Is this serious dog agression? HELP!
Before I start, I know this is MY fault. (Please excuse my rambling, but I want you to get a feel of my dog before I go into the problem we are having.)
With that being said, I have a 3 year old male GSD that goes by the name of Tank. He is a decently mannered dog. He always gets compliments on how well behaved he is, which he is, unless he is overly excited. Tank is also the type to cause a ruckus just to spite me.
He has never been great on a leash. (My fault, I know...) Pulls a lot, but we are working on that. It makes it harder that he is now big enough to drag me around (which he has), but we are still trying regardless. A gentle leader was suggested by someone, so I just purchased that and I'm going to give it a try.
Up until the past year, he has been a well socialized dog. He has always been a little rough(playful) with other dogs, but never to the point of questioning it to be agressive behavior. Due to roommates, Tank has shared his home with 2 dogs before. One came in as an adult and the other as a puppy. Tank had no issues with them. Recently, I took Tank around a friends puppy. He was of course extited, and the whole time I felt on edge as if something bad would happen. Tank lunged at the dog and snapped at him... it didn't seem to be a mean bite, but it didn't seem like a nice playful one either. I don't know how else to describe it? Tank made a yapping noise as he bit at the puppy, but I quickly pulled him away. He tried this a few times to the point where I felt uncomfortable.
We have added a puppy to our household since then. Tank did the same thing with the puppy, but I corrected him every time. (Usually a firm NO works with our puppy, but not with outside situations) He is fine with her now, though I would not yet leave them together unsupervised.
We ventured out to the dog park yesterday, where Tank saw 2 other dogs coming out. He immediately started barking and pulling to get to them. When we got to the dogs, Tank was really only interested in sniffing one of them(who appeared to be just under a year old). Without fail, Tank did the yap/bite a few times with this dog.
I am hoping my explanation of this behavior is understandable and I hope there is a way this can be resolved. Tank is eager and willilng to learn, he has just recently learned to WAIT(otherwise known as STAY to some) when asked. I want to be able to take him around other dogs without being in fear that he is going to attack at any second. Can anyone offer some sort of advice?
Read this current on-going thread. Just substitute the word "dogs" in place of "people"
I would also suggest working with a trainer in group classes so your dog gets exposed to all different types of dogs.
I am sure some more experienced people will be along to help answer your questions as I dont have any experience in regards to dog aggression (not yet my dog is still young). However We have a german shepherd at our dog park that wears a basket muzzle because he nips at the butt of other dogs. Hes not aggressive where he wants to hurt or kill another dog, but he gets really excited and then nips them in the butt. :eek:
Therefore I would suggest getting him used to a basket muzzle.
Was the puppy with you?
Dog aggression at a dog park is easy, just don't go to the dog park anymore. Not all dogs, not all GSDs, are dog park material. And if that was the only problem you had, I would say, fine. Just don't take the dog to a dog park, exercise him with walks, runs, hikes, etc. Done.
What a lot of dog owners don't understand, is that dogs can go for the rest of their lives without canine companionship. They do not need to meet the friend's or family member's puppy to have a good time. Leave the dog home when your friend or family member has a dog. Easy. Done.
What you need for your dog to do, is to not turn into a maniac if it sees a dog on a walk, and not bite anyone when he is waiting his turn at the vet, and people are walking dogs past him. Of course you could use a muzzle at the vet. But it would be nicer if you didn't have to.
But it sounds like you need to go beyond basic socialization and get his behavior under control through regular training.
Regular classes will help you train your dog to walk nicely on a lead, to use the proper tools if you choose to go that route, if that would be safest, and will work with the dog around other dogs, not so that your dog can run and play with them, but so that he will be able to be under control in the presence of other dogs.
If Tank is snapping at other dogs, then he's not enjoying their company. I'm probably right when I'm guessing the owners of the other dogs don't appreciate it very much. Puppies are impressionable, so you don't want them to experience this kind of thing either. Keep him away from dogs he doesn't like. Don't take him to dog parks. Why is it important to you that he plays with other dogs? I know dogs parks can be fun places, but not when you're the person with the biting dog!
First head halters are crap, you run the risk of injuring your dog if you misuse it. If your dog won't heal "your" doing something wrong, maybe a trainer is the answer but not new crap.
You don't trust your dog, why put your friends puppy at rest as well as your friendship? You have one dog with "issues" and your adding a puppy?
I would in no way trust your dog around a puppy myself, I would treat your new dog like a new dog. Crate, drag leash, and keep him out of striking range of people and other dogs,better still find a good trainer,not Petco for a trainer.
Leerburg | Introducing a New Dog into a Home with Other Dogs
Sorry if I sound a little over the top but we have lots of "my dog bit..." or "my dog attacked another dog threads.
You accepted responsibility and reached out! :)
If I had done that with my guys and my rescue GSD at the first sign of trouble..I would not have needed to learned the "correct way to break up a dog fight!" :eek:
And I had big dogs! So I learned all this stuff the hard way and I had well behaved dogs in all the situations you described but the GSD made three!
New Ball game, We all have stuff to learn! Good luck. :)
a Gentle Leader is a no-pull harness. Maybe he's uncomfortable by their weird noises (puppies make lots of noises). I would just limit his contact with other dogs.
I want to clarify something. I asked if you had the puppy with you at the dog park because dogs will sometimes act differently when they have a pack member there -- dogs CAN differentiate between humans and dogs, so a pack in this sense is canine. When a dog is out and about with a canine pack member they can act differently.
This is one of the reasons having the first dog well-trained before adding a second is sound advice. Socializing and training needs to be done individually. But when you have a second dog, it should be done BOTH indivdually and together.
Once upon a time, an elderly couple had a dog named Cujo. It was a German Shepherd Dog. The old people did not train the dog, nor did they walk the dog, and their daughter who had her own dogs, sometimes took the parents' dog, Cujo to the pet store for grooming and such.
One day the old lady told her daughter that the old dog, Pip, an English Setter, was in need of a bath. So the dutiful daughter made an appointment for the old boy, and brought the young adult GSD along.
Because the daughter had been around the block a few times, she took the old dog in by himself and handed him over to the bathers. She then went outside for the huge GSD.
She walked him up and down the aisles, he saw dogs of all shapes and sizes. He saw children. He saw men, women, fat people, and thin. Dark people, light people old people. And the daughter was soon very tired. And her two hours were up, and instead of walking out to the car to put the GSD in, she went and picked up the other dog with the GSD. And wouldn't you know it some Great Pyranese dog just happened to be coming in for his turn with the bathers, as she was trying to get the old dog and the young dog out of the salon area. The young dog suddenly went Cujo on the Pyranese.
As the daughter wasn't quite that tired, she managed the situation without anyone getting bitten, but it was an eye-opener for sure. The dog was NOT like that around ANY dog before. And, after the Pyranese the dog was reacting to every dog he saw. The only difference -- well there were two differences: one was that the old dog was now with them, and the other was that the young dog and been thoroughly aroused, so his endorphins and testosterone levels (oops, he had been fixed since he was 4 months old), well his flight or fight mechanism was all the way over in the ON position.
The daughter never took Cujo and Pip together anywhere again -- walked them together through a store to be groomed, etc. And the next time she was out with Cujo, he had no problems with dogs of any sort.
While it is possible that the Evil GP stared down Cujo, and got him into an altered state, it is also possible that a dog might not act the same when there are other canine members of the family present, unless they are have excellent faith in their handler and are condtitioned to walking with other pack members.
Thank you for the quick responses.
I am in the process of reading the thread that was linked above, thank you.
I have considered a basket muzzle... but I'm not sure how I feel about that.
I guess we don't HAVE to go to the dog park... But I prefer to take Tank with me when I go places, which usually is around other dogs. As cliche as it sounds, Tank does seem happier with a companion. Like I stated, he was great with our roommates dogs... and when they left he just seemed sad. He seems to have a problem with "new" dogs, but once he gets to know them and their boundaries, he is ok.
Chip18, I do appreciate your constructive criticism. I know his failing to heal is my fault, and that is why I am doing all that I can to turn it around. I have consulted with a trainer before. His approach in teaching Tank to walk correctly on a leash was basically scaring the sh** out of Tank. (Pulling the leash to make the chain collar tighten) In the friend/puppy situation, I made the friend aware of how Tank could possibly react. We introduced them accordingly. As I said before, Tank is doing wonderfully with our puppy after getting past the "I don't know you" stage...
This issue no doubt stems from minor behavioral problems, and I think we are better off to start with correcting them first. We need to get past controlling his excitement and "selective hearing" before we conquer play etiquette. I am going to try more positive reinforcement vs. "NO!" and redirection and see where that gets us. Please don't hesitate to correct me if I am wrong in this approach.
Here's a few photos of our Tanky Schnoodle.. (Hopefully they show up)
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