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Hi Guys,

I really need some help or your thoughts. I'm thinking about giving my dog up but I want to make sure I'm not giving up too soon or being a bad owner.

I feel like I've done a good job......not to mention sunk ~$10,000 keeping him alive and training him.

My 8 month old male GSD has recently become very reactive and most concerning aggressive towards small kids.

Here is a quick history:

-Got him at 8 months from a reputable breeder

-Started training with a certified private trainer immediately

-My wife and I work with him everyday

-Socialized him a great amount (in fact trainer mentioned maybe we over did it. Though I don't think he had any traumatic experiences).

-He got Parvo. I took the hard road and decided to spend $5,000 keeping him alive around 5 months old at that point (it was a worst case scenario)

-He is great in the house with the family and is very gentle and I trust him with my 9 month old baby daughter.

-Neutered him around 7 months

-Up until a few weeks ago he was great with strangers and kids.

-Now he is barking and lunging at all strangers and MOST concerning he snapped at a little toddler girl (maybe I should not have had him in the situation around strangers at this age but I did not think he was capable of that).

-Now I'm spending MORE money on a freaking PHD behaviorist to try and help him.

I'm getting to my wits end and don't know how much longer I can put this much into a dog.

HE IS A GOOD DOG....but him being aggressive towards kids terrifies me. Again I'm not too concerned with mine but they are always kids at our house in our yard etc......

Is this common? Is there a good chance he will grow up and turn the corner?????

Again as you can see I will put in the work but I'm thinking of cutting my losses....I can't keep going at this pace

:help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help::help:
 

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So the aggression started after the neutering?
 

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sorry your going thru this.. Take this for what it's worth..I would never rehome a dog like this.

He's young, but right now it sounds like he could be a ticking time bomb:(

Right now, manage manage manage,,don't allow him in any situations where he could potentially bite especially a kid,,huge liability.

Only "you" can do what you think is right.

Personally I'd find a gsd trainer who could evaluate and advise you..
 

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Well this one is a no brainer for me. The potential liability is simply not worth it and I don't just mean financial liability.

You do not want your dog to harm a child and dos like that can and often do re-direct, so your child is not safe either.
 

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sorry your going thru this.. Take this for what it's worth..I would never rehome a dog like this.

He's young, but right now it sounds like he could be a ticking time bomb:(

Right now, manage manage manage,,don't allow him in any situations where he could potentially bite especially a kid,,huge liability.

Only "you" can do what you think is right.

Personally I'd find a gsd trainer who could evaluate and advise you..
Thanks.

FYI I would give him back to the breeder.

We did have a specialist come over (that was the PHD). She said it was a serious matter and was concerned. But she also said, though it was very serious, he was not that atypical of an adolescent GSD.

I just cant imagine dumping another few thousand dollars in behavior training....I mean if I knew he would turn the corner....or if many people had the same situation and their GSD grew up to be without issue....that would help :(
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well this one is a no brainer for me. The potential liability is simply not worth it and I don't just mean financial liability.

You do not want your dog to harm a child and dos like that can and often do re-direct, so your child is not safe either.
This is what scares me......but he has been so gentle with the family...confusing

If I was even a tad nervous I would not have him in the same room with my daughter....but they just act like best friends....
 

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IMO, you need to take your time and cover all your bases before making a rash decision. Be committed to your dog. I think you owe it to him.

The first thing I would do is a vet visit to be sure nothing is going on that may be causing him pain.

Another possibility is that he's going through a fear period, common in young dogs, and sometimes exacerbated by the hormonal change present after alteration. This should go away with time, patience, and understanding that he is emotionally vulnerable. Protect him and others during this period, and place his needs above your want to take him out into situations that may bother him.

It is your responsibility to manage him while figuring out what is going on with your boy. Don't put him in situations he finds uncomfortable, or where someone may be in danger. Have some patience, and don't give up on him just yet. He may very well come around to be his old self in a few months.

David Winners
 

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I dont have any experience with this. But wanted to sorry to hear. I hope its not usual with gsds as I have a pup myself. What about using a muzzle when your out and treating when you are around strangers, getting him to focus on you. Someone I know has a 4 yr old gsd they cant take anywhere because they stopped taking him out when he started barking at strangers.

I hope the behaviorist can help you. please keep us updated.
 

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review your training method. figure out what you did wrong.
work with the trainer/behaviourist. when you have guess
crate your dog or place him somewhere were he can't
escape. consider a muzzle. make sure there's nothing
medical going on. good luck.
 

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Sounds like an adolescent coming into his own without the oversight (control) of a strong leader (you) so he's stepping into the leadership role without the benefit of the experience and, perhaps, strength of personality to feel comfortable in that role. This makes him insecure and defensive when out of the home - he sees himself as the leader who's got to guard the family. This excessive uncontrolled defensiveness drives what appears to be overt aggression. Left uncontrolled, however, fear-based aggression is unpredictable and dangerous, so you're right to be concerned. Seeing himself as the leader in the house will cause him to disregard, or respond badly to, corrections (he could/might bite a kid or you). Left on its current course, his behavior will not improve, imo.

GSDs can be strong dogs and they require oversight by someone who can stay on top of them. Some GSDs are worse than others in this regard, and most new owners don't fully appreciate what's needed to prevent/fix problems.

Based on your description, this sounds like an easy fix for me, but your professionals have seen the dog and I haven't. I agree with searching out someone experienced w/GSDs, though I wouldn't pay much attention to the presence/absence of his/her formal training.

If I was doing it on my own, I would lock him down for 2 weeks (crated 24/7) and make me his world for everything to regain control. Then I'd make sure I practiced leadership behavior around the house, fairly but firmly controlling where he goes and what he does. He'd be crated at night, eliminate in one area of the yard, not jump onto furniture, eat in his crate, and he'd follow me through doors, or wait to be told "OK" before being allowed to precede me. He'd have 2 obedience sessions every day to drive home the basics and that I'm in control. He'd walk on a properly fitted, humanely applied prong collar. We'd walk alone at first to get used to things, then up the exposures, with appropriate/limited/humane corrections via the prong collar when he misbehaved. He would not walk in front of me, but beside me, or behind me. Successful leadership will reduce the defensive outbursts, so the required corrections should be minimal.

Caution - if you apply prong-based corrections to a dog over which you have not established leadership, or if you over-correct, there is a good possibility the dog will respond to the correction by biting you. That would be the end of your problems (you'd rehome or return him), but the beginning of his.

Best of luck to you and the dog.
 

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He is 8 months old, neutered at 7 months, it can take around 6 weeks or so for the hormones to exit the body. With that being said, there are some dogs who become more aggressive after being altered.

While you are working your way through this to a decision, if there is even the remote chance he may react to something - visitors coming over, outside and a stranger walks by; make sure your dog is under control and managed - and your daughter is not in the area. Reactive pups can redirect on those closest. Condition him to a muzzle, crate train if not, locks on the fence gates, dog is put away when kids are over, everyone understands the rules about handling the dog.
 
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