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lindadrusilla 01-18-2014 06:29 AM

Bad socialisation?
My gsd is 15 months and had tolerated children touching him, up to about 9 months of age. When some children boisterously ran towards us and hurling stones at him. Since then, he hated children and would be on high alert when he hears a high-pitched voice (kids' voices), and bark at them if they moved towards us. Especially if they were on bicycles or skate scooters.

However, he generally hates cyclists if they were near to us. If they were across the road, he's fine.

He is also very aggressive towards stray dogs due to bad experiences. If it was somebody's pet, he's okay. Even if the puppy was running off-leash towards him. He is also well-behaved at the clinic towards other dogs, even when a JRT snapped at him, he didn't react. I first thought it was breed specific, but recently a boxer-looking dog appeared in our compound, which I think is an abandoned dog. This dog keeps following if it spotted us, approaching in a friendly way, tail wagging and running happily, no growl or bark; just watching in a distance. He couldn't get near cos Magick is aggressive towards it. Growling, barking and charging towards it...

On top of all these, he is also very selective in whom he "makes friends" with. Mostly, he doesn't allow men approaching me suddenly, strangers. And would growl or attempt to charge at them. However, it seems if someone was addressing him instead of me and appear confident/ unafraid, he allows them to pet and even hug him. I'm of the idea that he senses the fear in those people and hence, behave in a hostile manner?

I am very baffled by his behaviour and would really like to hear of any advice or suggestions for him to be less hostile towards people.

mcdanfam 01-18-2014 07:18 AM

I can't give you any advice on most of your issues...
I can say when our pup was four months old, a lady had a nasty small dog in the let store. He was rude, growly and barking to everyone and everything. I had taken our male alone, so he and our female would get separate training and socializing. During this time, the small dog jumped out of the buggy and pounced on our dog who was laying calmly on the floor while I was answering questions. I had to pick our dog up so the small dog would stop jumping, growling and barking and trying to bite his neck. I held my dog up so the lady could get her dog that was running everywhere (no leash) snapping at everything in site. Miles was horrified of any small dogs....our trainer helped us solve this and helped miles trust small dogs again. It took 6 months for him to be fully trusting again....and comfortable with small dogs but he is now okay with all the small dogs he is around. We even walk with a jack Russell and he enjoys having the company.

Good luck....and my suggestion would be find an amazing trainer that specializes in working line dogs and understand working line dogs! People on this forum are extra helpful and may be able to direct you in the direction of one....i saw a thread the other day...people were able to refer a person to trainer just by knowing the location. May be something to ask....but I have learned...a good trainer will see things and issues before you do. Our dogs are so chilled in any place new or old, I never thought to do certain test with them....luckily he did....the first time (5months old) we had the dogs in a down and stay while we walked away....he threw a bucket of balls....the dogs were all over the place...had we been down town and kids were doing that....we would have had to chase our dogs, and replaced balls for people. Simple things, now they have amazing toy impulse control which is needed in our home because they are ball obsessed, if it rolls they needed to chase it. Our trainer noticed this when the kids were playing with them waiting it the rest of class to get their (our friends and a littermate of our dogs)...he saw the drive and desire for the balls and we started working on it. Good working line trainers are worth their weight in gold! Also if you find one! Don't let them go!!! These dogs IN MY OPINION need to work and train for most of their lives....they LOVE the challenge of it and the work they put into it! They may not need the obedience and training anymore, but the love the routine and work involved.

Good luck! Hope you find what you need!!!

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lindadrusilla 01-18-2014 08:16 AM

Hi, thanks for sharing your experience. One thing i forgot to mention is that i'm in saudi arabia and i'm not sure i can find any good trainers here. Last time he went for obedience training while boarded at kennel at the same time, he didnt seem to have any improvements from what i had already taught him... :(

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Baillif 01-18-2014 08:26 AM

How are you baffled by his behavior? He acts up around things he associates with bad experiences. That is normal dog behavior. If you want to fix that you need to set up situations where those triggers "announce" something good is about to happen.

Example: dog is afraid of honking car horns. You start off with a honking horn some distance away so as to not be too loud and as soon as it honks you present the dog with a treat. Honk treat honk treat honk treat. Ideally the treat is presented before the sound of the honk ends but the honk happens before any movement to present the treat is made, but anything within 1.5 seconds or so is fine.

You shouldn't force your dog into situations he's not comfortable with especially without something to insure the experience stays positive or neutral.

On the flip side if he's barking at people to be a jerk cause he can get a rise out of them or because he's being territorial and not out of fear you correct that.

lindadrusilla 01-19-2014 02:48 PM


Originally Posted by Baillif (Post 4855329)
How are you baffled by his behavior? He acts up around things he associates with bad experiences. That is normal dog behavior. If you want to fix that you need to set up situations where those triggers "announce" something good is about to happen.

I'm baffled by his behaviour towards people.. He hasnt had bad experience with people except kids. But he seems "choosy" with whom he "makes friends".

He'd allow some people to get near to him and others not. I'd noticed that those that he does not like, are people who are afraid and yet want to touch him. Does anyone have similar experience with their dogs?

As for bad experience and setting him up to get over it... I'd thought about it, but I dont have willing children who can participate without screaming their heads off. It seems easier to train the dog than the kids. Is it possible to get him to like children without involving kids in the training?? Please advise :)

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