1.5 yr old male starting to show aggression to other animals - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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1.5 yr old male starting to show aggression to other animals

Hey all, this is my first post on here and sadly it is one asking for help/advice. I have a male GSD named Apollo who is 1.5 yrs old. I got him straight from a breeder who went over the pedigree with me for about an hour and I was able to meet the pups parents. He comes from working dog lines, with brothers from other litters serving as K9 and federal work dogs. We got him when he was 8 weeks old. Up until about three-four weeks ago I have had no issues with him. Now he has started showing aggressive tendencies to the other animals that are in the house. We have a five year old lab and two 3 year old cats (my wife's not mine). Every time an animal comes close to him, he growls at them. This has now progressed to him standing up and starting to approach the animal that is coming to them. This only occurs when it is towards the end of our day and are sitting at a table, the computer desk, or on the couch. When he does this, I firmly say no and step between him and whichever animal he is growling at and approaching. It has not escalated into snapping or fighting, but I am afraid that it will get to that point. I can let him and the lab outside and they will run and play all day long as if nothing is wrong but it is completely different when we are inside. I have called multiple trainers in the area and the ones that I actually got through to have said that they can not help me due to the fact that it happens in home and not when we are out and about.

Also, I have noticed that he absolutely has to be at my side every time I am in the house. I think it might be a form of possessive aggression. He growls both at my side and when I make him lay down in another room. If he is in another room, as soon as he is told no and made to lay down he tries to get up and come right to my feet. There has been absolutely no sign of aggression towards other people and I have been told many times that I have an amazing dog both from his looks and how he treats new people that he is just meeting. If it helps, he has not been neutered yet, because the breeder and vet told me to wait until he was 2 yrs old to have it done. However, after the recent attitude change, I have made an appointment for the 22 of this month to have him neutered. And he has grown up with the other animals in the house. We have had our lab since she was 9 weeks old and we rescued the cats from a shelter when they were tiny kittens.

I live in Illinois in the Quad City Area. If anyone has an advice on a reputable trainer or behaviorist that is either in the QCA or even Chicagoland area, that would be much appreciated. I do not want to send him away to someone to have him trained, if possible, because I want to know if I am doing something unknowingly to encourage bad behavior and I want to do everything I can to get him to stop being aggressive to the other animals. It is almost to the point that my lab and the cats give him a wide berth when they are walking around the house while he is laying down.

Thanks in advance to anyone who reads
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 02:36 PM
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He is resource guarding you. The moment he does this, get up and leave. He behaves that way, he gets the opposite of what he wants.
Please do not neuter yet, neutering won’t do a thing. If anything, dogs who are neutered can become more aggressive. I would wait until he is at least 3, to allow him to have all his hormones until he is fully grown.
Do some research on this forum, lots of good info on resource guarding.
What type of training and activities are you doing with him?

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 08:56 PM
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Agree with sunflowers, sounds like resource guarding you. How is he with the lab/cats and wife while your away?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 11:18 PM
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Yeah, don't neuter him yet. Doing so won't change his behaviors.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 10:15 AM
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He may have been giving signals that you didn't pick up on because of how subtle they can be. My boy isn't aggressive to our cats but he can get bossy for petting time i.e., nuzzle me and/or the cat while I'm petting the cat or holding her. It seems cute but actually it was his way of trying to resource. This was way back when, but when I realized what it actually was, I stopped him from interfering with any time I spend with the cats. Especially while holding them.

On the flip side, when I spend time with my boy i.e. Grooming etc, and a cat enters the room, I remove the cat. They aren't allowed to interfere either. This is for alone time with any of them, sometimes there is community time but my boy knows the rules and the difference. I think the cats do also but trying to convince a cat that they have rules also isn't part of their job discription.

It seems odd that those trainer's won't come to the house as most that I have checked on on their website do offer house visits.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for the late reply. I will cancel the neuter appointment for the time being. For training, it has really just been basic obedience and on leash training. I just recently started trying to do some scent work with him following a quick guide on the AKC for introducing a dog to scent training. He goes for daily walks with either me or my wife and we have a very large backyard for him to run around in with the lab. I also play fetch with him in the yard, weather permitting, so that he gets even more time to run during the week because my work schedule doesn't give me the time to take him to some of the longer trails in the area to walk him. We usually take him down to the river or to one of the local parks to walk him for a couple hours one or two days on the weekends (I have three day weekends from work). I also try to introduce him to as many people as possible, taking him to the dog friendly stores in the area, as well as a local brewery that allows dogs. He shows no signs of aggression to the other animals until we are sitting down and he isn't getting the attention that he wants from us.

We have continued saying no and stepping between whichever animal he is growling at. Following advice, we have started getting up and walking away, ignoring him when he tries to come up to us right after he growls. I don't allow him to lay at my feet all the time anymore, which is when I noticed that he would growl the most at other animals for simply walking in the room. I have been trying to associate good behavior, not growling, with good things. If we get through a larger time frame with the other animals coming in and he notices but does not growl, I will praise him and sometime give him a treat. If he gets in a mood where he is really trying to guard us and starts to stand or approach another animal with his hackles raising, I will put him in timeout. Altogether, he is not doing it as much as he was. I think we are slowly starting to make some progress on him.

He is a model citizen when it comes to how he treats people. I have had absolutely no issue with people walking up to us while we have him on walks. There has been no issue with how he treats my wife or I. We do a lot of 'dominance' things with him by making him wait until we tell him to "get it" when it comes time to be fed. We make him wait until we tell him to go when it is time to go outside. We always open doors for him but make him wait until we walk through the door first so he doesn't get the impression that he is leading us and we follow. On leash he is always at heel unless I give him the free command so that he can spend some time sniffing the different smells that he doesn't get to run in to in our yard or neighborhood where I walk him during the week.

If anyone sees anything that I might be doing wrong please let me know, I am a blank book when it comes to this and am completely willing to change anything that I am doing in order to better train Apollo if I am doing it incorrectly or causing him too much anxiety during training. I have had dogs my whole life but I have never had a GSD, especially one with such a strong pack mentality. We have always had labs that seem to have a submissive nature bred into them.
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