Anonymous asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

Desperate for advice should my german shepherd dog need to be put down?

I horrible thing has happened my beloved german shepherd,has killed our old chihuahua he was 14yo just ripped him apart. Unfortunately not first time kill but most major. Has killed chickens and attacked other dog used to run with me while riding horse but now chancing horses and nipping at legs not stopping even when being called back. Has been trained by ex dog trainer never acted like this before, been aggressive since having litter but not towards humans. I love my girl to bits but seeing what she had done and troubles with her over a year span since killing all chickens in pen (6pox) parents wanting her to be put down is this reasonable? never had this before.Whats wrong with her? completely confused parents saying cause see is blooded?

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    No, but maybe the owner should be, or at least neutered.

    See, the problem is with the OWNER, not the dog.

    All dogs descend from the same ancestor as the canine predators, and so predation is innately part of a dog's make-up. Since the original separation of species/breeds, several breeds have been crossed back to wolves. But proper socialisation and training has the pooch CONTROL the unwanted-by-humans parts of its nature - all well-bred well-reared GSDs *WANT* to please their owners.

    As an example of the instincts & control: A sheep-farming horse-training pen-friend owns dogs of various breeds that she has "inherited", plus an old BC she got for herding, and a young GSD she bought to take over from the BC. Some weeks ago a damaged crow landed in the chooks' run. The GSD went straight in and killed it; no asking for permission or instructions, just instinctive from experience that the chooks are part of the owner's pack, the crow wasn't. The other day the chooks discovered that they could fly over the fencing of their run. The retriever and the GSD caught the chooks one-at-a-time and brought them - indignant, but alive - to the owner. Luckily the BC was elsewhere at the time. Yesterday another chook escaped, and the BC caught & crushed it.

    [pupgrann...] may or may not be what she claims, but obviously has no experience or knowledge of starting a GSD on patrolling a flock. Neither had I when my bride insisted we get a GSD, back in '67, but as my home was surrounded by thousands of sheep I knew enough to get a pet lamb and walk my pup around the house and explain "No!" each time he looked at the pet lamb. He went on to protect a farmer from a furious farrowing sow (PMS plus!) and become an expert Collie-style drover.

    Among my pen-friends is a protégé of the only shepherd to have won the SV's Herding Trophy outright. THEY want a dog that is determined to dominate sheep during potential-tests, but the training begins with walking the patrol-line on-lead, the owner supporting the pup every time it deters a sheep from crossing that line. A cheeky ram-lamb challenged the current pup a few weeks ago, so the pup kissed it on the nose, which was enough to persuade the ram to return to the flock, with dignity preserved on both sides of the challenge.

    Okay back to the question:

    The problem lies in that you are the type of household that SENDS THEIR DOG AWAY TO BE TRAINED! Most trainers quickly produce a pooch that will obey THEM - but the dog still has little or no respect for the actual owner, and unless the trainer managed to develop adequate techniques in the OWNER, the human soon reverts to lazy inconsistencies, and so any dog with initiative realises that IT has to take charge.

    Inadequately trained dogs issue their first challenge to owners at almost exactly 10 months old (when they are at the same attitudinal state as rebellious hormonal teenaged humans), and unless the owner gets into serious training will have taken over the household by 3 years old. And dogs have very very few ways to punish anything that disobeys them!

    A dog should ALWAYS be under control - ideally, control by voice/signal, but until that is achieved it must be by leash while the owner is present, security run when the owner cannot supervise.

    A "taste for blood" has nothing to do with her behaviour - my dogs have almost always been fed on raw meat. Some have had high prey drive, and would instinctively stop anything that attempted to run away, others have happily allowed cats to share their warmth at night.

    If you are going to keep your, the dominant member of the family needs to get into training immediately - a 2-3 weeks residential course WITH her would be ideal, but at least 2 classes a week where the handler's use of "the voices", posture, the leash, timing, rewards & reprimands are corrected, with 20 or more brief (1-3 minutes each) unsupervised revisions at home every day. Just as the only way to learn the "times tables" is to repeat them often until they become an automatic habit, so repetition is necessary when training an animal. Until the IS under proper human control it would be advisable for her to wear a basket muzzle when running loose on your property and while off-property during on-lead walks.

    Consider applying NILIF as well - your has to DO something you have commanded before she gets any food or pats or playtime. It could be as simple as "Come" or "Sit", but she must realise that she HAS received an instruction, and SHE must agree to obey that instruction - the more often she agrees, the more likely that she will agree next time, too.

    Without that time, effort, and CONSISTENCY the alternatives are to offer her for free to someone who has experience at rehabilitating poorly-raised pooches, or to put her down. She doesn't sound dangerous to humans, so I see no reasons for her to be put down.

    Les P, owner of GSD_Friendly:

    "In GSDs" as of 1967

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    German Shepherds were originally bred to herd other animals. It sounds like your GSD has a very high prey drive, and may not have been properly socialized to not herd or harm other small animals.

    What your dog is doing with the horses, is trying to herd them into going where they want them to go, and doing what the dog wants it to do. My GSD tries to herd our other dog, and will nip at her all the time. No matter what we have done, how much exercise she has gotten, we cannot break her of this. We sometimes have to separate them during play time if Bella gets too nippy with Fattie.

    If your dog does not have any aggression towards people, I would say that euthanizing her, would be unfair. She should be put in a home where there are no other animals, and with someone who understands how to handle her.

    If she is aggressive towards people, I would have her evaluated and talk to a vet about possible euthanasia (putting her down.)

    I am very sorry to hear about the position you are in. I hope everything turns out for the best for your family, and your dog.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Definitely not a case where you need to put the dog down. Animal aggression is one of the easiest to fix because you don't have to make her become best friends with other animals, you just have to teach her to ignore them. Since the dog didn't act like that before you got it, it's probably something caused by you on accident. You need to step up and make it clear just because you're not her previous owner doesn't mean she can do whatever she wants. The way to do this is of course, make her make a mistake. Dogs learn by making mistakes. Bring her around small dogs and chickens or whatever available small animal she can get her prey drive up about and when she shows too much attention towards that animal you give her a level 10 correction and keep walking by. She's not an aggressive dog, she's a dog who's doing something very natural...she's hunting! You just have to step in and say "You aren't allowed to hunt"...she has no need to hunt, you feed her, you set the rules, and the new rule is ignore any and every other animal. I hope I helped and good luck, if you need more in depth help feel free to e-mail me. It's really not a complicated case and as with all dog training the training that makes the most sense is the way to go. Common sense says this dog is a prey driven dog who feels the need to hunt and the best way to stop it is to correct the dog for even beginning to get into that prey mode. I also suggest you get a prong collar, it makes it easier to get your point across.

    Source(s): I'm a professional GSD breeder/trainer.
    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • i wouldn't give up yet.

    first, get her vet checked. someone on here posted an answer a while back that they had or knew a dog that developed severe aggression and somehow it was learned the dog had Lyme disease. once treatment started the dog went back to being normal.

    once you rule out medical possibilities, get her into training. my sister bought a GSD from a breeder and by 9 mths the dog was dangerous. so she sent the dog to "boot camp" for 6 weeks. every member of the household also had to be trained on handling him. and there's sill a trainer coming in 3x a week.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    One thing you need to know - aggression toward other animals and aggression toward humans is not the same thing. In your question, you never indicate any aggression toward people.

    It is clear that this dog cannot be in a home around any other animals and can never have access to any other animals. It sounds like the dog is high prey drive - tiny dogs and chickens are prey - and German shepherds were originally a herding breed and the dog is trying to herd the horse.

    You may not have the right home for this dog, but if it is not human aggressive, it may be a very good dog for someone who is willing to keep it as an only pet. The ex-trainer may have been drawn to this dog because high drive dogs often make the best protection and police dogs (they have high drive to work) but they also can have problems with other animals as a flip side.

    Source(s): I work with a humane society.
    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • ♥L
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    If your dog is aggressive towards humans...then putting her down is the most humane option. If she is only aggressive towards other animals...then I don't think putting her down is necessary. She has a high prey drive and killing chickens and tiny dogs isn't out of the norm for dogs with high prey drives. If you aren't able to keep her away from small animals; then you should rehome her to someone who can.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Unless you are able to totally manage this dog around other animals you should put him down. Do not give this dog up to a shelter or rescue group which may rehome the dog and someone else ends up with a tragedy on their hands. What about contacting a group that uses GSDs like the police or military. They may be willing to take on a dog like this for service work. There are trainers who can work with this behavior but an owner has to be committed to making the program work, and you can NEVER let your guard down with this dog or something else could end up dead.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    I'm the founder of Kimmelot German Shepherds, and it sounds to me like you are not a strong enough leader for your dog. So, what she needs is another owner.

    German Shepherds were bred as Sheep Herd dogs. Meaning that they were bred to keep preditors away from sheep, like wolves, foxes, coyotes, stray dogs. The wolf was bred into them not only to make them devoted and to give them the desire to follow an alpha leaders directions, but also to be territorial. It is their natural tendancy to not allow a preditor in their territory, which is as far as they can see. It requires lots of control by an alpha leader, and lots of early dog socialization to curb and control this instinct.

    Herding drive , is really prey drive controlled. When a herding dog like a Shepherd or Collie is rounding up sheep or other animals, they are really hunting them, with a leader. They just don't move in for the kill, but allow the alpha leader to choose when that is done, out of respect for the alpha leader, and you don't have that respect.

    Same as a wolf leader signals with their eye or a nod of their head for this wolf to go left and that wolf to go right, they follow the leaders directions to bunch up the animals, or to help pick one off. Herding dogs have to be taught, strongly, to curb their biting. So again, going after things like chickens is natural prey drive, that just hasn't been curbed by a strong enough leader.

    I don't think your parents want the liability of a strong natured, uncontrolled , high prey drive dog around , that does have a taste for blood, has learned to kill, and does not take your directions. That is fair.

    But before you put her down, talk to an expert like me, call some German Shepherd breeders, or rescues, or guard dog services, and see if you can't get her placed into a more appropriate home. Guard dogs in a service is not a bad home, during the day they live in a regular kennel, always with a partner dog, at night they are driven to say a car dealer or someone with a wearhouse they don't want broken into, and the spend their nights, patrolling or just being a deterrant to crime. Guard Dog services usually charge $ 700. a month for a pair of dogs. This would be a better life than being put down.

    You also say she has not been aggressive to people, so maybe she'd be ideal for a single man, who doesn't live with other animals, as a companion. Or a single woman who feels like she needs some protection.

    You can contact me at we do rescues of German Shepherds and others and might be able to help you place her.

    Source(s): 35 years raising , 7 generations of Kimmelot German Shepherds, training, showing, bording, rescuing.
    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    How old is she and what kind of training did she have? If she has never acted like this before and you never had a problem, then I first would rule out a medical problem. Bring her to a vet and explain her actions and how they changed. Brain tumors or other medical issues can cause this. Good luck...

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • miaugh
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I'm sorry about your chihuahua. GSDs have high prey drives, she can't be faulted for something that is genetically programmed into her being, such as killing the chickens. If she has no human aggression, talk to a GSD rescue to see if they can offer training help or re-homing help. She may be able to be placed with a home that has no other pets or exposure to other pets. If she is also showing aggression to people, euthanasia is reasonable.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.