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Old 11-06-2011, 11:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs down I am at a loss, 5 month old attacking me.

My male german shepherd puppy at only 5 1/2 months old has lunged and bitten me on several occasions.

To sum it up, he started out as a food guarder about 2 months ago and slowly became worse to the point where I could not walk near him while he was eating (i believe I made it worse by taking his food away when he would growl, doing exactly what he was afraid of). He has been socialized, never beaten, fed well, gets exercise daily, and lots of love.

I recently hired a trainer who mentioned crating him when I am not home/for bedtime and hand feeding. Also, no letting him on the bed/couch. So I started incorporating all of these things in my training. But he became extremely aggressive in the crate, growling barking and lunging. Trying to bite me whenever I am closing the crate up.

During the day he is a normal happy puppy, does well with other dogs and LOVES people. He does normal puppy stuff, jumping, barking, and playing with toys. As soon as night time rolls around I notice he becomes very on edge, does not want to be pet. Will growl at me if I pet him at night. And just tonight lunged at me and tried to bite me when I walked past him in the hallway. Also, sometimes at night he will be growling at me when I am petting him and than when I stop he will rub up against me like he wants me to pet him more.

I have really lost a lot of my trust for the little guy, I would never give up on him but who wants a dog who attacks their owner. The thing I don't understand is he completely protects me, makes sure I am always in sight throughout the day and when I return home he gets so excited. He wont go more than 20 ft ahead of me at the dog park and if I walk the other way he is quick to follow and makes sure I am not leaving him.

I am starting to think maybe he is just trying to control the household, or maybe it could be medical? But why does it only really happy at night is my big question?

I need a lot of feedback people, I can't live fearing my dog may attack me or someone else, I would like to be able to trust him.

Also, him being so young and this aggressive already can't be normal. I am really leaning toward it being a possible medical issue.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Have you had his eyes checked?
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My first reaction would be to have him evaluated or at least have a trainer observe the behavior to make sure that it is true aggression and not just over-exuberent play. Not having seen the specific behavior but having observed other GSD puppies, they can get pretty vicious sounding and looking when they are just trying to interact with you. If you try and correct the behavior does he fight more? Or will he back off? Also is his day structured with obedience and discipline(not the bad kind) incorporated into a routine? If not, this may help to establish just who's in charge in your household.

But, if you're sure that it's true aggression, I really hope that you can find a behaviorist or trainer to help you nip this is the butt now. This is not something that you want maturing as the boy gets older and bigger. I'm sure some more experienced members will post as well!! Hopefully they'll have some more solid advice.

Good luck!
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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okay first, he's 5 months old. He's not being aggressive. he's being a pain in the butt. You need to step up the training on a big scale. Get with a trainer who KNOWS GSDs and understands them.

Second, yes, you did mess up by taking his food away when he would growl, therefore encouraging him that YOU the leader, cannot be trusted.

Third, get him THOROUGHLY checked out by a vet to make sure there is nothing wrong. No pain feelings that could be triggering problems. Make sure that puppy is 100% healthy. Make the crate a positive place. Leave the door open for him to come and go as he pleases when you're home. Learn a share it game, also known as a can i trade you game. Basically he has something but doesnt want you to have it. Trade him something of equal value and praise him when he reacts approproately ie. no lunging, growling.

ENCOURAGE TRAINING!!! Show him that working with you is a positive and BUILD YOUR BOND WITH HIM! And stop messing with him when he has food. Thats just messed up.

The ONLY time he should get treats or chew toys or meals, should be in the crate. The crate should be his safe zone. In his crate he is allowed to chew these awesome items or eat his meals without being disturbed. If you want to get the awesome items, remove him from the room nicely and remove the items when he cant see you. Make all interactions positive and fun.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am thinking about having my trainer come at night so she can see how he is acting. She has not witnessed any of his aggression other than food guarding.

There are times when he seems like he is play growling but I know it's aggression. He has actually bruised my arms and broken skin lunging and attacking me. If I talk to him while he is growling he growls more, and if I make any fast movements that when he lunges. I will even say in the nicest calm voice (without staring him in the eyes) "your okay bud, calm down, its okay". And he growls harder. His pupils get extremely dilated and it almost seems like he turns into a different dog. I practice basic obedience with him and make sure to stand by NILF, he has to do something to get anything (sit, down, leave it, wait).

I have not gotten his eyes checked out, but by the way he concentrates on things and chases birds I am assuming he can see pretty well. Also, if it were his eyes wouldn't he be pretty consistent with his aggression? It really is only happening at night time, this is why I am struggling with it. It's not making sense.

Also, sometimes when guarding a bone he will pick it up and put it in my lap and growl if I move at all.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Since it only seems to happen at night, I suggest taking him to a vet for an eye check. He is young to have vision problems, but it would not be unheard of.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSDloving View Post
I am thinking about having my trainer come at night so she can see how he is acting. She has not witnessed any of his aggression other than food guarding.

There are times when he seems like he is play growling but I know it's aggression. He has actually bruised my arms and broken skin lunging and attacking me. If I talk to him while he is growling he growls more, and if I make any fast movements that when he lunges. I will even say in the nicest calm voice (without staring him in the eyes) "your okay bud, calm down, its okay". And he growls harder. His pupils get extremely dilated and it almost seems like he turns into a different dog. I practice basic obedience with him and make sure to stand by NILF, he has to do something to get anything (sit, down, leave it, wait).

I have not gotten his eyes checked out, but by the way he concentrates on things and chases birds I am assuming he can see pretty well. Also, if it were his eyes wouldn't he be pretty consistent with his aggression? It really is only happening at night time, this is why I am struggling with it. It's not making sense.

Also, sometimes when guarding a bone he will pick it up and put it in my lap and growl if I move at all.

have you read through the puppy threads?! You have a GSD puppy. The bruising you and breaking you seems to be pretty normal of puppyhood for these guys! As far as the growling, you need to have him evaluated by a behavorist. It could be that you're just letting him control the situation by growling. have you tried playing fetch with him when he drops the bone in your lap and gets growly when you move it? Perhaps turning it into a fun game would discourage the growling in that instance.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When I put him in the crate I give him lots of treats, I have never had to force him in, and if I leave him in their I will walk in and throw treats into it occasionally. The issue with giving him bones when he is in the crate is when I put it in the crate he immediately starts guarding it and trying to attack me.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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This isn't just teething puppy biting and bruising. His pupils dilate he lunges and locks onto my arm. If you watch a police dog video of a german shepherd locking onto a man with protection on, that is exactly what he looks like. Its very very scary, to the point where I will be in tears.

I really think he thinks he can control the household, either that or it's medical.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by wyominggrandma View Post
Since it only seems to happen at night, I suggest taking him to a vet for an eye check. He is young to have vision problems, but it would not be unheard of.
I think I will do that, I will also have them check his thyroid.
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