Adopted GSD attacks smaller dogs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 06:59 AM Thread Starter
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Adopted GSD attacks smaller dogs


Apologies for the long post:

I adopted an older GSD pup from working lines about 8 months ago, so he is now about a year and a half old. He is neutered, fed a raw diet and exercised daily. He has a very strong prey drive, and has caught cats and a wild rabbit. He was kennelled for the first 10 months so socialisation wasn't that great. :/

We have 2 hours of obedience class every week and he goes on regular outings to all sorts of places with me (although no shops, as no dogs are allowed in stores in NZ, apart from the occasional pet store). We also do obedience in some form every day.

We also have a male Shih Tzu Bichon cross, about 2 years old, who is unneutered, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future, unfortunately (not my choice).

We slowly introduced the little dog to the GSD, and initially they seemed to get on fine. Then the GSD started to get aggressive, and there has been at least 3 occasions where he has got the little one in his mouth.

It seems that he just holds him there, around his abdomen, as there is never any blood drawn. Obviously the little one does not appreciate it, and makes a **** of a ruckus. Afterwards he shakes and is now very cautious around my GSD.

They are now always kept separated by a tall baby gate, and a fence breaks up our yard in two so they cannot interact apart from seeing each other. The little dog is inside, the GSD is now an outside only dog.

I am wondering if this is a dominance thing, and if we should let it happen so they can sort out who is alpha? Our concern is that it may go to far, and because the GSD is so big the little one runs the risk of serious injury or worse.

Any ideas? I would be happy for both of them to just ignore/tolerate each other so we don't have to be so cautious.


The GSD also "loves" cats. Just seeing them sets him off and he goes bonkers, barking and jumping up and straining to get to them. If they run, and if he could, he would chase them and does not return at all. He is VERY persistent when it comes to cats and the like - he will not give up until he has caught it. He has caught my cat twice, and the neighbours cat once. Same thing with the little dog, has it in his mouth (never mind the claws), but does not let go until forced. No injuries so far apart from bruising. Any way to train him to ignore cats/rabbits etc? My cats are not used to dogs that chase so don't know not to run.

Any tips?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 08:00 AM
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Personally, I would rehome the shepherd. I would never trust him completely with my other pets. The little dog and the cat were their first. They deserve to be safe.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 08:07 AM
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This is a disaster in the making.

I would rehome the Shepherd.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 08:23 AM
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How does the GSD act when small dog is making a ruckus when the GSD is holding him?

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-13-2014, 05:42 PM
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If you are tried of the little dogs and the cat...then continue to... "let them work it out." The cat issue is the easiest to solve as there is only rule! The cat chases the dog ...'NEVER!" If you can’t enforce that, then keep depending on his "good graces" to keep him from killing your other dogs!

Cat thing is here post 32:
Introducing Shepherd to cats

If you can at least stop that...then you have a chance to fix the rest! If you can't as other have said rehome the dog before you have to list him as "kills small dogs!"

In either case you should get a trainer involved. Keep the small dogs safe while "you" get your act together!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-13-2014, 06:01 PM
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The only way to be sure ALL animals are safe is to entirely manage the environment and stop wanting or expecting the shepherd to "manage" his prey drive. Gate, crate and rotate. I also wonder if the shepherd does not like to live outside, away from his "people". Managing a dog's environment is a huge job and takes a rock solid commitment, but it can be done. I have two entirely separate packs (of two each), and have managed their environment for seven years now.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 12:41 AM
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a third rehome the shepherd
someone is going to get killed and that could mean a death sentence for the killer
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 05:36 AM Thread Starter
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Just to clarify:

The GSD is kept very much separate from the little dog and cats. It would just be nice if they got along. Fortunately the living arrangements are only mid-term (3 years or so). Once I have bought a house he will be a one-animal home.

I adopted him because he was a working dog who failed testing because he had low drive. He had no other issues re aggression etc. He is a lovely well natured dog who has an issue with this one dog he lives with, and cats who run (he doesn't care about cats who stay still).

As for how he acts when little dog is causing a ruckus - the GSF does nothing really, no growling or anything just holds him in his mouth .

He will not be rehomed unless he does something absolutely dire, such as bites a person. I refuse to give up on a dog who is 90% there and is always improving. What I am looking for here are any similar stories, esp those with a happy ending.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 06:28 AM
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First you said he gets aggressive with the small dog, now you say he does nothing, really.

What you have to understand is that one shake will snap that dog's neck. Tip: keep them apart 100% of the time.

Good luck to you.
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