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Old 12-24-2012, 05:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 3 year male old GSD - Suddenly aggressive towards child

Hello all,

I've tried to have look through various other threads.

Our male GSD is approximately 3 years old. Always very good with kids, was never food aggressive. We told our child to feed him, treat thim etc, Never any problems.

Over the last month or so he has become increasingly aggressive towards her. It started with a grumble or growl if she was near him when feeding. We instructed her not to bother him or annoy him while eating. However, this evening when I was preparing food he seemed to get aggressive as soon as she entered the kitchen, then pursued her while barking. I had to grab his collar to stop the behaviour. We let him cool down then I returned to the kitchen with my daughter again. He barked and growled.

Obviously this cannot continue. He responds well to training and is a lovely dog but I dont know why he is doing this or how to correct it. I would be very grateful for any advice.

Many thanks
Dannan2003
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If this is a new behavior, which it sounds like, I would have a full vet work up first.

Sounds like he is only nasty to your daughter when food is involved?

I would for now, really supervise, especially food areas..I would keep him OUT of the kitchen, and honestly, until you get a vet work up, keep him away from your daughter.

HOpefully others will chime in
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My first suggestion is a vet check up too. Our previous dog was hypothyroid, I read it can cause aggression, although it did not in her case.

How old is your daughter, and any chance your daughter behaves badly towards your dog when an adult is not around? Sorry to ask this, but I was a kid too with friends who were not always kind to their pets.

I grew up with a beagle who was food aggressive to everyone, we just let him alone when he ate. My most recent dogs had none of this. I've read to start hand feeding to help with food aggression, although I've never done it myself. Besides getting a really good trainer if there are not health issues, do you think having your daughter in the kitchen sitting quietly, ignoring your dog before feeding, then you do a very controlled hand feeding might help? If it does, than your daughter can start to hand feed treats and work up to a meal?
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd say this is him showing your girl that she's underneath him and is a resource guarder. Just like some dogs will not guard against humans but will other animals.. He sees her as much lower than you and him. And he wants her nowhere near his stuff.

Her age will really help us here.


He needs a real workup at the vet to rule out something wrong.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APBTLove View Post
I'd say this is him showing your girl that she's underneath him and is a resource guarder. Just like some dogs will not guard against humans but will other animals.. He sees her as much lower than you and him. And he wants her nowhere near his stuff.

Her age will really help us here.


He needs a real workup at the vet to rule out something wrong.

Thank you so much for your responses.

She is 9 years old. She is very well behaved towards him when we are not around. Very gentle and caring, not overbearing or annoying. She has grown up with a GSD in the house. Our previous GSD lived to the age of 12.

Just as a continuance this evening. I fed him his evening meal then brought him upstairs to try and become friends with my daughter again. He jumped on her bed but when she approached he growled barked and ran at her. A really upsetting Christmas eve.

a) He is not neutred / spayed. We will do this asap.
b) I have read tapeworm can cause aggression. He is very very hungry all the time. I just thought it was because he was a large dog.

We love this dog dearly but cannot risk any bite. He is too powerful. Is it realistic to think we can fix this?

Many thanks
Dannan 2003
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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At three yrs. old he should have been neutered. He's showing classic "guarding". Please do not leave him unsupervised with her. At all.

Quote:
I would keep him OUT of the kitchen,
Ditto. NOT in the kitchen where he can guard anything.

Quote:
He jumped on her bed
Whoops. Big no-no. This puts him at an advantage and what did he do to deserve laying on the bed or sitting there? He ran her out of the kitchen so now takes over the bed and runs her out of her own bedroom!

First off - LEASH HIS REAR END TO YOU!

Mind Games (version 1.0) by M. Shirley Chong Please read and follow the steps - a vet check up PLUS neuter. ASAP. This week - or next but not longer than that. If you need to call around to find a place to neuter him, do it Wednesday.

And then continue to work the Mind Games steps with him. He is NOT to be let off leash at this point, do not have her leash him to her, but do leash him to yourself or husband and drag him around the house.
He owns (ability to guard) NOTHING.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannan2003 View Post
Just as a continuance this evening. I fed him his evening meal then brought him upstairs to try and become friends with my daughter again. He jumped on her bed but when she approached he growled barked and ran at her. A really upsetting Christmas eve.

a) He is not neutred / spayed. We will do this asap.
b) I have read tapeworm can cause aggression. He is very very hungry all the time. I just thought it was because he was a large dog.

We love this dog dearly but cannot risk any bite. He is too powerful. Is it realistic to think we can fix this?

Many thanks
Dannan 2003
Agree with al the above. Hire a good trainer for in-home lessons who uses the gentle training tehcniques. And keep him off all beds and furniture, which is a resource to guard. he might start guarding more and more. Do not allow your daughter to feed him until he is under better control. He can even guard the bowl in her hands. You can also get a totally different bowl and feed him a different food in a different spot and change it all the time so he doesn't develop a certain routine. Remove the bowl after he is done as he can even guard an empty bowl. Give him tons of exercise and training, keep him leashed or crated in the house until a vet and trainer have evaluated him.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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PS. When the dog is not leashed to you - which can be a pain DO utilize a crate. Crate or leashed to you, until you can get this sorted out.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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your children are way more important than your dog. do the
right thing.
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Agreed with the others--full vet workup, keep the child and the dog totally separated until that can happen, if it doesn't find anything neuter and get a veterinary behaviorist or very good trainer.

Personally, I find his behavior very concerning and I think you need to ask yourself if you can ever trust him around your daughter. 9 years old is still quite small to have to deal with a dog with that serious level of resource guarding.

I do think you owe it to him and to anyone you might rehome him with to get a vet check at least--if his aggression is caused by a manageable condition, then manage it; if it is an unmanageable health condition, euthanize him.

I also think you need to consult someone who can see this behavior in person and give you professional advice. We can only give you so much help without seeing the dog.

This is a very serious issue and I hope you treat it as such. This isn't about "making friends" with your daughter--he could love her all the rest of the time but when he has something to guard, he will still behave like this. I hope you will keep them separated until you can get some professional advice, for everyone's safety.
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