My white GSD, Ghost, has decided recently that he will bark and growl at anyone who get's near me. I held his mouth shut and gave a firm "No!" He whimpered at me then growled at my friend again and his barking started back up. I have had a lot of anxiety and depression lately, and I'm worried it rubbed off on him. Either that, or he's decided to be a bad dog. He even jumped up and put his jaws over my friend's arm. Luckily, he didn't bite down. It was like some warning nip. I don't want him to be aggressive, he used to be such a good dog. Now that he's older he is becoming stubborn and now aggressive.
I have managed to finally get him to stop barking at other dogs though. I still need to get him used to seeing them face to face. A neighbor's pit bull got out and ran over to Ghost with its tail wagging. It right away wanted to sniff him and seemed playful. The owner came running behind his dog to catch it and kept assuring it was friendly. Next thing I knew, Ghost lunged at that dog and bit it's neck and took ir down to the ground. I right away grabbed him off and smacked him and said "NO! BAD BOY!! NOO!". He still didn't seem to get that that is bad bahavior.
This breed picks up so easy on what the owner is feeling - physically and emotionally - it is scary sometimes. That is what makes them special as well :)
Ghost has several things going on, and part of it may be what he is picking up from you but carrying it further. Since this is a change in behavior, the first suggestion is have a good check up done - rule out anything wrong with him. Next suggestion is get a trainer experienced in aggression or a behaviorist involved. Probably start out with private classes, so you can learn handling techniques, how your body language affects Ghost and Ghost can begin learning how to ignore dogs.
That Ghost is willing to take it as far as nipping humans with what appears to be resource guarding takes it to another level. Make sure he is under your control at all times - leashed or crated. Be sure you go into detail with the trainer about this.
Post what part of Cali you are in, someone may have a recommendation of a good trainer in your area.
I can understand why you'd be worried about this. Twyla's post is very helpful, and I agree 100% because you do need a trainer for this, since your dog is picking up on your own anxiety - which of course will be worse if you're anticipating some terrible behavior from Ghost. Now's the time to fix this, before it gets worse. Good luck - and please find a trainer that has lots of experience with GSDs, not just someone who'll take your money, lol! This is easy to correct with the proper training, but it's also easy to make worse if it's not addressed, or dealt with in the right way.
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