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-   -   so weary of fear aggression (http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/aggression-good-bad-ugly/464345-so-weary-fear-aggression.html)

LittleLady 06-26-2014 01:46 AM

so weary of fear aggression
 
i just cant understand why our dog is so highly strung! he was anxious at 8 weeks old when we got him & now at 16 months old it still hasn't gone away. he is dog & stranger aggressive. anyone coming into the house is readily accepted. anyone outside the house, excluding most people at dog school, are considered threats if they look at, speak to or try to touch him. if we walk past someone he is wary but generally ok. i just made the mistake of letting our neighbour try to pet him out the front of the house & he grabbed his hand firmly enough to scratch it. i feel absolutely terrible and am almost at wits end.

our trainers say avoid confronting situations but how will he ever get over his fears if he is not exposed to his triggers? or will he just grow out of it? this has been an issue ever since he was 4 months old & doesnt seem to be improving much at all. he has become somewhat more tolerant of other dogs due to weekly training but will still bite if they get too close. i understand its a "fear period", im just really hoping its not forever... it saddens me that he feels so threatened by the world & i cant seem to do anything to help.

gsdsar 06-26-2014 06:01 AM

It's not a fear period if it's lasted a year. You need a new trainer. Sorry. I would doubt he is going to grow out if it.


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LittleLady 06-26-2014 06:14 AM

he has become more afraid of strange people on the street in the last couple of months. they didnt bother him at first. his anxiety has been there the whole time. the trainers meant that for his age it was normal to become wary of new things for a time. i didnt mean the whole last year has been excused as a fear period! there are a dozen good trainers at our group with years of breed experience but i am still considering a behaviourist as the next step.

Twyla 06-26-2014 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LittleLady (Post 5692601)
our trainers say avoid confronting situations but how will he ever get over his fears if he is not exposed to his triggers? or will he just grow out of it? this has been an issue ever since he was 4 months old & doesnt seem to be improving much at all. he has become somewhat more tolerant of other dogs due to weekly training but will still bite if they get too close. i understand its a "fear period", im just really hoping its not forever... it saddens me that he feels so threatened by the world & i cant seem to do anything to help.

You want to avoid confrontations, but not avoid exposure. You want to work with him under threshold - the point where he is able to focus on you instead of the trigger. If he triggers at 30 ft, you work at 35 ft and slowly work to 30 ft, if he reacts, you back up a ft and start again. Make sense? Use LAT and BAT methods doing this. My troublemaker made the most progress using BAT to begin with. It gave him more control.

If this has been an issue since 4 mths old, I would imagine this is more genetic then fear periods. Have you talked with the breeder or other owners of the littermates?

Your idea about a behaviorist or a trainer experienced in aggression is good. Keep in mind that many claim they are a behaviorist, but aren't so do the homework and check them out.

Have you conditioned your dog to a muzzle yet? Basket muzzles will allow him to drink, pant and take treats.

kiya 06-26-2014 09:07 AM

I have a fearful dog what worked with him is Behavioral Adjustment Training aka BAT. You work you dog just under his threshold/comfort level were he is not reacting to the person/dog/thing that he reacts to eventually getting closer.
A good trainer that knows GSDS of course is the best but there are lots of things you can do till you find one. Please don't let your dog get into a situation where he could bite.

LittleLady 06-26-2014 10:13 AM

trainers who specifically use BAT seem to be hard to come across here in australia unfortunately. we go to a gsd only training school & they are aware of the issues here & helpful to a degree. i made an error of judgement today which i wont be repeating any time soon.

he is ok to within a couple of feet of other dogs or strangers, but if the dog looks him in the face or person tries to touch he is unpredictable. sometimes he reacts, other times not. usually i take a wide berth around people on walks so there wont be a chance of anything happening like him jumping on someone or grabbing their hand which he has done a couple of times many months ago.

i remain calm when walking him but he is always on high alert on a walk, to the point where he jumps if a leaf moves next to where he is sniffing the bushes, goes to chase his own shadow on the side of a building or starts lunging at a concrete cat statue in someones yard because its looking at him! we go off lead when there is no one else around & he never ventures too far away & always comes to me when i call, which is probably the nicest time we have outdoors but i still have half an eye out for other people or dogs & change direction if i see them in the distance.


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