When we purchased Uno, our German Shepherd Dog from a reputable breeder with impressive credentials, the idea that our adorable, eager-to-learn puppy would become an aggressive 18 month-old dog would have seemed absolutely ridiculous. But this is exactly what happened.
In fact, his aggressive tendencies began to show at the time when I (Sue) was in the final stages of preparing him for his first AKC obedience trial. My show-ready, supposedly “obedient” dog began to growl and bark, for no apparent reason, at our teen-age son, Alex. We just couldn’t believe it and didn’t know what to make of it.
We had owned a German Shepherd before that I had successfully shown in the obedience ring, but we had neither personally experienced such seemingly unprovoked aggression nor heard about it at the breed club to which we belonged. We and all the dog-savvy people we talked to were at a loss for how to deal with Uno’s behavior. None of their suggestions worked and the situation got progressively worse.
Uno eventually bit both Alex and my husband, Tauras, who then became the primary target of his aggression. Only Nick (our other son) and I were able to safely approach and handle our dog. It was at this point that we were referred to Matthew Duffy.
Matt’s systematic approach to shaping canine behavior and his ability to teach both theory and technique to us is the reason why Uno is still with us. Although he continues to wear a muzzle, slip collar, and leash at all times in the house, his aggression has subsided to the point where he is being slowly reintegrated back into the family. We are currently in the fourth month of what has been a long and difficult journey with plenty of ups and downs. However, we have hope where we thought there was none—and that makes all the difference.