Dog aggression on walks - German Shepherd Dog Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2014, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
New Member
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 12
Dog aggression on walks

I have broke down and decided to post on here. My 1.5 year old white shepherd Sampson is perfect on walks UNTIL he sees another dog (fenced in, walking, at a distance, wherever). When he sees another dog, he gets on his back legs and growls and barks, trying to do whatever he can to get that other dog (not in a playful way). I have tried everything I can think of. Gentle leader, he gets right out of. Easy walk, doesn't stop him. Treats, pays no attention to treats he is so focused on other dog. Prong collar, works some what, but still doesnt phase him enough. I have been bit multiple times because he bites out of reactivity. If I put a treat out in front of his nose while he is "acting out", he bites my hand. I have tried easing him into dogs, by turning around when he starts acting up, but he still can not make it past another dog without acting out. This started around 11months, so it has been a long process. It is starting to get warmer out, so of course more dogs out. I have two other dogs that are not the least bit aggressive towards other dogs. I have walked him since he was 8 weeks old. He has been around other dogs that are family or friends' dogs. I did not take him to obedience training as a pup which I am regretting big time now. Not sure what options I have. Will he break out of it with age? Any other solutions? He is not aggressive at all while at home, just very full of energy and playful like a normal shepherd is. Thanks for the help!
SampsonNeiss is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2014, 12:23 PM
Senior Member
kjdreyer's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 308
It's not too late to get help with training! I'm no expert, but it sounds as if you need one to see what's going on with the dog, and to help stop that behavior. Until then, do you have another option for exercising him? It might be a good idea not to give him any more chances to get this behavior entrenched until you have gotten a trainer's help with how to work with him. Any chance you could take him to an individual run at a dog park? Good luck!
kjdreyer is offline  
post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2014, 01:07 PM
Elite Member
Twyla's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,963
Send a message via Yahoo to Twyla
At home with us, Woolf is very much the playful GSD. At 3 1/2 yr, I still call him the overgrown puppy. Woolf is very DA. Just mentioning that the difference in behavior can exist.

Locate a trainer experienced with aggression and working breeds or a behaviorist. Get their eyes on your dog, determine what you are dealing with - FA, leash aggression, over excitement etc. Then begin with training, 2 goals - his obedience and ignoring dogs, handler training

Drop the head halter and harness; the head halter can break, the harness can be backed out of. Look for a martingale to use. Put the prong collar away until maybe later in training.

To avoid the bites he is giving you, you will need to watch his signals to redirect his focus before he reacts. Once he reacts, as you have seen, food isn't going to get his attention. With Woolf, if I mess up and miss his cues, I get him out of the situation because he is not going to pay attention to me while that other dog is to close.
Twyla is offline  
post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2014, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
New Member
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 12
There are not any dog parks around unfortunately. I played fetch with him at the city park in the snow when nobody else was out and he did great. That wont happen now with all the people enjoying the warm weather. I will try to look for a trainer and pick up a martingale to see how he responds. Should I avoid the situations as soon as I see him start to lose focus on me/ interest in food? Thanks for all the help!
SampsonNeiss is offline  
post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2014, 05:19 PM
Master Member
Sri's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 602
Originally Posted by SampsonNeiss View Post
There are not any dog parks around unfortunately. I played fetch with him at the city park in the snow when nobody else was out and he did great. That wont happen now with all the people enjoying the warm weather. I will try to look for a trainer and pick up a martingale to see how he responds. Should I avoid the situations as soon as I see him start to lose focus on me/ interest in food? Thanks for all the help!


Yes avoid the triggers as much as you can till you get a good trainer. Some articles that have helped me in the meantime:

Aggression & Some Reasons Behind It | Suzanne Clothier

Understanding Thresholds: It's More than Under- or Over- | Suzanne Clothier
Sri is offline  
post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 11:17 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Western Isles, Scotland
Posts: 205
I'm working on this with my own dog and I would definitely recommend getting a trainer but here's a few things I've learnt over the last year

- be careful with trying to distract with treats. You can end up accidentally rewarding the reaction. It can be the same with walking in the other direction when the reaction has already started. Dog barks and lunges and is removed from the stimulus. The reaction worked! I've fallen into this trap myself.

- Find a way of controlling the dog during the reaction. I have to use an all in one lead called a Gencon. My dog can't get out of it at all and I can practically hold it with one finger when she's going crazy. Obviously the idea is she shouldn't be in situations when she can go crazy but life happens. Knowing I have control over her makes me less anxious and more confident.

- teach the 'watch' and 'look at that' command. I've been doing this for a couple of months now and have found it really effective. I see a dog in the distance and if she hasn't seen it I say 'look at that'. She looks at it, looks back at me, gets a reward and we walk away from the dog. The idea is to keep her calm and reward her for looking at me.

- 'leave' another good one for reactive dogs. If you can get a good leave you're half way there.

- basic obedience and scent games are great for keeping your dogs attention when there are other dogs around. Even if another dog seems really far away, it's a great place to start because your dog will be able to relax with a dog in the background.

I know what you're going through but there are ways of working through it.
Good luck.

Sent from Free App
Amurphy26 is offline  
post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 07:13 PM
Elite Member
Harry and Lola's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,129
I think in your situation you would be best to manage the situation rather than fix it at this stage.

I would try and not put him in the situation where he is too close to another dog when he is on lead, cross the road, turn around go the other way, do whatever so that there is enough distance between him on lead and another dog so that you can at least keep walking. Find out what his comfortable distance is to begin with.

I know this will be frustrating and annoying for you, but if can do this for a while until he is at the point where he no longer reacts with the distance between him an the other dog, then you can start training him to ignore other dogs a little closer.

This may take lots of time, consistency, trust and control, so if you feel you can't do it then you may want to engage an experienced trainer/behaviourist to help you.

if your GSD is eating and eating and eating and losing weight - please consider testing for EPI.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Harry and Lola is offline  
post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 07:17 PM
New Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 9
i got a puppy

i have a puppy and dont know if its a german shepard. the people who gave me him,told me that hes a gsd but i really dont know so im asking everyone what does a puppy look like
luciano is offline  
post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 07:30 PM
scout172's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 83
We gave Scout a shock collar when he was little and it goes up to 10 the hardest but every time he growls or barks at another dog we give him a small itty bitty shock. (a one) Now he never needs to use the collar its just sitting on my counter. :roll eyes: If you don't want to do that try firmly scolding. That seems to work with Scout.
scout172 is offline  
post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 07:39 PM
Crowned Member
DJEtzel's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Posts: 5,253
I would avoid aversives for this. He's being reactive. Totally normal.

work on Look At That training hardcore and you will see great results.

Danielle, owner of...
Fraggle Rock Collars & ...
Fraggle Vom Richcreek CGC CA
Red Dog's Reconnaissance Man CGC CL1-R CL1-H CL1-F CL1-S USJ
General Patton Vom Winter Storm
DJEtzel is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome