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justerri 03-18-2014 10:42 PM

Our GS aggressive to other dogs
I'm new here, but have been reading the posts for a while.

We have a 8 1/2 year old neutered GS. We got him when he was a puppy. He lost his companion, our beloved Cattle Dog, last July to cancer. He seems to have adjusted well.

We have been wintering in So. Calif. from Colo. In Colo., we walk him almost daily along a path near a creek and and athough he pulls a little when we walk past another dog, we have no problem with him. We had no problems with him at the pet friendly hotels on the way here. Since we have moved here, he has gotten really bad with dog aggression in this apartment complex. He lunges and barks at every dog he sees, not only inside the complex, but outside when we are putting him into the van. It takes both my husband and I to control him (we have a collar, prong collar, halter and use three leashes, just in case one comes undone).

We try to take him out when we think there are no other dogs around. I feel like I'm a ninja :wild: . . .be alert, coast is clear, dog to the right, turn back, ok coast is clear, no dog coming now, etc etc.

At the park, we are able to see a long distance and keep away from other dogs and we do make him sit from a distance, watch other dogs walk by and give him a treat.

He also has separation anxiety since his companion passed away, so he is always with us.

We definitely will use a trainer when we return to Colo which will be in a few weeks.

Why this sudden change in his behavior? We live in a house with a backyard in Colo., and are in an apt. complex here. But we take him for walks here also, he goes for rides, we play with him.

Any suggestions for the time we are here? Anything will help!


Mary Beth 03-19-2014 09:33 PM

I think the change in his behavior when you are living in the apartment is both due to grief on the loss of his companion and also he considers the apartment complex to be his territory. It could be also that he is very insecure without his companion and that is also causing him to act out. With the separation anxiety that he has also developed since his companion died, it does seem to me, that you may want to consider, if you can, to get a second dog. For now, I suggest that when you walk him around the apartment complex that when you see another dog, to immediately turn -sharply without warning - he will have to follow you. When you go to the van and see another dog - turn sharply if you can before you dog reacts. The idea is to have him focus on you and not be on the lookout for the other dogs. Also, if he enjoys tug - that will give him an outlet - but be sure he ends up winning and praise him for that.

Chip18 03-19-2014 09:53 PM

Adding a second dog in a household with a dog with "issues" is absolutely the very last thing "I" would ever do!" But hey you may get lucky and that will work?

Sitting and "watching" other dogs tells him..this dog may be an issue? Better approach is to keep him moving ignore other dogs. Move along dog nothing to see here.

Use a trainer by all means but this is a place to start till then:

You might as well ditch the prong. You've used it wrong and now your dog doesn't care about it! Instead of taking drive out of the dog it's most likely stimulating the dog to be aggressive.

And here:
stop dog pulling on leash - YouTube

If you have tension on a leash, you are telling the dog "get ready for action". Exactly the opposite of what you want to achieve!

So a prong used (improper) a tight leash and dog reactivate dog is not a winning recipe. :)

Mary Beth 03-20-2014 09:32 PM

I know it seems strange advice, but in my view, this gsd is 8 1/2 years old. The op had him from a puppy and did not have any trouble with other dogs all this time until the 2nd dog died. He is now having trouble in the apartment complex where they went to spend the winter months. He was fine on the trip over with other dogs in the hotels. He is fine so far at home in his yard but that was before they left. Now he has issues including separation anxiety - all of which he did not have before with the second dog. Though he acts very aggressive when seeing another dog in the apartment complex, they can distract him with a treat and have him sit/stay when seeing dogs outside the complex. All of which makes me wonder, since he was fine on the trip over, if he somehow got the idea that when they got to the apt., the second dog would be waiting for him. I have read of difficulties that can rarely happens when another dog dies, and the surviving dog is not able to sniff the body - so the dog keeps looking for the other dog to come back. I had a cat that did this once and was fine for a month, but then would not stop crying at night until finally after 10 nights of no sleep, I went and adopted another cat. I am not saying this is the case, but if when they return home and the dog has difficulties, then it may be something to consider. I think it would take a lot of meets and greets in a neutral setting like a park until the right dog is found.

justerri 04-13-2014 01:12 PM

Thanks everyone for now we are just avoiding other dogs and will call a trainer when we get back to colo

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