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Old 01-08-2014, 12:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default One year old and starting to get aggressive..

Hey all,
Zeek is a year and a month now and he was never an aggressive dog. Anyways about 7 months ago I moved from Florida to Michigan (I'm in the military and got stationed here.) He came along with me and at my station I was allowed to keep him until I got a place to live. Anyways he was very friendly with all my co workers you could touch him from outside the crate and he wouldn't try to bite or anything. Anyone could pet/touch him and take him out of the crate and play with him and he wouldn't care. Anyways about 6 months ago, when I moved from the station to my new place and had to have a the maintance guy come in to fix the dishwasher and the movers to get all my stuff moved him, he started to bark non-stop, and when I would lock him in the room he would scratch at the door and wouldn't stop. I finally would just let him out to sniff the people and he was okay. Then it got worse, when I would take him to work and he was in the crate and some co workers would touch him thru the outside of the crate he would snap at them and try to bite. Now about a week ago..i had a friend he's never met come over and hang out. Well Zeek got very aggressive would not stop growling and showing his teeth, and barking and I decided to let him try to sniff her and he just snapped at her and almost bit her, so I held him by his collar and all he did was basically stare at her and sit right infront of me.. I put him in the room and he basically tore of all the paint to my door from scratch it so much. I need help. I don't know what to do.

Also I forgot to mention, he has never EVER been aggressive towards me, or my family. In fact my parents and sister just visited from 10 days with my sisters 5-month old german shepherd and they got along wonderful. Zeek is not aggressive towards other dogs, he plays just fine with them. He isn't aggressive towards my roomate either. Could it be because he has known my roomate, parents and sister since he was a baby? Also he isn't aggressive about his food.

Last edited by tamaramarrero; 01-08-2014 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Is he fixed? I had a White Shepherd male years ago that was exactly like you describe your dog. Fine when he was a puppy, but when he got older he was aggressive to strangers. He chased a police officer on top of his cruiser once and the cop pulled his gun on him.

We got him fixed and he calmed down a lot. He was still a great watch dog and would bark when people came over, but would stop when he realized they weren't a threat.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I am not an expert in aggressive dogs, but I did experience something similar in my dog. When she turned about 1 year old she started to act very dominant and rough play with another dog that she has known since she was a puppy. Seeing this, I decided to use a prong collar with a lead line and when my dog did the dominant / rough play thing with the other dog, I popped her collar with correction. Her behavior dramatically changed in the next few days and now when they play, my dog is acting differently (no more dominant / rough play) and she is always looking to me for approval.
I almost feel like she was testing me.
You basically need to teach your dog what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. It needs to be firm and consistant.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Honkytonkmn View Post
Is he fixed? I had a White Shepherd male years ago that was exactly like you describe your dog. Fine when he was a puppy, but when he got older he was aggressive to strangers. He chased a police officer on top of his cruiser once and the cop pulled his gun on him.

We got him fixed and he calmed down a lot. He was still a great watch dog and would bark when people came over, but would stop when he realized they weren't a threat.
No he's not fixed. I've heard a lot of once he does get fixed he will calm down. I am planning on getting him fixed just need the money, it's a little tight right now. Is there anything in the mean time I could try doing?
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am not an expert in aggressive dogs, but I did experience something similar in my dog. When she turned about 1 year old she started to act very dominant and rough play with another dog that she has known since she was a puppy. Seeing this, I decided to use a prong collar with a lead line and when my dog did the dominant / rough play thing with the other dog, I popped her collar with correction. Her behavior dramatically changed in the next few days and now when they play, my dog is acting differently (no more dominant / rough play) and she is always looking to me for approval.
I almost feel like she was testing me.
You basically need to teach your dog what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. It needs to be firm and consistant.

I have a prong collar for him, what do you mean with a lead line though?
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Don't "fix" the dog. You'll do great harm.

See this video, instead. Dr. Becker: The Truth About Spaying and Neutering - YouTube

My Zeus is a bit edgy towards people he doesn't know. And, he's a terror at the vet.

We've had shepherds before. We lead them calmly and positively unless they do one thing...bear their teeth and/or try to bite someone without command.

Then it's discipline and punishment time. He'll get a quick collar correction, a loudly shouted Nein, Fui, an immediate wheeling around to go to the opposite direction at close heal and then a quick close march away from his target for a hundred yards to show him who's still boss. Then he gets a time out in his pen with praise if he obeys.

But we never lose our temper and we never cease praising the dog when he stops any behavior we dislike. We praise him immediately when he stands-down (a military term meaning stop aggressing).

From the time he was 8 weeks old, we've discouraged him from growling or barking at other dogs unless we command him to do so (had a problem with a stray once). He's very disciplined at that now except for the neighbor's toy dogs that harass him constantly in the back yard. We use them as foils to increase his confidence.

As stated below, immediate correction with a choke collar does most of the heavy lifting.

LF

Last edited by Longfisher; 01-08-2014 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Longfisher View Post
Don't "fix" the dog. You'll do great harm.

See this video, instead. Dr. Becker: The Truth About Spaying and Neutering - YouTube
Fixing the dog won't do great harm. It will calm him down a bit but probably won't solve your problem. It sounds like barrier aggression. Which stems from you allowing people to mess with him in the crate would be my best guess. He's unsure now, he doesn't feel safe when he's in a room/crate and therefore lashes out. It's clearly a fear based reaction.

I guess we've moved on from living our life based off of Wikipedia articles to Youtube videos...

How would you feel if you were stuck in a cage, couldn't get out to run away if you needed to, and a bunch of strangers were poking at you and trying to touch you?

Get him into a training class. Really buckle down on training and giving him more confidence. Correcting the growling/barking is dangerous...it can teach the dog that the growling/barking (which is a warning) is the wrong thing to do, so he'll stop doing that and instead just snap and bite next time. I would definitely not allow him to be off-leash with strangers around, but I wouldn't do any harsh corrections either. Try to redirect him, distract him with a toy, a treat, or just 3 minutes of obedience (with lots of praise and rewards).
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My last GSD was like that to the extreme. A lot of fear based aggression. His discernment of threats (real ones and "fake" ones) is not developed. Rade, my last GSD was insane, IDK how else to describe him. I had to give him back to the breeder because he was a liability. So I really don't know how he turned out. Perhaps, If it was an age thing and if confidence building could have helped his situation. He learned that barking, snarling, growling were unacceptable but that created a double edged sword. Sure, he didn't "look" like a "bad dog" anymore but that just took away his warnings and became such a liability because out of nowhere he would snap, that I had to watch him 24/7. Not understanding his aggression at the time, I listened to those who had minimal experience as well and I took the wrong course. Consulting a professional with experience handling aggression is the best way to go because you could take the wrong course of action and make things worse as I did with my last dog. The last straw with Rade was when he leapt up to attack my sister's throat with absolute no provocation (not that being provoked would have eased the situation in the least because going for the throat is a serious concern for me seeing as that is their preferred way to kill their prey) and luckily I caught the look in his eye and as he leapt up I caught him but he did get her stomach and left a nasty scar. Absolutely no warning because I took that option from him. That is why I stress to consult a behaviorist in person and they can diagnose the situation better. Actual aggression (fear based) is something that needs to be handled in person with someone who knows what they are doing and can accurately determine what the best course of action is. It may not be a serious problem and he can grow out of it, but still getting the opinion of someone with experience cant hurt (so long as they are experienced and responsible in their suggestions and feedback)
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tamaramarrero View Post
I have a prong collar for him, what do you mean with a lead line though?
You can use a lead line (its just a long rope) or any leash. I like lead lines (or long ropes around 20ft long) so I can allow them to wander free but still have the ability to grab the rope and make a correction immediately, rather than chasing the dog around.

Make sure the prong collar is on your dog properly, you can harm your dog if this step is not followed. There are many videos and instructions on how to properly attach the prong collar.

When your dog is acting inappropriately, then grap the lead line and pop the collar, just enough to break the dogs attention. It will not hurt your dog if done properly, it will only make it uncomfortable for them. If they continue their bad behavior after the first pop, then increase the next pop until the dog stops their behavior. Even if the dog yelps or wines, they are mostly doing this because they do not want to give up their dominance. Do not fall for their wimpers and wines. All dogs are different. For some it takes a very light pop, barely squeezing the prong collar, and they immediately stop. And others, you may need to pop the line hard.
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Longfisher View Post
Don't "fix" the dog. You'll do great harm.

See this video, instead. Dr. Becker: The Truth About Spaying and Neutering - YouTube
LF

Wow! I never heard this side of the argument.
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