How do I teach my dog to not charge people? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Question How do I teach my dog to not charge people?

I have a 10 month old GSD. We do not have a fenced in yard but when we are outside with him or he is using the bathroom he stays in the yard. He chased a rabbit once, and charged the elderly neighbor once... yikes. But never has again. He will either come with us to visit the neighbor who loves him and his great grandchildren, or waits patiently in our yard for us to come back. No fence!!! Recently, he has started charging new things though. By charging I mean, he runs at them and barks. He doesn't charge them aggressively, but is very alert and definitely scary. He is 10 months old but really big and if he wasn't my dog I would see my life flash before my eyes! He charged a woman walking her hound dog on the road.The road is maybe 25-30 yards from the front door. We usually have him sit or lay down and go outside before him to see if there are any rabbits or whatever he might chase, then tell to come. Well, it was morning and I was only in my underwear so I just opened the door and he immediately ran at them. The lady, god bless her, was so brave and stretched out her arms and legs and got in front of her dog like superwoman posed or something. Jonas (my dog) was not interested in her at all and ran right through her and started trying to play with the other dog. You know, paws in the face and stuff. I was yelling at him to leave it, the superwoman was yelling at him or her dog, idk, but he looked at me and realized he ****** up and ran back to me. I then walked inside with him, told the lady I was sorry and went inside.
Then today, I was raking outside and Jonas was laying in the yard close to me. There was an empty truck and tall trash trailer on the road from a landscaping company. A man came to get something out of the truck when Jonas saw him. Jonas started running at him and the guy nonchalantly starts climbing up the trailer and crosses to the truck. by that time Jonas barked a couple times and then was on his way back to me. The guy got down, finished whatever he was doing and told me he has a few GSD's and Jonas was just doing his job. He may be right, but thats a good way to have him hit by a car and is totally unacceptable especially without a fence. I'm thinking about enlisting a couple neighbors for help to teach him that charging people at the road is bad. I want a warning first and then a wait for my command stay or go. I have a bite sleeve, but I don't want to teach him to bite yet. I'll leave that to a professional.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 04:43 PM
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He needs to be leash walked or put up a fence.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 05:28 PM
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Good advice myamom!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 06:09 PM
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You're dogs going to get hit by a car or something bad is going to happen. Your puppy should not be charging strangers. You need to get him socialized and trained. In the mean time, he needs a leesh attached to him at all times.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 06:14 PM
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 06:51 PM
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Mine did that alot and she got hit and now has a gangster walk..but she only chase people that come in the yard hurt me more..when she got hurt...but she better now ...and she knows now... but it was my fault...

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 07:49 PM
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I hate to say this, but your home and property are currently "that house" on the street - the one people dread passing because of the large, threatening, out-of-control dog who is allowed to run loose and charge at them.

I realize that is not how you see the situation, but that is very much how the situation is perceived by the people who pass by your home, whether it's people walking, kids riding bikes or playing, or folks who are walking their dogs. Being charged by a large, loud, loose dog is a frightening thing, especially for kids and especially for other dog owners who are only minding their own business, out on a leashed walk with their dogs.

When I lived in Virginia, I lived in a neighborhood where houses were relatively close together but most had large yards. Because our yard was not fenced, a lot of our exercise were leashed walks. I always absolutely dreaded passing yards where people simply left their dogs to run loose, usually without the ability to call them back if they decided to charge at us.

Even though your dog only wants to play, bear in mind that not all dogs appreciate a strange dog charging at them and getting into their face. A lot of dogs are very uncomfortable being approached by a strange dog when they are leashed because they don't really have any place to go. It's really an invitation for trouble.

I think, right now, you need to seriously work on training with your young dog. He needs to be leashed, either on a regular leash or a long line, and you need to put a lot of effort and training into working on the "come" and "stay" commands. "Come" so you can catch him if he does take off toward a person or another animal, and "stay" so you can keep him with you BEFORE he charges off.

There's nothing wrong with having your dog off leash in your own yard, but dogs should only really be off leash if they can be kept safe and kept from being a nuisance to others - meaning you need to either have voice control or a fence to safely contain your dog. If he doesn't stay or doesn't come back, he probably should not be off leash at this point - and once he does know both commands, you also have to be really vigilant to keep an eye on him and catch him before he takes off toward someone, acting threatening and frightening someone or starting a dog fight.

You should never put your dog in a situation where he "waits patiently for you to come back" if you go visit a neighbor. Your dog should always be within line of sight of you to ensure he is safe and he is not being a nuisance to other people. When he can't be directly watched, he shouldn't be outside in the yard, and most certainly not one that is not fenced.

If you are interested in protection work, my recommendation would be to find a good Schutzhund club that is local to you and get involved. Schutzhund starts with obedience. A lot of obedience. Before the dog ever does bite work.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the advice!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 10:16 PM
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You've gotten some good advice. You pretty much can't stop him from doing it or train him not to unless you can control him in the first place, so put him on leash. Good off leash control may take awhile, so in the meantime, management is key - he can't be allowed to continue to practice this behavior, period. He could be hit by a car and killed, or he could bite someone or their dog and you may be sued. Either way, a bad situation for everyone, dog included.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 07:54 PM
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I wouldn't recommend letting your dog loose in your unfenced yard, but if you are going to, what about one of those invisible/underground fence systems? I've never used one, but I have encountered several dogs during walks that have charged at me and my dog, but never left their property, due to the invisible fence.
But please, if you do install one, don't extend it all the way to the edge of your property; leave at least 10 or 15 feet between your fence and the road. Now that I know the dogs with invisible fences won't leave their property it's not quite as objectionable, but the first time they came barrelling right up to the edge of the road, it was rather distressing.

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