My 3 yr old GSD has completely changed... I need advice asap. - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 10-25-2012, 11:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My 3 yr old GSD has completely changed... I need advice asap.

Hello. I am new to this but any advice will be helpful. My husband who is in the military and I adopted our GSD 3 yrs ago from a puppy rescue in Colorado. We had 2 other dogs at the time so he has been raised with them already in the house. We now have a 1 year old son. We are in the middle of a move from Colorado to Florida and so he is completely out of his element. We are staying with my parents (who have 1 dog) in a cramped house and my husband is not with us until we get to our new place in Florida. Since I've been staying with my parents my GSD has attacked my neighbors dog (who I wanted to introduce him to properly but they refused) 3 times (nothing happened because he's a huge lab it's more been accidents when we didn't know the other one was outside... we text and call eachother to take them out separately now)... he also attacked my parents dog over a ball (he ended up being fine just a scratch on his eye) and just 2 nights ago turned on one of our own dogs. We were outside playing and a different neighbor let there dog out in there fenced in yard but both my male dogs went crazy towards that dog at the fence and all of a sudden my GSD turned on my terrier and wouldn't get off him. My neighbors heard me screaming and when they came running (2 men) the GSD backed off and I was able to grab my terrier and hold him. He walked away with 3 scratches and one cut.

I immediately called my husband and said the GSD was to go... that now with a child and our lives being different we just couldn't have the home and surroundings he needed, but my husband refused. He said that was HIS dog and if I got rid of him he'd never forgive me. He has growled at me and our child before so I am concerned for us all not just the other dogs. Because my husband isn't with us he's not seen him attack these dogs or seen how different he is. I have tried to use all these changes as excuses but I am worried if I keep him that one day he'll turn on my son.

I have already put emails and calls into some places in Pensacola Florida where we are moving in 2.5 weeks to see if I can arrange behavorial lessons... but I've read so many good and bad stories I don't know what to do.

Any advice?

Thank you!
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I would take him to the vet and have his thyroid checked just to be sure it's not a medical issue.

The incident in your yard sounds like re-directed aggression and you and your dog both sound stressed out. I would consider something like Happy Traveller (an herbal calming treat or supplement) to help take the edge off. Is he crate trained? If not, I would start that so that he can have his own space to chill out.

If the thyroid checks out ok I would up his mental and physical exercise, put him on Nothing in Life is Free (if he isn't already) and get him into a training class. If there is a good behaviorist in your area I would have them come out and observe the situation because they will be able to give you a lot better advice than we can on the internet.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would rephrase your title ... my dog's life has completely changed ... NOT my dog has completely changed!!!

You and your family sound like you're going through A LOT right now, and the dogs are feeling it, and you're paying for it.

The very FIRST thing you need to do is BREATHE!!!!! You've had some unpleasant encounters, and you are probably quite nervous / anxious over the next one. Don't let your dogs sense that.

Take them out one at a time, do it later in the evening when there are less distractions, and let them get the feel of their new neighbourhood. Have your neighbour with the lab walk on the other side of the street and walk past each other. They don't have to greet, heck they don't even have to be friends, but you should be able to work towards walking past each other with 20-30 feet between the two of you.

You'll get lots of advice on here, just remember that you ARE in control. You have been before, you're overwhelmed! Just take a step back, breathe, figure out what you want to do and do it ... but one doggie at a time!!!

Good luck
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would keep your gsd seperated from your other dogs and especially your little boy. when you do make the move to fla, make sure to work with him as well as hubby with a good trainer. your time at your parents is only temporary, so just hang on till you move. good luck and take care
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BowWowMeow View Post
I would take him to the vet and have his thyroid checked just to be sure it's not a medical issue.

The incident in your yard sounds like re-directed aggression and you and your dog both sound stressed out. I would consider something like Happy Traveller (an herbal calming treat or supplement) to help take the edge off. Is he crate trained? If not, I would start that so that he can have his own space to chill out.

If the thyroid checks out ok I would up his mental and physical exercise, put him on Nothing in Life is Free (if he isn't already) and get him into a training class. If there is a good behaviorist in your area I would have them come out and observe the situation because they will be able to give you a lot better advice than we can on the internet.
Great post and totally agree on the thyroid check -- asap. Years ago my girl (non-gsd) began to show some *very* uncharacteristic aggression and I was floored, as she is about the friendliest dog you can find. Long story, steroids involved as well, but she did turn out to be low thyroid. Once off the steroids and thyroid level normal, she was right back to her sweet self. So, good place to start.

If that isn't it, I think the above quoted post is the way to go. For now, until you know more and until you have a more stable situation, management is all you have. Don't allow the dog to get himself in trouble. Good luck -- thankfully it sounds like life will become more normal and routine in not too much longer. Don't let him fail by giving him the opportunity again to hurt another dog.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think you are all under a lot of stress and honestly wouldn't put much stake in behavioral evaluations at this moment. If I were you I would keep your dog away from other dogs right now and when things settle down, call someone in with GSD experience to evaluate the dog. It's really not that rare for dogs to act different at 2-3 years of age because this is when they mature, so things they might have tolerated as a puppy no longer fly. But given your stress level right now I would not make any major decisions until your family is together and the move is complete.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I think you are all under a lot of stress and honestly wouldn't put much stake in behavioral evaluations at this moment. If I were you I would keep your dog away from other dogs right now and when things settle down, call someone in with GSD experience to evaluate the dog. It's really not that rare for dogs to act different at 2-3 years of age because this is when they mature, so things they might have tolerated as a puppy no longer fly. But given your stress level right now I would not make any major decisions until your family is together and the move is complete.
I agree with this, maturity combined with the stress of moving is throwing things off badly.

Also if this dog is not neutered, you need to consider doing it, probably shortly after you arrive in your new home.
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Old 10-28-2012, 03:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default thank you

Thank You for all your time and advice. Yes our lives have completely changed and that what I keep reminding my parents, friends, and other family who are very worried for the safety of me, my other dogs, and child. It's not fair to my gsd that has had to go through this change. I know it's not been easy for me alone so I'm sure the dogs are just as stressed. Again thank you! I am planning on having some small training when we get to Florida but since the incident he's been very well behaved. I've also taken back control of being 'alpha'.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default He did it again

We have been in Florida for a week. The dogs have reacted great. I think mainly because we have all "our" stuff in the house like before. This morning however my gsd was going crazy at our fence where the neighbors have a dog and so I decided to lean large plastic pieces to our building thats not yet put together and while doing so he attacked the our same dog like he did before. I pulled him off but as soon as I let go of him he went right back after him. I got him off of him again and yelled for my mother to get the small dog inside before I let go of him. We haven't had a chance to arrange obedience training because we've been here only a short time and I was hoping to wait until my husband arrived so he'd be here for it. I am stuck between needing to separate him from the family or spending the time and money on training him. I am just worried that this could continue because of a dominance issue between the two of them and that maybe it isn't fixable. I can't wait until he completely rips him apart. it's a GS against a small 20lb terrier.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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He really needs training. You can work with this redirected frustration, but you need a trainer. Until you get him to a trainer, keep the two dogs apart. Let them outside separately, etc. He just sounds like he doesn't know what to do with his frustration (possibly pent up energy) and is taking it out on the closest thing.
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