things online but usually, the problem lies with a variety of innate traits of the dog in the hands of an ineffective owner. The German Shepherd is not supposed to be the right dog for every family but the perfect dog for the right family. I would not put this dog down. I would enlist the breeder's help in assessment and rehoming or I would locate somebody who truly is experienced in the breed and that does not necessarily mean a trainer that has five German Shepherds but somebody experienced with herding breeds and aggression and have them help rehome this dog. The dog should not pay with its life because it is in the wrong home.
That should be the breeder's job to help facilitate that but unless I am mistaken the breeder recommended to euth the dog
 

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If he is good with family, and not randomly aggressive, he can be rehomed, but it will take work. He is very handsome. Behaviorists, in my opinion are useless for the most part. If my dog was treated like that by a trainer, he'd bite him, too. It's not uncommon for a GSD to react to poor and unfair handling by a stranger with aggression. If the breeder can help with rehoming, I'd go that route.

It sounds to me like the OP has been getting bad advice from the people she's sought for help. Does anyone have a trainer recommendation in her area, so she can at least get the dog evaluated competently?

And to the OP, plenty of trainers will opt for euthanasia because they don't know what they are doing and it is easier for them. Don't go that route yet, at least give the dog a chance and get another eval.
 

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Hi all: don't even know where to begin. Very long, sad story, will try to make brief:

I am looking for a home for my 2-year old (will be 3 in Feb), intact male purebred long haired boy Silas. Know this first - he is ... aggressive/potentially aggressive. I am going to copy and paste below here from other emails I've sent to various people to try to make this easier to describe his basic issues.

Sent this April, 2019 to potential trainer:
"Basically he’s been wary of other dogs and people since he was a puppy. Same terrified of other dogs so I just stopped trying to socialize him with them. He was OK with people until he was being mouthy at the vet and they muzzled him. When the muzzle came off he lunged at the vet tech, this was around seven months old. I then took him to a trainer last summer who was a nightmare: alpha rolled him, dragged him around Through an agility course on a leash when Silas was clearly terrified, etc. Very dominating. On the third session, Silas took one look at him and ran up and bit him on the arm, no growl, no warning. I stopped the training sessions after that. When people come over, I keep him outside. He becomes very agitated and barks but there’s times where it does seem like he wants to play. It’s very hard to tell if he’ll bite someone and obviously I don’t want take the chance as I think he might when they turn their back. I’m obviously very anxious around him whenever we encounter people so certainly he’s picking up on that. He’s extremely sensitive in general, I can barely even brush him. But of course, he can be amazingly sweet with me."

This trainer did come and evaluate him -- she said she could help him but that I would need to let her take him to her place for up to a month. She offered an EXTREMELY fair rate (under $3000) to do so, but sadly, I cannot afford it. She thought that perhaps he is not "fear aggressive" but seemed to react to *movement* as he was calm with her near (wisely, she did not attempt to touch him) but as soon as she moved, he reacted by lunging and barking. She did say that if he she (or another trainer) did not work with him, he probably should be euthanized.

On that last bit: I called his breeder earlier this year, described the situation. She was very kind as was I -- I'd been to the property and have full confidence his breeder did nothing wrong/are quality breeders. She was concerned he may hurt me someday (I'm female, 5.7, 117 pounds) or someone else and thinks he is unhappy/anxious, etc. She recommended putting him down.

My veterinarian agreed to put him down, should it come to that. (He still has not been to vet although we did work with him to wear a muzzle around the house. I am going to attempt to take him to vet soon for at least Rabies shot in new few weeks -- will see how that goes.)

He was evaluated by a PhD in Animal Behavior when he was a year old and showing these behaviors, March 2018. Key snippets from her report:

"To be up front from the “get-go” I have to say, and will say many times in this report that I find Silas to be a serious liability. My recommendations begin with safe management + training respectful behavior towards you and you son. I’ve included some information about managing Silas with strangers but we really can’t put the cart before the horse. He needs to listen to you in no uncertain terms and because he’s a super smart, albeit highly anxious dog, training will benefit him for a variety of reasons. If you want to keep him in your home, avoid being injured or getting sued I’d jump on the training bandwagon ASAP. I don’t care a lot about what you train him to do. I supply some general recommendations in the handouts and Training section below but we’ve got to get his youthful cheeky behavior on the home front under control. "
"his young behavioral history speaks more to me about a genetic fearful tendency than a specific issue with other dogs UNLESS he had some particularly untoward negative experiences very early on. I think he is insecure by nature and likely always has been. I’m going to toss this instinct out here in the middle of all my thoughts and tell you it crosses my mind more than once that you and Silas are equally excitable, emotional soul mates but that may not make you the best pair for the long-term. I understand you are emotionally and financially invested in Silas but you are going to need to make some significant changes in your behavior and emotions in order to keep him safe with you…said out of kindness and not judgment. "
"You really need to seriously work on changing your relationship if you want to safely keep Silas in your home. He seems incapable of adjusting his emotional state towards his presumed “enemy” or “competitor”. I do believe Silas views you as more of a resource than a guardian. I am sorry to be so negative over and over again, but Silas is a behavioral caution. You can’t travel. Boarding and pet sitters are not an option. Entertaining guests is a liability. Basically Silas holds you hostage. I understand behavioral euthanasia is not an option for you. I get that, I truly do, BUT I really wish you would consider reviewing your contract and contacting the breeder. OK. I’ve had my say….sort of… and I’ll move forward with recommendations as to how you and Silas can move forward to safely cohabitate."

So that's a bit of what's going on in a wordy nutshell. He is also on Prozac, has been for about 7 months, don't see much of a change. He continues to be WAY undersocialized and I accept full responsibility for that: this has become a vicious circle as I am afraid to take him out for fear he'll become reactive (and would YOU want to see a 117-pound woman in public with a lunging GSD??? Probably not. I'd fear she couldn't control him, rightfully so.) Also, full disclaimer, due to personal situations, I've been out of state nearly every weekend for past 8 months during which my 20-year old is home with him. I fully accept that this doesn't help the situation and am ashamed. I have owned one other GSD for 9 years before -- so I'm not a COMPLETE newbie but not the most experienced either.

Bottom line: there MAY be hope for him in home with experienced GSD owners. Or, I may have to face facts and eventually euthanize. But this breaks my heart.

I'm not sure how this works from here but should anyone be interested, of course I will have to be sure he will be safe. I did post an ad on Craiglist for about 24 hours a few months with a similar post and was horrified: received messages like "Don't give him to someone named "Ann," she is my aunt and already talking about duct-taping his mouth and breeding him!" and "Be careful, people will use your dog to train for dog fights." IT WAS HORRIBLE.

But here, we are GSD folks and ... I don't know. Maybe there's a chance for my poor boy to have a happy life somewhere.

Thank you.
When I read the bolded it makes me wonder if Silas possibly has average nerves, but lives on edge due to his handling and home environment? If the trainers assessment of you is accurate your emotions/excitability could be fueling some of what you see. I know cost is prohibitive at this point, however placing him into a qualified board/train may be the best option to get a fair assessment of Silas before deciding your next step.
 

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He's beautiful. But a beautiful potential killer is not cool.
I was always able to handle strong dogs at a light weight because I handle horses, but the older and larger I get the more strength I have because I'm still reasonably active. That's not the issue.
The issue is you have a beautiful aggressive, dangerous dog.

He feeds off your emotions and that causes aggressive behaviour. Some lines of dogs are not great. It may be something both of you are doing

The people in this thread will help far better than I could- just be careful, and best of luck. Don't give him away, it's not safe. Get some professional help, I implore you.

There are worse things than euthanasia, trust me on that.. If you cannot get a good safe reliable trainer...I'm really sorry... :(
 

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I'm going to add that the fact Prozac isn't working...leads me down the bad genetics path, or there is another neurological possibility, as well as behavioural possibly. I really didn't read all the replies so I will now. Best of luck.
 

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That looks like a west german showline. Have you contacted the breeder? That is really this dog's only option. You can not rehome a dog that has been designated a "serious liability". It's incredibly wrong on many levels and setting this dog up to live a life of **** in the wrong hands.

And - if you have a contract then you are legally obligated to return this dog to the breeder per the contract.
The breeder told OP to euthanize the dog. Which, I don't know if that is an answer a reputable breeder would give? I would expect a reputable breeder to ask for the dog back and then make that evaluation and determination after that. It sounds like breeder is not offering to take it back.
 

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OP - you are in CT. There are several really good IPO trainers around. You could throw a stone and hit one. CT, MA, NH. Many people on the east coast. I was just at a show this weekend with 30 trial entries and 70 how entries. So my question is - have you contacted a trainer that actually knows and understand GSDs? And what is his pedigree?
 

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I had a Ridgeback foster that was aggressive toward young men. A young male trainer told me the dog should be put down. Two weeks later, the rescue had a list of people wanting to adopt the dog. Get a better evaluation before making a decision you can’t take back.
 

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I had a Ridgeback foster that was aggressive toward young men. A young male trainer told me the dog should be put down. Two weeks later, the rescue had a list of people wanting to adopt the dog. Get a better evaluation before making a decision you can’t take back.
Very much of this ^^^

I had vets and trainers tell me to put Lyka down, that she would never settle or have a good quality of life because she was too anxious and aggressive. I hit the trainer jackpot when I met my trainer Jake. He was a godsend for both of us. It wasn’t my first time working with an aggressive dog, or the first time I’ve owned a GSD, but it was the first time I had a GSD with these issues. I’m never afraid to say “I don’t know what I’m doing here, and need some help” when it comes to saving a dog. She lost all anxiousness, and all fear aggression with the exception of still being territorial in her yard, but that’s what I want anyway, people shouldn’t be coming into my backyard without permission, and if the multiple signs don’t clue them in that there is a bite dog out back, Lyka will get the point across to them. She has access to the doggy door, we don’t leave her out back, I just realized that’s what it sounded like.

Get a second opinion and reach out to some people that know working dogs, specially herding dogs, and even better, working herding GSD’s in particular!
 
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