Dog Aggression: 60% Cured! Now how about that last 40%? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
ilivenanigloo's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: South Carolina
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Dog Aggression: 60% Cured! Now how about that last 40%?

Lupa is my 7 year old GSD who is aggressive toward other dogs. I need to know how complete my training. I am confident she will reach a point where she will be able to be fully trusted around other dogs. Here's the training so far:

When I was 16 I got a cute little 6 month old puppy. I'd begged my parents, who dislike the breed, to let me have one because I'd always wanted one and I'd just made a friend who was friend and assistant to a local breeder. My parents said I could, but she was to be solely my responsibility and not a family dog. I had never owned nor trained my very own dog but my friend helped me out, showing me how to handle certain situations and gain alpha position over my dog. Unfortunately, I was on my own when I discovered my little angel was aggressive toward other dogs (my friend had no experience with this). We walked past dogs many times and she'd go crazy and try to get at them. I would try and force her on the ground when she did this, but to no avail. Finally, I had success one day when a jogger went by with his dog and she lunged. I calmly tossed her on the ground and she relaxed immediately, looking a bit stunned. I'd discovered the first key to success: timing. Catching her off-guard once improved her behaviour significantly and I haven't had nearly as much trouble with her since. She still tries to show off in front of other dogs by getting all fluffy and barking. She now freely accepts my sister's dog into her territory and my parents have a dachsund with which my dog loves to play.

Her dog aggression is still a serious concern. She attacked a Beagle not too long ago. I wasn't there, but my parents say she really went after it, even grabbing it by the throat and the only way to remove her was to pick her up by her tail. I take this story with a tablespoon of salt since my parents are not good with dogs and are so paranoid about the fact Lupa's a GSD that I don't know how much of the story is true. My dad hated shepherds before I got Lupa and though she's much changed his mind, I don't think his original fear is entirely gone and it leaves him susceptible to bias and my parents often exaggerate things. They once said she growled at a family friend when she really just woofed. Either way, it's an issue that needs to be resolved.

When I took her to my boyfriend's house, I let her into the fenced yard and she ran to the neighbors dogs. She looked like she wanted to get closer and was not behaving aggressively (minus the fluffiness). She was really excited to meet them, although she looked unsure of what to do (maybe because of the fence).

Anyway, I need to know how to ensure the good behaviour continues and improves, but I'm afraid of taking her to the dog park. I've heard that if there are enough dogs there, she will not be able to attack. Is this true?

She's been doing well, but the one incident that was really bad has me concerned she might not be doing as well as I thought. But, I wasn't there and there is no way for me to know EXACTLY what happened (did my parents affect her? Did the beagle threaten her?).

1 German Shepherd (Lupa), 1 Cat (Hungry Joe), 1 Corn Snake (Caduceus), Banshee (pitt and/or boxer mix)

RIP: 1 Betta Fish (Quasimodo)
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 07:51 PM
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Location: SW, MI
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There are many, many threads on dog aggression in this forum. I would spend some time reading them.
As far as tossing your dog on the ground when she is reacting to other dogs is not the way to handle this.
Do NOT take her to a dog park.
Many times dogs are reactive because they are fearful and you need to build up her confidence by showing her you are the one in control of the situations she reacts to.
She needs to look to you and when she does reward her.
Is she food motivated? Reward her with high value food. There is a game called Look at That(LAT) and it is really effective in showing the dog that they do not have to react to everything-whether it be a dog or people.

If she is more toy/ball driven, then you can reward her with that.
The book Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt is great for managing reactive dogs. I would get a copy and go with the exercises outlines.
If you can find a class based on the book or similar try to enroll!
You need to manage her behavior so she doesn't end up a statistic.

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Karlo aka Gideon vom Wildhaus
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