1 y/o female gsd dominant behavior
Our 13 month old female gsd is beginning to show some aggressive dominant behavior. Since we got her at 8 weeks she has been socialized with a large group of dogs and people in our neighborhood that has its own makeshift "dogpark", which is just a specific field everyone meets at after work to let the dogs run and play.
As a puppy she was well behaved and picked up on dog manners and interacting with a large variety of sizes, breeds, temperments, and personalities. With the exception of one other puppy a female rottweiler a week or two younger than our dog. From day one our dog would get on top of the rott and growl and bare her teeth. She never bit the other dog but the sounds and appearance of the altercation had both myself and the other owner worried. That was an isolated incident at the time so i chalked it up to not every dog gets along with every ther dog just like people, so we keep them seperated.
However in the last month she has begun to get dominant in that same fashion with other dogs that were previously her friends. Always other female dogs of varying sizes, breeds, spayed and un-spayed. And being that our pup is 27" tall and 85lbs she usually ends up on top with her fur sticking straight up, growling, snarling, just outright looking viscious.
If its relevant there is a 6 y/o husky female that with snap back and put our dog in her place and then they are both good and can play. But when our dog dominates a smaller submissive dog, which most of the other females are very submissive, it doesnt just end there. Our dog gets re-leashed and made to sit next to me quietly to calm down but will immediately dominate that same dog when given the opportunity.
We are worried she will end up with no friends and be "that" mean aggressive gsd, and we will have to avoid every other dog on walks. Which brings me to a second issue she has, or the same one. while walking on leash if another dog is walking towards us our dog will lay down and wait there for the other dog to approach and greet her but if the owner or dog avoids her or ignores her she immediately flips a switch and fur stands up, she barks and growls and lunges on the end of the leash.
I try to redirect her attention on the leash when other dogs get near but she is intently focused on the dog and nothing will distract her. When off the leash i run over and grab her off of the other dog and tell her NO! Bad dog! then leash her and make her sit nex to me. Neither is working to resolve the situation.
She is scheduled to be spayed next saturday, im hoping that will help, but ive read it can help, do nothing, or even make things worse.
I know this is a long post but i would really like to hear some experiences from others with dominant female gsds.
Thanks for any input.
Well, IMHO, your dog doesn't need 'dog friends.'
Your dog is being a dog.
She needs to look to you for direction, but two females can be one too many.
I do not think spaying her will change her behavior.
Has she gone into heat yet or was the difference in her personality around the time of her heat?
Yes she has gone into heat, and yes the recent problems were around the time she was in heat. This is why i was hopeful of improvements after being fixed. Not the rottweiler puppy however thats been her whole life.
No i guess she doesnt "need" dog friends. But she is so happy when she gets to play with them and how do you socialize a dog without her having her play and interact with other dogs? When we go on walks near the area where she plays with the other dogs she constantly goes from sniffing around to poking her head up to see if any of her "friends" are over there. She isnt very aloof like some gsd shes very social and loves new people and new dogs that she doesnt feel the need to dominate. And i do understand that it is natural for her and she is being a dog.
Do you suggest any particular direction for me to give her to reduce the desire or need for her to be completely physically dominant to dogs that do not try to dominate her. They tend to be very submissive non threatening females to begin with.
Thanks for the input
Any time I think about female dogs, I remember an episode of the show Wilfred where Elijah Wood's character is walking with Wilfred down the street and this poodle comes in their direction and just starts barking her head off at him before taking off. Wood asks what that was about and Wildred shrugs his shoulders and says "Bitches man".
There's nothing that fights worse than two female dogs. Upside with my female (who was intact til she was 3.5 years old) is that females outside of her pack don't mean anything to her. However my roommate's female GSD and his previous english shepherd were basically Leia's mortal enemies. She goes out of her way to terrorize Banshee whenever she can, simply because she can. We can't let them out in the yard together and when we're all out and about I have to often get on Leia's case for bullying her. Some female dogs just don't like other female dogs lol. I agree that they don't necessarily need dog friends. My kids all get along, and Leia has no issue with my roommate's male dogs. But she does like to flirt with the boys so lol...
Otherwise other people brought up good points. The key really is training and she's at an age when dogs tend to be a real pain in the rear. My puppy is starting to act like a brat who is lucky that so far no one has gotten to call him out on his behavior. Though one day it will likely happen, and it's up to me to help prevent a future issue by controlling him and teaching him to be respectful. ;) He will let every other dog in the house be the boss, but he is not as okay with strange dogs that we meet out and about in the world.
Two females who live together in the same pack -- SSA/interpack aggression. Two females out and about -- that is not necessarily the same deal.
No, your dog does not need friends who are dogs. Some dogs are fine with running and playing with other dogs. Some are not. How do you socialize without letting them play? Well, actually, it is easier to socialize your pup to dogs without letting them play. You go to training classes and they learn that there are a variety of canines in the world, who have their people and they do not bother you, and you need not bother them.
The resultant dog may not be a dog who runs about in the dog park being a perfect little human in a furry body. But it will not turn into the Tasmanian Devil whenever it sees another dog minding its own business.
Your dog is a member of your pack. It has human friends, and all it needs is interaction with its favorite humans to be happy. Continuing to let your dog bully other dogs, is likely to cause you some money in the near future. The dog is not in a happy frame of mind when its hair is sticking up and it is jumping on other dogs.
If you aren't willing to find a good trainer/behaviorist who has plenty of experience with the breed, I think you should call it quits on the doggy-interacting before our breed takes yet another hit.
Yes i agree she can be a bully at times. Thats what we call her i just related that to dominant behavior. I will get her fixed and let her heal up and work on her with not reacting to other dogs.
We have a shih-tzu who is female as well, who was kind of a impulse adoption by my gf, which in retrospect prob wasnt the smartest idea. Our gsd used to take her toys, bones, etc anytime she could and herd her away when we were giving the shih tzu attention taking our attention for herself. She has stopped bullying the shih tzu much lately and will bring her new bone to the shih tzu after shes chewed a bit and shares her toys with her.
Ok selzer that makes sense. Socialize her around other dogs while she and they are all focused on the handler and their given job. I never thought about it that way. And i am very devoted to getting her to be the best dog she can be and give gsd the best reputation they can. I am the type to try everything myself first before counting on someone else to do it for me. But if it comes down to it i will pay for professional one on one and group sessions. I believe dogs get a bad rep for lack of training which is the owners fault and not the dogs fault and i guess im guilty of that now myself.
For now she has been removed from the group setting and we are very attentive in our home with the shih tzu. We have been rewarding her like crazy when she is polite and willing to share items and attention with the shih-tzu which seems to be helping. She def responds to positive re-enforcement better than yelling at her and telling her no! or bad dog! She doesnt seem to comprehend the word "no" yet.
Anyway thanks everybody for the advice and insight. It definitely opened my mind a bit and reminded me that shes a dog not a child and i need to train and handle her accordingly.
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