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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%
Purplecatshopaholic · 31/12/2022 12:36

Oh op, your poor dog. And poor you. But your vet and that trainer (aren’t prong collars illegal, or are you not in the uk?) sound horrific! Please seek out other specialists before giving up on this poor, terrified dog. I know someone who swears by CBD oil to calm her dog. Another friend has her dog on meds from the vet (an anti depressant type thing?) Good luck to you.

cloudsandream · 31/12/2022 12:36

Most of the replies on here are truly disheartening. It’s an animal, a living thing, and ultimately a commitment OP took when getting her. People off the bat just saying put her to sleep come across quite heartless and it’s shown medication, and other trusts that work with this particular breed, have not been considered yet. She’s a living thing, suggesting to put her down so quickly is cruel and makes me dread about all the posters on here ever owning their own pet. Talk about can’t cope with issues Confused

QueenSmartypants · 31/12/2022 12:37

I was reluctantly inclined to agree that you'd run out of options but then I looked up prong collars.



You haven't had responsible trainers/behaviouralists if this is an example of their practice - it's horrific and will only reinforce her fear triggers.



I've never been in the situation where I need to find one, I'm afraid so not sure how you'd guarantee a decent one, but you need to do some serious research to find a well qualified and ethical behaviouralist who can help.

Twiglets1 · 31/12/2022 12:39

This sounds terrible for you. I know I will get criticised on here for suggesting it, but I think she may need to be put down if she can’t be re homed.
A dog should not be causing you so much stress & it sounds like you have done your best to socialise her etc

Wnfatt22 · 31/12/2022 12:40

10speckledfrogs · 31/12/2022 12:02

I have a GSD too - my grandad rescued some very aggressive ones over the years, most badly treated, others just bred with a screw loose

Sounds like it all went downhill for you and this dog around the teenage stage which is when shepherd's become very stubborn and difficult for a while at the best of times, your dog just did it to the extreme and didn't recover

Definitely attempt medication and management

I'm going to say something here that will be unpopular but in all of my years working with dogs I have mentioned it to people a handful of times

If you cannot manage an aggressive dog there is no shame in behavioural euthanasia especially when fear is impacting on a dogs quality of life. Some dogs are just bred wrong anyone who says otherwise doesn't have a clue. It is not always the owner at fault. Dogs can have neurological issues or just plain be born with a screw loose and no amount of fixing will ever help. I wouldn't go to euthanasia quickly but if a dog has no periods of calm and is spending its life stressed and is a major danger to the public its worth considering

I echo this. It sometimes is genuinely in the best interests of the dog as quality of life is so negatively impacted due to the anxiety. I know behaviourists who have taken on troubled dogs and ultimately had to have them PTS. It’s utter shit but can be the kindest option in cases like yours OP. I’m so sorry. I do hope you turn a corner with her.

IntentionalError · 31/12/2022 12:40

Menomenon · 31/12/2022 11:29

Don’t give her to a rescue. Face the end of the road, tell her you love her and take her on a one-way trip to the vets. It’s the right thing to do.

I agree with this. If the dog’s behaviour is genuinely unmanageable, if it is having a negative effect on your life, if it cannot be trusted around children, cannot be re-homed and it has not responded to expert intervention, you have reached the end of the road. Euthanasia is a perfectly reasonable solution, and you need to be strong enough to take the tough decision rather than palming it off onto someone else. No vet will refuse to euthanise an aggressive dog which is a danger to children.

BootifulLoser · 31/12/2022 12:41

So many suggestions for letting this dog further take over OP's life and family! And yet at the end of it all will this ever be a dog that can be trusted around her grandchildren?

We don't even know how to fix people with "brain chemical imbalances", let alone dogs.

I don't think OP should give up her life for a dog, especially one that shows very little potential for happiness for either party.

(BTW I am a dog lover and grew up with many dogs in our family and miss all of them!)

whyhere · 31/12/2022 12:41

StopBloodyBarking · 31/12/2022 11:49

I agree with you, I blame myself 100% for this mess

Bless you: we've all made mistakes in life. Sorry this one is causing you so much suffering.

My aunt had a corgi like this once - even a specialist police dog handler couldn't deal with her. I am a huge advocate for all animals, but PTS may be kind here.

littlelilypad · 31/12/2022 12:42

I have a reactive rescue dog and totally sympathise, OP - it is very, very difficult at times, and you do start to resent the dog Flowers

Apologies if someone has already mentioned this (I only scanned the replies), but Southend Dog Training are fantastic, and they specialise in reactive German Shepherds. From what I can see they've done a lot of work with dogs who have been through multiple trainers, and some dogs who have been advised to put down. We did a video consultation with them and their advice has helped no end with our little pup.

Sending you lots of luck!

Rhondaa · 31/12/2022 12:43

cloudsandream · 31/12/2022 12:36

Most of the replies on here are truly disheartening. It’s an animal, a living thing, and ultimately a commitment OP took when getting her. People off the bat just saying put her to sleep come across quite heartless and it’s shown medication, and other trusts that work with this particular breed, have not been considered yet. She’s a living thing, suggesting to put her down so quickly is cruel and makes me dread about all the posters on here ever owning their own pet. Talk about can’t cope with issues Confused

We love our dog. She is walked every day, interacts pleasantly with any other dog or person, enjoys games and toys. This is what life with a dog should be like.

The op shouldn't have to stop visitors as she's scared what the dog would do, she shouldn't have to walk at deserted times in deserted fields (9quid a day!). Having a dog should enrich lives, including the dog's.

This dog is miserable and vicious. Of course it should be euthanased as the op had done everything she can to train it.

WisherWood · 31/12/2022 12:44

Prong collars are very much a short term fix that make things very wrong in the long term. I would consider doing some courses with these people, as they are very good and use well-researched methods www.thedogenius.com/

If all her littermates are the same though, I would seriously consider euthanasia. If she were in a high degree of physical pain you would do it. She's in a high degree of mental distress and ultimately, it's just as bad. However, I would not do this with your current vet. Pinning a dog down until it urinates in stress and fear is dreadful practice and it would be awful for you both if that were the last thing that happened to her.

Maybe try a different vet and medication but ultimately, do consider euthanasia.

PotatoScollop · 31/12/2022 12:45

cloudsandream · 31/12/2022 12:36

Most of the replies on here are truly disheartening. It’s an animal, a living thing, and ultimately a commitment OP took when getting her. People off the bat just saying put her to sleep come across quite heartless and it’s shown medication, and other trusts that work with this particular breed, have not been considered yet. She’s a living thing, suggesting to put her down so quickly is cruel and makes me dread about all the posters on here ever owning their own pet. Talk about can’t cope with issues Confused

It's fucking disgraceful, and the first response by so many on here, to threads like this. When a dog becomes too difficult to handle, kill it. Have a look about, forum is rife with it. A perfect example of the kind of clueless idiots that should not ever, ever, be allowed near a dog.

Dogs can indeed suffer mental health problems. Yes indeed it's very sad. Medication can work bloody wonders, and this option hasn't been tried yet. Prozac will not work for every dog, it's quite likely the OP may need to try a few medications before finding the one, and dose, that suits the dog.

German Shepherds are a working dog, and are not suited to just a couple of walks a day in the vast majority of cases - they need actual work. And no, not guarding. Without which, they absolutely do lose the plot. I've no idea what activities the OP has tried with the dog, but I'm sure there is always room to try something else. OP have you used a doggy backpack/saddle bag? My shepherd mix rescue is an entirely different dog with hers. When she has it on, she is straight down to business and extremely focused on power walks. Without it, she pays much more attention to her surroundings.

The power that simply giving a dog something to redirect it's focus on can be quite a sight to see, even for the worst cases.

If all else fails OP, please PM me. I am sure a home could be found, rather than killing her. x

Chitasaurus · 31/12/2022 12:46

As a behaviourist and GSD breeder, I have to point out that the vast majority of replies on this thread are misinformed twaddle.

If you want to continue to work with your dog, contact either the APBC www.apbc.org.uk/ or FABC fabclinicians.org/ , who will be able to put you in touch with properly qualified, assessed and insured behaviorists or vet behaviourists who will be able to help you. If it is not possible for you to help your dog, they will be able to support you through the decision to PTS or rehome. Noone on this thread can or should advise you without having the full picture. Also fearful dogs are not suitable for the army or police force.

Please change your vet, who has most definitely made the situation worse.

Good luck

dontgobaconmyheart · 31/12/2022 12:47

I think I would be speaking to the vet about whether the dogs only remaining option is to be PTS OP, it's not the casual decision or solution that some on here see it as. Taking a young dog to be PTS will weigh heavy, I imagine and is an absolute last resort.

I would be speaking to the vet about medication options and their candid opinion on the dogs options. Ultimately the poor dog is hardly having a nice time, clearly petrified at things to the point it's reactive and wetting itself is an awful situation for it to be in, I feel for both the dog and the owner.

I think the suggestion to seek out breed specific rescues for advice or further contacts for breed specific trainers would be a good one. Ultimately if it were me I would have to know I really had tried everything - medication, one more shot with a specifically selected trainer or tried my utmost to place the dog in a specialist rescue, before wanting to PTS.

As an aside, nice that your DH has the option of simply opting out of this situation because he can't be bothered with it but is happy for you to take the burden.

KendrickLamaze · 31/12/2022 12:48

I've read some of the comments but not all. You need a balanced trainer as I see you have used. These are the best for a dog like yours who has a chaotic bunch of problems. You say you can't use a prong collar. They are honestly not bad when used properly. It also sounds like the dog needs this to save them. What is more important to you? Saving you and your dog from a life of misery or a collar that is used by professionals (in all dog areas) worldwide.

Get that balanced trainer back or another but do not chop and change as the dog needs consistency and change vets.

Ive used prong collars and found them amazing tools. I have also used one in a German shepherd that couldn't handle them so I didn't. He squealed when he was pulled back once. It's not about harming but guiding. I would still use mine now if my dogs neck wasn't too fat. I use a rope slip lead now which does the same thing when placed correctly.

OhmygodDont · 31/12/2022 12:49

Terrible breeding. Where these papered puppies or pedigree without papers. I’ve come across a certain couple on the gsd world who are known to fly by their pants and unfortunately had a run in with my self but thankfully due to a good well known gsd breeder she got nowhere.

Honestly tho if the dog is this highly stung and aggressive as her her litter mates and father the best option is pts it’s no life for her or you.

Nanny0gg · 31/12/2022 12:50

StopBloodyBarking · 31/12/2022 11:46

With the reactivity I do positive reinforcement and I’ve managed to stop her reacting to bikes so we have had some success. She also doesn’t react to men anymore unless they approach us. I don’t know what’s happened this past couple of weeks but she’s gone backwards, screaming the street down as soon as we leave the house, biting at her lead and reacting to random men again.

We’ve had 3 positive reinforcement trainers and one balanced trainer. The only one who could handle her was the balanced trainer but I can’t recreate his methods. (Prong collar, I just can’t do it).

It's a horrible thought but as it's the whole litter, wouldn't it be kinder to PTS? There must have been an issue with the parents/in the genes.

It must be hideous for her to be so anxious and on edge all the time.

Littlepuddytat · 31/12/2022 12:50

Menomenon · 31/12/2022 11:29

Don’t give her to a rescue. Face the end of the road, tell her you love her and take her on a one-way trip to the vets. It’s the right thing to do.

I totally agree with this. Don't pass her on to someone else. Take responsibility and give your dog a peaceful ending. Some dogs just aren't made to be pets.

Ineedtosleep79 · 31/12/2022 12:51

When you say you've socialized her - has she been on group walks with other dogs?

Because I have a shih-tzu who is/was very reactive to other dogs and once a week she goes on an hour long walk with a few other dogs from the neighbourhood with a trusted dog walker. There are still dogs that set him off occasionally when i take him out somewhere but his group walks have made a small difference. And on that note, regardless of the socializing, could you entrust her to a local trustworthy dog walker? Just to give you a break? Maybe once a week? Look for good reviews and do some research - there are some good ones about.

Also I know its not ideal, but if you are really struggling, perhaps you could put the little darling in a boarding kennel (a nice one) for a few days/week just to give you a breather. You could plan something with your family at the same time.

Good luck.

KendrickLamaze · 31/12/2022 12:51

P.s you are doing a good job and I can see you have great patience and love for the dog. You're a good owner and I'm sure you'll get there with the right help. Even contacting a rescue for guidance rather than rehoming may help.

He's not well liked on here but Southend dog training sounds perfect for your dog.

thewinterwitch · 31/12/2022 12:52

Sounds ghastly. Draining for you, and terrifying for others. I think she needs to move to the country, somewhere where she will have a large property to roam and guard, and be away from other people and dogs.

There must be some nutty GS club that would find her a good home?

CrystalCoco · 31/12/2022 12:54

OP I can offer nothing but sympathy I'm afraid.

A friend has an aggressive dog - not the same breed as yours, a breed which is 'usually' very family oriented and friendly, which makes their situation really bad as people expect the dog to be friendly and then blame friend's training/behaviour - which is not the case
(friend has had this breed before and previous dog was lovely)

You sound like you've tried so many avenues, I hope the doggy-prozac suggestion works, if not I'd be asking the vet what the heck else can be done.

I know it would be very sad for you for the dog to be put to sleep if it came to that, but this is ruining your life, your family life and I can only imagine the impact it will be having on your marriage.

ArabellaScott · 31/12/2022 12:55

Sounds like the dog needs to be put down, OP. It happens. Flowers

OhmygodDont · 31/12/2022 12:56

thewinterwitch · 31/12/2022 12:52

Sounds ghastly. Draining for you, and terrifying for others. I think she needs to move to the country, somewhere where she will have a large property to roam and guard, and be away from other people and dogs.

There must be some nutty GS club that would find her a good home?

She won’t ever have a “good” home poor thing is scared of basically everything always ready to attack to protect. The whole litter is a shambles with a psychotic sire. They should have never been breed.

AGoodDayForSomebodyElseToDie · 31/12/2022 12:57

StopBloodyBarking · 31/12/2022 12:01

If nothing else, it’s taught me the importance of finding good breeders and I’ll make it my life’s mission to advice others to do the same. I stupidly thought it was all about how you brought them up, I was very wrong.

I'm sorry you had to learn that the hard way - lots of people do exactly what you did and get away with it. It's shit.

But it is a good lesson to have learned and it's a really important message to spread. Your dog may have suffered because of a shitty, irresponsible breeder, but if you can convince even a few puppy buyers to buy from reputable breeders (or rehome from reputable rescues), you'll be helping to reduce the number of unhappy dogs bred by dodgy breeders in future. Small consolation, I know.

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