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My dog Wilson is a 11 month old loving gentle GSD who always loved people and other dogs but recently is showing really aggressive behavior towards anyone he doesn't know. This weekend it seemed to go full blown as he tried to bite anyone who came close to him. He was nuetered about 6 weeks ago and instead of calming down he seems to be more hyper. He listens good and loves everyone in his circle but recently won't accept anyone outside of his circle. If we are in the van with him no one can approach for a friendly conversation without him barking and if they want to pet him i don't let them because he gets mean after a few moments of them petting him.
I do use a muzzle with him but last weekend we had him in the back yard and a jogger passed buy and he ran after him and bite his shirt then bit my 18 yo daughter as she tried to get him off the jogger. He didn't break her skin but bruised her up good and thankfully the jogger was fine. The joggers first instinct as Wilson ran up to him and started circling him as to herd him wagging his tail was to flail his arms up in the air and yell at him so Wilson grabbed his shirt and got in his agressive mode. My daughter had him at the lake on his leash and he was playing in the sand for a good hour running around and a few woman that were watching had a friendly convo with my daughter then asked to pet him. He instantly started growling and trying to lounge at them to attack and my daughter aplogized to the women and brought him home. (I thank god for the gentle leader collar) He is 110 lbs and still growing, a truly great dog but i don't understand this new "Mean" behavior. I will look into another training session, did one at 4 months old for the basics but any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you.
Jeanie
 

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It sounds like you need a professional trainer to evaluate what is happening. It would be a good investment.

From what you describe, the dog is just taking control of his surroundings. He is being the pack leader. My dog did this type of behavior when she was about a year old also. I had to take over and let her know that I am the one that says who enters our space and when. Not her.
 

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By all means get him checked out from a health perspective, but my bet is that he is maturing and now has all of these hormones and instincts but needs to know how to act and what to do in all of these situations. It's time to go to work...

1. Do a search on NILF (nothing in life is free) and follow through on EVERYTHING. For anything he likes, he has to do something for you and or the rest of your family. Before he gets his food, he has to sit and then down. Before he gets any toys, he has to sit and then down (pick them up, they are yours not his. He gets toys for short periods of time and then you take them back) before he goes outside, he must down etc. etc. He is NOT to be on any furniture, no beds or couches. If he is at all unruly in the house, keep him on leash when he is not crated so you have control.

2. Whenever you could possibly run into someone outside of his circle, he must be on leash. That means that if you have a visitor over, he must be leashed so that you can show him how to properly behave around visitors. It is YOUR job to accept strangers and he needs to follow YOUR lead. He is not allowed to make those decisions on his own. If your yard is not fenced, buy a 30 ft. long line and let him drag it everywhere whenever he's outside. He can get hurt or hurt someone else if that situation with the jogger happens again. There are several situations in which he could lose his life and or cause you to get sued. Bad bad things can happen.

3. Amp up the socialization and training. A class would be wonderful for him, and he needs to go everywhere and understand that he keys off of you and your family. Look into a prong collar, and learn how to fit one and use one properly by reading this http://www.leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm . If he ignores you and will not "snap out" of a fixation on a person or other dog a prong correction is a good way to handle it, but only if done properly. The collar should be fitted correctly and one hard "pop" should be given. Small nagging corrections will only amp him up more. Combine the pop with a verbal "leave it" and do not forget to praise proper behavior. The second he deferrs to you make sure you let him know he is good and reinforce this with treats.

Good luck, and continue to ask questions.
 

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Lots of good suggestions above but I would NOT put a prong on a dog with aggression issues. Even trainers who use prongs warn against it because it can escalate the aggression in some dogs by getting them more ramped up.

Please find a positive reinforcement based trainer immediately, once you rule out a health issue. You want him focused on you and looking to do you for everything. You need to take a leadership role but do it with kindness and not harsh corrections.
 

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Quote: I will look into another training session, did one at 4 months old for the basics but any suggestions would be appreciated.
Any classes before about 6 months don't (in my opinion) count as training at all. With such a young puppy it's just a great start at socialization. Be like saying I just took my child to pre-school and thought that was enough learning to get her thru the rest of her life....

I don't even start real training until around 6 months, and then we go for as long as we need to. That means as long as I need to attend to get the dog I love and want. And the SKILL I need to learn to work with her.

I wouldn't do any real training on my own at this point, your dog sounds scary and out of control, and you haven't got the skills to deal with him right now. NEITHER WOULD I! And I wouldn't blame the neuter surgery at all (one way or the other). These sound like behavioral issue that are just getting worse as your dog gets older, bigger, matures, and hasn't been taught differently up to this point.

If there is no medical issue going on to make a freakish personality change, instead this is a dog that just needs alot more 'real' leadership and guidance for the time being. And this isn't just 'obedience' and coming down hard on your dog. It's about having a partnership that's not quite equal cause you have to be the boss and looked to BEFORE your dog thinks it's ok to react.

Truthfully, though what you think you are seeing is agression, it's probably more likely based in fear. If our dogs aren't giving the proper tools to socialize during their first year or so (meeting TONS of new people, dogs, sights, sounds, car rides, hiking, swimming, farms, trains, buses, lakes, oceans, infants, kids, old people, crutches, wheelchairs, sirens, boats, cows........................) to realize the world is full of weird and strange things and knowing that mom/dad will take care of it....... Instead these new things are frightful and if they growl/bark the scary stays away and it's more calming.

So instead of having something new crop up, looking at me to see it's ok, and then shrugging to say it's ok. An undersocialized dog won't look to me at all and instead will instantly go into the REACT mode!!!!! And this means to 'attack' to keep the new thing away.

Some great things you can do that are easy around the house to get your dog to realize you are a leader are found on the Suzanne Clothier site:

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/puppack.html and there's alot of other good info on aggressions also on the main article site:

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/articles.html

And I have no idea if you did this at all, so this is more a general warning for others reading this. I know people get GSD's and think when their young pups growl and bark it's cause they are already so advance they are 'protecting' their owners. So the owners either strongly encourage this barking (no one will mess with my house/family) or at least don't discourage it. BIG MISTAKE. A puppy is a puppy with no skills or abilities to determine a mass murderer from a new Mother-in-law. So when we don't take charge right away to tell the puppy to stop, it's ok cause I say it's ok and you can calm down cause I AM IN CHARGE. Then what will happen is the pup is confirmed in what you are really seeing, FEAR. When we allow a pup who is afraid to continue barking and do not take charge when present, it shows the puppy they are right, all new people are terrifying and scary and mom/dad is useless so I have to do something to keep it away.....
 

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Originally Posted By: BowWowMeowbut I would NOT put a prong on a dog with aggression issues. Even trainers who use prongs warn against it because it can escalate the aggression in some dogs by getting them more ramped up.
I agree in part Ruth, but the only reason they amp up a dog is if they are not used correctly. Small nagging corrections will bring a dog up, one well timed pop brings a dog down.

I suggested a prong because this dog does not sound like a nerve bag. No backing away, and actually letting people pet him initially and then getting aggressive. He just sounds like he could be "a lot of dog" who is a bit sharp with strangers. I would not put a prong on a very fearful dog either, but I'm not sure that is what the OP has here. Obviously, I could easily be wrong because we have not actually seen the dog.
 

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Quote:Obviously, I could easily be wrong because we have not actually seen the dog.
ME TOO~!

Hopefully the OP finds and gets a qualified trainer ASAP. As much as we all know, without actually seeing the dog/owner we are guessing at best.
 

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Wow! Great advice from all of you. I will check out all the websites suggested ASAP once i get a chunk of time without interruptions.
As far as socailizing, he gets out around town alot and i take him everywhere with me. He use to have it out for stop signs, bikes and people with hats or uniforms but that is not a problem as much. My daughter is to wishy washy with him and he totally dominates her. When he is being playfully over aggressive i will cfommand him to stop and if he doesn't (he'll talk back with playful but powerful barks)i grab the back of his neck (fur and skin) and flip him down. He will submis to me but i do need to work on the commands. He is off the charts for his breed in size and thats all the more i need to be consistent. Thank you all! I know i'll have many more questions andf i look forward to reading all the older post for info. These beast are such gentle loving babies at home.
I'll try to post a pic of him on the picture site. Your dogs are BEAUTIFUL!
 

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MaggieRoseLee,
We have a place in monroe county in the poconos. Right near Jack frost and big boulder. Locust lake village.
Maybe sometime in the future we could set up doggie playdate. Wilson loves all dogs and plays nice.
jeanie
 

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I'm far from being an expert (all the above posters are MUCH more knowledgeable than i am), but if your dog used to bark at normal everyday things, then my feeling is that there are two issues going on here, as discussed above. One there are FEAR issues, AND a lack of leadership issues. If he is better with traffic signs and bicycles and stuff than before, that is thanks to the hard work you have done in socializing him him, but I also feel that he feels it is his job who or what is a scary thing, and he should not be allowed to make these decisions on his own.

So what he needs are strong boundries so he feels safe, and a strong leader that enforces these behavioural boundries so he knows he can relax and trust you to be a leader he feels he can respect. Flipping him is not how you enforce your leadership! This only confuses him, and may cause him to fear you, which will only degrade the trust and respect you need to build with him. Please stop doing this, it will not work towards building up a positive relationship.

CLASSES!!! They turned my rescue around 180! We both learned so much, and had a TON of fun in the process, it turned my relationship with my dog from being confrontational to being joyful and rewarding. As MRL was saying, training is an ongoing affair. The more training I did, the better our bond and my doggie communication skills. A dog like yours NEEDS the mental challenge of regular obedience work, and NEEDS the POSITIVE bonding opportunities that training will bring.

And I'd work on your daughter too to teach her to be more assertive. You BOTH could go to dog classes together, and take turns working Wilson!
 

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Having gone thru this recently, I feel it may be a fear stage and just getting him through this in the right way is key. Training class is a must as long as you are the one doing the correcting, training. Don't let the trainer handle your dog.
Onyx was the same way til about a month ago, and now she is doing so much better at 17 mos. I now use the gentle leader instead of a prong, maybe that helped? She is also over the standard in size (27" and 90#)and acts dominant to the other dogs in the house.
All the previous opinions are right on and just getting him over this will make him a wonderful boy in time.
 

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Quote:and if he doesn't (he'll talk back with playful but powerful barks)i grab the back of his neck (fur and skin) and flip him down. He will submis to me but i do need to work on the commands.
Most of the current training styles do NOT recommend this 'alpha roll' type training method anymore. Apparently what we thought it was doing to help us with our dogs was usually ending up adding more confusion to the dog (and people were actually getting bit). Being a calm and contained leader to guide our dogs thru life seems to work more to show our alpha status than having to lay our hands on the dog and roll them.

Another really great book is The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell. NOT obedience training but really interesting things we can do every day to help our dogs know their place in our lives in a calm and non-threatening way.

Too weird how close you live. The Pocono's rock!
 

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Originally Posted By: MaggieRoseLee Most of the current training styles do NOT recommend this 'alpha roll' type training method anymore. Apparently what we thought it was doing to help us with our dogs was usually ending up adding more confusion to the dog (and people were actually getting bit). Being a calm and contained leader to guide our dogs thru life seems to work more to show our alpha status than having to lay our hands on the dog and roll them.
I second that this is NOT a good idea, especially since he has barked at you strongly in the past. If he actually is a bit sharp this is REALLY not a good idea. Get some help with him from a good trainer. Something tells me that MRL can suggest someone out there. Alpha rolls are not a natural action for alpha's to use to control the pack. In fact, the only time an alpha roll happens is during an actual attack. That is never the message I want to send to my dog. The message I want to send is "This is not, and never will be a fight. I am in charge, I will lead you fairly, protect and provide for you but you will follow the rules."
 

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Quote: Lots of good suggestions above but I would NOT put a prong on a dog with aggression issues. Even trainers who use prongs warn against it because it can escalate the aggression in some dogs by getting them more ramped up.

Please find a positive reinforcement based trainer immediately, once you rule out a health issue. You want him focused on you and looking to do you for everything. You need to take a leadership role but do it with kindness and not harsh corrections.
<span style="color: #3366FF">Couldn't say it any better!!</span>
 
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