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AIBU?

Starting to really resent my dog

393 replies

StopBloodyBarking · 31/12/2022 11:21

4 years ago (before anyone had heard of Covid so not a lockdown puppy) I bought a puppy. It was a breed I’d always wanted and she was perfect. I did everything by the book, training classes, socialisation classes etc - she excelled in all her classes and she really was perfect.

Then she hit 6 months old and changed. She became dog reactive - no idea why as I’d socialised her so much (in hindsight, too much). I worked on that but she became dog aggressive - then people aggressive. She hates men and kids. This means I can’t have my grandchildren over as it’s just not safe. Infact we can’t have anyone over, nobody visits anymore. All walks with her are stressful so we stick to the same route everytime and I try and walk her at times when the kids are at school so we’re less likely to see any. We can’t go anywhere as we’re so restricted with where she can go. I got a dog so I could take it to the beach, to the woods, to the park etc etc … I can’t take her anywhere. I’ve just braved a quiet beach with her and she screamed the place down before lunging and barking at anyone we came across, it was so embarrassing and after 10 minutes I gave up and came home.

I feel like a prisoner with her, every day is stressful and exhausting. I’m at the point now where i no longer want to walk her. But she’s so full of energy she needs it. I can’t rehome her as she’s aggressive. I’m stuck. I’ve had two behaviourists and 4 trainers. No difference. I’ve been told it’s all about “managing” her behaviour.

Sounds awful but I’ve started to fantasise about the time she’s no longer here :-( and I feel so guilty saying that as she adores me and I love her but I can’t do this for another 10 or so years. I’m really resenting how much time I’m missing out on with my grandkids because of her. All the places we can’t go, the days she’s ruined …. Just needed a rant really. So fed up.

The constant barking is driving me insane. She’s constantly “on guard”. I’m so tired of it.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

641 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
16%
You are NOT being unreasonable
84%
Check1Check2 · 31/12/2022 16:36

This is ridiculous, you are allowing a pet to rule your life and missing out on grandchildren/family/friends as a result? This is not acceptable, if the dog can’t be rehomed (which sounds pointless as it may attack someone else) ask vet to put her down.

Alloftheusernamesaretakenn · 31/12/2022 16:42

She sounds genetically unsound and also like a deeply unhappy dog.
You’ve persevered for a long time but with a dog that agressive you’re just delaying the inevitable - humans make mistakes and one day she’ll bite someone and have to be PTS.

I’d have her PTS now, avoiding a bite event. It doesn’t sound like she’s got much of a life at the moment and she must be miserable to feel like she has to be constantly ready to fight anything scary.

feelingsareweird · 31/12/2022 16:50

CockSpadget · 31/12/2022 15:30

Of course there is such a thing as a bad dog, just the same as there are bad people. Brain disorders and mental illnesses can occur in dogs, nothing to do with the owner.

no, dogs are not ‘bad’ - bad is a moral category and dogs may be smart but they don’t have an awareness of human morals. They are not ‘bad’ or ‘good’, they’re just being animals. They respond based on whether something brings them pain or pleasure. Some might be less well suited to living with humans than others, but they’re not being ‘bad’ on purpose to make life hard for you 🙄🙄 this anthropomorphism benefits no one, dogs or humans!

ttcat37 · 31/12/2022 16:54

Paq · 31/12/2022 15:38

If there's no such thing as a bad dog why do people care so much about the temperament of their parents?

Unless you have lived this you have no idea. I've seen my sister go through a very similar situation and honestly, she did everything and more for her dog before pts. Yes it's an absolute last resort but like others have said, it probably saved a very bad injury inflicted on another dog or human by hers, which was just terribly, awfully troubled.

Many people don’t- hence why a lot of people want rescues. They don’t care. I think people focus on parents for temperament but really they mean breed qualities.

FabFitFifties · 31/12/2022 16:56

I'm a huge dog lover OP, and I understand it is heart breaking, but she needs to be PTS. It's not going to get better.

Proudofitbabe · 31/12/2022 17:04

Life is too short for all this. You've engaged 6 professionals, if they don't know the answer then who would?! Can you afford to keep missing your family and isolating yourself while you try and find out? Meanwhile the dog is miserable and lashing out. I'd PTS and not think twice at this point. It's a real shame but it is what it is.

PetrovasFrog · 31/12/2022 17:06

I agree with other posters who've questioned using so-called 'balanced training' methods - which combine positive reinforcement with techniques including spiked-metal prong collars and choke chains. Apart from the obvious animal welfare issues it's an approach that can spectacularly backfire and produce the aggression you want to avoid. A great number of trainers and welfare organisations like Battersea strongly discourage this approach to training suggesting instead a focus on building a strong positive bond and encouraging confidence and security in insecure dogs.

I'm sure on some level there are dogs that are less stable or more sensitive, but how inflicting pain to force a dog like this to do what you want is a sensible idea is beyond me. And I've had large working breeds who needed careful handling. I also think it's easy for those who take the wrong approach to training or expect overnight results and/or fail to advocate for their dog - as in allowing a vet to pin them so they piss themselves in fear - to fall back on the idea of the dog not being 'wired' right to excuse their own failures. This is a young animal who deserves the right for a chance to a decent life, and does not deserve to be shocked or choked or spiked into compliance. If you treat your dog with violence seems to me you should expect your dog to eventually respond in kind. And even the most docile dog will snap if pushed beyond their comfort levels.

Contact rescue centres, contact breed organisations or find a decent trainer someone similar to Steve Mann. And let someone who knows what they're doing have an opportunity to give the dog a future. Contact Battersea even, they give advice on trainers and training methods.

ttcat37 · 31/12/2022 17:06

whataboutsecondbreakfast · 31/12/2022 15:57

I just can't agree with you.

Sometimes dogs are so badly bred that they don't stand a chance, no matter how much money you spend on trainers, medication, equipment, treats and muzzles.

I'd also argue that it's hugely unfair to keep some dogs alive when we can so clearly see they're suffering. If a dog was crushed in an accident, we wouldn't hesitate in having it PTS, but for some reason, mental suffering is ignored and we should just throw money at it instead, even when it's rarely in the dogs' best interests.

You might not be able to agree but you are wrong. Dogs are not people. Dogs do not experience things, rehabilitate from things and recover from things (or not) like humans.
Of course if they were physically suffering to the point that they would be better off dead you would put it to sleep. But you can’t put a naughty dog to sleep because you can’t be arsed to train it.

AGoodDayForSomebodyElseToDie · 31/12/2022 17:08

ttcat37 · 31/12/2022 16:54

Many people don’t- hence why a lot of people want rescues. They don’t care. I think people focus on parents for temperament but really they mean breed qualities.

Parent temperaments are much better indicators of a dog's future temperament than any breed stereotypes.

People who take on rescues do so in the knowledge that they are taking a risk on the dog's lineage and background, and should be aware that they may have to adjust their management, training and expectations accordingly.

ttcat37 · 31/12/2022 17:10

Proudofitbabe · 31/12/2022 17:04

Life is too short for all this. You've engaged 6 professionals, if they don't know the answer then who would?! Can you afford to keep missing your family and isolating yourself while you try and find out? Meanwhile the dog is miserable and lashing out. I'd PTS and not think twice at this point. It's a real shame but it is what it is.

Do the world a favour and never own a pet please. Jesus.

All the people saying “just put it to sleep”… you are the reason the rescues are full to bursting. A dog is for life. If you aren’t prepared to keep it, don’t get one. Would you give your child away if it shouted a lot? Probably would if you could but you can’t so you find a way to make it work.

PetrovasFrog · 31/12/2022 17:11

I agree ttcat37 but it also has to be the right kind of training. The OP has been using trainers who advocate prong collars and vets who would rather pin a dog then treat it with any kind of care for its wellbeing. All of which will have contributed to the dog's reactiveness and anxiety. Also going through six trainers is quite suspect, suggests an expectation of a quick fix rather than something that's hard work over time.

ttcat37 · 31/12/2022 17:11

AGoodDayForSomebodyElseToDie · 31/12/2022 17:08

Parent temperaments are much better indicators of a dog's future temperament than any breed stereotypes.

People who take on rescues do so in the knowledge that they are taking a risk on the dog's lineage and background, and should be aware that they may have to adjust their management, training and expectations accordingly.

Incorrect.

Ylvamoon · 31/12/2022 17:13

@StopBloodyBarking I agree with so many other posters. The kindest thing to do is PTS.
She's currently living a life of misery. All the anxiety, constantly being on guard and believing that she has to defend herself. That's bloody stressful!
From your posts, it sounds like its bad breeding and sadly we can't change a dogs DNA with training.
Yes, you could try meditation but what happens when it wears off? Or god forbid your circumstances change and you can't afford it anymore?

ttcat37 · 31/12/2022 17:13

PetrovasFrog · 31/12/2022 17:11

I agree ttcat37 but it also has to be the right kind of training. The OP has been using trainers who advocate prong collars and vets who would rather pin a dog then treat it with any kind of care for its wellbeing. All of which will have contributed to the dog's reactiveness and anxiety. Also going through six trainers is quite suspect, suggests an expectation of a quick fix rather than something that's hard work over time.

100%. Cruelty with prong collars etc will make things worse. The dog needs kindness and reassurance. It takes time and for the handler to be consistent

whataboutsecondbreakfast · 31/12/2022 17:14

ttcat37 · 31/12/2022 17:06

You might not be able to agree but you are wrong. Dogs are not people. Dogs do not experience things, rehabilitate from things and recover from things (or not) like humans.
Of course if they were physically suffering to the point that they would be better off dead you would put it to sleep. But you can’t put a naughty dog to sleep because you can’t be arsed to train it.

But we're not talking about "naughty dogs who need training". We're talking about dogs who were born so messed up that nothing we do can fix them - and they do exist, though people don't like to admit it.

Not all dogs are born mentally stable. Whether that's bad luck, birth defects, genetics or a mixture of all three is irrelevant, really. It's simply not fair or kind to keep dogs alive when they're so clearly suffering with day to day life. It's human selfishness. Dogs don't understand mortality and they certainly don't understand that they're potentially missing out on 10+ years of "life" by being PTS aged four. Like you say, they're not people and don't have human emotions.

It's also incredibly unhelpful to say that people who have behaviourally challenged dogs PTS are "lazy owners who can't be arsed". It's just a poor rhetoric used to make people feel guilty for no good reason. Not all dogs can be fixed and it's not always the owners fault - the last thing they need is people encouraging them to keep their dogs alive - especially when those people aren't willing to step up and actually help themselves.

Nameneeded · 31/12/2022 17:15

Your vet sounds like an imbecile. Please find a new one.

crossstitchingnana · 31/12/2022 17:19

This is why I hate GSDs. I have had so many react to my dog.

Nasty breed.

PumpkinPie2016 · 31/12/2022 17:22

I'm sorry you're having such a tough time with your dog. You seem to have done everything right and tried many professionals for help.

My parents had German Shepherds when I was growing up. Final one we had from puppy until he died at 15 was amazing.

One they had when I was much younger was an absolute nightmare! Really aggressive with anyone and everything. Like you, they couldn't let people in the house/take him out as he was so aggressive. They also asked vets etc. Even if police dog handler for advice but nothing worked.

Eventually, they gave him to a firm who needed a guard dog to work with the night watchman. He was happy as anything there! He was loyal to the watchman and the best guard dog they'd had. They looked after him very well (my parents checked regularly!).

Is something like this a possibility? Ask around/do some research and see what comes up.

It's all well and good people saying a dog is for life and I don't agree with just getting rid when someone gets fed up. However, that's not the case here - you have tried your best and it just isn't working. She is dangerous if she is so aggressive- a bite from a German Shepherd can do an awful lot of damage!

Blackmetalmama · 31/12/2022 17:22

Sorry OP sounds awful. Don't miss out on anymore of your grandkids lives or prolong the suffering of this dog.

WiddlinDiddlin · 31/12/2022 17:23

Good lord the bullshit and ignorance on this thread is astonishing.

'No bad dogs...' - maybe not but plenty of dogs with HORRIBLE genetics that predispose them to anxiety, to aggressive behaviour, to total lack of self control, such that management is impossible and training futile.

'Give it to the police' - clue, the police need STEADY responsive dogs who will behave as asked off lead, 'out' when told to, not bite the wrong person, recall when required... and be absolutely bombproof. No part of what the OP describes about her dog, meets this requirement. The police absolutely would PTS.

'People recommending euthanasia are why rescues are full' - have you even HEARD yourself? Which rescues are full of euthanised, DEAD dogs, do tell me. Dead dogs are NOT a rescue issue, they are not clogging up rescues, they are not hard to rehome or using resources. You know what is clogging up rescues? Dogs that shouldn't fucking be there because absolutely no one has the skills or environment to meet their needs! People buying puppies on a whim from puppy farmers becuase 'no rescue will rehome to me so i HAD to buy one' then ditching the puppy as it hits adolescence and becomes a pain in the arse. Those are the two big reasons rescues are clogged up with dogs.

'Dogs do not experience things or rehab or recover like people' - actually, they REALLY do, with some differences - they can't talk to us and so we can't have a two way conversation explaining what we're doing and why and we can't hear in depth thoughts on how they feel, we can just take educated guesses from body language. But the basic mammalian brain is the same, the fear responses, the seeking urges, the emotional centre, is the same, and responds in the same way.

'Just shut her in another room and forbid anyone to open the door' - if I had a quid for every time someones done that and then been shocked that mum/dad/kid/grandma/MIL has opened the fucking door and the dogs barrelled out and bitten someone, I would be writing this from my tropical island with a cocktail in the other hand and my private jet in the hangar.

Management Fails. And in this situation, this management would be highly inappropriate as the dog would also be extremely distressed being shut away alone.

Some of us (the people giving sensible responses on the whole) are actually professionals in the dog world, we do this day in day out (I am actually working RIGHT NOW, handling questions from puppy owners), we do know what we're talking about!

PetrovasFrog · 31/12/2022 17:30

I disagree whataboutsecondbreakfast, there are documented issues with certain breed lines, some types of spaniel, for example but it's relatively rare compared to the number of owners who like to pin their failures on that possibility. I'm not encouraging the OP to keep their dog, but I'm also not advocating that they consider themselves such an exemplary owner that the dog shouldn't be given a chance elsewhere. As for dogs and emotions, you should keep up with the research, dogs have been shown to be extremely emotionally complex and sensitive creatures, which is why using coercive/aversive force-centred training is so dangerous, if you choked me because I didn't do what you wanted I'd end up afraid for what might be done to me next and if I were a dog biting would seem like my best option for survival. A dog is a commitment and if someone can't handle that or takes an approach that makes that dog hard to cope with, they owe it to see if anyone else can turn things around. The OP seems to view her dog as an object, something she got to fulfil her fantasy of a particular lifestyle, rather than actually have thought about the implications of owning a large breed dog that needs a lot of stimulation and careful handling. She also seems to have passively allowed vets and trainers to handle the dog in ways that increase its aggression without intervening. That is not my idea of a responsible owner.

GiveYourHeadAWobble · 31/12/2022 17:33

I haven't read the whole thread but I really feel for you as I had a dog like this. (Luckily it was a small dog so we were able to keep him.) We put him on Fluoxetine and it was our last resort. I really recommend this as your next step. Good luck. I feel for you.

GeorgeorRuth · 31/12/2022 17:35

StopBloodyBarking · 31/12/2022 11:56

He lied to me and I fell for it hook line and sinker. He told me there were show lines, turns out they’re working lines. Her father lives in a muzzle. Her mother died recently at the age of 7.

I tried taking her to agility classes and she does enjoy that, I also tried shutzhund but she’s too unstable for it.

Was thinking of trying Mantrailing but again, unpredictable temperament- what would she do when she found her subject

Sounds very difficult, OP. Where are you in the country? I do mantrailing with my dog. We have reactive dogs in the group. There are ways of managing those dogs, so they make real progress.
The most human reactive now takes treats from me. Initially, there was no interaction with anyone as he would react.

10speckledfrogs · 31/12/2022 17:36

Carouselfish · 31/12/2022 16:03

But presumably you have doors in your home? Or a car? Or a garage? Put her somewhere with the door shut, with some water and a radio on and a nice chewy for the few hours your grandchildren come over. Walk her first so she is tired out. Make sure door is off limits/locked/barricaded so the children don't go in there.
I know that's only one of your issues, but really, you CAN have people over.

This a GSD. Mine opens doors by himself, jumps 6 foot fences for fun, and can force his way through walls of wood just because he feels like it. These are not dogs that can be contained by a door if they are frightened or want to cause harm to whatever is on the other side.

The fact is that either the behaviour is fixed or the dog is a liability. It's not your average labrador, these dogs are intelligent, game, stubborn and strong. Things that make them brilliant dogs in the right circumstances and homes but potentially dangerous if they are improperly cared for or mentally imbalanced.

I love my shepherd's and always have done but thinking you can use a door or even a tall fence to prevent harm with one is ridiculous

whataboutsecondbreakfast · 31/12/2022 17:40

I'm not encouraging the OP to keep their dog, but I'm also not advocating that they consider themselves such an exemplary owner that the dog shouldn't be given a chance elsewhere.

She's not once said she thinks she's an exemplary owner! And this isn't a dog that's just badly trained - it comes from a line of dogs where the father lives his life in a muzzle - giving it a "second chance" could end in disaster.

As for dogs and emotions, you should keep up with the research, dogs have been shown to be extremely emotionally complex and sensitive creatures, which is why using coercive/aversive force-centred training is so dangerous

I don't need a lecture about aversive training, either. I work with dogs and train them all with positive, fore-free training on a daily basis.

A dog is a commitment and if someone can't handle that or takes an approach that makes that dog hard to cope with, they owe it to see if anyone else can turn things around.

Unless you're volunteering to take this dog on, then, frankly, it's not your decision to make. OP isn't bored of a teenage dog who pulls on a lead or barks in the car - this goes much, much deeper than that.

Whether you think she's irresponsible or not, she has the safety of her grandchildren to consider, and also how she'd feel if she re-homed the dog and it went on to bite a child.

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