Bad Recent Aggression - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by zinti View Post
Hi everyone,

I've come here to seek some advice on how to tackle the aggressive behaviour that my GSD has been showing recently and greatly appreciate any possible solutions to try.
Firstly about my dog; he is just over 18 months old now, he was diagnosed with EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) when he was just under a year old. Due to this because of weight issues he has only just been neutered which was about 3 weeks ago and of course his hormones will take time to settle. This is a good age if you are going to neuter. Most research shows that neutering younger impacts growth and development. Given your dogs history I may have been tempted to wait even longer

Growing up we never really had any issues with him, he was well behaved for a puppy. Although he has always been cautious by the signs of his hackles and tail curling up. For some reason things have changed with how the way he now is from back then which is quite upsetting to me as I know deep down he is a lovely dog speaking of which there are absolutely no issues with anyone in the house and he is very loyal, playful and loving.

Recently after he recovered from his operation he did chase a young puppy. My dog was off lead and the puppy came to greet him offlead. They were sniffing at each other face to face for a few seconds everything was fine but then my dog showed very bad aggression, chasing the puppy looking as if he was going to bite it! Of course I was very embarrassed and let down, the owners of the puppy were very shocked as well. Only thing I could think of that he has shown with other dogs is if the dog is jumpy/giddy and moving around a lot which the puppy was doing.
This seems normal, but since we cannot see it who knows. Many adult dogs appear intolerant of puppies when in fact they are simply showing them what is and is not appropriate

I am going to list some points where he has shown aggression regularly but not all times.
- He will not like us trying to pet other dogs or other dogs coming close to us trying to get close attention.
This is resource guarding. Read up on that. You are the resource

- On some occasions he will bark/growl at people trying to pet him but sometimes he is completely fine with it.
I don't like everyone and it's sort of unreasonable to expect our dogs to be ok with multiple random people touching them

- Does not like dogs at all near his sticks/toys/treats, this is a big one.
Again resource guarding. But really, other dogs should not be near his toys and treats

- Was completely fine with my grandma but now starts growling and snapping?! This is one I am very confused about. Since a puppy we would visit my Grandma and she would come to our house but he has been very naughty recently

We have bought him a muzzle now as we are afraid of what he could potentially do to another dog. I dedicated a lot of time bringing him up to be a great dog which he is but this is letting us down a lot recently any advice would be appreciated thanks.
He doesn't sound bad. Rule out medical needs first but most of what you are describing sounds like a normal dog.
To deal with public places you simply need to teach your dog to ignore what he doesn't like and focus on you. He sounds neither reactive nor aggressive.
As far as Grandma goes, that seems a bit odd but potentially something about her health, demeanor or movement may have changed. Either way it's unacceptable so if he cannot be taught to mind his manners he does not get to visit Grandma anymore.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Maureen Katherine Conklin View Post
I'm new to GSDs but not to dog ownership. I do not agree with the idea that your dog should be kept apart and does not need to meet other dogs or be touched by other people. It would be more dangerous to isolate a reactive dog--which is what people tend to do, not knowing how to deal with it. I'm glad you do not intend to do that. Sure, your dog does not need to be everyone's best friend--but he already has that degree of aloofness bred into him, from what I have read. He should be able to greet other dogs safely and be touched by other people. For one thing, there are no guarantees in life and who is to say you and your family will always be with him or him with you? Second, unless you choose to take on the burden of always avoiding other people and dogs, you will find your life with him very isolating. That's not a lot of fun--if you cannot walk local streets or trails b/c he is too unfriendly, or maybe join a camping group or some other fun activity where he would be welcome IF he had been socialized to be calm and reliable.

Of course, no dog is truly 100% reliable, but most of us have dogs that give us no concern around others as a matter of course; we don't leave our good dogs alone with others, but can bring him to outdoor gatherings and let the dog be petted by others and enjoy our company while we are also socializing. It's not fun having to leave your dog behind most of the time.

I'm just starting the path of working with my dog- and human-reactive pup, so I'll check in to see how you are doing, too. Best of luck and hang in there. I've made some mistakes already but learn with each one and, fortunately, the pup hasn't been directly involved in most of them! I want to get good at this so I can help others.
Shadow went everywhere with me as a pup and lived with several other dogs. She had her own bed in our accountants desk drawer, she rode around in the patrol car, she had full run of the office and greeted employees coming in to get equipment, check schedules, hand in reports or bring me coffee. She met the arson investigator, several police officers, firemen aplenty and boatloads of contractors. She went to Walmart, Home Depot and Canadian Tire. She was often in the bodyshop or the supply shop with my husband. She is not fond of dogs or strangers. She is in fact highly reactive.
I am baffled by the idea that my dog is public property and should be accepting of strangers touching her. My rule is any part of you that touches me you don't get back. That applies to my dog as well. If some random person walked by and petted me they would be short a hand, not even kidding. I do not understand the thought process. Really. If it ain't yours don't touch it.
Shadow has done more travelling then many dogs, had some grand adventures and seen a vast chunk of the country. She did not need to be mauled to do so.
Aside from disease and filth, dogparks most often contain too much stupidity for my liking. She need not go there.
The bad press recently has solidified my general opinion of dog care facilities. She need not go there.
I don't often leave her behind and if I do it's because I am going somewhere she should not be.
As a breed they are not supposed to be social butterflies and it baffles me that people think they should be.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by GypsyGhost View Post
I take a very similar approach with my dogs. Exposure is enough... they don’t need to be made to greet strangers or strange dogs. My dogs, even the reactive one, still go many places, see crowds, go to training and competitions, and see other dogs. It’s definitely not an isolated life just because they’re not being manhandled by everyone they meet. My reactive/fearful dog would easily be worse off if I forced him to accept pets from strangers. But since that’s not a thing we do, he’s able to walk through crowds and ignore people. He stays focused on me. He’s still getting exposure to the things he’s uncomfortable with, but we’re working below his threshold. With him, I politely tell people no. No, you may not pet my dog, we’re working. I don’t actually remember the last time someone asked if their dog could meet him, but the answer to that would be no as well. He socializes with a select few dogs that are stable and owned by friends of mine. That’s enough. My stable dogs greet people at competitions and training, but I still rarely let them meet random strangers because I see no point in allowing strangers to be more than scenery for them.
One of mine likes to meet people and be petted so sometimes when people ask and they seem nice I do let them pet her. I had a kid in line for ice cream grab her face and kiss her between the eyes. Which she was fine with. But I really really should have had a chat with that kid. My male dog would not have been fine with that at all. Most likely he would have ducked out but I'm not totally positive.

Most importantly for him is, he just doesn't want it. He loves pets and snuggles from "his" people but not strangers. So why should I force him to be petted if he does not want to be?

He competes in AKC obedience and has learned judges exams and this he has no problem with because it's super predictable and polite. He knows, I stand here and then they touch my head and my back and then we're done. He's totally fine with that. If the judge grabbed his head and tried to kiss him between the eyes? Not fine. And that's why I don't let people pet him

If learning the judge's exam was stressful or difficult for him I wouldn't have bothered. But he really doesn't mind this, and I wanted to compete at it, so I did teach it to him. I think for him it's the difference between a hug and a handshake. The AKC exams are like a handshake and that's fine. But hugs would be too personal for him. I can relate
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