the perfect walk turned to mush. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Newcastle, North East England
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the perfect walk turned to mush.

My eleven month old loves a good romp on the field with others, however something happened on the walk today which left me extremely upset and distressed to the point I'm exhausted purely from crying.

It started off well, he loves me throwing his red ball with those long tennis ball chucker things...? Get's a kick out of it, and I noticed that because he is distracted with the ball he has learnt better manners with other dogs. He doesn't instantly barge up to them frightening them half to death with his bossy hello's any more, he's much rather trot up, sniff and then go back to his ball. I've noticed his true temperament come through with other dogs and I couldn't be more than happy (till today). He'll allow others to take his ball without growling including a much younger female puppy. When he want's it back he'll simply walk up and nudge their muzzle to drop. However he does think he is invincible and other dogs haven't taken it to well and harmlessly argued over the ball with him if they want it and he rushes up. It's simply just loud, no contact with skin.

Any way, I meet up unexpectedly with a friend and he had his dogs that my boy knows very well. Like every time they meet, the male husky and my boy have a little boxing match and then simply walk together. I've noticed that this husky is more dominant than my dog, correct me if I'm wrong but asserting himself ritually on each greeting? Both very vocal boys, tails are up, my boy eventually walks away and continues to play with his ball. My friend also has a female collie who is sometimes a bit nervous but her and Bear share the ball together. It was perfect till my friend went home.

These two people(one I know well) were walking their collies. Now, this collie is very submissive to everything, and I mean to everything including puppies. Bear used to have a tendency to bully upon first greeting by pushing and shoving and lots of moaning and groaning. It sounds horrific especially seeing such a tender little collie under the massive body of a 70+ pound GSD. Bear will however, leave him alone if there is a lot of play going on around him such as throwing the ball (have to have more than one though). So basically if he is distracted. There has been no tooth to skin contact whatsoever, it's all talk.

Now, the other collie is the litter mate of the one he already knew, very much the same - very nervous, very scared. Bear has not seen this dog before and so he runs up to him completely catching me off guard. It's exactly the same ritual he does with the other collie, trampling, moaning, groaning. The man looked horrified and his dog screamed a couple of times in fright if Bear caught up to him. The woman that knows Bear screamed his name, as did I but she looked at me on good terms, she'd seen this domineering behaviour before and knew that he wouldn't use aggression. Now here comes the part that upset me most.

As I caught Bear, I put the leader on him but was pulling against his haltie to ensure he wouldn't break free as he was pulling towards the nervous duo of collies. I heard a growl from him and the woman came up to Bear and put her hand out and he nipped her! I was in shock! Not once has he done that! The woman shouted at him and all I could do with repetitively apologise, ask if he broke the skin and whether or not she was hurt. At the time she was wearing gloves and there was a little line of saliva on the web that connects her thumb to her finger, he hadn't broken the leather though... but that's not the point. She said it was fine and gave him a stroke afterwards, she even proceeded to cup her hands around his cheeks and cuddle into to him and go 'I'm not scared of you.'

I am mortified he nipped her! I feel so guilty and irresponsible. She ended on good terms with him but I'm also a bit just, argh, every bad emotion possible. The only dogs he reacts to and bullies are the submissive, nervous male dogs. Dominant males + females, fine. Submissive females, fine. Hyperactive/yappy/jumping dogs of both sexes, fine. He is fine with all dogs but the male ones that are nervous and submissive. I'd also like to re mention that these collies submit to every dog they meet, including pups not much younger than them. Please recommend on how I deal with this, I'm extremely upset - please try to insult me quietly if there is something I need a good back hand about.

Bear is due to get neutered very soon, this week. It was recommended we leave him till a year old till we do by the breeder. I think it will help...
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 01:49 PM
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There's no way to know the exact why of the nip, but likely he was ramped up, trying to get at something he wanted, and redirected at her to get her out of his way. Not at all what you want, but due to the circumstances and what all had occurred...

My take home from all of this is that there is no way Bear should be off leash and allowed to make his own choices in dealing with other dogs. ETA - and some training needs to be done in this area to show him what you want from him.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Newcastle, North East England
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I am due to buy a long lead tomorrow so he is able to roam about and stretch his legs but in case he see's them collies again and recall does not work I can pull him back. It's such a shock to me, he's such a gentleman around others it's just those dogs specifically. Training will definitely be done. Thankyou.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 02:17 PM
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I agree that he should not be allowed off-leash around other dogs he doesn't know. You have no way of knowing who he'll get domineering towards and who he'll be fine with. One of my Shepherds will sometimes display that type of behaviour towards other dogs in the field we walk in so she is always leashed when another dog is nearby. Once I see whether she is alright with the dog which she normally is because I've taken control of the greeting, I'll let her off leash again. I've been where you've been with the tears and stress so I understand. Take a deep breath and start fresh. He just needs more training and you need to take control of the greetings for now.

Jazz, Shiloh Shepherd, 5 yrs old, CGC HIC
Bunny, GSD X, 7.5 years old
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Newcastle, North East England
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Thankyou for your kind response and suggestion, been down in the dumps about it all night. I'll definitely use it.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 05:03 PM
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Unfortunately it seems a couple things are in view - one, your dog is a bully and doesn't seem to know proper doggy behavior and two.
At least uYour dog SHOULD NOT BE OFF LEASH! Until he is under your control which he doesn't seem to be in any manner currently.

Your dog will soon meet a dog that he cannot bully, and then it may be that he will get a VERY NASTY surprise!

My dog is also a very dominant personality and I know that he cannot meet other dogs (esp. males) without my being in top control and him under obedience command.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-05-2012, 12:38 AM
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I think it is pitiful how you allow your dog to act towards those collies, and it is just as pitiful that those owners subject their dogs to such treatment. I say shame on all of you.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-05-2012, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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@codmaster - completely agree, however he was doing brilliantly with the redirection training up until yesterday. on every walk we have been meeting up together with others and bear has not bothered him since. the collie has even taken bear's ball without bears permission and we've had a brilliant few weeks with everyone getting along. today i bought a 10ft training line to take him out/practise him on till he's neutered this week just incase.

@Falkosmom - erm no. i did not expect him to ignore the redirection training he has been doing so well on for weeks on end with the same dog so how on earth could i stop a sudden dominance squabble that happened within about 10 seconds? trust this, it shocked me. so to put it out there i have not/will not/did not allow my dog to act towards those collies at all if i have been consistently training with him on redirection in the presence of those dogs for weeks on end. i was disheartened he ignored my redirection, perhaps because he's never done it before. i doubt that the owners subjected their dogs to being dominated, it just happened. it was unexpected.

if your not going to offer me any advice but say how pitiful the whole thing is then i suggest you kindly take a walk.

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