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Old 08-31-2014, 09:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default OMG. What do we do now?

Hi members,

I am really concerned for the future of our GSD Wolfie.

We adopted him at 10 weeks old, gave him a loving home and had a professional trainer work with him on basic commands. He walks perfect on leash and shows no aggression towards animals or people during walks.

At 6 months old we noticed a high prey drive when he caught and devoured a squirrel. He also started to show increased aggression at the front door when somebody knocks.

He is now 9 months old and 75 pounds. I am able to heel him by leash for visitors at the front door, then he eventually stops barking, sniffs the visitor and calms down.

Now, the problem. The other day my girls were playing on the front lawn when a neighborhood teen went skateboarding by. I opened the door to speak with the girls and Wolfie ran out of the door and charged the teen across the street. The kid was able to jump over a fence to protect himself while the dog had his paws on the fence top growling and barking at the teen. When I grabbed his collar to stop the attack, he actually tried to bite my hand. God knows what would have happened if there was no fence there.

What do I do now? I appreciate a dog that wants to protect his family but doing it on public property is pushing it. I know he meant well but is it worth getting sued, losing my home insurance or having the dog put down by the courts?

BTW, I have owned a GSD previously and not experienced this behavior.
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Last edited by Danny G; 08-31-2014 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Step up your handling. Wolfie has way too much freedom. He needs to look to you for direction, not take things into his own paws. Seriously, take control, show him you are his world and he needs to look to you for all decisions. It won't take him long to understand(practice NILIF)
This is the age most dogs get rehomed/dumped at shelters because the dog is becoming independent in their thoughts and don't really know how to decipher situations due to immaturity. It is up to the handler/owner to step up and show the dog they have the dogs world under control...giving the dog relief and confidence in the handler.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It is up to the handler/owner to step up and show the dog they have the dogs world under control...giving the dog relief and confidence in the handler.
Could you please be a little more specific. The dog knows I am Alpha but if he slips out of a door and goes wild on somebody, how can I remove that high defensive drive? My previous GSD did not display this behavior. Is this a defense drive on steroids?
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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onyx, was he protecting the family? it doesn't sound like it to me but I'm interested in what you think

op, he should've never had the chance to run out the door.

also, he might not 'know you're alpha' what does that mean in your interpretation?
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Let him know through training that his actions are to be held accountable. Do you do any formal training with him?
Young dogs do like structure, rules and routine, it builds their confidence when they have handlers that do control their being. Freedom comes earned. Dogs that feel the need to control their world lack confidence when they are so young they can'd deal with all that decision making.
If he decides that rushing out the door is necessary, he needs to know you let him do it, it wasn't his 'choice' Otherwise don't allow him the freedom to make such decisions. Set him up to succeed.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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onyx, was he protecting the family? it doesn't sound like it to me but I'm interested in what you think

op, he should've never had the chance to run out the door.

also, he might not 'know you're alpha' what does that mean in your interpretation?
In his young brain, yes he thought he was protecting, but it is a fear based proactive reaction...and not acceptable. The handler allowed the poor decision to be made, because a young dog is not always smart enough to decipher decision making judgements.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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op, he should've never had the chance to run out the door.

also, he might not 'know you're alpha' what does that mean in your interpretation?
If he is going to be penned or crated all day in the event that somebody comes to the door, that IMO is just as bad as being sheltered.

Besides being professionally trained, I work with him all of the time. Incidentally, I have walked the dog past the teen that he attacked many times before the attack. In his mind I guess that when he is walking with me, he has a job to do and that is to stay tight to me, look forward and walk.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Our dogs are not penned or crated all day, but they aren't allowed to crowd the door if I have it open. I make sure I know where they are before I open it. I tell them stay, but always keep an eye on them.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny G View Post
If he is going to be penned or crated all day in the event that somebody comes to the door, that IMO is just as bad as being sheltered.

Besides being professionally trained, I work with him all of the time. Incidentally, I have walked the dog past the teen that he attacked many times before the attack. In his mind I guess that when he is walking with me, he has a job to do and that is to stay tight to me, look forward and walk.
Just put a leash on him. When someone rings a bell I either put a leash on him or lock him in a room

I doubt he was protecting you. There was no threat, you didn't tell him to protect. He ran out on his own to chase a teen of out of insecurity.
But let someone with more experience reply
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
If he decides that rushing out the door is necessary, he needs to know you let him do it, it wasn't his 'choice' Otherwise don't allow him the freedom to make such decisions. Set him up to succeed.
I understand your point but I bet there are very few people that can say they never had a dog run out on them, whether it's a Golden, Lab, or GSD.

I think it's more of an urgent point that the dog showed aggression away from his home rather than how he accidentally slipped out the door.
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