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When I rescued Riddick @ 4.5 mos old, (Born on the Ides of March) he was a true problem child:
Weak deformed pasterns, severe allergies, internal/external creepy crawlies galore and extremely skittish. Puppy mill dog that I don't believe ever stepped on a surface beyond a metal grid/concrete until I brought him home. He was afraid of grass and still pees on concrete?

His behavior is the oddest I've experienced in the 20+ GSDs I've had in my home through rescue and companionship. Before meds, he would have anxiety attacks out of the blue, aggression towards my other two senior GSDs, large men, those with fear of dogs and has tried to kill more than one cat. His social behavior leaves much to be desired, at 5 months he was no longer permitted in public dog friendly places because he would react aggressively towards large men and other canines, needless to say, he's still rather anti-social except with my other two GSDs who tolerate him. Yes, I have tried corrections in a safe environment at no avail.

At 1.3 yrs old (78 lbs), after trying several homeopathic remedies, (neutering @ 7 months) and basic training; He recently had to be muzzled and was gator rolling at the vet while getting his annual tests/exams. Acepromazine, benedryl, and xanax make him uncontrollably agitated and neurotic. He peed all over the thundershirt and has shredded everything placed in his crate. As a result he was put on Clomicalm. 80 mgs to start, now on 100 mgs a day.
While I see the clomicalm is working a bit for him, he is still unpredictable in terms of aggression towards all and still has anxiety attacks. EX: One minute he is fine with the cat (14 yr old tripod who has been around GSDs his entire life) and the next Riddick is trying to full out lunge and kill him. The same goes for my other two GSDs, who put him in his place when he shows aggression towards them yet they are growing tired of his antics. A neighbors 7-9 yr old boys, (whom are very large dog familiar) he is touch and go with and usually tries to Hump/dominate the younger boy. At a BBQ (Leashed) with roughly 50 ppl present, he was a-ok with the adults and kids of all ages, except for one who is undiagnosed (possible Autistic/Aspergers) who antagonized him continually. Unfortunately the mother did not correct her son, so Riddick was crated, cried and howled the entire time until eventually broke the welds on his crate to get to the BF's side or follow and guard a cute lil 4 yr old boy with no doggie fears. He seems to pick out certain individuals and becomes their guardian?

He also has a rather odd extreme attachment to my BF whom was NOT a dog person. When the BF is present, I don't exist in Riddick's world. He listens to him, will not leave his side and cries/gets depressed when he leaves. Strangely though, he awakens throughout the night barking when the BF stays over, until he sees him and is able to be back by his side. Strangely however, he will bark like crazy repeatedly until the BF takes him for a walk, plays tug or tosses the ball around. On my 3 person couch, he will have an anxiety attack if he cannot sit in between us, with his head on the BF's lap. Needless to say, the BF's house now looks like a doggie daycare and the two of them are best buds but he cannot reside at the BF's house full time due to work schedule and his 18 yr old cat that Riddick wants to sometimes eat, sometimes ignores.

Quite frankly, I'm personally feeling rather helpless/clueless with this boy. He is not eating much anymore, I suspect due to the Clomicalm? Even with coconut oil or tunafish water, pumpkin, other natural additions, he often refuses to eat. He is never given people food otherwise. (Eats TOTW Salmon/Sweet potato dry)

Any suggestions as to what to do at this point? Drug suggestions? Training advice? I really don't want to give up on this boy but he is by far the biggest challenge I have taken on in terms of GSDs. He is never left alone for more than a few hours, I work from home. Any advice/suggestions are appreciated.
 

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I am confused as to what you mean by anxiety attacks. How was this determined and by who? Can you give a more specific example?
 

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We used to have a German Shorthaired pointer with all sorts of nervous anxiety problems running through his head. He was a mess. An ex stray who had been adopted 4x when we found him. Riddled with PTSD issues, the only thing that was able to reach through to him that worked was Elavil (amitriptyline is the generic, very cheap). We had tried acepromazine, clomicalm, rescue remedy, and a variety of others, in conjunction with active training and exercise. Elavil worked very well, allowing him to function at a "normal" level for the first time in his life. He became workable and was able to focus on training, and he actually began to play with his ball and enjoy belly rubs and car rides. Without it he was in a constant stage of frenzy worrying when his next trauma would be coming along. Always pacing, with eyes swirling, panting, distracted, too nervous to stand still and eat a meal, would never play. On Elavil we got him to where he was about 85-90% "normal". He was on it his entire life with no side effects and no dent in our wallet either. The drug took about a month to set in, and then in conjunction with training and exercise, good Ol Silas led a very happy 14 1/2 years. He also had aggressive dominance issues with other dogs and small kids. The antidepressants did help on his aggression somewhat, but more likely it set him into a less uptight state through which we were able to "reach" him mentally, and work on training. But I think we also got very good at predicting his stink-eye and would better be able to predict him and remove him whenever he looked ready to get in the "zone".

Also, to note, in Silas' case a cheaper store brand lower-protein food worked better for him than the best brand high-protein foods. Energy in/energy out. Our vet suggested it because in his case he had too much energy and lowering his food's intensity helped straighten out the intensity going on in his head.

I hope this helps you, good luck, he's a beauty!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I am confused as to what you mean by anxiety attacks. How was this determined and by who? Can you give a more specific example?
The responder above ^^ pretty much explained the "Anxiety". As I type this he is pacing and barking at the door yet there is nothing/no one there. A few minutes ago, it was the wall. His breathing becomes rapid, it's almost like a human anxiety attack on steroids. They have however lessened on the Clomicalm.

For the past few days, he has been throwing up all the water he drinks after the morning potty break and refusing to eat? Apparently loss of appetite is a possible side effect, but he's in that skinny puppy stage as is, and I'm getting a bit worried.
 

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We used to have a German Shorthaired pointer with all sorts of nervous anxiety problems running through his head. He was a mess. An ex stray who had been adopted 4x when we found him. Riddled with PTSD issues, the only thing that was able to reach through to him that worked was Elavil (amitriptyline is the generic, very cheap). We had tried acepromazine, clomicalm, rescue remedy, and a variety of others, in conjunction with active training and exercise. Elavil worked very well, allowing him to function at a "normal" level for the first time in his life. He became workable and was able to focus on training, and he actually began to play with his ball and enjoy belly rubs and car rides. Without it he was in a constant stage of frenzy worrying when his next trauma would be coming along. Always pacing, with eyes swirling, panting, distracted, too nervous to stand still and eat a meal, would never play. On Elavil we got him to where he was about 85-90% "normal". He was on it his entire life with no side effects and no dent in our wallet either. The drug took about a month to set in, and then in conjunction with training and exercise, good Ol Silas led a very happy 14 1/2 years. He also had aggressive dominance issues with other dogs and small kids. The antidepressants did help on his aggression somewhat, but more likely it set him into a less uptight state through which we were able to "reach" him mentally, and work on training. But I think we also got very good at predicting his stink-eye and would better be able to predict him and remove him whenever he looked ready to get in the "zone".

Also, to note, in Silas' case a cheaper store brand lower-protein food worked better for him than the best brand high-protein foods. Energy in/energy out. Our vet suggested it because in his case he had too much energy and lowering his food's intensity helped straighten out the intensity going on in his head.

I hope this helps you, good luck, he's a beauty!!
I just switched his food over the weekend, it seems that all of the dogs lost interest in this current batch of TOTW. The turkey/salmon blend by ND seems to have a 2-4% less protein index, hopefully it will help.

Nonetheless, because of his weak pasterns when I first rescued him, he has always been on a lower protein diet.

He's an odd one, in the span of just a few days, he's decided that he likes chasing lizards and bugs around the backyard followed by a few laps in the pool and always wants to be by himself chasing them? LOL At least he's giving himself a workout! lol
 

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Some of what you are describing sounds like it could be neurologic to me. I believe I have heard of mild siezures presenting like the staring at things that aren't there.
 

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When I rescued Riddick @ 4.5 mos old, (Born on the Ides of March) he was a true problem child:
Weak deformed pasterns, severe allergies, internal/external creepy crawlies galore and extremely skittish. Puppy mill dog that I don't believe ever stepped on a surface beyond a metal grid/concrete until I brought him home. He was afraid of grass and still pees on concrete?

Do you have a picture of his pasterns? What kind of allegies does he have? How does it manifest? What is your vet recommending?

His behavior is the oddest I've experienced in the 20+ GSDs I've had in my home through rescue and companionship. Before meds, he would have anxiety attacks out of the blue, aggression towards my other two senior GSDs, large men, those with fear of dogs and has tried to kill more than one cat. His social behavior leaves much to be desired, at 5 months he was no longer permitted in public dog friendly places because he would react aggressively towards large men and other canines, needless to say, he's still rather anti-social except with my other two GSDs who tolerate him. Yes, I have tried corrections in a safe environment at no avail.

A younger dog showing aggression to senior GSDs in a household or other dogs is not unusual behavior. Aggression directed at a single group of people such as men is not all that uncommon. Aggression directed at people that fear them is also common among dogs and some dogs do try to kill cats. Much of this can be attributable to poor nerves or could be a training issue. That is nothing new to this breed.

At 1.3 yrs old (78 lbs), after trying several homeopathic remedies, (neutering @ 7 months) and basic training; He recently had to be muzzled and was gator rolling at the vet while getting his annual tests/exams. Acepromazine, benedryl, and xanax make him uncontrollably agitated and neurotic. He peed all over the thundershirt and has shredded everything placed in his crate. As a result he was put on Clomicalm. 80 mgs to start, now on 100 mgs a day.

Current studies have indicated that many aggression problems increase with neutering. It is not uncommon for a German Shepherd to not want a stranger to touch them, muzzling at a vet is nothing new and many voluntarily do it as a precaution. Regarding the gator rolling, what was happening at that moment? Were you restraining your dog? Why did your vet permit this to happen? Maybe you might want to see another vet. Shredding beds and other items in a crate is also common among other dogs.

While I see the clomicalm is working a bit for him, he is still unpredictable in terms of aggression towards all and still has anxiety attacks. EX: One minute he is fine with the cat (14 yr old tripod who has been around GSDs his entire life) and the next Riddick is trying to full out lunge and kill him. The same goes for my other two GSDs, who put him in his place when he shows aggression towards them yet they are growing tired of his antics. A neighbors 7-9 yr old boys, (whom are very large dog familiar) he is touch and go with and usually tries to Hump/dominate the younger boy. At a BBQ (Leashed) with roughly 50 ppl present, he was a-ok with the adults and kids of all ages, except for one who is undiagnosed (possible Autistic/Aspergers) who antagonized him continually. Unfortunately the mother did not correct her son, so Riddick was crated, cried and howled the entire time until eventually broke the welds on his crate to get to the BF's side or follow and guard a cute lil 4 yr old boy with no doggie fears. He seems to pick out certain individuals and becomes their guardian?

Many dogs will be fine with a cat one minute and then will lunge the next. Young German Shepherds challenging older German Shepherds in a household is nothing new and should not be a surprise. Why do you let this unstable dog around young boys? Seriously, that is a lawsuit waiting to happen, not to mention a potential lifetime disfigurement for the boys. Many German Shepherds, for a variety of reasons, are not cut out for social affairs. Many German Shepherds just don't tolerate people outside the family well. Regarding the four year old, once again, I would not let this dog around children if he is unstable as you say he is.

He also has a rather odd extreme attachment to my BF whom was NOT a dog person. When the BF is present, I don't exist in Riddick's world. He listens to him, will not leave his side and cries/gets depressed when he leaves. Strangely though, he awakens throughout the night barking when the BF stays over, until he sees him and is able to be back by his side. Strangely however, he will bark like crazy repeatedly until the BF takes him for a walk, plays tug or tosses the ball around. On my 3 person couch, he will have an anxiety attack if he cannot sit in between us, with his head on the BF's lap. Needless to say, the BF's house now looks like a doggie daycare and the two of them are best buds but he cannot reside at the BF's house full time due to work schedule and his 18 yr old cat that Riddick wants to sometimes eat, sometimes ignores.

Once again it is very common for dogs to form attachments to people in the household that do not pay much attention to them. He seems to have bonded to your boyfriend and crying when he leaves is not unusual behavior. What do you mean by your dog waking up in the middle of the night until he sees your boyfriend and "is able to be back by his side"? Barking to go outside and play is not uncommon behavior with dogs. What exactly does your dog do when he is unable to sit between you and your boyfriend on the couch?

Quite frankly, I'm personally feeling rather helpless/clueless with this boy. He is not eating much anymore, I suspect due to the Clomicalm? Even with coconut oil or tunafish water, pumpkin, other natural additions, he often refuses to eat. He is never given people food otherwise. (Eats TOTW Salmon/Sweet potato dry)

Any suggestions as to what to do at this point? Drug suggestions? Training advice? I really don't want to give up on this boy but he is by far the biggest challenge I have taken on in terms of GSDs. He is never left alone for more than a few hours, I work from home. Any advice/suggestions are appreciated.
Have you had a complete bloodwork done on this dog? What kind of training has been done? Much of he behavior is just common misbehavior among dogs. Maybe your dog's nerves are less than stellar. He most likely can be helped with some training and changes with his management. I would definitely keep this dog out of your social functions, he is NOT comfortable with it and you are compounding the problem. Have you had your dog evaluated by a trainer familiar with the breed? And as somebody else mentioned, I would not rule out seizures.
 

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A quick update on Riddick:
At 3.5 yrs old, he is off all medications except the occasional Acepromazine as needed. (Ear Flushing, Nails, etc. He still gator rolls and pees when he has his ears done,)

He went to a 2wk training camp and came back a different dog. He is now fully off all meds, goes to Doggie Daycamp a few times a week. He is however a bit leash aggressive unless he knows the other dog or is approached suddenly by another canine. Luckily his trainer lives nearby and we are working to correct his quirks.

It seems like his brains finally kicked in, a late bloomer. He can be super cuddly when he wants to, albeit he is still 100% attached to the BF and follows him everywhere. He can take him out in public, sit in the animal hospital crowded waiting room without issues. (We used to have to take him in the side door).

My 16 yr old male GSD crossed the bridge on June 21st. Riddick was very anxious the day that Connor "Crashed", and he cried as I loaded Connor into my SUV to make his final run to the vet. (Severe hip dysplasia, arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis) Since Connor has been gone, he has attempted to take Alpha in the pack a few times but My old Gal Karma reminds him that she's the boss. Yesterday I adopted a white GSD 8 wk old pup which I hope will pep up Karma's spirits and be a fun playmate for Riddick. So far, the pup follows them both everywhere but Riddick is the only one who plays with him.
(Karma (10yrs old) has adenocarcinoma and is one year past her surgery but her cancer has spread)

Only time will tell how the Chronicles of Riddick will turn out but he is 75% better than when I first posted, and I hope he continues to mature mentally and becomes a good influence on the new pup.
 

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When I read your initial post, I thought to myself "I really don't have it that bad with Simon". Then reading your update I now have a feeling of complete relief, hoping that things will turn around for my boy. I don't think I will be sending him away to a board and train, but I am working with him, everyday, with slight improvements seen. Now that the weather is cooling down, I can get more intense with his training. Neither of us deals well with the southern heat and humidity....

Good for you for sticking with him!
 
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