Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have searched for related posts to my situations but haven’t found anything the fits my situation really, so I thought I would post instead to see what feedback other might have.
We Are Family of 4, my wife and two kids 15 and 6 and Max (Our white GSD) turned 7 in December. It's been difficult for us and for him I'm sure because he only wants me and basically tolerates the rest of the family. If he could have it his own way he would want everyone to move out so he has me all to himself.
Unfortunately, he has bitten/nipped people in the past, my wife included. She's not afraid of him but she just doesn't trust him. Around the house my wife and my kids know what to do and not to do with him. For example, if he is thirsty he will lay down in front of the toilet until someone opens it for him. The kids know to say "out" and not corner him and he knows he's not allowed to go in until everyone goes out. Other incidences were either out of fear or people just approached him and went right in to pet his head and didn't know not to. He's deceptive in a way because he is gorgeous dog but he just doesn't let anyone just pet him. (Some of last winter pics attached) There's only a handful of people he does like to be pet by and when they show up he's wicked excited to see him and can't get enough of them. For new comers, I tell them to keep their hands in their pocket and just pretend he doesn't exist, he will smell you and that might just be the extent of the introduction. Or he might decide to take the relationship further, each one's a mystery. But 95% of the time he will choose ignore/flight and chill in his corner. Sometimes he'll try to get into the corner like he's afraid when my son's friend comes over because he's uncomfortable people being here. Some of it is fear based and with conditioning methods we have never really been able to resolve.
I would be happy to answer any questions you have about our situation.
-He's very smart.
-A good dog that wants to be loved. (Almost 100% by me, which is the problem and growing with age)
-Toy crazy. If you have a Ball, he'll do whatever you want for it. (It does bring out the dominance in him.)
-Very well trained with basic commands. (But if you have a ball he just does them faster)
-He is great off leash, (With regards to introductions, I always preferred him off leash around crowds bc he has flight option available and bc ppl don't try and pet him while next to me.)
-He's good with other dogs as long as a ball isn't involved. He has hung with a pack before (he was younger then not sure how he would be now, I think he would like it and probably be good for him)
-Since about 1/5yrs he has been vocal, meaning he growls when uncomfortable and if given the chance he chooses flight and leaves the room still. (I've gotten mixed reviews about this one over the years how to deal with it, and at this point we've just accepted it and it's his way of saying, "Stop guys I don't like this! Let me out of here")
-He has chased a couple of Amazon people because they ran. (I keep telling them, don’t run and he won't have anything to chase. Problem is it’s not always the same person.)
I have several trainers over the years to address our concerns without success. One recently in particular whom I was told was very good, however he asked me how old he was and quickly declined to work with him. I get his points about "teaching old dogs new tricks" being he is too stubborn to achieve success at his age. As much as I understand his approach, I still have to make a decision and a difficult one either way.
He isn't happy as he could be, mostly because he can't have me all the time. He wants love, but only from me. Admittedly, at times his quirky behavior makes me resentful he's not comfortable with our own family who he sees and knows every day of his life and pose no threat. As a result, he can't have the freedom he once had which not only stresses him out but also limits exercise. I walk him late night around the block so I can let him off the leash and throw the ball for him. It’s frustrating for me bc I have to shelter him. As a consequence to his special needs I have had to cancel it vacations their family with our family because I couldn't find someone to watch him or willing to.
So basically, I have some choices to make. One choice I'm not willing to accept yet is euthanization which my brother-in-law suggests because he says I'm just passing the problem onto someone else. Personally, I would like to find a place for him, a sanctuary of sorts exists somewhere. I live in New England and was curious if there is such a place?
As it stands now, my current renting situation is rapidly becoming not a viable option for his special needs and I need to figure out a plan for the second half of his life. I'm curious from the GSD community's perspective if there are options I haven't considered.
And thank you in advance for your contribution.