A user asks for advice in dealing with their aggressive dog…


854
722 shares, 854 points

+1465 – I am not OP.

This was posted in /r/germanshepherds by [/u/wildflowersnotweeds/](https://www.reddit.com/user/wildflowersnotweeds/)OOP’s demeanor and willingness to look at hard truths and taking responsibility is commendable. This is why this particular post has struck a chord with me. I wish them the very best for the future.

Spoiler:

>!Unfortunately, the dog ended up being euthanized for everyone’s safety.!<

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[Looking for help with my aggressive GSD](https://www.reddit.com/r/germanshepherds/comments/u906ye/looking_for_help_with_my_aggressive_gsd/)

Ok please don’t judge me or downvote me, I am just looking for help.

I adopted my GSD from a shelter 5 years ago when she was about 2. She was kept in a puppy mill until then and I think was physically abused. I mostly don’t know anything about her life beforehand, but when I met her she was scared of everything: wouldn’t come out for walks or treats and would just lay under my bed.

Over the last 5 years, I have spent over $10k on training and bills and I always had hope that she was improving. It seemed like she was coming out of her shell, but the longer things have gone on, the more aggressive and protective she has become. I have no idea what I did or am doing wrong. The only thing I can think is additional exposure to other humans and dogs but I can’t exactly risk her meeting them and going after them.

The last few weeks, I have almost lost control of her on walks as she pulls towards other people/dogs. I don’t know what she intends to do, it mostly seems playful but if she snapped or felt threatened, there would be no way to hold her back. She has bitten my aunt, mom and several exes and even bit someone the first week I got her but he ended up being fine.

The hardest part for me is that she has never been aggressive toward me even once and she is best friends with a few different dogs (including my boxer) I acclimated her with slowly.

At this point, I don’t know what to do. Even our walks are stressful when they should be relaxing. And I find myself crying or in a bad mood for hours if she misbehaves. I have missed out on so many opportunities because I have her- weddings, beach trips, being able to have a roommate or even afford my bills (I have had to borrow money for her trainings), meeting neighbors, etc. I am ok with that, it is that I literally live in fear that she will attack someone.

I reached out to a friend who rescues GSDs and is in the veterinary field and she said that any rescue most likely wouldn’t take her. She said euthanasia might be the best option since she can literally hurt anyone at this point. I would be devastated honestly but physically I cannot hold her back anymore and mentally I am a wreck and it continues to get worse.

I guess what I need from y’all is: your opinion on euthanasia for an aggressive dog or any recommendations on someone who could take her. She truly is a GSD in that she will protect her owner forever. She loves to play in the yard, but unfortunately I just cannot afford one. I feel like a ranch or farm would be perfect for her and I could even see her as an outdoor dog. I would happily drive across the country for her to be with a loving family.

I welcome any feedback or advice, just please be nice because this has been really hard for me, especially lately. Thank you.

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The community reaches out with many positive and validating statements, expressing compassion but also advising to not shy away from euthanising the dog if she can’t be helped.

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Update

[Update on my aggressive GSD](https://www.reddit.com/r/germanshepherds/comments/ugsv57/update_on_my_aggressive_gsd/) contains several images of a gorgeous white german shepherd

I posted a request for advice about my aggressive German Shepherd (Terra) about two weeks ago to this subreddit (linked [here](https://www.reddit.com/r/germanshepherds/comments/u906ye/looking_for_help_with_my_aggressive_gsd/)). I received a lot of comments (I’m sorry I couldn’t reply to them all). I found that the comments were either techniques I had already tried or euthanasia.

Euthanasia was something that I honestly did not think about because I always wanted to believe that I could fix her and that she would eventually calm down and lose her aggressiveness. One Redditor reached out to me and happened to live in the same state as me, about 3 hours away. She is a behaviorist and has worked with GSDs for years. We talked on the phone for several hours about Terra. It was very emotional but she helped me come to the conclusion that euthanasia was the only option because of how aggressive she was.

I never thought that I would have to let her go- I always thought she’d just pass of old age. I decided to put her down last Sunday, and this last week has been really rough for me and my boxer, Allie. Even though it’s been hard, I know that it was the right decision and that she is at peace now. She was not happy here on Earth and I hope that one day I’ll see her again.

I have added some pictures so that you all can see what she looked like to me all the time. She truly loved me and I knew that down to the last second. I know this because the sedation was supposed to take up to 30 minutes and at the 50-minute mark, she still went after the nurses trying to “protect” me. I didn’t need her to protect me but that’s a GSD- a true fighter.

I’m so thankful that I was chosen to experience this special kind of love. If anybody is going through the same thing and needs to talk, feel free to DM me. I am going to leave this subreddit because I see all the posts and they just make me sad. Please hold on to your pup extra tight for me today.

Thank you and I’ll be seeing y’all…

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Again the community reaches out with compassion was happy to validate OOP’s choices.

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Remember: I am not OP, I simply reposted.

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Edit: Many users have suggested this, but [/u/cypress\_](https://www.reddit.com/user/cypress__/)\_ was the first. With their permission I am copying their comment for better visibility:

>If you are reading this and it strikes a chord with your own pet, please check out [r/reactivedogs](https://www.reddit.com/r/reactivedogs/). Not all dogs can be saved and behavioral euthanasia is a necessary last resort, but many dogs can make amazing progress with the right professionals (like a veterinary behaviorist – an actual vet with additional training in behavior). The field of dog training is wildly unregulated and a lot of trainers use methods that can very well make reactivity worse and do not address a dog’s underlying fears. I learned the hard way with a rescue.
>
>Having a reactive dog is really lonely – people who have only had easy dogs will give you terrible advice or insist it’s all your fault, and god forbid behavioral euthanasia is the only safe choice as the same people will rip you to shreds for that, too. I have never had to make that choice (my dogs improved drastically working with professionals) but L[osing Lulu](https://www.facebook.com/groups/losinglulu/about/) is a great resource for those who have.

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2022-05-14 16:04:39

[+1465] |


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854
722 shares, 854 points
Shi144

32 Comments

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  1. Oof that’s a sad one. I’m glad that OOP was able to talk with someone else in depth about their dog’s issues. As heartbreaking as this outcome is, it is better than if the dog had attacked someone or another animal.

    So tough, my heart goes out to OOP.

  2. I’ve worked in the Veterinary field for many years and it’s heartbreaking making the decision to euthanize for aggression. Ultimately it is the best decision in cases that can’t be helped with training. Agressive/reactive dogs like this especially breeds such as GSD are like holding a loaded gun, and things can go badly VERY FAST.

  3. If you are reading this and it strikes a chord with your own pet, please check out r/reactivedogs. Not all dogs can be saved and behavioral euthanasia is a necessary last resort, but many dogs can make amazing progress with the right professionals (like a veterinary behaviorist – an actual vet with additional training in behavior). The field of dog training is wildly unregulated and a lot of trainers use methods that can very well make reactivity worse and do not address a dog’s underlying fears. I learned the hard way with a rescue.

    Having a reactive dog is really lonely – people who have only had easy dogs will give you terrible advice or insist it’s all your fault, and god forbid behavioral euthanasia is the only safe choice as the same people will rip you to shreds for that, too. I have never had to make that choice (my dogs improved drastically working with professionals) but L[osing Lulu](https://www.facebook.com/groups/losinglulu/about/) is a great resource for those who have.

  4. So sad for op but good on them, at least the pup got a good end- instead of a painful and hurtful one if they were to have ever attacked anyone else.

  5. I have never been in this situation as a pet owner. But as a board member for a local rescue, I’ve had to oversee the decision. And it freaking SUCKS!! From a human perspective, even though you’ve consulted with vets, trainers, behaviorists, etc, you still feel like you have failed the animal in question. And no one wants to publicly talk about it, because of the shame. And there shouldn’t be. Rescues ESPECIALLY need to be more open about it. Not every animal can be saved.

  6. I applaud the OOP for making this responsible but heartbreaking decision. It was made after years of effort to rectify the dogs behaviour and certainly wasn’t a spur of the moment decision.

    If you look in my profile, you’ll find previous comments that I’ve written in threads describing when my then 10 year old daughter’s was attacked, unprovoked, by a German Sheperd who was kept shut in a garage all day and never properly exercised.

    She adores all animals but at 13 is still terrified of German Shepherds. She will also have the physical scars on her arm and leg for the rest of her life.

  7. My heart goes out to the OP and their other dog! ☹️ Putting a pet down under ANY circumstances is pure agony.

  8. I feel for OP with loving a difficult dog. have a rescue wolfdog. Well I was told he was a husky mix but yeah did a dna test because of his abnormal behavior and yup no husky 34% wolf. My “dog” was terrified of everything. It was so stressful trying to walk him, he would just want to hide behind a bush. He literally defecated on himself one time because he got spooked by an off leash dog. I wanted this husky who was friendly/outgoing that I could take out running with and try skijoring. But I got a wolf instead. I knew ethically I couldn’t just adopt him out… he already was rehomed 3 times and he was only 8 months old. Luckily he had no aggression issues if my dog did I would’ve done the same thing as OP as heartbreaking it would be. One mistake could cost another person or pet’s life.

  9. We had a Great Pyr rescue that turned into an aggressive (not fearful aggressive, high prey drive aggressive) mess by 18 months. Her previous owner and the breeder both maintain she was purebred Great Pyr, but we had evidence that she was crossbred with a herding dog/heeler breed which made her unstable. She couldn’t be called off or blocked from her chosen prey because of her drive. I hated to have her put down, but she tried to attack me one day for not allowing her to kill a goose we had.

  10. Christ this is so sad but it does happen. It’s very hard but this person had exhausted every option. That doesn’t make it easier to do but hopefully made her own actions easier to accept. I know someone else who had to do this after their adopted dog killed a kitten and bit the SiL. They had a baby coming and couldn’t take anymore risks.

  11. These are the saddest types of updates.

    Where there are no assholes, nothing which could have been done to change the outcome, and a truly unhappy ending.

    My friend is a clinical animal behaviourist, who recommended me against certain breeds prone to aggression, of which German shepherds fell under. Sometimes there’s just nothing that can be done in their early stages of development to alter their genetic instinctual aggression.

  12. I did this recently. Adopted a one year old dog, very fearful, had aggression issues. I’m really good with dogs, thought I could fix her, and mostly I did. She was the sweetest most loving dog to us, got along with our other dogs 99% of the time until she didn’t. You could never tell what would set her off, but when she went off it was horrific. She bit three people, after the first time we were really careful and she still managed to nip two people. We couldn’t take her anywhere, couldn’t have anyone over, the last time she attacked one of my dogs it was so savage I just couldn’t keep her, but she can’t be someone else’s problem either. After trying for almost two years we euthanized her about eight weeks ago, it was heartbreaking, I still miss her, but I couldn’t risk the safety of others anymore.

  13. I experienced a very adverse childhood. I have spent more years in pain than I wish to remember. It’s only because I am human and have worked for decades towards some semblance of happy…

    A dog that has been so poorly treated as a puppy does not feel like a dog that can ever find peace. I understand why this was the best option. This maybe the greatest act of love I will witness on this sub. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful.

  14. There is nothing more difficult and admirable than choosing euthanasia. You did the right thing every step of the way.

  15. We had to BE our dog. Turns out she had an Inoperable tumour that was causing her aggression to get worse no matter what we tried to do. It was so random too when she’d decide to go for you. She went for my face one day when I was on the sofa and my other half stepped in front, she got his leg.. all we were doing was just sat there! It’s an awful situation

  16. Its so sad when Bite Sport Dog breeds are abused to the point they never recover. It too often ends the same way, with an uncontrollable case of PTSD and an instinct for blood that fills their lives with fear and pain.

  17. This is so sad. But ultimately the right decision. The OP did a fantastic job trying to rehab a dig that wasn’t going to be rehabbed. Dog that are this reactive and scared, they are not happy. They are living a life in abject fear. Sometime euthanasia gives a dog peace.

    I’ve had to council many owners through severe behavioral issues. Sometimes the recommendation is euthanasia, sometimes it’s finding a more appropriate home. But it is always very hard on the owner, when they have invested so much of themselves into helping their very loved pet.

    I wish the OOP peace with their decision. That wonderful pup got dealt a shite hand, until they landed in his/her home. OOP did the right thing for every being involved.

  18. I am so sad for this beautiful dog. She shouldn’t have had to go out like that. Whomever damaged her, they committed an act of evil. The only one responsible for this poor dog’s demise is the one who messed her up. OOP did the best job they knew how to do. I have no doubt.

    Puppy mills have all of my hatred.

  19. Oof, most of the time when you hear about a dog being euthanized because of their behavior it’s because of shitty pet owners, but it sounds like OOP did everything they could. Truly above and beyond. I feel so sorry for the OOP.

  20. As a GSD owner, this breaks my heart. Puppy mills are atrocious and anyone who owns one should do serious prison time. Our first two GSDs came from such a place and they were in terrible condition when we got them. But they were (and are- one is still with us) the sweetest, best dogs we’ve ever had. I can’t imagine going through this.

  21. Thanks for sharing this post.

    Getting a rescue dog can be a risk. You don’t know their previous life and what they were or weren’t exposed to.

    I’ve got 2 rescues who I love to bits and who I have worked hard to train but they still have their hang ups because they spent their first years living in cage.

    I may get a rescue again next time – maybe a young pup!
    But I would consider getting a dog through a breeder; something I wouldn’t consider before. Not for the breed at all – but for the start they get to life. Everything from the quality of food to time with mom and other pups.

    The shit food my rescue was given has caused bad teeth (says my vet) and those are always expensive bills.

    I’d like to see people with rescues talk about the hard work and difficult times because people do not like to talk about it and it adds to the shame feeling even though most people are doing their best and just didn’t have a real clue about the history of dog they were getting.

  22. I feel for the OP, my family had a Rottweiler with similar issues despite everything we could do. In our case we had gotten him from a reputable breeder and when we called him for advice he ultimately decided to refund our money and take the dog back. He said he’d work on it and if nothing else he would be able to place him with an experienced owner as a guard dog where he would only ever interact with a few people who knew him.

  23. Op did the right thing as much as it pained them. They did what they could with the dog and it just wasn’t sticking unfortunately, better to have the dog be put down now than if it were to attack another person or dog.

  24. My sister had a German shepherd she had to put down also because she was too aggressive. As soon as her son moved out of the house, she got a lot more aggressive and got to the point where she would attack their other dog and friends and family wouldn’t bring their kids over to her house anymore. She tried really hard to find a rescue to take her but they all said she was too reactive and that no one would probably take her because she had tried to bite a human once. I posted on Next Door for her asking if anyone had any resources as a last ditch effort since she was worried to post herself because she knew she would get tons of backlash. I got soooooo many judgmental comments and people begging her not to put the dog down and saying how cruel that would be. I am an animal lover too and totally understand not wanting an animal to be hurt, but sometimes euthanasia is the best option for the pet. It was really hard for her because she loved the dog so much but she eventually decided it was the right thing to do.

  25. I remember this one when it was first posted. A lot of people were angry with her, but she really did try everything. I just felt so bad for her. But if there’s one thing I hope she knows it’s that she didn’t fail Terra, she set her free.

  26. Wow this one hurts. Having been in the same situation and made the same decision, I will always regret having to put him to sleep. 4 years of love, training, medication, behaviourists and more, and we knew it just wasn’t enough. The best end we could hope for him was falling asleep in our arms, so that was what we did. 5 years ago now and I still cry for the amazing pup he would have been, if his first ‘owner’ hadn’t treated him so badly.

  27. Oof this made me cry.. so sad. I don’t know what I will choose if I was in that situation. This is too sad.

  28. My heart just breaks for OOP, who went above and beyond. The love she had for this dog was so, so obvious in everything she did.