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Posted: 6/6/2021 2:25:01 PM EDT
I can’t believe I am doing this and it breaks my heart, but Zeke has to go. He is showing signs of aggression toward our 15 month old son. Ive been trying to train it out of him the last six months but it seems he is just incompatible with children, its only getting worse the more active my son gets. I can handle Zeke just fine when I am home, but when it is just my wife and son, Zeke has started standing his ground and snarling at my wife. She can NOT handle Zeke if he took at shot at her spot in the pecking order, which it seems like he is pushing to do.

Just to be clear, he is growling at my son and recently my wife when she tries to correct him when Im not home. He has never bitten anybody.

Zeke is a fantastic dog with some quirks. He is prone to growl if approached while he is laying down. And he cries/whines a lot at times, like when I am leaving the house or when we are in a vehicle.  

Other than that he is an amazing 5 year old german shepherd. We did months of professional training with him as a puppy. We dont have a fence and live on .7 acres in a neighborhood and he does not leave our yard. Sit/stay/come/lay down/go to bed, etc. Hes got to have dozens of commands. If you open the door to your truck and simply say “truck” he will drop everything and jump in. “Garage” and he runs into the garage. “Upstairs and downstairs”, if you point at anything and say “up” he will jump up (its his favorite command other than truck).

Hes been trained to poop in our mulch garden beds so Ive never had to pick up poop out of the grass. He even seeks out woods or mulch beds to poop at other peoples places.

No health problems, always been on heartgard and nexgard, current shots etc. Hes very food motivated. He is not a super affectionate lapdog type, he likes a good petting but is what I can only describe as independent.

Im certain Im forgetting stuff. If you are interested and have questions please ask. Im going to leave this up here for a couple days before looking anywhere else.

Theres tons of pics in the pic thread but Ill get some pics posted later.
Link Posted: 6/6/2021 4:19:17 PM EDT
I am so sorry for you @zegermanznew. Getting rid of a beloved pet is nearly as hard as giving away a child.

You are doing the right thing. You would not be able to forgive yourself if he did something to your wife and your marriage would not survive him attacking your boy nor could you ever forgive yourself.

I hope you can find him a good loving home. Check with Saddie Mae in Bolton. They might be able to help you find a good home.
Link Posted: 6/6/2021 8:04:08 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By edgephoto:
I am so sorry for you @zegermanznew. Getting rid of a beloved pet is nearly as hard as giving away a child.

You are doing the right thing. You would not be able to forgive yourself if he did something to your wife and your marriage would not survive him attacking your boy nor could you ever forgive yourself.

I hope you can find him a good loving home. Check with Saddie Mae in Bolton. They might be able to help you find a good home.
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Thanks for the encouraging words.

Its hard to even think about, Ive been putting it off for months hoping we would round some miracle bend.

Today my wife was out and it was just the boy, zeke and me. Almost every time Jack would walk around in the living room Zeke would growl. I put Zeke in a totally different room and shut the door and when Jack would walk around the room we were in I could hear Zeke growl in the other room still. Its not an overtly mean growl, almost more of a grunt or a groan. But nonetheless I just knew at that moment it was time. This is no kind of life for him (or Jack, or any of us).

After Jack went to bed tonight I played ball with Zeke outside. Im almost certain he knows something is up, which kills me. If I sit in the grass he will usually go sit ten feet away (thats the independent part I mentioned earlier) but tonight he came and laid down right up against me. I feel like I have failed him.
Link Posted: 6/6/2021 8:23:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/6/2021 8:27:54 PM EDT by PGAEMU]
Do you think additional professional training would help? I am sure there are some experts with this type of behavior.
Link Posted: 6/6/2021 9:17:38 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By PGAEMU:
Do you think additional professional training would help? I am sure there are some experts with this type of behavior.
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My wife and I have explored it pretty heavily. Talking to folks I know in real life that have done it, it seems like results can be a mixed bag. Reviews online seem more positive than folks we know. I have been willing to try every avenue to not have to say goodbye to one of my best friends. But in the end, it’ll always be a risk having him in the house with the kid, especially when I am not home. If there wasn’t a kid in the picture I would never even consider giving Zeke away, Id roll with him even if he bit me some day. I love this dog, I must have spent thousands of hours training him. I couldnt explain how much work it takes to get a dog not to shit on grass, or not to leave a .7 acre property with no fence and no leash, even with dogs next door etc. He’ll literally chase squirrels and stop right at the property line between our houses (just grass, not even a visible barrier). I just let him out the back door in the morning, I dont even have to watch him. In literally almost every other way this dog is a perfect mans dog. He just doesn’t like kids.

My biggest concern with a behavioralist is that he just gets trained not to growl (which happened to my bosses dog), but the dog still carries the same feelings or instinct or whatever it is that makes him uncomfortable and growl. Now he just doesn’t let you know he’s uncomfortable, he just snaps. Its like cutting the tail off a rattle snake. We have been very careful not to train the growl out of him, like when he is sleeping and someone goes to him. Instead, he’s been trained to give his little “growl” (more like a grunt), and get up and go lay down in another room. He lets you know hes uncomfortable, and then resolves the situation by removing himself from it.

Problem is, when Jack goes toward him he growls then gets up and circles around pondering why he’s giving up the spot, then just sort of walks around growling and, it seems to me, wondering if he should try and take Jack down a peg in the pecking order. I can intervene and command him to another room or something and he snaps right out of it. But the other day after I left for work my wife intervened and commanded Zeke to another room and he started growling at her very bad, showing teeth etc. Ultimately my wife stood her ground and Zeke conceded to a bedroom but my wife admitted she was very scared.

He has since done the same thing to me, which is very concerning. Then today, started growling just because Jack was walking around, not even toward him, and then not even in the same room. He just isn’t comfortable here anymore.

Link Posted: 6/6/2021 9:45:20 PM EDT
My cousin ignored similar behavior and the GS bit his kid in the face, unprovoked.
It sounds like you’re making the best choice for your family.
Link Posted: 6/6/2021 10:46:18 PM EDT
I am sad just reading your posts. I love my dog. She is a pit bull mix and is the sweetest dog. However, she is my dog and she even looks at my wife with a different stare than she does with me. I can do anything to her but if my wife tries she snaps at her. Not like rip your face off just a polite grab to let her know who is boss. We rescued her from a kill shelter. You never know what the previous owner was like or did to the dog.

We had another dog before this one and he was also a pit bull. He was missing a rear leg from fighting or abuse. He had cut ears and was loaded with scars. I can only imagine the horrors he had to suffer. He was the nicest and sweetest dog. I am tearing up just thinking about him. He got cancer and we had to put him down. I lost a piece of me that day. I am not sure I will ever get it back.

@zgermanznew, I told my wife about your situation. She has a friend who is involved with GS rescues and adoptions. I have some info from her if you don't find someone here to take him. I can only imagine how your heart is broken knowing you have to make a Sophie's choice.
Link Posted: 6/7/2021 11:00:16 AM EDT
Sad but as you stated it’s like a wolf pack and sadly to Zeke your son and wife at at the bottom. Glad you guys noticed this behavior before anything bad happened. Too many tragic stories popping up within the past few months about this. Hope you find Zeke a Great home !
Link Posted: 6/7/2021 11:11:08 AM EDT
Sad to hear and sounds like you've tried just about everything. Out of curiosity, who feeds him?
Link Posted: 6/7/2021 11:24:55 AM EDT
Don't beat yourself up.  There will be another moment later on when it's the right time to have another dog that can better integrate into the family.

Life happens.  Let somebody else enjoy some time with him.
Link Posted: 6/7/2021 3:57:15 PM EDT
Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, guys.

My wife and I both feed him. He doesnt get his kibble until we are done at the table.

He had food aggression when he was a young puppy (under 1 year old). We think he was the runt and had to fight for his food. We were actually able to train that out of him by feeding him his meals (kibble) by hand for a few months. When he was a pup you couldn’t get near him while he was eating and now I could go and take the food right out of his mouth without incident. He might have something to say if I tried taking a steak out of his mouth (what dog wouldnt)  but no problem with his meals.  

I contacted a behavioralist today to come and do an in home evaluation. I think its worth a shot at least to hear what they say.

Maybe Im just getting tired. Were moving in a couple weeks, half the house is packed away, we both work full time. Zeke knows somethings up but has no idea whats going on. He can tell if Im packing a bag for an overnight at work and acts differently. Cant imagine what hes thinking seeing everything get packed.  Ive been trying to hold out to make a decision until the new house. Its bigger, he can actually go somewhere and not be bothered if he wants, new surroundings, maybe itll be better I was hoping. Can fence the yard and leave him outside all day if need be. Maybe he just becomes and yard/garage dog? I dont know. I dont want to give up but the lines are all blurry.
Link Posted: 6/7/2021 4:40:06 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zegermanznew:
Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, guys.

My wife and I both feed him. He doesnt get his kibble until we are done at the table.

He had food aggression when he was a young puppy (under 1 year old). We think he was the runt and had to fight for his food. We were actually able to train that out of him by feeding him his meals (kibble) by hand for a few months. When he was a pup you couldn’t get near him while he was eating and now I could go and take the food right out of his mouth without incident. He might have something to say if I tried taking a steak out of his mouth (what dog wouldnt)  but no problem with his meals.  

I contacted a behavioralist today to come and do an in home evaluation. I think its worth a shot at least to hear what they say.

Maybe Im just getting tired. Were moving in a couple weeks, half the house is packed away, we both work full time. Zeke knows somethings up but has no idea whats going on. He can tell if Im packing a bag for an overnight at work and acts differently. Cant imagine what hes thinking seeing everything get packed.  Ive been trying to hold out to make a decision until the new house. Its bigger, he can actually go somewhere and not be bothered if he wants, new surroundings, maybe itll be better I was hoping. Can fence the yard and leave him outside all day if need be. Maybe he just becomes and yard/garage dog? I dont know. I dont want to give up but the lines are all blurry.
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Sorry for the situation! If it were me , the dog has to go. He is not going to change and it is what it is. When I had a Shepard , we took the food away while she was eating and any aggressive behavior was immediately felt with! There can be no question as to the pecking order in the family. I wish you all the best with whatever decisions you make-
Link Posted: 6/7/2021 10:27:03 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zegermanznew:
Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, guys.

My wife and I both feed him. He doesnt get his kibble until we are done at the table.

He had food aggression when he was a young puppy (under 1 year old). We think he was the runt and had to fight for his food. We were actually able to train that out of him by feeding him his meals (kibble) by hand for a few months. When he was a pup you couldn’t get near him while he was eating and now I could go and take the food right out of his mouth without incident. He might have something to say if I tried taking a steak out of his mouth (what dog wouldnt)  but no problem with his meals.  

I contacted a behavioralist today to come and do an in home evaluation. I think its worth a shot at least to hear what they say.

Maybe Im just getting tired. Were moving in a couple weeks, half the house is packed away, we both work full time. Zeke knows somethings up but has no idea whats going on. He can tell if Im packing a bag for an overnight at work and acts differently. Cant imagine what hes thinking seeing everything get packed.  Ive been trying to hold out to make a decision until the new house. Its bigger, he can actually go somewhere and not be bothered if he wants, new surroundings, maybe itll be better I was hoping. Can fence the yard and leave him outside all day if need be. Maybe he just becomes and yard/garage dog? I dont know. I dont want to give up but the lines are all blurry.
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Good call on the dog specialist.

Also, did this behavior start before the packing up to move? As I am sure you know, pets can be sensitive to change/attitudes. Do you feel comfortable hanging on till the move is complete? Maybe a temporary move for the dog until you are settled and then see what happens? Just throwing things out there.
Link Posted: 6/8/2021 10:49:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/8/2021 10:51:50 AM EDT by brianb860]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zegermanznew:
Were moving in a couple weeks, half the house is packed away, we both work full time. Zeke knows somethings up but has no idea whats going on. He can tell if Im packing a bag for an overnight at work and acts differently. Cant imagine what hes thinking seeing everything get packed.  Ive been trying to hold out to make a decision until the new house. Its bigger, he can actually go somewhere and not be bothered if he wants, new surroundings, maybe itll be better I was hoping. Can fence the yard and leave him outside all day if need be. Maybe he just becomes and yard/garage dog? I dont know. I dont want to give up but the lines are all blurry.
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Hopefully everything works out in the end. We just moved from CT to FL with two dogs. When things were getting packed up, the older one was pacing around a lot and didn't know what was going on. The puppy didn't care. Once we got to the new place, we were without our furniture and things for a while as the POD was in transport. They both seemed lost. Once all of our stuff arrived, the dogs settled in almost immediately.

Not sure where in CT you are located, but Dog Star Rescue in Bloomfield (right next to Hooker Brewery) has an awesome facility and a great group of people. So if it did come down to finding a new home for him, they might be able to help you find a good one. And he'd be in good hands in the meantime.
Link Posted: 6/8/2021 11:28:53 AM EDT
Semper Fi dog rescue is run by site members, post up in Team or GD
Link Posted: 6/12/2021 3:52:13 PM EDT
Don't know where you're located or which behaviorist you're using. We've used Becky at All Bright Canines in Oakdale.

https://www.allbrightcanines.com/
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