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Old 12-04-2013, 10:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rescued a German Shepherd and he is a handful

Hello everyone,
My girlfriend and I just rescued our first German Shepherd. I wrote a hub article about it. Rather than re-write everything, please give it a read and lay some information on me.

Jäger, The Killer German Shepherd
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I loved your story and I am sure things will work out eventually. I know for me, I am the one who decides who gets to play with what toys and if you fight about it, you lose it. But it helps when there is always another puppy around (ageless as they are) that you can depend upon to react as you need them to do. Mostly what I have found is that it just takes time, controlled exposure and a consistent hand. This time next year you will amazed at how far he has come!

But I know there are LOTS of people here who have a wealth of experience and knowledge that they are more than willing to share. Gotta love them for that, but then they are German Shepherd people
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Topic and situation aside, I enjoyed reading your article. I will be blunt and say I don't have the experience with this to help, but as mentioned there is a wealth of knowledgeable members here!

Also, kudos for sticking by and working with your rescue.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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First off, superlative job on the story second, I have loved the name Jager for years, my next shepherd was probably going to have that name!
Third, I am really glad that you and your girlfriend took him and are giving him a good home. Do you know anything about his past?
As for his dog aggression, bear in mind that, since he is a rescue, he could have had bad experiences with other dogs. A friend of my family has shepherds, most of them rescued, and one of them she found tied to a picnic table (at all times) being tormented by little dogs because the owners thought it was funny. Being an animal control officer, she was able to take the dog, and adopted her herself, whereupon now the dog has an amazing home, with lots of other dogs. Long story short, there is probably a reason he doesn't like other dogs, but with training, you'll be able to get him at least a little better. Sometimes my GSD decides that he has an 'issue' with one of our other dogs, and goes for the attack. Sometimes he is untrustworthy with said dog for days at a time, but he gets over it. Your dog has probably had to guard what is theirs before, especially if he has been a street dog for a while, and thought 'Hey, this toy is pretty fun, but I don't want to share!' it happens. Glad you were there to break it up! Also glad your bite wasn't too bad!!! Dog fights are scary. Is it possible for you to find someone who has a calm, non-reactive dog that you can walk him with? And slowly work up from there?
As for your neighbor... You have NO idea how many times people say things like that to me. Phoenix (my GSD) is not the most popular dog around, because he has territorial aggression. If you are committed to Jager, like it sounds like you are, don't let other people's opinions get under your skin (I do this all the time, its very easy for people to make me mad, just say a comment about my dog )
Anyway, good luck! I'm waiting to see what the more knowledgeable than me people have to say!
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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We have german shepherd named kane we rescued him when he was 2 he was half starved and got epilepsy due to the beatings he took round the head anyway we adore him faults and all but one our locals has japanese akita a bitch she would drag her owner across the field to attack kane unprovoked she did this four times in four weeks the last attack caused him to have siezure by witch point I went mental with the owner anyway now he wont go near any dogs would literally have them for lunch the trauma of these attacks caused kane to feel that he needs to defend himself where any dog is concerned apart from the one he lives with so in turn we have taught kane to ignore he will walk past other dogs providing there is reasonable space between us and other dogs he loves people and what a great thing your doing if your dog has had bad experiences then yes its hard but maybe you can get him to ignore other dogs even if cant play wigh other dogs but sounds like hes had rough life and trouble is you don't always know what his history or what the poor dog has had to endure but im sure with you both doting on him he has peefect family who love him no matter what and yes you do get ignorant neighbours thats one thing that riles me

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Old 12-05-2013, 06:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome! I am doing a flyby this morning, and don't have time for a long post. But the first thing I would suggest is to look up NILIF and implement it immediately.
The second thing I cannot stress enough is to avoid dog parks. You have found out the hard way that it is full of people who have no idea about dogs and dog behavior. They think dogs need to play with other dogs like children, especially with toys. That is a recipe for disaster, bringing out toys among a bunch of excited dogs.
Third, please read the books this woman has written and check out her website. Especially with German Shepherds, it is important to understand dog behavior and not humanize the dog.
http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/reading-room


Last, and most important, don't think of him as a killer dog or a handful. Think of him as an untrained representative of a truly noble and intelligent breed, one that can bring great joy to an owner who knows what he is doing, which you will because you came to this site.
More when I have more time. Oh, and get rid of the tennis balls. They're too small and will wear down his teeth.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
He greets us each time like he can't live without us.
I feel how a dog greets you is very important. What I aim for is totally calmness. What I get is dogs coming saying hello but respecting my space. I trained my dogs by simply walking in and ignoring them and making a cup of tea and relaxing a bit before interacting with them. They would jump around and get really excited. To me excitement at meeting rituals equals pack instability. Dogs will nip each other for position with the humans and invade peoples space. So over time and with a bit or restraint on my part I got them to remain calm in my mind keeping the pack structure stable. I have 5 dogs here and sometimes more so it is relevant to my pack structure. People with one dog end up with separation anxiety if they allow and nurture the excitement at the meeting imo.


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He makes me laugh when he drops his tennis ball on top of my lap top while I'm working.
This tells me the dog doesn't have an off switch and is excited. Easy way to counter it is say off and put the ball on the floor and when the dog goes to pick it up, you say no and not let him have it. After a while he will ignore it. When you want to play with him obviously you get more animated and encourage the dog to play. But when you want to work you act cool and let the dog know his excitement will not get you into playing. Try to instruct him to go to his place, bed or whatever. Work on this a bit. Instruct the dog into bed and then go and give his bone there or a few threats or kong. Then when you want to do your business calmly instruct the dog into place and if he tries to leave put him back there.


Quote:
And makes me proud when he rushes to our aid if he thinks we are in distress.
Are you in distress. Do you need an unstable dog coming to your rescue. The dog will probably protect you by force. You just need to make sure you can control it in case it is not justified.

You start your blog with fear and apprehension of your future dog and your girlfriend sees a hunter and killer. Will he fulfill your expectations. Maybe if you don't understand his nature and begin to control it.


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We played with him for a few minutes and threw a tennis ball, which he became immediately fond and protective of.
This is the beginning of resource guarding from you the owner.


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He was learning how to become a pet quickly and cried like the puppy he is every time I would walk away.
This is the beginning of separation anxiety.

Quote:
The two snapped at one another - whipping their heads side to side trying to get position. ... Jäger clamped down on the top of the husky's head and thrashed him about. I was pulling at Jäger's collar but he would not relent. The husky whined and moaned in surprise and pain. I finally had to swat Jäger on the nose with a good amount of force to get him to release.
Basically pulling a dog back by the collar and getting excited make the dog bite harder. What you want to do with a dog fight is be really cool and let them blow off some steam with out getting too involved and break it up when there is a slight lull in the action. Sometimes the dogs are just looking like they are vicious but aren't actually causing any damage. When you freak out and scream you instability and the dogs are likely to continue fighting.


Quote:
He also has a wild instinct to chase rabbits and squirrels.
You can use this to your advantage with using a ball, flirt stick, tug to control the dog through prey drive but it takes time to actually be able to do it correctly, with out making the dog more pushy to get what it wants.

To stop the dog chasing when you don't want it check these vids by Tyler Muto. It is a great way to use leash pressure and control to calm your dog and limit reactivity and excitement.
Tyler Muto - YouTube

Last edited by MadLab; 12-05-2013 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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All dogs bite. It is in their nature. It's something they need to learn to control and only do it where appropriate. Ask anybody here who has raised one from a puppy and they will tell you, they aren't born knowing when it's ok and when it's not. The vast majority of us bleed at some point or another and that's just with the little guys. Just because a dog bites isn't reason to freak out. It just means there is work to be done.

They naturally use their teeth to resolve disputes. They have to be trained not to do this too. What you saw from the interaction with the husky was normal healthy behavior for a dog. They had a disagreement the teeth came out. Nobody really even really got hurt. That is normal healthy dog behavior. Now arguably it is an overly brash behavior from a dog that is not socially experienced with other dogs and is on the socially awkward side, but that's not uncommon. If you don't want to see it don't let your dog play with other strange dogs, or learn how to prevent it and teach the dog not to do it.

It sounds like your pup has an inclination towards resource guarding. That's normal dog behavior too, especially for dogs used to resources being scarce threatened or with a generic predisposition to it.

Normal doesn't mean desirable. If you want to change the behaviors you can and should. Dog behavior is a very pliable thing. I'd recommend the culture clash by Jean Donaldson. Muto is a good guy to watch to learn leash control.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Jager sounds like he landed on his feet with you! Thanks for taking him.

If the poor guy was tick infested and so badly neglected, it is no surprise he has some issues.

It may also be that he has been bullied by other dogs and is on the defensive as a result. He may also be simply, genetically dog aggressive. Some dogs are.

I doubt he has had any training aside from you are doing with him. I doubt he has been loved on and taught any manners. So to use your words - he acts like he is a wild animal.

You can work with this and improve his behavior with firm fair guidance. I do not think I would send him away fro training, Not sure I would use an ecollar either. I would find a good balanced trainer that would be willing to start private lessons first and then perhaps group classes or even agility to build confidence.

Nothing in Life is Free or NLIF is a great program. Make him work for privileges such as eating, playing etc. Hand feed him his food for a few weeks. This helps him to understand that good things come from you. Then transition to dropping food into his bowl You then become safe (in his mid) around his food. Do toy exchanges food for toy etc. This helps him understand giving something up is no big deal cause he gets something back of equal or greater importance.

Patience patience patience and he will be a great dog. He may never be truly dog friendly but he can learn to get along and behave appropriately.

I think he will be a great dog!
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=Kayos and Havoc;4616569]Jager sounds like he landed on his feet with you! Thanks for taking him.

Yes he had a couple of infections due to the ticks but he is doing awesome. Thanks for the advice. I'll be researching today and will look that up
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