Well, she bit me. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Well, she bit me.

Took my fear aggressive dog for a walk this morning. She barks pretty regularly now at people and dogs who get too close when she's on leash (and sometimes when she's off leash). We were walking home and she had to pass pretty close to a guy and his two leashed boxers, and of course she barked and lunged at them, and as soon as we were past she nipped the back of my leg.

It didn't really hurt, just a pinch, but yeah....definitely not good. I admit I smacked her after that, I was so mad. And I guess that's just displaced aggression, she probably didn't mean the bite me but felt like she needed to bite something. But after that, I guess she could tell I was pretty pissed off, and then she kept snapping at my hands the whole way home and after we got home. Out of....insecurity? Frustration? Excitement? I have no idea.

Had to take her to the vet right after that to get her spay sutures taken out. I told the vets what she'd done and they muzzled her to remove the sutures, which was fine, she didn't show any aggression at all toward them even before they put the muzzle on.

I'm in a pretty bad place right now. I'm still mad at her and feel like I can't trust her anymore. She's lying on her bed right now, she whined a bit when we got home but I can't even look at her, so she just lay down and is sleeping now (she's had a stressful day I guess). I'm ordering a basket muzzle and prong collar from chewy and I'm preparing to accept that that's just how we're going to have to go for walks now. I have no doubt that she will bite the next person who gets too close, at least while we're on walks. Or she'll bite me again.

I know it's not good that I'm still mad at her, that I can't bring myself to forgive her right now. She's still pretty new to me and I know I need to give her more time, but....I just can't help it. I can't trust her. It sucks because she's sooooo affectionate at home, she's such a good dog and so loving, but I'm so frustrated and I don't know what to do to help her.

I admit I'm even considering whether or not to rehome her to someone who can handle her better. I'm sure that feeling will pass...maybe. Again I'm just not in a good place.

I don't know what I did to her to make her this way. She didn't do this stuff when I first got her. She was scared of stuff, sure, but she didn't bark or lunge at them until about 2 weeks after I got her--she'd just look at them and then look at me, and I'd ignore, and she'd ignore. Now...I feel like I must've done something to encourage this.

Last edited by banzai555; 10-14-2019 at 12:37 PM.
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post #2 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:40 PM
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How long have you had her? Are you working with a trainer? Did she break skin?

Aside from needing to know that..you mentioned off lead. I would not have her off lead at all unless secure in/on your own property.

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post #3 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:41 PM
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For now, get a good pillow to scream your anger out in. She is just a dog with some issues that need to be addressed. Why did you have to get too close to the boxers. There was no other way to wait until they passed or no room to turn around in? Get a good trainer to the house.
Lashing out to her is re-directed aggression on your part as well ironically but understandable. Let things calm down to get on one page with her again. Maybe she is still in pain from surgery. GSDs are very sensitive emotionally so her day is just as bad.
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post #4 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:47 PM
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I'm so sorry. It has to be incredibly difficult when your trust is betrayed like that.

I am going to side with the others' advice from your previous thread and say slow down. I know she needs exercise but you should probably stop walking her unless it is an empty trail or something similar. Spend time at home with her, building your bond and building her feeling of security. It really hasn't been that long since you've had her and she's been through a lot.

This sounds like fear a based reaction to me, either situational or temperament, we don't know yet. Give yourself and her low stress, low exposure time to find out which it is. If she seems stressed, remove her from the situation. Be very protective of her state of mind for at least a week.

Those are my thoughts. Others will have great advice too.
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post #5 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wolfy dog View Post
For now, get a good pillow to scream your anger out in. She is just a dog with some issues that need to be addressed. Why did you have to get too close to the boxers. There was no other way to wait until they passed or no room to turn around in? Get a good trainer to the house.
Lashing out to her is re-directed aggression on your part as well ironically but understandable. Let things calm down to get on one page with her again. Maybe she is still in pain from surgery. GSDs are very sensitive emotionally so her day is just as bad.
It was a narrow part of the trail. I could have moved her off trail and waited for them to pass, but she still probably would have barked and lunged at them. It was a guy and two dogs she has met multiple times on the trail--in fact she played with them yesterday--so I'm guessing part of this was excitement, wanting to play with the dogs and me not letting her. (She did bark at the guy yesterday.)

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How long have you had her? Are you working with a trainer? Did she break skin?

Aside from needing to know that..you mentioned off lead. I would not have her off lead at all unless secure in/on your own property.
She did not break skin. It was through my jeans.
I've had her for less than 2 months. I worked with a trainer for two sessions about 2 weeks after I got her because I was worried about her beginning to show signs of fear aggression. The trainer was a positive-only trainer and told me to try to redirect her with treats, which works pretty well for dogs barking at her behind fences (she barks and lunges at them too) but so far hasn't really done much for dogs/people we meet on walks. I contacted a different trainer and I was thinking of trying to get her into some group obedience classes, but they won't start until December.

As for being off-leash; she has good recall and I let her off leash only when I can see that there aren't people around (these are city parks along the river, and this time of year they aren't used much). As soon as I see someone coming I call her back to me and put the leash back on her. I kinda depend on her being able to run around, to tire her out. So far off leash she has barked at people but more often just runs away.
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post #6 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:50 PM
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The dog is new to you. There has not been enough time to build a trusting foundation. She is probably still in some pain. You have her leashed which limits her options to act. You did not protect her from a stranger and two Boxers when she was feeling compromised. She redirected to you and then she kept trying to communicate with you by mouthing. I think she doesn't trust you to keep her safe.
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post #7 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:53 PM
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An experienced trainer familiar with GSDs and a few private lessons would be ideal.There are some excellent books and videos that can give you insight and help.Karen Pryor LAT(look at that) and Patricia McConnell are both very good.It is frustrating and depressing when these issues happen.

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post #8 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MineAreWorkingline View Post
The dog is new to you. There has not been enough time to build a trusting foundation. She is probably still in some pain. You have her leashed which limits her options to act. You did not protect her from a stranger and two Boxers when she was feeling compromised. She redirected to you and then she kept trying to communicate with you by mouthing. I think she doesn't trust you to keep her safe.
So what should I have done? Not walked her at all?
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post #9 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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An experienced trainer familiar with GSDs and a few private lessons would be ideal.There are some excellent books and videos that can give you insight and help.Karen Pryor LAT(look at that) and Patricia McConnell are both very good.It is frustrating and depressing when these issues happen.
Yeah that's what the original trainer recommended. We've been working on it.

It's just hard, when people like the one who blamed me for not making her feel safe make those accusations, and I'm like....well should I just not walk her at all then? Walk at midnight when we won't run into anyone else? I feel like walking is and will be part of our routine for as long as we're together, and I'm trying to make things as normal as possible, not put her under too much pressure...but even that isn't right, I guess.
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post #10 of 128 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by banzai555 View Post
So what should I have done? Not walked her at all?
I am not sure how you got that out of my post. If anything, I am one of the biggest advocates on this forum for exercising a dog and allowing for ample off leash opportunity.

Like others have already said, slow down, let this dog grieve for her past home and loved ones, let her get used to you and your routine, do fun things that she enjoys doing / build a bond, keep her safe from things that stress her out especially after being in heat and then being spayed, what a hormonal mess right now!

You are thinking about getting rid of her, harboring a grudge, she senses this, she has nobody but you right now. You want to muzzle her and add to her anxiety instead of keeping her away from things she fears until you can get her reactivity under control. You want to prong her for being afraid, that won't take her fear away and will add to her mistrust of you.

Be your dog's best friend, advocate for her, keep her under her threshold. These things take time. Slow down.

If you need equipment to maintain control of your dog, understand you’re hanging on to your dog’s body because you’ve lost his mind!

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Last edited by MineAreWorkingline; 10-14-2019 at 01:13 PM.
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