Max gets aggressive around small children and other dogs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Max gets aggressive around small children and other dogs

I adopted a German Shepherd in the beginning of November. Max was 5 months old at the time and we were told he was great tempered and good with other dogs and children. I don't know if the move jumbled him all up or if the previous owners didn't really get him around other dogs and kids and just figured he'd be good with them. Well.. I'm now going crazy because I'm very family oriented and have other dogs and small kids in my family.. and Max is not good with them whatsoever.

I also live in a community where people are out walking their dogs all the time. When Max and I go out, he starts viciously barking at a dog I can barely see off in the distance. It can be hard to control him if we get close to a dog. The only dog he has actually been okay with is my dads yellow lab, but even then, any sudden movement my dads dog makes, Max goes after her. Any small child he sees, he starts barking aggressively towards them... even if the kids dont even look at Max..

Has anyone else had this problem and actually had a good way to overcome it? I want to be able to take Max on walks without being the "embarassed" parent walking past a dog calm and sweet while my Max is trying to attack him.

Last edited by karuhpage; 01-05-2014 at 05:15 PM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 05:24 PM
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you need to find a good trainer and get some help with this.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
you need to find a good trainer and get some help with this.
^ what she said.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 07:27 PM
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those replies bum me out and are disappointing for sure. Hiring a professional dog trainer is not something I could have paid for when I rescued a dog. If you can than great! If not, I hope you get some good advice. Bump.


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Bart - 9ish year old GSD/Akita
& 3 Cats Buffy, Rusty & Magoo
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 07:50 PM
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just curious. Did you adopt him from a rescue or humane society or from the breeder?
If he had a family until you adopted him, then I suspect he was turned in for that reason. Of course they are going to say he is kid and dog friendly, they want dogs adopted out. Is he neutered? He must be about 7 months now? Was he always like this from the day you brought him home or is this just recent behavior? Do you have kids? If so how does he act around them? How about visitors to your home?
Yes, trainers might be helpful, but as stated above, can be expensive. Its easy to say"find a good trainer" but sometimes its just not possible because of finances.
I suggest you contact the people whom you got him from Find out what kind of upbringing he had. If he was a dog that was in some ones back yard during his short puppy life with no socializing, he is a product of bad upbringing and possibly bad genetics and may not be suitable for your home and family lifestyle.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 10:01 PM
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Your pup sounds much like mine around that age. He is now a bit over 3 yrs, more tolerant of adult humans (I am absolutely not going to risk a child to work on Woolf's behavior), still hates all dogs except for our other dog, but has learned to ignore them for the most part. He is managed. It took finally finding the right behaviorist/trainer and training of some kind every day to reach this point. If kids had been in the house and involved, there is no way I could have worked with Woolf and gotten to this point, it wouldn't have been safe for the kids.

If you are up to the time and commitment required, a trainer and/or behaviorist should be located. Keep in mind it isn't a quick or a cheap fix. You still may not get the results you want, you may instead find yourself compromising to keep your dog and others safe.

The other option is rehoming, which does have it's pitfalls as well. Rescues are overloaded. It would be difficult to find one willing to take on a reactive pup. If you gave him to another family, there is the risk he could become more unstable and actually bite. It would have to be a verified experienced home if you chose that method.

The first step I took with Woolf was a full checkup with bloodwork, then found the behaviorist we work with (after a couple of side trips with trainers who didn't know/understand what was needed). Did the evaluation, then made some decisions. There may or may not be a charge for the eval. There was a charge for Woolf's but it was a very involved and lengthy process.

If you will post where you are located, someone may have a good recommendation for you.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 11:20 PM
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As said earlier, a consult with a trainer is the only good option as no one on the Internet can witness what's actually going on reading the body language of everyone involved. I suspect the dog requires a handler with a more dominant personality - but what do I know?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 06:49 AM
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issues like this are not easy to try and solve yourself. can be very frustrating if you have never dealt with it before. as expensive as it might be hiring a trainer to help is the best route if you want to commit to making this better and keeping your dog. at the very least get an evaluation from a professional trainer and try a few sessions to get you going on the right track. then if you run into problems or questions you will have someone on board to consult with. maybe you can work out a payment plan with a trainer if you explain your situation. i think most trainers would work with that if they know you really want and need guidence to help your dog. and or there is always plastic. whatever it takes.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Mac's Mom View Post
those replies bum me out and are disappointing for sure. Hiring a professional dog trainer is not something I could have paid for when I rescued a dog. If you can than great! If not, I hope you get some good advice. Bump.
Those replies are the only good advice there is to give. Modifying aggression, especially when children are involved, is not something to do on your own.

I have a dog rescued at 5 months old because of aggression to dogs, people and children. It took a lot of work and still to do this day is constant management and training. She doesn't have dog friends but is manageable around them and strangers. She is great with my 5 month old but I wouldn't let her around just any child.

It is just plain irresponsible to give any advice without knowing the dog or the skill level of the handler.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 12:06 PM
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I can only tell you what worked for me when my puppy was going bananas every time he saw another dog - I had a tug toy to take along on our walks and I'd use it to distract him and act as a pacifier. He was overbearing and excited, very loud and obnoxious, and nothing else seemed to get through to him other than his toy. I even brought his frisbee on vet visits, just to keep him quiet. I know that embarrassed feeling, lol.

I'm not suggesting that your puppy is reacting for the same reasons mine was, but this is where a good trainer will be able to help you figure it out. Good luck.
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