How do I teach my 4yo GSD to stop being aggressive, walk properly, bark, etc. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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How do I teach my 4yo GSD to stop being aggressive, walk properly, bark, etc.

So. This may be quite long, bare with me please. I don't know if it can be done but here we go. I just moved back in with my parents since I'm going to school full-time, they have a 4 year old male GSD. Well his dad was full bread, and his mom, they said, was 3/4 Shepherd, 1/4 wolf. Yes wolf. I hope that doesn't mean you guys can't help me.

The dog (Max) they got when he was about 6 mos. We play with him for about 1 hour a day. Walk him for another hour. And we feed him once in the morning and once at night. When he was a puppy my mom got him into eating his Pedigree dry food mixed with half a can of ALPO wet food, I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing. But he won't eat dry food alone now. I tried switching him off of it, and he went for 2 days without eating, so I relented and gave it to him.

He was raised with a child in the house, until he was about a year when my brother and his fam moved out. My nephew comes over every couple weeks, and they just play and play and play and play and play and play and play and play for hours and he's not aggressive with him or any child playing with him at all. But when they come to be around either his food, or food someone else is eating, he'll growl and sometime snap at them, and they could be anywhere from 10ft near him and he'll start growling, and they come closer his fur on his neck and back stick up, and closer then he snaps at them (never bitten any of them, yet) and we correct this by, not yelling at him, but locking him up in his room for a few minutes. He also growls at the adults who come near his food but never snaps at adults. And he also growls if you make him move when he's sitting right in the middle of your way. Well we don't make him move, he knows the word "move" but he apparently doesn't like it. Another thing he does when he growls is after he stops he goes back and either sniffs or swipes his tongue at his weewee, I am at a loss for what that behavior is. We all laugh at it but I know it's some kind of trust issue or something.

A couple weeks ago a neighbor came over, and went up to my mom a little to fast, Max jumped up and snapped at his neck, if he wasn't on the chain he would've made it. So after that they finally neutered him. I told them for years he should've had it done as a puppy.

When he sees people/animals outside, he gives this non-committed low guttural woof. For that I want to know if it's possible to have him bark loud but not have him bark at people just walking, and have him bark at people who walk/drive up the driveway or yard?

When we walk him he leads, I've read about this numerous times on numerous sites. I have him on the retractable leash, as close to my side as possible, and he still tries to lead, I give a gentle tug and say shhh. He'll stop leading for a couple seconds then goes right back to it, I've tried giving him treats when I get his attention and he stops leading but he just eats the treat and starts leading again.

The commands he knows is sit, lay down, paw, other paw, outside, and ball or play. How can I teach him to stay. Any other commands you can think of to teach him would be great.

This dog is strictly my dad's dog, Max follows him everywhere and I don't want to change that because after at least 10 different dogs this is the first one he actually likes. The problem is my dad works 10 hours a day and when he comes home he just wants to sit on the couch and rest, and the dog joins him laying down on the couch. If I train him he won't turn all his attention to me will he? Or will my dad actually have to help me train him? The only person he's never growled at is my Dad, and I don't want to take that relationship away. Because I know my dad won't have the patience to train him.

That's about all. Thanks for reading, thanks in future for help. Sorry it's so long
I've had a dog all my life but we've never actually trained one other than sit,paw etc.

thanks again
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 04:35 PM
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I don't have all the answers that you are asking about, but I do know that some dogs do not like other animals or people around their food when eating. I have never had dogs to do that but I have read about others that have.

I use a prong collar on my boy so there is no pulling, it self corrects if he pulls.

As for the food, I add a little wet food in with the kibble. Not that it is necessary but I think it makes it more tasty for them.

As for your other questions I'll let someone else give you an answer, good luck.

karen, mom to:
ace-gsd (bi-color) 6/14/2010
mandy-yellow lab 1/31/2009
dixie-shep/lab 2/21/2013

baby-terrier mix (waiting at the bridge)
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 05:22 PM
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I'm not a professional, but based on what I've learned I'll share with you.

1. You need to have a professional trainer familiar with GSDs and possibly with wolf hybrids evaluate your dog. Only that person can tell if your dog has some wolf traits that are dangerous and untrainable, as wolves are not domesticated animals. I realize that your dad may balk at this expense, but it is IMHO a necessary first step.

2. Assuming you skip that and do not have the advice of a professional wolf person, then everyone in your family needs to get educated really quickly and thoroughly about the potential problems with wolf hybrids. There is lots of info available online and in books. It will require dad to turn off the tv and read, but the dog you have is potentially dangerous and you need to know as much about it as you can--all of you.

3. You ALL need to begin very strict training of the dog with a training professional. He is definitely trainable, based on your "tricks" description, and he has definitely bonded with at least your dad. However, the dog is being allowed to make too many decisions on his own that you and your family should be making for him. He should not be allowed to guard food, to snap at anyone, to sit in the path when you tell him to move, etc. That makes him the leader of your pack, the "decision maker". He needs to understand that you are each his boss and this will need to be constantly reinforced to overcome his (wolf?) independence.

4. I know you said that he and the nephew play and play and play... DO NOT leave this dog alone with any child, at any time, for any excuse. He is only reliable up until the time that he first attacks a child.

I'm sorry if this seems harsh and demanding, but this is what you guys need to do, at a minimum. You have assumed a huge responsibility--a wolf hybrid dog that requires a lot of thought, time and attention. If you don't do this right, bad things might happen. Best of luck to you.

Liesl, b. 1/1/11
Maxie, 1994-2009
King, 1963-1968
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 01:28 AM
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Hey man, I can not help with most the problems but I can say with 100% positivity that if your dog is tugging on the leash while walking, you need to swap it up. Some people use prongs or chokers, I tried this and I thought my pup was goingto strangle himself. That coughy weezy noise he made trying to lead was gut wrenching. I found on here a harness called the easy walker that basically is a harness that the leash hooks up to the front. I swear to you this thing was like an INSTANT game changer. I am still working with Hero to get him to walk politely on the leash but he is so dang strong that I am the only one in the family that can hold him. With the harness, my 5 year old son can walk him and there is NO pulling involved. I love taking Hero for walks and this harness makes it so much more enjoyable for me! Best of luck man!!

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the responses. well my parents relented and got him fixed. and he's about 80% better. then I got him that Easy Walker harness and it's like he's a new dog, I can walk him for hours now. the growls still come once in a while but definitely not like it was. thanks
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