German Shepherd trouble! (Merged Thread)


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Old 08-20-05, 04:41 PM
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German Shepherd trouble!

Hi,
My Shepherd is 2yrs old and is a fixed male. He's never been very "friendly" but used to at least tolerate people and I tried to socialize him since puppyhood... he just never seemed to "fit in" at the dog park.
He's been through basic obedience but is VERY strong willed. He's gone through a lot of phases and basically I've been able to handle him OK.
Now though he's getting aggressive with people - at the park, in the car,
on his leash, in our yard, even when I have people over and he's met them before. His hair goes up, he barks and gets "mouthy" and bullies them.
I cannot tolerate this behavior but I don't always have his choke chain on and in the car I can't get to him in the back seat to give him a "correction"
I'm worried this is getting worse and next he will lunge or snap at somebody.
He has NEVER snarled/growled or bitten me except when he was a puppy and I got help for this. He thought of me as a litter mate, not the alpha dog
(I still think at times he thinks he's in charge...)
Any suggestions? I may need to get him back into classes but right now I don't have the money and since he's now 92lbs (and I'm only 120lbs) I have no friends/volunteers who are willing to practice with me.
tx,
deb
 
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Old 08-20-05, 09:47 PM
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I am biased against german shepards for the very reason you started this thread. I have seen many of them get more and more aggressive and even mean as they get older. If you think you don't have money now, wait until he bites somebody. Get rid of this dog.
 
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Old 08-20-05, 09:52 PM
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Well, here is my two cents worth...

I understand the cost issue, but in reality, you simply MUST get your dog to a really good trainer and fast.

I can tell you the corrections needed, but some people on this forum may not agree with my methods, despite having been a dog breeder and trainer for many years. I have never had a dog I could not break of this habit after working with them for about a week. I would rather do one harsh correction that works, than have to put a dog down because it becomes dangerous. I have seen it happen too many times.

My suggestion is to find a trainer who uses the Koehler or a modified Koehler method and have them work with you. Most trainers who are worth their salt will understand the money issue vs the soon to become dangerous dog and work something out with you on payment.

Sorry I can't be more specific here, but, without being present to show you the corrections, and procedures, it would do more harm to your situation than good to try to explain.

Keep us posted,
RhainyC
 
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Old 08-21-05, 06:43 AM
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It may also not be a bad idea to get a muzzle for when the dog is out. If he was to get out of your yard or off your leash and come in contact with a kid you wouldn't want the worst to happen.
 
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Old 08-25-05, 05:45 PM
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facing the truth is tough

Hi,
More than one person has suggested he's not a good dog to keep (mosty friends cuz they don't want to visit anymore)... but I am not sure if it's genetic or just poor training on my part and his.
I will try the Trainer again and mention the method you mentioned to see what they can do.
There's a very good, "firm" obedience school for Shepherds near my house that is large enough they may be able to work with me financially...
*He has a lot of skin trouble so the Vet bills are already keeping me in the poor house.
I've heard of something called the friendly or gentle leader which is like a muzzle? I am going to buy one tomorrow for when he is outside.
The chances of him getting out of the house are slim and more likely he'd be hit by a car before he could hurt anybody. But I don't want to have people scared and they are now when I walk him and they have a dog with them... He's fine around people walking as long as they don't approach us.
I still know this isn't OK and sadly, this dog may have to be put down...
I told the breeder who just doesn't seem to want to be bothered with the issue! (so much for responsible breeding) Parents were well tempered and onsite too. Who knew? I think you are right, this seems to be more prevalent with GSD's.
deb
 
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Old 08-25-05, 10:41 PM
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Try the trainer before taking such drastic steps...

I know that it is a difficult thing to deal with, but most often dogs such as yours can be properly trained, and not have to be euthanized. Don't give up too quickly. In the meantime, do get a good muzzle to put on him when people are around, and that is for both your protection, theirs and his.

Keep us posted!

Good luck,
RhainyC
 
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Old 08-26-05, 04:07 AM
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Originally Posted by spikedog4
Parents were well tempered and onsite too. Who knew? I think you are right, this seems to be more prevalent with GSD's.
deb

I don't feel it's the specific breed at all. Could be that the mother and father are brother and sister or mother/son, you never know. Inbreading can cause the type of dog you have and irresonsible uneducated breaders "puppy farms" do it all the time.
 
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Old 08-26-05, 08:39 PM
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not a puppy mill

Hi,
Thankfully, he isn't from a puppy mill breeder though not sure they did a great job breeding ~his Pedigree's been looked at and it was excellent up until the last litter- no inbreeding but the trainer felt it may have been done for "looks" rather than in keeping with his German traits. I've been in touch w/one of his siblings and she's not had much trouble with him re: aggression other than what one might expect from the GSD (protective of his yard, etc) He's not bitten anyone at least.
I do have an excellent trainer available who's "known" here in Boston- so of course I'll get his input prior to considering having him put down. He's a nice guy and hopefully we'll be able to work something out financially.
The muzzle's a good idea however... Beyond that he's not a jumper/attack type. Just the snap and run type I think (which is bad enough)
It's just so odd how he is pretty OK with some people and absolutely NOT OK - with most.
I WILL keep you posted-thanks, I have a call into the guy today.
deb & "Deacon"
 

Last edited by spikedog4; 08-26-05 at 08:41 PM. Reason: wanted to add something
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Old 09-09-05, 12:19 PM
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Update on Shepherd trouble...

Hi,
I wanted to let anyone interested, know that (see prev thread re: shep trouble) I had my trainer re-eval my dog (it's been >8mos since he was in classes) and he said a few things:
all mostly having to do with my dog lacking confidence
He said:
1) I shouldn't have "fixed" him (and/or it was too early- I waited almost a yr...- that in his opinion- they need the testosterone to fully mature (my dog still pees like a female) and it also helps matures their confidence. He rarely neuters his shepherds
2) I pat him too much when he behaves anxious/nervous/uncertain which is
reinforcing his behavior. He said to just IGNORE that.
3) With regard to his aggression towards people/dogs- of course- that I NEVER pat him for, but he didn't really exhihbit this while at the school - however, he said this was a good sign as it shows he's just scared and unlikely it's a genetic trait (?) or he'd likely have just acted mean right off.
He thinks I did try to socialize him but apparently not enough.
He also said I YELL at him too much and all commands should be in the same tone (sit, down, "knock it off") NO should be used only under extreme circumstances.
4) He's enrolled him in full time day school where he will emerse him with other dogs in a pen and at the parks, trial of the electric collar- which he says he'll use appropriately and with Shep's likely won't take long for him to "get it" what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior... then when I take it home- the dog will already understand what it's about.
*I am skeptical but going to try this prior to giving him up or putting him down.
Unfortunately, down deep I believe I won't ever be able to trust him around others as it seems it is "in his nature" to want to be aggressive/dominating. I could be wrong and maybe if he DOES have confidence, he'll relax and not feel so nervous/defensive all the time!? I'll let ya know- he starts next week like all the kids- back to school!
thanks,
deb & deacon
 
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Old 09-09-05, 01:20 PM
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You're doing better than I thought you would, congratulations! Keep in mind, not trusting your dog is not necessarily a bad thing. If you trust him, you're more likely to put him in a situation where he could cause harm or pay less attention to him in such a situation. I never trust any dog, careful never hurt anybody.
 
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Old 09-13-05, 06:33 AM
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Congrats and Good Luck!

I wanted to jump in here and say I am glad you reevaluated your shep. GSDs are really great dogs when properly trained.

I personally do not think that you can fix a dog/cat too early. But, there are others who will disagree with me.

Having said that, I think that it sounds like you have a decent trainer who will do the best possible for you and your dog. The electric training collar is a bit strong, but with your dog being a bit aggressive due to confidence issues, it may be a good choice. I can't say for certain not having met the dog personally.

The socialization aspect is very important and I am glad that the trainer you have has realized this and is doing something about it.

Commands should be given in a firm even tone, but not yelled, and No is used in the same way. Used Only when needed and in a firm tone. Dogs don't get yelling, they end up fearful when yelled at because they do not understand the meaning behind the tone.

Once properly trained, as long as YOU keep the training fresh, meaning using it daily, and properly, your dog will become a wonderful part of your family, with very little not to trust about. Keep in mind that your trainer should also include you working with your dog, and training YOU to Handle your dog, before graduating the dog from training.

I think that once he is properly trained, you will see a *new dog* in him, and you have to give him that chance to prove himself, without held over doubts. I do not believe your dog is inherantly aggressive, which does not happen often. I honestly believe he lacks confidence, and that is causing his acting up. Give him a chance, and be sure to work with the trainer to be Positive, You are handling your dog properly. Gee, did I say that twice?

Keep us posted!

RhainyC
 
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Old 09-17-05, 08:56 AM
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Hi-
Thyroid problems have also been implicated in cases of behavioural aggression. Here's more info:
http://www.beaconforhealth.org/Thyroid-Aggression.htm

http://www.petplace.com/articles/artShow.asp?artID=1807

You'll see in the article that a number of aggressive dogs (including German Shepherds) were significantly hypothyroid and their behaviour improved markedly once thyroid supplementation was given. You might want to consider having your dog's thyroid function tested. (Just type ' dog aggression thyroid' into a search engine to find more on-line articles).

The Koehler methods of training were published way back in the early 1960's and developed from military dog training. We know considerably more about dog behaviour and training than we did in his day, and some of his training 'techniques' including beating the dog with a rubber hose, holding it off its feet while choking it with a choke chain and holding its head under water are now recognized as more likely to lead to a visit from the SPCA than to be legitimate training techniques. Training methods that emply harsh corrections certainly do nothing to instill confidence and trust in a fear-aggressive dog, and are more likely to cause the dog to bite.

Here are some more articles on ways to deal with aggression:
http://www.canismajor.com/dog/aggres1.html

http://www.k9aggression.com/Aggressi...sion_main.html

Ultimately, you will have to make the decision on whether you are prepared to invest the time, money and commitment to changing this dog's behaviour, which will likely include managing him for the rest of his life as he may never be completely trustworthy in some situations.
 
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Old 09-17-05, 08:30 PM
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Another comment upon the Koehler Method...

Originally Posted by Rrainea
Hi-

The Koehler methods of training were published way back in the early 1960's and developed from military dog training. We know considerably more about dog behaviour and training than we did in his day, and some of his training 'techniques' including beating the dog with a rubber hose, holding it off its feet while choking it with a choke chain and holding its head under water are now recognized as more likely to lead to a visit from the SPCA than to be legitimate training techniques. Training methods that emply harsh corrections certainly do nothing to instill confidence and trust in a fear-aggressive dog, and are more likely to cause the dog to bite.

Ultimately, you will have to make the decision on whether you are prepared to invest the time, money and commitment to changing this dog's behaviour, which will likely include managing him for the rest of his life as he may never be completely trustworthy in some situations.

I wanted to mention that the methods I have used are *Modified* Koehler training methods, and not the specifics detailed in the Older versions of the books that are still readily available. The original method was very harsh, but did produce top notch dogs in their time.

As for the dog being trustworthy, in all situations, a properly trained dog, can be, but that is something that you will have to make the decision on, based upon the success or failure of the new training being done.

Best of Luck and keep us posted.
 

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Old 09-18-05, 08:59 PM
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just another update

Poor Deacon, he's been through only a week of the electric collar and surprisingly he has shown his dog aggression with the trainer at the park (I wasn't sure he would act up with the trainer) and he says he's slowly starting to "get it"... he does plan to integrate me into how to use the collar once he feels the dog understands the concept behind it... he doubts I'll actually need to activate it once the dog learns. Hmmm.
My bigger concern (and maybe they have to start with dog aggression training 1st?) is how he is with people (not just strangers) As I've mentioned previously, he can know the person but still won't accept them in our home or out on the street... it makes for a very stressful environment and walking him feels like walking a loaded gun (I'm not afraid he'll hurt anyone since he's leashed) but I have to keep vigilant as a lot of people aren't that bright or wary and want to pat him or let their kids run around near him. Plus, the neighbor he knows downstairs came up again and was in the kitchen for a good 5" and he seemed fine, then when she reached out to pat him he didn't really "snap" but he stepped back and barked meanly at her. I corrected him and then put him in the down position where he stayed and didn't do this again- but I know she was afraid to get up and move around after that, and frankly, I was nervous too. I know he wouldn't "attack" her- but he might snap- which is unacceptable and he "intimidates". He seems high strung.
I have a gut feeling this is genetic and where he's only semi-connected/affectionate with ME even- there's something "missing" in him that my previous Sheps had- and that's loyalty and that desire to want to please and be loved up- he doesn't like to be touched much- he tolerates it. He's NEVER been mean with me- and I trust him. He lets me do ANYTHING to him in fact... it's odd, he submits even when I have to do something painful with his ears or his bad rashes...
I'm going to give him a little longer- but I think he may be headed for adoption, which will break my heart as I'll worry about him! He's so handsome but it's going to be hard to find someone who'll take on such a quirky dog.
I'll let you know how it goes... *anyone in the Boston area who may want to meet him is welcome~ he loves the car & may enjoy hanging out in a guy's pickup truck with someone who doesn't require much in terms of mutual affection but likes a dog's company!?
deb
 
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Old 09-19-05, 08:21 AM
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Thanks for keeping us posted!

Deb,

I am glad that the trainer is going to be integrating you with the training as that is a crucial part of letting Deacon know that You are top dog.

I did want to mention one thing though, and I understand how difficult it will be, as I have been in a similar situation...

If you are tense and nervous with people around your GSD, he will pick up on that and be all the more difficult because of it. Dogs sense our moods and react to them, even when we don't realize that we are sending out those kinds of signals.

Did he stay in the down-stay you put him in without hesitation? If so, then I think you are doing what is needed, and the new training is helping. Also, if the dog is being trustworthy, in staying down and not reacting to the company.

In the end, it will be up to you to decide if the training took, and if you feel Deacon is trustworthy. You may be right, that there is something in his breeding that has caused this problem, but that is one thing only you, and your vet and trainer can decide. Ultimately, if you decide to find a new home for him, you will need to be veyr honest and up front with whomever is interested, and be positive they have TONS of experience with problem dogs.

Thanks again for the update...
 
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Old 09-19-05, 08:33 AM
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So many people don't know how to behave around strange dogs.

If he will follow commands as you describe in the unfortunate encounter with your neighbor, there is hope aplenty. When you walk him, have him sit and down from time to time to keep him on task. You want him to obey any command when given with a clear voice. If you walk him in area where there are many people, a muzzle would give you peace of mind in dealing with people who don't understand how to behave around dogs. Dogs think of the act of petting as threatening to them. A quick move out of his sight to the area of the vulnerable neck.

I would invest more time in socializing him with other dogs and people. There cannot be too much of this. He is rapidly getting to the age where this will be difficult to impossible to accomplish.

It seems as if the trainer is on track, making progress. As you mentioned, about the time the dog figures this out, it will be unnecessary.
 
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Old 09-19-05, 06:25 PM
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Hope?

Thank you guys as I was pretty upset today about him...
I had a long chat with the Trainer and he basically said this dog just doesn't like dogs or people much and we can't change that about him. But he says he just wants to be left alone- so if I can create that kind of environment- he should be alright (sounds rather sad and NOT what I had in mind when I got him) He has hope that the collar and more firmness from me will help but he'll never be a "sociable" dog. The muzzle's probably a good idea since others do not get it when you warn them he's not friendly...and would give me peace of mind too.
He does like to romp with some dogs but I have to be careful where we are- as in No joggers, kids, etc... but Yes, he did stay in the down position- although once out of 3 times when my guest got up so did he and followed her to the Bathroom... he likes the running water... he didn't do anything- but he didn't hold the position either- I'm working on that with him in the park, etc.- he's getting better at it.
The Trainer said I should ALWAYS have him on a leash, even in the house if I have company. Maybe in time this will change- but not for now- he says I need it for full control.
Deacon's quite a misfit- though the Trainer says a lot of Sheps are like this -I found that hard to believe, he's my 3rd and neither of the other ones were so "detatched" from me. Protective/YES but affectionate. Time will tell. I am now in search of a used electric collar as the new ones are like $200 which I can't afford!
Thanks for everyone's input. (I am pretty sure his thyroid was checked when I had his rashes/temperment work up last year... but may not be a bad idea to recheck with next heartworm screening)
Deb.
 
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Old 09-20-05, 08:45 AM
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Now is the time to decide what to do with Deacon...

Deb,

Now that the trainer has assessed him as not being such a sociable dog, you should decide if you want to keep him or not. I am sure others will disagree with me, but, perhaps if you decide he really is not what you want in a Shepard, you can find a new owner for him, that can give him the attention, and environment he will need.

I am sorry to hear that your trainer has discovered this about him, as often it is simply a lack of proper training that causes such problems. Sadly, many breeders are not properly breeding for temperament these days, instead going for looks or other cosmetic things. It happens to every breed eventually, at least from my years of watching/breeding/training.

I would suggest checking on ebay or other online auction sites for a deal on the training collar. You can probably find one much less expensively that way. But before you do, read up on the collars and see which ones are the best quality for the price etc.

So now you have the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not you want to keep Deacon. I do not advocate euthanisia, but more finding a good home with a responsible person, who is fully aware of his issues.

Please do keep us posted as I am very interested in how things turn out. Best of luck.
 

Last edited by RhainyC; 09-20-05 at 08:49 AM. Reason: Adding a bit of info I forgot to add in original post
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Old 09-22-05, 02:03 PM
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Thank you... I am sad and seems he's more "on edge" than usual but that may be from being crated most of his day at school unlike when he's at home. It's only Mon-Thurs and as I said they want to start using this collar in my home SOON. I did check EBay and only one was on there- again, not sure about the quality.
My trainer thinks I should get one FOR SURE and spend the $$. But where do I draw the line? I'm not sure there are folks lined up out there to take on a 2yo GSD with temperment and skin troubles... he is handsome and he is bright which is in his favor. He knows his commands and is extremely housebroken... and he has some "cute" quirks too...
He got so excited in the car the other day that he cracked the windshield with his FAT HEAD when he leaped from the backseat into the front when I got out to go into a convenient store! YIKES! HE was fine (no concussion) but it just feels like it's always something...
I feel guilty that maybe I "spoiled him" growing up or was too rough with him during his puppy training- but I can't change the past.
I want to give him maybe another 3mos using the collar at home. It comes down to what kind of PET is it if he needs to stay in a corner when visitors come over and not be able to interact with other dogs unless we're in remote areas? At times, I feel even HE is not comfortable in his own skin, he seems uneasy- it's sad to watch- yet the vets can't find anything physically wrong.
I've been in touch with a wonderful girl from the GSD Rescue of Massachusetts who said she may have some grant $$ to help in his training but again wondered if he's "aggressive" with humans that he may be a candidate to be put down. I can't bear that option but giving him away to a stranger is hard too as I don't know how they'll deal with him!?
UGGH. *Well, if anybody knows of someone not using their electric collar for a big dog- pls let me know!!!
I will keep you posted. None of my family/friends other than my ex-boyfriend who lived here with Deacon for a year feels he should stay here, they don't think he makes a "good pet" WHATEVER that means. (well, I know what they mean- he's not a lot of fun or affectionate, just beyond challenging!) But it's like giving back an adopted child just because they didn't turn out sweet/loving and obedient...
I guess only us animal lovers understand the difference.
tx,
deb
 
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Old 09-22-05, 09:57 PM
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I think you are doing the best thing for the time being...

Deb,

I totally understand where you are coming from with Deacon. Many years ago we had a dog that had some issues, but the main one was that he was *geared*. He never stopped moving, and being in a small house, with a small kid, it turned out to be the best decision we ever made to find him a new home.

Having said that, I am glad you are going to give Deacon's new training a chance and see how things work out. I have high hopes, if you can maintain your control over him, that he will be ok overall. No he may not be a cuddly, friendly shep, but he will be a good dog for you should he do well with the new training.

Perhaps, if things do not work out with him, you can get in touch with the GSD Rescue group and have one of their senior members assess him for adoption? They are very careful about who they allow to adopt dogs, I am sure, and would only let him go to a person who is experienced with GSDs, which will allow Deacon to get the best possible resolution, without euthanasia...IF you decide you cannot keep him.

Again, good luck and keep us posted.
 
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Old 09-24-05, 07:46 PM
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Wink

Thank you RainyC (& all) for your ongoing support. I have involved the GSD Rescue folks already as I had initially presumed I'd need to give him up. Turns out they're willing to help out financially with his training- which is great.
However, today I heard from one of their senior people that with Deacon's fearful characteristics where he seems more emotionally "confused" they didn't think the electric collar was such a good choice! UGGH. It's all so confusing. I need to trust the Trainer who knows him- and he is using Positive training with having people feed him but not pat him in addition to zapping him just for bad behavior but ?I dunno?
The Rescue group did offer to evaluate him- so I'm going to hold off on the collar until they do this and then go from there.
I agree in the longrun, perhaps both he and I would be happier if he were in a different situation. He too moves around all the time- though I've noticed with getting older, he's a little more subdued in the house. Outside forget it- he's nutz. I wish he were "friendlier" as he'd probably be great doing agility, etc... but his personality probably wouldn't work out.
I'll let you know what happens with the NEXT eval coming up soon I hope.
deb
 

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Old 09-25-05, 08:37 AM
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Evaluation and such

Deb, I think that getting him evaluated by the GSD Rescue group might be a good idea, however, your trainer knows him much better, and I would therefore weigh his thoughts carefully. I have used ETC (electric training collars) often when working with problem dogs in the past. Judicious use and proper positive training in conjunction with their use can bring about changes that often cannot be had without the collar's assistance.

In the end it will be your decision, but I am glad you are being consistant in wanting the best for Deacon, and not simply taking him in to have him put down as all too many would have done.

I am glad I can be of support, that is why I come to this forum, and have become a moderator here. I want to help people with their pets. It is a way I can be involved, despite my physical handicaps that now won't allow me to do my rescue work, or vet tech work.

Do keep us posted, and don't hesitate to contact me via PM or email if you wish.
 
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Old 09-30-05, 08:47 PM
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Deacon saga

Hi,
Thanks! I am sorry to hear about your disability- you must miss being a Vet tech! I wanted to be a VET but ended up going into Nursing...
ANYWAYS, I figure I'll give Deacon a chance with the collar and living at our new home when I move soon... strangely I've not been able to locate a used e-collar yet! However, the GSD rescue league said they may be able to help me financially. Surprisingly they too have conflicting views about using the collar Even the president of the MA chapter chimed in... her opinion makes sense that with a seemingly emotionally confused dog around people that zapping him might make him more fearful... but they are balancing this with positive reinforcement too. AND, sadly since the goal apparently isn't going to be that he'll be well adjusted and sociable~ then I doubt I'll need to use it that much...
I agree with you that his Trainer has known him since puppyhood so I'm going to stick with their regimen. I think it's going to entail my creating a lot more structure for Deacon at home- such as making him WORK now for everything (dinner/treats/even pats) and he'll need more practice staying in commanded positions~ he's not too bad at this- but of course this is without distractions around him... I mean REAL distractions like strange dogs/joggers/children- not like what we do in class. It's hard. My new house has a fenced in yard so I think he'll be spending a lot of time there and/or in his crate if I have company. He doesn't really mind it in there- I was just hoping he could engage more... oh well. I'm considering a 2nd dog at some point who might be more easy going to meet my needs for a nurturing pet.
I think the 2 of them would work it out at home over time... as long as it's not a small breed. ?maybe a greyhound or female lab?
I'll keep you posted when I begin to use the collar with him ...
Chat soon,
deb
 
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Old 09-30-05, 08:58 PM
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Glad to hear of your decision, I think it is the right one!

Deb,

I am very glad to hear of your decision with Deacon. I think with the change in residence, and the closer attention to training, you will be pretty satisfied overall. Even though he may not be the sociable GSD you had hoped for, he can still be a good dog for you.

I think the crate is the best place for him when you have company, mainly for two reasons, first being he can see and watch what is going on, and will see that things are ok. The second reason is that being in his crate (den) he will feel secure in the whole thing.

As far as getting a new dog that is more friendly, I personally would suggest a lab. They tend to be very good with people, but still can be protective. If you socialize Deacon with him/her from a puppy stage, it should all go ok, but do remember Deacon has his attitude issues, so until he shows his attitude as solidly good, don't leave them together alone.

Thankfully, my handicap/disease is something I have learned to live with and have accepted that it is something I will simply have to live with. I am glad to hear that you went into a field that allowed you to help those in need. That is sort of why I do this moderator thing, to help those who need assistance.

I look forward to hearing more from you. Take care and give Deacon a pat for me.
 
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Old 10-03-05, 09:44 PM
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2 pats and a cookie given from you to Deacon! I appreciate that you are there to "chat" with about his problems and to receive good solid advice from...
until later.
deb/deacon
 
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Old 10-04-05, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by spikedog4
2 pats and a cookie given from you to Deacon! I appreciate that you are there to "chat" with about his problems and to receive good solid advice from...
until later.
deb/deacon
GIve Deacon a Pat from me, at an appropriate time (of course) and don't hesitate to holler. You can also PM me if you wish, I usually check the boards at least once a day.

Best of luck as always.
 
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Old 10-12-05, 10:23 AM
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Info on Private Messages?

Hi RhainyC,
Please tell me how to write to your privately (PM) ?
I got a 2nd opinion on Deacon and the "prognosis" isn't that great...
thanks,
deb
 
  #28  
Old 10-12-05, 12:16 PM
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Deb, you should be able to click on my name in the message (in the title bar portion) and there should be an option to send a private message to me.

I was thinking about you and Deacon this morning...please feel free to send the PM and I will try to get back to you tonight when I return from work.

Best Regards!
 
  #29  
Old 11-10-05, 09:20 PM
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Update on Deacon the GSD

Hi All,
After much deliberation and consults I am finally "armed" with great information and tools to help myself handle my troubled dog Deacon. My regular Trainer was trying the electric collar with him but it really wasn't working... I removed him from their daycare situation.
Deacon has steadily worsened in the past 6-8wks and now is lunging and being "vicious" with strangers on the street. I have gotten him a muzzle but he is hurting my injured back and stressing me out beyond belief... as I'm sure I've mentioned previously.
Today we met with a well known Pet Behavioralist at Tuft's Veterinary Hospital (Dr. Dodson) It was a good visit, he isn't a believer in using "pain" to gain control or change behavior. He evaluated that Deacon and determined that he is truly a poor specimen of a GSD, likely mostly genetic but also some related to my being a poor leader to him plus not believing in the WAY he was trained...
Well, I didn't know any better using what I considered routine training equipment (choke chain/prong collar) I still don't think it was a bad way to learn obedience~
This dog's personality isn't quite normal and he really is rather autistic though as he's matured he is starting to bond slightly better with me but nothing close to how this breed should...
(I can hear the shouting that this dog should be put to sleep!!!)
Hang on, the plan we're going to try is Prozac, the gentle leader headgear leash that supposedly mimics what the mother dog would do with her pups- push on their snout and tighten at the scruff of his neck behind the ears.
It won't happen overnight and he is to continue wearing a true muzzle when in public places. He will likely never be "trustworthy" with strangers- but they feel they can make at least a 50% improvement in his bad behavior by instilling his dependence on me and scolding his "out of control/fear" response he now has.
I also have a few folks interested in possibly adopting him - with full knowledge of his "issues". The whole thing is painful to me, I don't want to part with him, I feel I may have failed him. But I also realize that it's unlikely I'll be able to provide the leadership/strength and exercise he needs.
The hardest part is not knowing whether he'll be well cared for. He's quirky besides being fearful and acting out.
Well, that's what happened today. I used his new "leash" tonite at the park and he isn't thrilled with it but it DOES get his attention a lot more than the prong collar (one doesn't need to be as physically strong to use this) and he seems to realize "the party's over". I dont' know yet if it's going to fix his fearfulness- not sure yet how we're going to build his confidence that people are friendly and OK... not lots of volunteers, ya know?
But this Dr. is avail for phone follow up and another visit after 6wks on his meds, etc...
We'll see what happens. Poor thing is still having so much trouble with his skin itching condition... this doctor made some more dietary changes (less protein, no preservatives) and IS checking his thyroid level- just in case.
THanks for your support and as usual- I'll keep you all posted.
 
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Old 11-13-05, 05:59 PM
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Deb,

I for one am glad to hear that you are doing all you can for and with Deacon. I will look forward to some positive news from you over the next weeks/months about his improved behaviour. As you know I am not an advocate of euthanasia except in all but the most extreme cases.

Will keep you both in my prayers.
 
  #31  
Old 12-28-05, 09:41 PM
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End of year Update on Deacon

Well, Deacon's been on Prozac 40mg for more than 6wks now but frankly I see little improvement in his behavior/temperment. The low protein diet they put him on (and I have him on no wheat and other stuff due to his itching) has caused him to lose almost 15lbs! Not good in such a short time.
They advised to decrease his drug- but I know him and it's definitely related to the food- he hates it, plus they eliminated his pig's ears and it's really hard to find any treats he likes that are low protein and no wheat (those calories add up).
I plan to keep him on the Prozac (awaiting if Vet wants to increase the dose)
but I think I'm putting him back on regular food to get his weight back up just a little (he looks pathetic) If that doesn't work, I guess it could be the RX - we'll see.
I think the gentle leader is what helps best... it gets him under control and makes taking him for walks easier. Other than that- we are starting to connect a tad better- I think because I am home more than usual being out of work due to my back right now. However, he's still a loner and not friendly.
I plan to see if having a big yard for more exercise makes a difference and see how he is with kids in the new neighborhood. If I am too stressed by his possibly getting Out OR if he doesn't change AT ALL I think I'll have to bite the bullet and have him adopted or put down in the Spring...
I really want a nurturing pet and doubt he'll do well with a puppy...(maybe if I'm careful and keep the pup crated until he's big/old enough to protect himself and introduce him properly to Deacon) It's hard to say how he'll do with a young dog in the house?
I know he "dealt" with the Rotty but that dog was very ALPHA, unlike Deacon- I don't know what the new dog will be like until he gets in the home and matures.
I KNOW he won't do well with a small dog. (sadly, my cousin's mini poodle was attacked recently by a GSD who was tied up on a rope- he broke it and ran them down, catching her dog and shaking him- thankfully he's OK but it severely traumatized them BOTH) She now REALLY hates Sheps.
I hate hearing those stories- seems to always be Sheps or Pitbulls. All I could envision was this being Deacon! I'd always use a chain though at least... the poor owner ruined his hands trying to hold the rope- it tore his flesh wide open and the dog was far too strong for him.
I know most would agree these type of animals shouldn't be "out there"
Deacon isn't quite that bad- but they're unpredictable so one can never know for sure.
I prefer to hope we owners take proper precautions to avoid such incidents.
I'll let you all know how he makes out at his next Tuft's Vet appt next month...
Have a Happy New Year ALL!
Debbie
 
  #32  
Old 12-29-05, 12:20 AM
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Debbie,

Thanks for the update, I was actually thinking about you and Deacon today, thinking to post a PM to you so I could find out how things were going.

I am glad you are doing all you can to give Deacon a chance. It is more than many people would do, and I salute you for that.

Please do keep us posted, as I for one and honestly interested and concerned with what goes on with you two.

Happy New Year and Blessed Holy Days to you and yours,

RhainyC
 
  #33  
Old 04-24-06, 04:40 PM
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Wink Spring update on Deacon the GSD

Well, Deacon's still on Earth but his behavior's the same~
He's a little more "bonded" with me which is nice- but he's still a terror in the car or with visitors or at the park/woods.
I took him off the Prozac as I didn't see much improvement and he's actually eating better now than before which is good.
The Gentle leader's helpful though I do still use the pinch collar sometimes too for optimal control.
It's such a shame as he's really well trained in terms of being in the groove about routine stuff (so much time/effort invested from both of us to get him here)
I haven't moved into my new house yet and with all that's gone on in other areas of my life (hurt back/lost job/lost boyfriend, etc) I don't think I can have him put to sleep yet. (still)
But he can't be trusted and that's the bottom line. He's fearful and aggressive with humans and animals.
Dogs need to be able to operate in society unless one's fortunate enough to live on a real farm...
Interestingly, my brother's not afraid of dogs and I've noticed when he's around Deacon- my dog initially tries to lunge/snarl and "scare" him but as soon as he realizes it doesn't work on him- he just retreats to a neutral corner and watches him... again, MY heart's in my throat but he then relaxes and seems to accept him in the home.
I'm becoming an avid watcher of the Dog Whisperer - and have even emailed Cesar- but they just refer you to area Trainers. (Even though he's going to be in the Boston area in May)
Anyways, I try to exert assertive energy- but knowing my dog doesn't always listen to me or is "in tune" I can't be sure he'll be safe around other people. So, it'll be a sad day- but at least he's had a pretty good 3yrs that likely few people would've given him.
Thank God for our Breed Rescue Leagues- I want to convey to everyone how important it is to support them financially when you can as they are really THERE for you when you need them!
They couldn't take Deacon with his aggressive traits but they helped fund my consults and gave me a lot of online support-for that we are grateful!
Chat again soon! Happy Spring! (hi RainyC)
 
  #34  
Old 04-24-06, 09:51 PM
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I am sorry to hear there has not been better progress with Deacon. I had my fingers crossed along with prayers being said. Please do keep me posted, if not here, then via PM as to how things are going and what is happening. I really do care about this situation, and am hoping some sort of really positive resolution appears...despite the situation's apparent dismal probably ending.

Good luck and bless you for all you are doing for Deacon while he is with you.
 
  #35  
Old 06-09-06, 11:30 AM
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I just read through this whole thread for the first time... First of all, I want to commend Debbie for all her efforts with Deacon. Secondly, as an owner of a GSD, I feel the need to defend the breed. Particularly among some comments by some posters that said they are all overly aggressive and unsociable. I think Debbie knows this isn't true, as she said she has had two in the past. I had another female Shepherd for 10 years, and I now have a 2 year old female. My first was 100% GSD, but no papers; my second is AKC with excellent pedigree. I have also known many other GSD's over the years. Generally, the GSD is known to be one of the most trainable and intelligent dogs in the world. This comes from their innate desire to please their master. My old vet used to raise Shepherds, and he said that while many dogs possess this trait, none do as much as the GSD. Granted, females are less aggressive than males, but if I had one complaint about both of my Shepherds, it is that they are/were too friendly with other people. My first stayed extremely playful like a puppy until she was 6 or 7. My current Shepherd, Sadie, appears to be on the same track. Both dogs live for frisbee and playing in general. They both would look at almost every person encountered (whether in my home, on a walk, or at the park) as another person to play with them. The first time either one of them was around infants or small children, they both instinctively knew to be more gentle, even though their usual playfulness was rambunctious. I have always been so proud of the way my dogs behaved compared to other dogs. Both of mine (and my two neighbors') liked to cuddle, be petted, belly rubbed, and any attention from people. Both of mine liked to play with any dog, big or small, unless that dog displayed aggression to them. I never used a trainer and I'm no expert in that field--I know I didn't do many of the things you are supposed to do, but it seemed that the training was just automatic and instinctive, including potty training, not to chew on my stuff, how to go for a walk, etc..., just from positive reinforcement and eye to eye scolding. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to train most Shepherds.

I'm not saying this to rub it in Debbie's face, but just to keep the breed in perspective and to assure Debbie that she didn't 'fail' this dog. Debbie has done more than most GSD owners who have better behaved dogs. I'm certain that this is a genetic or chemical thing. I can't offer any better advice than it seems you are already getting, but I sincerely hope that you find something that works for you and Deacon.
 
  #36  
Old 06-17-06, 01:34 PM
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Awesome Comment!

Hi
I appreciate your assessment on the GSD breed. They ARE certainly up there with Standard Poodles and various terriers at being bright/intuitive/trainable and make wonderful pets- as we all know- they were #1 for working with the BLIND and there are countless stories of their courage and valor at saving babies even in burning buildings. They are truly a FAMILY dog and most are "cautiously friendly" which isn't such a bad thing THESE days... eye contact is huge with this breed- and that's part of what indicates their intelligence in my opinion. It's not a blank stare- it's like "hey- what's next?" "what do you want me to do?" OR- they learn to TELL you without words what THEY want- like CONSTANTLY coming to you and leading you to the fridge or cabinet where you keep their treats or toys!
Sadly, mine has always had some trouble with eye contact and attention span. Maturity has helped a little- but he goes into an " aggressive zone" far too often for my comfort level AND his for that matter. I am certain he doesn't enjoy this part of his personality. You can see he'd love to play if only he had better confidence and not so much fear. It's like a lonely person who'd love to socialize at a party but just can't seem to start conversations and freaks out...
He is NOT a good specimen and that's the bottom line.
He is gentle with me but still doesn't like to be patted much and rarely wags his tail like a normal dog should. He has "other" ways he shows he's happy... ears back, licking, running back & forth~
I liken it to autism in the animal world. He's hardwired poorly.
However, he is ALWAYS energetic- loves to play with tennis balls and ANY stick that you can throw- he's on it...
Part of this "motion driven" instinct works against him with people and kids who are erratic.
I keep saying "next month" I will put him down- and still fear that the longer I wait- the higher the chance he may hurt someone. I am BEYOND cautious when it comes to safety measures with him- but nothing's 100%. This is why I fear soon I'll have to make the tough decision...
Thank you for defending the breed. He's sitting near me now howling like a wolf at a passing by police siren (I love that!)
He is so handsome and adorable with his little eccentricities.
Anyways, don't avoid the breed- just keep them around people and BE WITH THEM as much as possible- you're right too- they practically train themselves- but the strongwilled ones do need some structure/discipline- they actually crave it and respond well to it. Probably why they do well in JOBS.
Have a great Summer (this is a good season to find a puppy to adopt too!)
deb
 
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Old 06-17-06, 04:10 PM
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Well I must say this is an interesting thread. I can understand the frustration you must have with your dog. I think you are on the right track now, getting rid of the negative punishment type training.
The head collar can be an excellent tool for training. You stated that your dog is fearful aggressive and lacks confidence. I would suggest that you look into clicker training methods. It is a great way to build that bond and relationship with your dog and also to stimulate them and build their confidence. You can also try taking an agility class, maybe private lessons, or a rally obedience or obedience class. You can also look at getting him into activities such as search and rescue or tracking. All these things will help build confidence.
I think the key to understanding your dog is to determine what their limits and boundaries are and respecting them. I have a dog aggressive dog and semi-fearful aggressive dog that does not fit his 'breed standard'. Many would say that he should be put to sleep, but I have spent the time to understand him and have modified his behavior to one that is acceptable in most situations (like a down position). He can't go to the dog parks, or parties or things but he is happy and we love him. I take him for walks and hikes and he has a few dog friends.
I have accepted him for who he is as a dog, I have stopped asking for him to like all dogs, I have stopped asking him to meet strangers in public and we have moved on and are happy; we train slowly by introducing new things, people and building his confidence. One day he may see someone and the next we may actually walk by someone, the next that stranger may look at him, the next we may stop by the stranger and next the stranger might throw him a cookie and maybe after a week or so he may meet the stranger. If he acts up by barking or growling, I know that I have pushed his personal boundaries and he's upset, we need to take a step back and start over. Does this make sense? It is a very slow process and takes a ton of patience and cookies and praise.

Good luck and feel free to contact me re clicker training or desentising type methods.

kara
 
  #38  
Old 06-19-06, 07:31 AM
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Wow, how sad. I have a mixed GSD that I believe to be mixed w/ Doberman. I have never had a more loving dog. Although he's a little on the wild side and loves to run and he'll bark at other dogs when where in the car or in the house, he loves other ppl and dogs.

there isn't another dog or person that he wouldn't want to jump all over and lick to death. lol

i hope that you're able to live with him till he's old and I hope you can continue to give him a good life despite his dispositions.

good luck and keep us posted. got any pics of him you can share??

good luck.
 
  #39  
Old 06-22-06, 10:02 PM
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More On Deacon

I have some cute polaroids of him from Christmas (in his Santa hat) and a couple of him from when I was going to try to get him a new home... but I don't really know how to put them online. I took some with a disposable "digital" camera so when I get the disc back, I'll try to figure out how to download the attachment for DIY.com.
Thanks for asking!
Every day's a challenge and he gets a tad more aggressive as time goes by (again esp in the car). We're moving to a new house soon- so I'm hopeful with more exercise he may calm down a bit but I'll never be able to trust him with people.
Even when he gets a lot of running- he's still on the defensive.
I'm going to approach his Breeder again to see if we can arrange some time for him to spend with his "kin" since that pack mentality's helped him in the past~ they're not very willing to take him back though- plus ALL their dogs (and the people too) seem to end up with Lyme disease and my dog's not immunized for that... Not to mention mosquitoe season is horrible in New England this year from all the rain- and their dogs are outside a majority of the time. (mine's spoiled and an urban dog)
When the time's right, I'll know it. I'll miss the little guy's quirks.
I met someone today at the pet store with her Greyhound and she was so sweet and gentle... she was saddened to hear about my GSD (she'd owned 2 herself in the past as well) and said sometimes they're just too closely bred and end up neurotic... I guess.
Well, he's already gone to bed in the A/C- so I'm off.
Chat again soon,
deb
 
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Old 07-04-06, 01:53 PM
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Hi Deb,

I have read this entire thread and my heart aches, both for you and Deacon. I hope things are better for you both. I volunteer in animal rescue and wondered if you had ever heard of D.A.P. or the D.A.P. collar.
http://www.vpl.com/products.php?cmd=listcat&cat=Behavior&key=24

From the label:

"D.A.P. Dog Appeasing Pheromone mimics the pheromone that the mother dog produces to calm and reassure her puppies. Dogs recognize these pheromones throughout life as these pheromones appear to have a relaxing effect for both the young and adults.

USES
D.A.P. Collar stays with your dog all the time to help control stress-related behavior
• Introduction of new puppy • Puppy socialization
• Going on walks • Boarding and grooming
• Thunderstorm season • Fireworks and gunshots
• Fear of traveling

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
Fasten the collar around your dog’s neck and adjust. Cut off the excess portion of the collar. The effects of one collar last up to 4 weeks. Combining the D.A.P. Collar with D.A.P. Diffuser indoors for stress-related behavior achieves optimal results.

CAUTION
Remove the collar before bathing or shampooing your dog and replace it after the dog’s coat is dry. Collar will not release pheromone when wet.
Do not use collar on dogs with extensive skin lesions.
D.A.P. Collar is not a pharmaceutical product."

You would need to ask your vet about it, but I'm hearing good results with dogs that have fear aggression and fear of travel as well as separation anxiety.

Btw, Cesar Millan is now accepting applications for help as they will be travelling around the US.
http://www.dogpsychologycenter.com/submissions.php

My heart goes out to you.
Newt
 
 

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