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-   -   Newly adopted 2 yr old girl GSD cat aggressive and possibly baby aggressive (http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/aggression-good-bad-ugly/454386-newly-adopted-2-yr-old-girl-gsd-cat-aggressive-possibly-baby-aggressive.html)

alleycat 05-27-2014 02:28 AM

Newly adopted 2 yr old girl GSD cat aggressive and possibly baby aggressive
 
Hello! I need some advice, seriously quick.

I recently adopted a 2 year old GSD to train as a service dog. She is spayed, was very friendly with my 14 month old daughter when I went to meet her, and I was told that she had a high prey drive towards the lady's yorkie, meaning she would attack at the slightest chance. I have no other dogs, she had cats (outside), so I assumed that she could be worked with.

I brought Sissy home; when it came to meeting the cats she instantly got that prey stare, stance, and the second my cats moved she lunged and barked insanely. I've broken other dogs of cat aggression, but Sissy seems different.

Several hours later, she is following me around and we come across the cat on the table and she again lunges and barks while having that stare and tending up before the lunge, like obsession. I get in between, tell her to leave it and put her in a sit, then praise her when a moment later she ignores the cat.

Later in the evening, I'm throwing a toy for her and my little daughter falls and starts to cry. Sissy rushes over, starts to lick her, then appears to try to dominant mount her or herd her, I couldn't tell which. (if not so scary it would be funny, such a big girl trying to figure out how to "herd" the baby). I instantly pick up my daughter and see that sissy is trying to grab her pie I'm dangling a toy in front of her. (horrified at this point).

A couple of minutes later I took Sissy out, when I brought her back in , I again let my daughter play on the floor, she goes up to Sissy, Sissy licks her, again gets excited and when I pick up my daughter she again looks like she its trying to nip at my baby.

I'm unfamiliar with this dog, I don't trust her yet (if ever) around my cats, but a deal breaker and a trip back to her old owner would be child aggression. Is she trying to hurt my daughter or herd her? How do I stop this behavior and effectively teach her to "leave it" with my cats and child?

Sissy is otherwise very well behaved, she already seems attached to me, but as badly as I actually need a service dog (and truly can't afford to go through conventional methods of buying one, my options right now are self training which I have experience with or finding a donated one), I will not jeopardize my child or my cats.

Can this behavior towards my daughter be corrected? Towards my cats? Take her back?

Please help?

alleycat 05-27-2014 02:44 AM

Sorry for the editing , I'm posting from my phone and didn't proofread like I should've.....

llombardo 05-27-2014 02:55 AM

This will probably not be a popular answer, but here it goes. You have to teach her how you expect her to behave, which can take time. They can be mouthy, my male was given up for that very reason. For some reason he never mouthed any of the kids in my home and stopped mouthing completely after about a week. Is your daughter afraid of the dog? Did she cry in either situation? Is the dog nosing her or mouthing her? In my mind I'm trying to picture the scenario and I see a dog that thought the baby was hurt and had no clue what to do, but I wasn't there do I don't know for sure. I wouldn't throw an adult GSD in with a child, I would crate the dog and let the dog get used to its surroundings. It takes some time for them to adjust. Obedience class would be good. As far as the cats, they might only ever reach manageable at best. Again she has to be trained, she don't know how to act. You will have to put your all into it. You could also have a trainer come in to evaluate the dog to give you peace of mind.

alleycat 05-27-2014 06:44 AM

Thank you Llombardo...
 
I appreciate an honest answer, whether or not it's popular.

My main goal is the safety of my charges, the kids and the cats, and Sissy as well. Constant stress from cat squabbles and even my tension isn't going to make her happy or healthy.

I'm not in a hurry to get a resolution, just peace of mind. If I can gradually work her past her issues, I'm patient and determined enough to do so, but, I'm training her to be a service dog so she has to, at some point, be able to get over her aggressions, even if it is only tolerance.

My daughter was fussing the first time, and nothing the second time when I had just picked her up, and laughing the third time. She isn't afraid of the dog yet, and I really couldn't tell if Sissy was being aggressive or not, but she had her mouth open and was on top of her. She made me leery, and I've always been around GSD.

Quote:

Originally Posted by llombardo (Post 5568826)
This will probably not be a popular answer, but here it goes. You have to teach her how you t her to behave, which can take time. They can be mouthy, my male was given up for that very reason. For some reason he never mouthed any of the kids in my home and stopped mouthing completely after about a week. Is your daughter afraid of the dog? Did she cry in either situation? Is the dog nosing her or mouthing her? In my mind I'm trying to picture the scenario and I see a dog that thought the baby was hurt and had no clue what to do, but I wasn't there do I don't know for sure. I wouldn't throw an adult GSD in with a child, I would crate the dog and let the dog get used to its surroundings. It takes some time for them to adjust. Obedience class would be good. As far as the cats, they might only ever reach manageable at best. Again she has to be trained, she don't know how to act. You will have to put your all into it. You could also have a trainer come in to evaluate the dog to give you peace of mind.


jocoyn 05-27-2014 07:10 AM

The dog is already showing predatory behavior. Sure, you can manage it but I would never trust this dog. If you did not have a toddler I would say "give it a go" but if you are going to be bringing an adult dog into a home with small children, it should be bombproof. JMO.

JeanKBBMMMAAN 05-27-2014 07:17 AM

Agree, and if I were looking for a service dog, I'd want one that was a little more prey-neutral with small dogs because they are going to be everywhere, as are other little moving things.

llombardo 05-27-2014 08:02 AM

Who is this dog going to be a service dog for?

Baillif 05-27-2014 08:24 AM

Prey aggression is one of the easiest types of aggression to punish and see a quick turn around in behavior. While I would always manage a dog around young children regardless of how bomb proof their temperaments seem to be, what your dog is displaying is not necessarily something id consider a deal breaker. Youd need to find a good balanced trainer to help you, and id suspect an e colllar purchase would be in your future but it isnt a super big deal.

As for the service dog thing. Yeah probably not gonna happen.

Gretchen 05-27-2014 09:39 AM

I feel you set yourself up for failure. You got a dog that you knew had a high prey drive, yet you are upset about the dog chasing cats.

Has the dog ever been around infants/toddlers? It not, it probably does not know what to do with you child, children are unpredictable and have movements the dog is not familiar with.

As for a service dog, if you need a service dog you should get one already trained to your needs, I know they may be expensive, but is the time, energy, money and training that would need to be put into this dog worth it? This dog may never have the temperament for a service dog, at least if you get one from a professional organization it should be well conditioned to all types of situations.

Before we bought our dog as a pup from a breeder, we looked into two well known GSD rescue organizations to adopt an adult. The descriptions of about 90% of the dogs available for adoption said they had high prey drive.
We have a few cats and I did not want to put them in danger or have a crazy house, so we got the pup that grew up with the cats and they get along fine.

alleycat 05-27-2014 10:32 AM

Sissy update
 
Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I think after bringing her home, all of us were over tired, and Sissy was over stimulated.

I rescued Sissy because I understood WHY she acted out against old owner's dog; she was crated overnight, crated 8-12 hours daily while owner was at work, and then instead of activity, the owner wanted to sit and relax with the lap dogs. To a young high energy GSD, the other dog was taking attention and causing the issue, no matter how we see it. I've broken the prey drive in other dogs, I know it can be broken.

Today, after a good rest for Sissy (not me, turns out baby daughter is teething again) we went for a walk to burn energy and when the baby started fussing again Sissy whined and licked her with my careful supervision. I called a trainer, I already have experience with obedience training and my gut was right, her aggression was most likely because of her situation, and cat aggression is fairly easy to deal with because she has never been taught to leave them alone. She has never been around kids, so she simply needs to be taught how to deal with them. She wasn't trying to hurt my daughter, she didn't know what to do. After I put her on a down stay so I could deal with the baby she settled right down and calmed that fear for me.

As for cats, I now know how to start adjusting her to them, and I have a direction to start. She is an excellent girl on everything else, so I know it is a learned response from lack of training and reinforcement. If it was personality, she wouldn't be good everywhere else.

Sissy just needs a bit of my energy, constancy, attention and dominant leadership, to not get away with the bad behavior. Her previous owner somewhat catered to Sissy by separating the dogs and enforcing that she had a valid reason to attack the other dog by allowing her to attack when together. She never corrected the attacking behavior, and she didn't redirect it.

So, thank you all, I'm going to keep everyone updated at her progress, I think there is hope for her, she is a smart girl.


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