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Old 02-06-2013, 12:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Decisions need to be made (Serious Advice Needed)

Hello all again. It has been awhile since I have been on the forum, mostly due to my deployment to Afghanistan. For those who might remember me, hello! To those who don't, here is the deal.

Back in 2010 I received my beautiful German Shepherd, Apollo. He was a gift from my wife for my birthday. We went to pick out a pup from the litter together and there were two left to chose from. There was one running up and trying to jump at us and love on us, and then there was Apollo, in the back corner sleeping with his floppy little ears! He was possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen. Needless to say, we was the runt of the litter, but we was so calm and collected that we decided on him.



He was wonderful at first, always sleeping or playing with his chew toys and whatnot. We started coming to this website for tips on training him with various issues.

His second week with us he came down with (pardon my misspelling) Cocksidia (some intestinal infection/bacteria). I slept with him for a week trying to nurse him back to help. We almost lost him but the antibiotics from the vet came through after several days.

Fast forward a year, and WOW.


I think we hit every bump in the road we could have possibly hit. Potty training, pulling the leash, jumping on people, crate training, and worst of all, his aggressive possessive behavior.

I am in the Army, so I work days and my wife at the time worked nights. Play time and training time with Apollo was limited, but effective. He learned to Sit, Stay, Lay down, Roll over, etc.

Since then we have gained a female German Shepherd and a male Corgi. The two Shepherds have always been trying to get the upper hand on the other one for dominance, however HATE when they are separated, and the Corgi is only 12 weeks and usually observes from afar.

For the last year or so Apollo has been getting more and more aggressive with Starbuck, our female. What was once quiet play has now turned into snarling and showing his teeth, and this morning grabbing her by her collar until she yelped and snapped back. He has never been aggressive to humans or OTHER dogs. He is usually the most relaxed and friendly at the dog park, and people are actually surprised at how nice he is. He even let another bite his face and pull without doing anything! He's a scaredy cat if anything. His aggressiveness at the house is usually only towards his things, like if Starbuck picks up HIS bone, he freaks out. Or if she goes into his box when he has food or a toy in there. Which I assumed was him being territorial with his stuff.

Now with our Corgi Boomer he is SUPER aggressive when he's eating or chewing on a bone, ESPECIALLY if Boomer is out and Apollo is in his crate. He will try to break the door off his crate to attack Boomer, BUT if they are both out of the crate then there's no probably. They play like nothing is wrong. I get it that Boomer is the new guy on the block, but Apollo NEVER showed his teeth or snarled at another animal until about a year ago. This morning he attacked Boomer who was just standing by the doorway waiting for me to come back from getting them water.

On top of that, he has completely lost all his training. He's so distracted with the world it's like he has A.D.D. I can't get him to do anything except sit and wait for water (I learned that from 'Nothing in the world is free' suggested by other users and it worked perfectly). I tell him to come and I show him treats and he just walks away like it doesn't interest him anymore. He's so stubborn and I'm not sure where he learned it. Starbuck is VERY mannered and she listens and snaps to attention when called and all that. Even little Boomer is learning to Sit and come on command.

We and my wife have been discussing what we can do with him. He's such a loving dog, but like I said, his personality has been changing to an unacceptable level of aggression, and he refuses to pay attention to either me or my wife. I am beginning to think that maybe there is something wrong with his brain. He was the runt after all, so maybe that had something to do with it, but I'm NOT running to that as an excuse. But with his short attention and rising aggression he's becoming a problem within our house hold. When he's in trouble he knows it, I'm just beginning to think he's just too stubborn to learn otherwise.

Right now me and my wife are looking at all options. We don't want to put our problems on others by giving him away, but we feel like getting rid of our other two dogs who are well behaved and listen to us for a dog that seems like a lost cause in our house would be a waste. We love all our pets and just want what's best for all of them, but we are fearing that Apollo's aggression is going to keep growing until something happens i.e. he injures one of our pets, another person's pet, or God forbid, me, my wife, or someone else. If something is wrong with his brain, I don't want him to have to live a life of aggression.

Basically this thread is to explain the current situation and look for others who may have gone through this and what others think would be the best solution. Are there adoption programs for rehabilitating aggressive dogs? Should we have him put down?

All opinions are welcomed.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A few things -

One, check your purchase contract - or contact your breeder just because - I am sure many would want to know and may be able to help.

Two, vetting - is he neutered, has his thyroid been checked K9aggression.com | K9aggression.com there is a list in there of medical reasons for aggression.

Three, a lot of what he is doing is guarding his resources. There is a book called MINE by Jean Donaldson that is a little dry but could be helpful.

Four, I know people get sick of it (and ignore me!) but I like to start with a foundation in clicker training to "restart" dogs. https://www.karenpryoracademy.com/find-a-trainer clicker
general: http://www.ccpdt.org/index.php?optio...ctory&state=KS but may also use clicker training and questions to help choose them: http://www.clickertraining.com/node/627

Five, until that happens, you may (do) want to tether him to him you in the house to reduce his ability to make those choices. Cover his crate w/a towel or sheet when he has something good in his bed.

Finally, I would keep him far away from the pup (I LOVE CORGI PUPPIES!) for now because Corgis don't need to learn to be feisty - I believe they can do that well enough on their own.

Nice summary/paragraphs!

PS - he has very soft eyes - looks like a sweet boy!
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First step is management. Apollo is constantly monitored, preferably on leash or completely separated from the other two so that no further incidents or damage happens.

Second step would be a vet check, specificaly thyroid panel.

Third step is to get a behaviorist in that can actually see and evaluate what is going on in the house.

Without actually seeing the interactions, all we can do is guess. Often times there are many signals being missed by the owners or they see it and don't realize what they are seeing. There are VERY few programs that rehabilitate and rehome aggressive dogs for 2 reasons: liability and lack of homes looking to adopt such dogs.

Depending on the vet findings and behaviorist recommendations, you will either implement a training and management plan, need to set up a permanent crate and rotate situation or put Apollo down. Crate and rotate is not fun and it sucks at first but after a while you get used to it and it just becomes part of life. It can be done successfully without drastically changing your life.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like NILIF needs to be implemented.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with the other posts, hormonal imbalances can cause big changes in behavior and, it sounds like his moods are all over the place. Also, if he is scared of things he could act out aggressively due to lack of confidence. There is also the fact that not all dogs are happy in homes with other dogs. There's a lot you could be dealing with.
Either way it seems like you've added more chaos to the situation before nipping these behavioral issues in the bud. Also if you don't have time to stimulate him, he could also act out. My German shepherds get to be real pains if we don't keep them stimulated with play, practicing commands and, tons of exercise. Just saying, it could be a lot, hook up with your vet on this then go for a trainer.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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How old is he now?

How old are the other dogs? Crate rotations keep my house calm, my dog and pup barely calm down together but instead run around my house and destroy it. Slowing teaching this behaviour out.

You need to address this with your dog differently. Don't get frustrated, mad, or give up on him. I've been so ticked off that my dog wasn't listening to me, once I realised what I was doing to our relationship it hurt me a lot to know I made her feel unwelcome. Always be in a stable mood around your dog, you're the leader, you need to act like it.

Easier said than done but you absolutely cannot tolerate these behaviours. After intervention from a trainer - you need to face these issues head on. Work through them. Understand it's normal for a dog to guard his or her stuff. As a general rule from now on, stop feeding your dogs together. Crate them ALL away from each other with covers so they can't look at one another. I know this contradicts facing things head on, but I've always used it as a rule of thumb. That being said I do successfully feed my two bitches together, however the minute the pup is crated (pup is more dog dominant) she will flip if the older dog comes sniffing near her crate.

Don't give high value items in the same room. It sounds like you have three young dogs (under the age of 3/4) Until you have a near perfect down stay with ALL of them, don't even think about throwing bones around.



"On top of that, he has completely lost all his training. He's so distracted with the world it's like he has A.D.D. I can't get him to do anything except sit and wait for water (I learned that from 'Nothing in the world is free' suggested by other users and it worked perfectly). I tell him to come and I show him treats and he just walks away like it doesn't interest him anymore. He's so stubborn and I'm not sure where he learned it. Starbuck is VERY mannered and she listens and snaps to attention when called and all that. Even little Boomer is learning to Sit and come on command. "

He's not respecting you. And why should he if you're not making yourself valuable enough to him? Dogs also act up when you add others to the situation, because they're being neglected to a point since your attention is now elsewhere.

IMO, a really good bond needs to be established. Some people on the forum can have excellent bonds with 4/5 of their dogs.. it either works or it doesn't but mainly this has to do with what work YOU put into YOUR dog. My first dog is a 3 year old female. She's great, but I had **** of a time raising her as I got her when I was 17. I enlisted the help of a trainer, did private sessions and thank god I was given a relatively easy dog by the breeder. She's now heavily bonded to my boyfriend, but knows I mean business with her. Meaning she doesn't dare ignore me.

My puppy is 8 months old. I raised her and her littermates since birth. I didn't try to have any special bond with her any more than the other puppies, because I was convinced a different puppy was coming home with me at 8 weeks. Well that fell through and at 7 weeks she presented herself as the most outgoing, fun loving, forgiving and strongest overall pup that was left in the litter. I chose her, and it's been **** and high waters with her ever since. She's almost more dog than I can handle. Almost. If I had gotten her a few years ago she would have without a doubt been given to a more suitable home - no way would I have ever dealt with the stuff she does and how hard of a pup she is to raise..

On the other hand, I've never had such a great bond with an animal before as I do with her. She's my star, my little everything. She exceeds my expectations, as long as I put in the time and work to proof everything.

Good dogs sometimes come out of nowhere.. these are more or less just very agreeable dogs. If you have a dog that pushes you need to push back.

Be as gentle as you can but as firm as needed when training. If you find yourself losing your patience with him, put him away in his kennel nicely and go give yourself a time out. The dog only knows what you teach him, and is only 'bad' because you haven't taught him otherwise.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The whole pack needs more training. He's around 2-3 years old. He's a sable (I'm going to assume there is DDR/Czech in him). He's a male. It took him a while to mature and grow into his own. He's becoming the leader of your pack and for some reason doesn't see you or your wife as a good enough leader.

I don't want to sound too harsh but he just hasn't had enough training. You stated yourself that training was limited in the beginning and now with two more dogs he's probably not getting any training. I'm guessing like most people after he knew some stuff you just stopped. Sounds like you only trained at home, just him, never around other dogs/distractions so of course with dogs in the house now he will be distracted.

I'm just going to let you know in simple terms how your story sounds to me...We got a dog, we got two more dogs, the first dog is acting out, so we're thinking about getting rid of him because the others are fine for now.

You need to take control of his life...he doesn't sound aggressive at all...if he was truly aggressive he would've killed your Corgi by now. On the subject of the Corgi...take away all bones. If one dog has a bone, the others that can see him should have bones. They should be separated and not allowed to have contact while they have HIGH VALUE items. How would you feel if you were locked up and some new little thing got a nice meaty bone and was chewing it in front of you?

On a final note...TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN, and did I mention TRAIN. Train them together, apart, in a group, with other dogs, in your home, in your yard, in a park, at Petsmart, everywhere you can think of. An outside trainer would really help you out right now. Get all dogs to realize YOU are the boss (not alpha just leader) and that you will take care of everything so they don't have to. They do not make any decisions on their own at this point. You will be fair, equal, and they will all fall in line behind you.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Also:

Sounds like he could have fear aggression?

When you're training him, stimulate him first. Play with him, then train, then play. Make it fun, not 100% work. You're going to need to work on being more valuable than a squirrel in that dogs eyes.. if you don't have a bond with your dog, you have nothing. You should be happy to work with your dog, and feel proud of both of you and reap the rewards of it. At the end of the day you should be coming home with more appreciation for him than you left the house with.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanKBBMMMAAN View Post
A few things -

One, check your purchase contract - or contact your breeder just because - I am sure many would want to know and may be able to help.

Two, vetting - is he neutered, has his thyroid been checked K9aggression.com | K9aggression.com there is a list in there of medical reasons for aggression.

Three, a lot of what he is doing is guarding his resources. There is a book called MINE by Jean Donaldson that is a little dry but could be helpful.

Four, I know people get sick of it (and ignore me!) but I like to start with a foundation in clicker training to "restart" dogs. https://www.karenpryoracademy.com/find-a-trainer clicker
general: Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers® but may also use clicker training and questions to help choose them: Finding the Right Training Class | Karen Pryor Clicker Training

Five, until that happens, you may (do) want to tether him to him you in the house to reduce his ability to make those choices. Cover his crate w/a towel or sheet when he has something good in his bed.

Finally, I would keep him far away from the pup (I LOVE CORGI PUPPIES!) for now because Corgis don't need to learn to be feisty - I believe they can do that well enough on their own.

Nice summary/paragraphs!

PS - he has very soft eyes - looks like a sweet boy!
Thank you for such a helpful reply! A few things in response:

We have tried to cover his crate but he has managed to pull all of them inside and rip them to shreds. We purchased the dogs the wire crates because they can be collapsed for travel, and we like to bring the dogs with us on our trips.

We have seen slip covers for crates on Amazon.com but were concerned with him still being able to pull it inside with him. Any experience with those?

With the clicker training, he did well as a puppy but soon learned to ignore it. Couldn't hurt to retry that. When they are roughhousing, would it be a good idea to use the clicker to get their attention and tell them 'NO' or would that hinder the process of using the clicker for regular training?

Someone above mentioned NILIF. We did that before and it worked with his food and water intake. They no longer have toys because they lost all interest in them and only focus on bones or kongs now.
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