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Hi new member and first post. I have always had GSD and think they are such an outstanding breed. But I just had to put my 4 year old boy to sleep because of his aggression and I am torturing myself with how it could have been avoided. He was my most reactive dog ever. Anydog dog, person, squirrel, set him in a frenzy. We did obedience classes till he was about 3, then dropped them because he just couldn't advance and I knew at that point that I could never trust and show him competively. My dog club knew him well and always put him with submissive dogs so they wasn't a huge reaction at training. We did agility until a month before he died, he always had to jump the ring fence at least once and bark and assert himself at the other dogs. His behavior got worse. He was my running buddy and ran anywhere from 3-5 miles 4 to 5 times a week. I could never take him to the dog park. He bit a child when he was younger, and aggressively jumped on another while on leash and I was able to control the situation before he got bit. But the final straw was our daughters had their friends over, outside of our fence and as my girl was opening the fence to come into the yard he lunged out into the alley and attacked the two friends of theirs. Luckily I was right there, tackled him and only one got bit, no stitches needed, but I put him down immediately, never got to process it or think about it and now am wondering what more I could have done. He was bought from a backyard breeder and I will never make that mistake again. He was the best dog around his people but anyone else was seen as a threat. I want my next dog to be ok with my kids friends in the yard and am so scared of getting another aggressive dog (regardless of breed) again. Did I do the right thing? He was extremely bonded to me and I could have never rehomed him or given him to a rescue group. Thanks in advance, I know this was long winded. And for what its worth, in retrospect I think a different training club would have been a better choice for me.
 

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welcome to the board. I'm sorry this had to be your first post.

Sometimes, a dog just cant progress beyond his people. there's a switch in their head that never flips correctly is the best way I can explain it. Some dogs can be socialized properly like you wouldn't believe and they just cant be trusted around others while some dogs can never receive proper or negative socialization and be perfect around everyone.

There is something in their genetics that is off. the "breeder" didn't care about anything but the money from the pups. Sometimes even from solid responsible breeding, you can wind up with a pup that isn't wired right mentally. It happens. The pups parents can be rock solid and the pup can be weird/wrong. Try not to beat yourself up too much. As hard as it is, you made the right decision for you, your family and the safety of others.

I had to make a similar decision for our adopted guy back in February. He'd been with us for 7.5 years. Was never totally "right" in his head and we made the decision to let him go and be free of whatever demons were in torturing him. I let him go before he had the chance to bite. It was a matter of time with him, no matter how much I managed and controlled the situations. We had to stop taking him out for more than a very controlled walk because it just caused him so much stress to be out. Even the walks stressed him out. Sometimes the hardest decision is the best one.

Sorry for your loss.
 

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It sounds like you have a history with the breed and you put a lot of work into this one.

Well, the warning signs were there so maybe management and pulling him back from agility, keeping him contained around kids, could have prevented the bite but I am not sure what else you could have done with a dog who is agressively biting children. It would not have been the life you want for him but sometimes dogs with agression issues really are happier not being "out and about".

Sometimes they are just wired wrong and so many BYB folks think a reactive nervy dog is a good "protector" when in fact they have so little confidence they attack everything.

This is your first post so it is hard to know what all you have been through.
 

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thanks for the replies. I never even thought to look for help outside of my dog club, I wish I had thought to google this forum. As for the agility, he loved it as long as other dogs weren't barking or staring at him, I really thought that him having a job to do would make him better. But I do agree that he wasn't wired correctly and that in itself does make me feel better, he was always "on" never relaxed in social situations. I appreciate the response.
 

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Please don't torture yourself. It sounds like you went above and beyond for this dog.

It's tough. My GSD mix Pongu is severely fearful, and was fear aggressive, so I have a glimmer of where you're coming from. Living with a stressy anxious fearful dog is HARD, even when they don't pose any danger to people or other animals. Living with that dog when you have kids, and the dog has shown that it's willing to bite them or their friends, is just about impossible.

I think you made a difficult choice, but the right one for the safety of your family and friends, and perhaps the kindest one for your dog.
 
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