Extreme Dog Aggression - Please Help!
Ellie, our 3-year old spayed, female GSD, hates other dogs. We feel like we either need to surround our yard with a 10 foot brick fence or rehome her. After buying her for a family pet/4-H project for our children, we found out her mother is extremely dog aggressive also.
She is extraordinary with my husband and I, and our son and daughter, and good with people in general, both familiar and unfamiliar. But, toward other dogs, both big and small, familiar and unfamiliar, close or far, she is terrible, barking, snarling, dragging us around if she is on a leash, etc. We have an older female black lab that she tolerates most of the time, and even enjoys playing with sometimes, but Ellie will even turn on her occasionally. She has bitten my parents' black lab twice, once at our house, once at their house, both times unprovoked, and she has been around this dog regularly since she came to our home at between 8-9 weeks old.
Now, we have neighbors on two sides that have dogs, and she will go completely berserk, barking, snarling, racing up and down the fences if the other dogs dare to be outside in their own yards while she is out. One family has had their dogs since we got Ellie, and there was never a problem with them, other than an occasional bark or two from both sides of the fence, until new neighbors moved in behind us with a very barky, aggressive Pomeranian. Once that dog started acting aggressively toward Ellie at the fence, she steadily became worse and worse.
Now the Pomeranian is gone, replaced by a pit bull type dog. We have to take Ellie out on the leash at all times except late at night to avoid problems with the other dogs. If she accidentally gets into our back yard (she is a very smart escape artist and can remove a stick and slide open our sliding glass door to get out), she and the big dog behind us go at each other very aggressively through the slatted/spaced privacy fence, and it is only a matter of time before one or both get hurt or worse. And to make matters worse, Ellie now goes berserk over the side neighbor dogs that have lived there all along, with no problems until the Pom moved in. She gets between a bush and the fence and races up and down the fence like crazy, usually quiet, but barking very aggressively occasionally. One day she ran back there so long without us being able to get her out that she literally laid down exhausted at some point.
We realize we made many mistakes early on, not establishing ourselves A's alphas, not working on obedience enough, etc. Is it too late? We all love her so much, and she is a beautiful and brilliant dog, but we are terrified something horrible is going to happen between her and the neighbor dogs. We would be grateful for any ideas or suggestions.