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Old 04-24-2014, 07:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Aggressive behaviour to people and dogs

Hi there, wondering if there is any good advice out there regarding training our 12 month old beautiful shepherd.

Della is new to the house hold, approx 5 weeks. She has had 3 previous owners all of which have given up on her, something we do not want to do. We have a 12 year old cross breed female in the house and there are no issues, but as soon as we step outside and see another dog all **** breaks loose.

She also has the tendency to lunge at passers by and visiting family, only occassionally, but we have to be very wary with her. When there are no distractions she is fantastic, we can get sits, downs, stays from her, but as soon as something grabs her attention this goes out the window as if she goes deaf lol.

Whats the best technique or any great advice would be more than welcome.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The only advice I would give is to spend as much time as you can desensitising her to other dogs. I would find something of value to her (a ball, Frisbee, food) and train her to focus on you using the high value item as a reward, once you are confident with her response to your focus command, start taking her on walks, however keep a fair bit of distance between you and other dogs, even if you have to cross the road and command her to focus (rewarding her with your value item once she does). Give her space and time to gain confidence and learn how to behave properly. Try to set her up with situations where she will have more success' than failures. Eventually you may be able to reduce the distance between her and another dog so that you can pass by. I wouldn't bother with allowing her to meet and greet strange dogs - she doesn't need to do this, she does need to learn to ignore them.

With the lunching at people, I would start walking her with a head halter type device such as a 'canny collar' and also a check chain (click both the canny collar and check chain onto the lead - this is for safety if the head halter comes off for some reason then the check chain will click into action). Using a head halter will help you control her head much easier than a flat or check collar and will allow you to easily control any attempts at lunching whilst you train her out of lunging. Once she has unlearned this behaviour, and you are confident with your handling ability, you can ditch the head halter and choose a collar you are most comfortable with.
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if your GSD is eating and eating and eating and losing weight - please consider testing for EPI.

http://www.epi4dogs.com/epiinsnapshots.htm
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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We've had our 14 month bitch for 2 weeks. She came from your neck of the woods, funnily enough. Her behaviour was the same as your dog. My husband is very firm & has trained her to focus on her rope ball. We make sure we protect her from any dogs that are too boisterous or go in too fast with her. She will now in the short time we've had her, walk past, off lead, other dogs, within a couple of paces of them. She will now also accept strangers too - although we are very cautious with her. She now looks to my husband before doing anything, she's so keen to please him. With me, she knows I'm not a dominant person, but we'll work on me in due course!! She knew from day one hubby meant every word he says to her & she's coming on so well. She loves to please him & her rope ball being thrown is better to her than any food treat - that & praise from hubby.
I'm beginning to think what she was doing was protecting her pack as things were so new to her & she was doing a great job at that. But she needed to know that is not her job - her job is to do what hubby tells her to do. We're delighted she's turning into a well balanced dog & is great fun to walk now. Switching focus seems to work well, so I'd suggest you get a rope ball (bully) as you can throw it, carry it in your pocket & they can't accidentally swallow it. Get her so interested in that so nothing else takes her attention.

Last edited by lara's mum; 04-25-2014 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Behaviour Adjustment Training by grisha Stewart. //good book
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, we have now got her a rope ball and we have started to get her into it. Yes at present we just avoid all other dogs if possible, not always the case, but I am sure with a lot of hard work we will get a fantastic loving dog. I do believe like you Lara that she is just adjusting to her new surroundings after having moved frequently. Time will tell.
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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A lot of what you need is in post 8:
New Dog, Very Challenging

My guy was "people aggressive" I did "Who pets my puppy or dog" I made the decisions for who he interacts with not him! No head halters, I used a flat collar and leash.

Never had a problem with him lunging at anyone...had he tried, I would have immediately stepped in front of him!

Pretty much as simple as that.
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i'm by no means a trainer or have tons of experience. if i were you i would get a prong collar and give a tug and yell no! extra loud deep firm authoritative voice. let him know you are in charge and refocus his attention to you. if that doesn't work i would contact a professional.

some people just aren't firm enough and can't handle a GSD when all the dog needed from the beginning was a handler with some balls. that's a main reason there are so many in shelters IMO. those people should've gotten a cat instead.

Last edited by scarfish; 04-25-2014 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarfish View Post
i'm by no means a trainer or have tons of experience. if i were you i would get a prong collar and give a tug and yell no! extra loud deep firm authoritative voice. let him know you are in charge and refocus his attention to you. if that doesn't work i would contact a professional.

some people just aren't firm enough and can't handle a GSD when all the dog needed from the beginning was a handler with some balls. that's a main reason there are so many in shelters IMO. those people should've gotten a cat instead.
Well I also am not an expert, but I dealt with a "people aggressive" GSD and my gut told me that a "prong collar" was "not" the way to go!

Pretty much stand by my experience and my results with "Who Pets my Puppy or Dog", first rule in dog training..."do no harm!"
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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you don't use it to "harm" the dog, simply to refocus it. if you're hurting the dog you're using it incorrectly.
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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A foster we had did the same thing only less intense and never people aimed. I used a tennis ball while walking by other dogs and it worked to distract.

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