This story has been posted piecemeal on my personal Facebook page so I thought I’d consolidate it all into one spot for people to see:
Once upon a time there was a purebred German Shepherd puppy. He was sold to my clients, a couple in their 80’s, by what I consider to be an unscrupulous breeder.
He’s been through training (twice) but the problem is that training was not reinforced at home. Nor was there any real routine or discipline. The man is frail and has mild dementia. The wife is also frail and doesn’t have a very strong voice or personality. Locker was pretty much allowed his head and I’m sure he looked at two frail people & made himself the alpha of the house.
With the exception of biting a groomer who tried to force Locker’s snout into a muzzle a year ago (the groomer admitted it was his fault), he was fine until their houseman passed away a little over a month ago. (He was the houseman’s shadow.) Since that time, he bit the decorator, the (adult) granddaughter and the daughter-in-law. I don’t know what happened with the decorator, but speaking with the father & husband of the other two, I can tell you the granddaughter’s bite was the fault of the owner: granddaughter was trying to teach grandma how to train Locker to a gentle leader, which should take at least a couple of weeks. Grandma got impatient & tried to force Locker’s snout into the leader that first day. The result wasn’t pleasant.
The daughter-in-law was bit because Locker has car aggression issues and he was never restrained in the car. Grandma opened the door to the car, and Locker jumped out, chased the daughter-in-law & bit her, presumably because she was standing too close to the car.
(I should add here that none of the bites required medical attention but he did draw blood.)
I’d told the owner before that if they couldn’t keep him, I’d take him. The son called me the night of Monday June 1st after the incident with the daughter-in-law to ask me if I would so on Tuesday, I picked Locker up & brought him home with me. When my husband (whom Locker had never met) came home from work, Locker got aggressive (but did not snap). A timeout in the garage cured that and within 5 days, my husband was able to give him scratches and even start giving him commands. Unfortunately, we have 4 cats who would not adjust to a large monster in their house and husband & I discovered our lifestyle just doesn’t allow the time & attention such a dog needs. So, I told the family we couldn’t keep him.
The grapevine got around about Locker and a retired K-9 officer (military & police) heard about him. At the family’s behest, I took Locker out to his house on the 9th and they seemed just fine. What this man failed to tell me or anyone else until the next morning is that he wants to work with children using a dog. I would never have considered that match & warned the family off if I’d known that.
Then the K-9 guy said he thought Locker was a great dog & wanted to keep him. 24 hours after that he changed his mind again & now doesn’t want him. He will, however, keep him for a short time in the hopes we can find him a good home.
Locker is a sweet guy. He loves to go for walks, play with his ball and get lots of attention. He’s a ball of rambunctious energy, which is why I don’t think he’d be good around small children. As mentioned before, he does have car aggression issues. It’s both my husband’s and my opinion that with retraining, reinforcement of that training, routine, discipline and a strong alpha human that he will make someone without young children a great companion.
Locker is not quite 2 years old (his birthday is June 26th), weighs about 75 pounds (won’t get much larger) and is in excellent health. All his shots are up to date. The veterinarian recommended a monthly shot of Adequan to stave off the arthritis common in German Shepherds. He knows all his commands, both verbal and hand signals, and obeys them all – except he’s a little stubborn on “heel” when he wants to go chasing a deer that’s crossed his path. (It’s a good thing I’m stronger than I look.) He is currently in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia but I will drive him or arrange for transportation anywhere.
I have a tentative “yes, we’ll take him” but there’s no timetable for giving me a firm answer and I’m afraid the family will say “no mas” and have him euthanized before I get a response. Therefore, I’m continuing my public plea to find this guy a good home.
Won’t you help spread the word?
17th June Update: Somehow the client found out where K-9 guy lived and yesterday, while K-9 guy was out, they went & took Locker out of the back yard. Didn’t even leave a note. K-9 guy came home & panicked (I would, wouldn’t you?). While wondering how Locker jumped an 8-foot fence, he had animal control, law enforcement, everyone looking for the dog until a while later, the neighbor across the street told him he’d had visitors while he was out & described clients and their vehicle to a T.
I’d like to know how they found out where K-9 guy lived. I was the only one that had his address and he only has a cell phone – no land line.
Be that as it may, Locker is now back with client. The family and I are done. I feel so sorry for Locker. Because client can’t control him, it’s only a matter of time before he bites someone not close to the family and they get sued. Locker will then pay the ultimate price.
Thank you to everyone that tried to find him a good forever home. I truly appreciate all the help, even if it was for naught.