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Old 03-23-2014, 10:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
raz
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please help. a german shep/border collie mix i rescued as a pup has been with us for year and a half. despite training and him breaking loose from every harness/collar/lead/cable/chain/whatever he gets out. the sudden aggression is the big issue. the kids have been around him since we got him and my youngest,8, is really attached. they play, yes, but always initiated by kids to include him in running thru the house, to my dismay, but they are getting exercise and it wears all of them out. but today, my youngest was laying on floor not engaging the dog, the dog walked over, low growled and went to bite at his throat. fortunately, he did not bite down and retreated when i reacted. i need to know if neutering would eliminate this risk, or does the dog need to go? i love dogs, always had shelter pets, but i'm a mother first.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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that sounds very serious. if you think the animal will do it again it may be worthwhile to get her used to a muzzle so she can still play because I think isolation could make it worse. i have NO experience with muzzles so this may cause training difficulties of it's own.

I feel the important thing is the dog knows the house and yard and everything really is NOT the dogs territory and can pick and choose who lives there. punish aggression fairly but immediately. a light spank or time out is vital. if she's used to escaping confinement then she is used to getting her own way at all times. find a harness she cannot escape from or a kennel and do not let her get you to 'give up'.

you may have a battle of wills at hand but for the safety of your children, and on a positive note a great dog member of your family at stake, you should look at it as a great challenge.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thanks for the help. do you know anything about aggression and neutering?
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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my mistake I thought it was a female. yes, neutering should help with aggression. if he's been with you for a year and a half it should be OK to neuter him at this point. you should wait for people with more experience to post their opinions and also obviously talk to your vet.

my family previously had a rottweiler who was neutered but he was always very sweet natured. I also cared for a pug for a long time who was neutered and it helped with his hyperness, but pugs are never really capable of being aggressive. neutering is something you should do anyway once the dog is 12-24 months IMO so it may be a very appropriate thing to try for curbing aggression.

but also make sure there is a place where he must learn his place, whether a leash in the yard or even better a kennel that he can NEVER escape from. an occasional escape is how to teach a dog to escape.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Do you know for certain it's aggression? Some dogs play that way - with a growl and bite to the neck. You mentioned he did not bite down and will retreat which made me wonder if it may just be play, although still a behavior to be terminated regardless.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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he retreated because i came at him as he started. think he realizes im in charge. gsd is a pack animal right? would he learn his place if the other members of the pack (kids) were put before him? laugh if you want. this dog was to be a pet, companion, protector, i cannot have this, kids will come first. i appreciate the help
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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for the time being just take the outlook that this is a hurdle with a teenage-minded dog who you need to guide but will unquestionably be a permanent and loved member of your family.

try the neutering, and try doing stuff that clearly establishes the hierarchy. also, trying to get your kids to practice tricks with him he knows might help. if he looks at them as some other dogs he may be vying with them for 'position'. have them tell him sit, down, etc. and he doesn't get his food until he listens to them. it may be rough but stick with it so that he views the family and not just you as people who give orders.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Altering a dog does not always take care of aggression and in some cases, can make it worse.

Without knowing the rest of the body language, there is no way to determine what frame of mind this dog was in. The red flag to me is the target of the neck accompanied by the low growl, especially since there was no interaction at the time.

Steps I would take is no interaction with the kids unless I had control of the dog, which means he would be crated or kenneled if I couldn't be right there with them. Have a vet check done (always a good precaution if a behavior suddenly appears), then get a trainer involved.
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twyla View Post
Altering a dog does not always take care of aggression and in some cases, can make it worse.

Without knowing the rest of the body language, there is no way to determine what frame of mind this dog was in. The red flag to me is the target of the neck accompanied by the low growl, especially since there was no interaction at the time.

Steps I would take is no interaction with the kids unless I had control of the dog, which means he would be crated or kenneled if I couldn't be right there with them. Have a vet check done (always a good precaution if a behavior suddenly appears), then get a trainer involved.
This is absolutely true. Spaying my Hildy amplified her aggressive behavior. There are no quick fixes in the realm of aggression in my experience.

I would go see your vet and ask for a thyroid workup, electrolytes, metabolic panel, & whatever else they recommend. Also ask for recommendations for veterinary behaviorists.

For now, definitely don't allow the kids & the dog to interact unless you are there & you have physical control of the dog.

Good luck. That must have been really scary to witness.
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm just throwing this out there not taking a stance. But for "me" the dog would need to leave "this" home. I don't really put a lot of faith in neuter/spaying to fix behavioral issues. I have no problem dealing with a dog that might cause me harm but I don't take chances with others.

The dog is in a good position now because "he has not bitten anyone" if he does that would change. I'd manage him around the kids. And look for a responsible rescue tell them you can foster in place and say a home with no kids.

A nip on the butt is one thing but this sounds a bit different?
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