Puppy Aggression? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Red face Puppy Aggression?

Brand new puppy owner here! I am doing a lot of reading so I am pretty aware of the general aspects of training, I just have a few specifics I need some help with. At home I have a 65lbs year old lab/pit mix (Ranger) and of course our new addition a GSD puppy, Raven. I rescued her from a shelter (she came in as a stray) so no telling where she really came from. She is my first puppy and she is estimated to be about 15 weeks old at this point. I work at a shelter so I was able to bring her to work with me every day to help with the potty training and socialization. I've recently started leaving her at home during work in her crate. The two of them play like there's no tomorrow and it's great socialization. I am aware of the notorious joint issues for GSD's so I make a point to keep play times with my other dog brief and not too rough.

We've also gotten started with Schutzhund each Sunday. I make sure to keep her brain and body busy throughout the week with training as well as lots of play time with me and our other dog and multiple trips to the dog park each week.

My biggest concern is that she is extremely picky about dogs she likes or dislikes. When I take her to the dog park sometimes she will growl and bark and nip at any dog that gets near her, or sometimes its targeted to a specific dog. I haven't been able to detect any common aspects of a dog that she dislikes; big/small, male/female, sterilized/unsterilized, specific breeds...its always random or the same dog. I try to correct her by flicking her nose or patting the top of her head and telling her no or calm down. I take her away from the other dogs and have her sit with me and just watch until she calms down or we just have to leave. But then other times I will bring her and she's running around playing with everyone, stalking and pouncing and chasing and being a cute little puppy. I'm not sure if the slight aggression is confidence based or age related or simply part of her personality, but I just to make sure I end up raising a good little puppy. I want her to enjoy going to the dog park and playing with other dogs. Am I doing anything wrong? Should I do something different? Should I just accept that she might be super picky?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 03:04 PM
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GSD's do not in general do well with dog parks, and most owners avoid them.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 03:38 PM
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Flicking your dogs nose and smacking her on the top of her head aren't the best ways to correct your dog. Can you imagine how annoying that is?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 04:05 PM
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I personally LOVE my local dog park! We, my puppy and I, have both made some good friends there.

That being said, I would never have brought her to the dog park at that age! Your puppy won't be fully immunized until she's 4 months, and even then won't yet have the coordination or confidence to handle the dogs she may encounter. I started bring my puppy at 5 months, but always kept her isolated in the small dog area for about a month. Even then I only let her out in the main area when only 1 or 2 other dogs were present for another month.

And I'm definitely with others who said flicking or patting your dog (which I take to mean swatting) should be discontinued! You need to establish a workable dialog with your puppy that does not include physical corrections of any kind.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 06:05 AM
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I definitely would NOT continue to swat or flick towards your dogs face as a correction. You guys are a team - now is the time to build trust, by doing that you’re just breaking down any bond you’ve made so far.

I know puppies are frustrating and believe me when I say I’ve accidentally reacted in ways i wish i hadn’t but raising Hudson has taught me so much on how to control my reactions and channel frustration into more constructive training approaches.

If you consider training basic recall - if there’s a possibility of getting smacked on the head do you think your dog will come when called one hundred percent of the time. I know I wouldn’t. I’d avoid dog parks and work on 1:1 training and just have fun with your dog and build your relationship. At the end of the day you are raising the dog to be your companion

Brynn and baby bear Hudson
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 09:53 AM
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Back when I didn't know any better I took my puppy to a dog park for socialization and she was attacked by a homeless guy's pit bull.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
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Back when I didn't know any better I took my puppy to a dog park for socialization and she was attacked by a homeless guy's pit bull.
Yup. I had a Jack Russel and I did not know better yet, so we were local dog park people. 3 years, no issues, loved the regulars. Got comfortable. Didn't notice a new comer with a Malamute on a lead. The regulars trotted up to greet and the Mal grabbed my JRT by the back of the neck and started ferociously shaking her, in a kill fashion. I booted the mal hard enough to really hurt it. Thank God for Harley boots. The other people around were no help, shouting, and the owner of the Mal was uselessly pulling the lead. My dog was ok because JRTs are tough as nails..her dog had a decisively injured loin from my kick, but as tough as my JRT was she would not have been ok in that death shake much longer. The Mal was well over a 100 pound dog. She started on me that I hurt her dog and the other regulars in the park surrounded her yelling at her it was all her fault etc..she left with her injured dog and was never seen again.

From that day on, my dog Comet HATED other dogs, whereas before she use to be friendly. I will never take a dog to a dog park to play with the unknown and unpredictable again. Personally. It was a great thing to do for years, then one day it wasn't, take once clueless new visitor, one day.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 03:01 PM
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Dogs regularly taken to dog parks form a gang and a pecking order. New dogs are outsiders.

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Both man and bird and beast;
He prayeth best who loveth best
All creatures great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 04:35 PM
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I had a female Malinois who was mostly afraid of other dogs so I took her to a low key (not many dogs) dog park. this was probably 10 years ago. there were mostly little dogs there at the time. One came up to her and scared her. Then she went up to one and sniffed it and WHAM, knocked it over. She was just playing but it was not very "nice" playing and I had her OFF leash. then one by one, Wham, Bam, knocking dogs over like they were bowling pins. OMG!!!! I got her to come to me and hooked her on her leash and got out of there before someone hung me. I was so embarrassed. I told my husband like on the Ikea commercial, "START the car, START the car!!!!" My hopeful idea turned into a bad one. Never in my wildless dreams did I think that would happen! Someone there had told me to unleash her because with me holding on, she was feeling the tension and becoming more afraid. Well, that didn't work out so well. No one got hurt but everyone that she could get to got knocked down. She was SO FAST being a Mal, I don't even think a big dog could chase her down to put her in her place. She was off like a bullet. Recall, yeah, where did my recall go??? Out the window for sure. thought it was solid. Anyway , I don't go to dog parks anymore because I figure that could happen to anyone. At least mine wasn't aggressive as in wanting to fight. But I felt like I had the little gang banger.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 05:05 PM
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I had a female Malinois who was mostly afraid of other dogs so I took her to a low key (not many dogs) dog park. this was probably 10 years ago. there were mostly little dogs there at the time. One came up to her and scared her. Then she went up to one and sniffed it and WHAM, knocked it over. She was just playing but it was not very "nice" playing and I had her OFF leash. then one by one, Wham, Bam, knocking dogs over like they were bowling pins. OMG!!!! I got her to come to me and hooked her on her leash and got out of there before someone hung me. I was so embarrassed. I told my husband like on the Ikea commercial, "START the car, START the car!!!!" My hopeful idea turned into a bad one. Never in my wildless dreams did I think that would happen! Someone there had told me to unleash her because with me holding on, she was feeling the tension and becoming more afraid. Well, that didn't work out so well. No one got hurt but everyone that she could get to got knocked down. She was SO FAST being a Mal, I don't even think a big dog could chase her down to put her in her place. She was off like a bullet. Recall, yeah, where did my recall go??? Out the window for sure. thought it was solid. Anyway , I don't go to dog parks anymore because I figure that could happen to anyone. At least mine wasn't aggressive as in wanting to fight. But I felt like I had the little gang banger.
I spit coffee reading this! I can just see small dogs flying around like bowling pins. LOL.

Sabi had a nasty habit for dealing with dogs that were rude or barked in her face. She would use one front paw to push their heads down and hold them there while looking at me all innocent. Bud liked to play but since he was built like a battering ram I had to be careful who I let him get wound up around. He was really good with other dogs, he just didn't know his own strength.
We did not spend much time in dog parks.

We didn't go to dog parks much.
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