Dominance or aggression? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 01-29-2014, 06:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dominance or aggression?

I rescued a GSD mix a month and a half ago. She's a wonderful dog. Smart, affectionate, obedient, loves people, etc. THE perfect dog in so many ways.

I'm not comfortable with her around other dogs. To her credit, I haven't done much dog socializing since I adopted her (she's 2.5 years old). We don't avoid dogs, but I haven't taken her to a dog park, day care, etc. To be honest, I'm scared of what she may do.

Here's how she acts: Day in and day out she takes an interest in other dogs. If we're walking she'll mildly pull to meet other dogs, and sometimes she cries and her teeth chatter. She will walk past a dog, although I know she wants to "meet" them. Most of the time we avoid other dogs when we're walking, and honestly her desire to get to these dogs is mild at best. She has never gone absolutely nuts to get at another dog. In the dozen or so instances she's been around dogs (my brother's two Bernese, pet store, etc.), two of the encounters have ended in scuffles. In neither instance was the other dog outwardly aggressive. Both scuffles were with very different dogs.

Here's what happened today. A young girl in my cul-de-sac was out walking her older hound mix. She walked up to my truck. I let Greta out of the back of the truck on command, and she seemed fine. We let them meet while on leash, and instantly I could tell that Greta was being dominant. She was standing over the other dog in what I thought was an aggressive manner. Before I could do anything, they were at each other's necks. I separated them and scolded Greta, and both dogs seemed fine (no blood, etc.). I then made Greta sit and relax about 5 feet from the other dog, and she was fine. We came in a few minutes later, and she knew that she had done something wrong.

I can't figure out if she was being overly aggressive, or if this is normal pack sorting between dogs? She's a super sweet dog. Well exercised. I honestly believe that I've done a good job being the pack leader, and she seems to respect me. She shows no aggression towards food, toys, etc.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I forgot to mention that she rarely barks, and I've never seen or heard her growl at another dog or person.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It sounds more like posturing than outright aggression, but I'd go slow and easy on this dog meeting with other dogs. If there is a dog that she must be close to for whatever reason (being at the same place as your brother's dog or something), then the best way to introduce them is to walk on leash near each other but not quite in reach, and maybe allow one to be ahead a bit and the other sniff butt a bit, and then switch them around. Face to face is generally not very polite in the dog/dog world.
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