15wk old male GSD attacked by 3yr old male GSD - He's not the same
Long-winded post ahead.
My husband and I rescued what we think is likely a pure bred "American" German Shepherd from a local GSD rescue. We knew that without going to a reputable breeder, we were in for possible trouble (lack of confidence, weak nerves, etc.), but our puppy, Hunter, just seemed to be the one for us.
And we were/are lucky. Hunter is a crazy GSD male with loads of energy, but boy is he SMART and he aims to please. He was walking well on a leash by 11 weeks and behaving off leash shortly thereafter. We've had him in 4 puppy training classes and he's doing wonderfully. He's been socialized with many dogs and children and people and everyone loves him. He only would bark outside our house (I've heard this is normal).
Two weeks ago, we were walking back from the park and were stopped by a man and his 3yr old GSD, who we found out had also been adopted from a local shelter. The older dog was VERY calm and sweet. Hunter went the sniff him (after 5 minutes of chatting no less) and out of nowhere, the dog attacked him and bit a hole right through his ear. The man was devastated and apologetic and said his dog had never done anything like that before.
It's two weeks later and Hunter has not been the same. He barks at EVERYTHING. We live in a city across from a daycare and he barks at the little kids and baby carriages and teeny dogs and garbage cans. He races ahead now and looks nervously around when we walk. If a dog barks at him he bolts. Any "alpha" status that my husband and I had seems to have vanished. He's been in a cone of shame, too, which makes him even less happy a camper.
1. Any possible explanation as to why this seemingly gentle dog would want to bite Hunter when Hunter has gotten along with every other dog he's met to date? We feel awful that perhaps we didn't read the signs?
2. What can we do to help Hunter be confident again and reestablish his faith in us as his leaders / parents? It's been so sad see this happen to him and we want to continue to socialize him as soon as possible.
Thank you so much.