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11 week german shepherd with aggresive and socialization problems

Hey guys. So I am having some serious socialization and aggression problems with my little pup. He is only 11 weeks old and i got him when he was around 4 or 5 weeks. He gets very scared in social situations and snaps.
My friend came up to my car yesterday and I have never seen a dog bark so aggressively in my life and try and bit with such fear. It was very scary and i don't know what to do.


Here is a list of the issues I have been having with him.

1. when around other dogs gets very shy and runs behind our legs
2. other dogs come up and shows teeth and growls
4. when meeting new people gets nervous and growls and twists head back and tries to bite if they try and hold him and barks
5. from balcony barks at strangers passing by
6. when trying to go on a walk barks at other dogs when on leash
7. when people come up to car snaps and tries to bite and growls and barks
8. when digging holes and trying to get him to stop he gets territorial and snaps trying to guard his hole where he tries to bury his toys.
9. if doing something wrong and trying to correct will run away in a fearful way then comes back barking and trying to bite
10. with people he does know he also tries to bite if he suddenly feels overwhelmed or if we are trying to show dominance over him by telling him not to do something
11. if we or people he is familiar with are holding him and it is close to his neck (not tight) he will try to snap around and bite and growl
12. was listening to 'come' but does not often anymore
13. poor eye contact when doing something wrong often shifts eyes away from us when we are trying to make eye contact
14. will go to bite fingers and we try to make him submit either by pinning him down or closing his mouth or telling him to stop and will continue to chomp bite until he gets what he wants
15. very very alert if hears any noise during his sleep or at any time will become very anxious
16. does not like strangers around the house at all, if someone he does not know comes into his own domain he will bark and try to bite and stand his ground as though protecting
17. will bite at the face
18. when walking around will bite at legs and when telling to stop he will continue and growl as walking around
19. when biting at clothing he will continue to go back and bite and shake his head in a very firm way while growling
20. if gets in trouble for poor behavior i have noticed that he will make eye contact with me and purposely pee inside of the house, he is for the most part potty trained and knows where he is supposed to go….
If I look at him close in the eye he tries to bit.


Please let me know what you guys think and think if he can be a social dog ever who loves people and gets happy around a lot of people.

I am very worried he might bite a stranger or my 2 year old nice. If you guys have any advice let me know.
 

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4 or 5 weeks of age is way to early to separate a dog from it's littermates, there is no way your pup learned how to interact with others. I am going to be honest with you because you need to totally change the way you interact with the pup. You should never be pinning an 11 week old puppy down for any behaviour. Starring down to correct should never be done to a puppy. You are ruining any chances for a normal relationship with this dog and are creating a monster that will have serious mental issues and will need to be put down if you do not drastically change the way you are interacting with the pup. This pup should have been having interactions with other pups somehow, the pup does not understand the basic communication skills with other dogs because it never had a chance to learn. You should not be forcing the pup to interact with people or dogs, he should be allowed to do that on his own. You need help immediately from someone that knows what they are doing, maybe German Shepherd Rescue can help you. This dog is going to be a serious liability and it is not his fault you need help yesterday, serious remedial training is needed. I did not intend to beat up on you and I am glad you posted, I just wish to impress on you the seriousness of the problem. At 11 weeks of age you should be ignoring bad behaviour and rewarding good behaviour. These problems all come from being separated from the litter too soon and made worse by you confirming his suspicions that humans and other dogs are to be feared and avoided and if that doesn't work they should be attacked.
 

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I adopted Chama at 5 weeks old and she did not act like this but I had a very stable gsd at the time who helped me to socialize her.

That said, I agree with the previous poster that you need to step back and rethink your approach. Fear aggression is really tricky and rarely seen in such a young puppy. It honestly sounds like you are making her fear worse and right now you should be helping to build her confidence, not take her down a notch.

There is a really great group on Yahoo for shy dogs (and fearful dogs) called Shyk9s. I would join that group and start doing a lot of reading. You want to set her up for success and keep things positive and you are going to have to start all over again with her training and your training!

Also, throw the dominance/submission stuff out the window--it's taking you down the wrong track.
 

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I was driving down the road years ago and as I was going over the train tracks I spotted a puppy. So I stopped and it took me a half hour to pick him up. He was about 5 weeks old and the meanest dog I have ever seen. I couldn't pick him up with my bare hands, I had to take off my sweater and swoop him up. It was very sad. I found a home for him and he turned into the best dog. It was lots of time, patience, love, and positive training. Baby steps and it can work. You keep taking him out and let him see the world, you protect him and make sure he knows it.
 

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I apologize for my first comment, since you are at this point where you are, but in case anyone else is reading: anyone who lets their puppies go at 4-5 weeks of age is a backyard breeder, likely with genetic issues, including mental issues, with their dogs. Shame on them!!! Never get a puppy from such a place!

Okay, now back to you. I think you really need the expert's advice here. I think you have a high strung dog and you have no idea how to bond with it, alleviate its fears or train it. Therefore, in my humble opinion, you should sit down with your budget and see what kind of training program you can commit to, involving a professional. It's part the dog, it's part you. Like llombardo said, it is possible to have a great dog, and yes, I will add that right now is a normal fear stage for your pup, but this is not a good foundation to continue and I'm glad you reached out.

I truly hope you find the help you need. It IS early, but boy, that behavior sounds not so good in the hands of an inexperienced owner. Yikes.
 

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You can try this trainer in LA: K9 Coach Dog Training

He also works with the GSD rescues, is familiar with the breed.

His rates are quite reasonable for group classes. He welcomes people to bring their dog to watch before committing and will take a look at your dog to give you some quick thoughts.

He's a scared puppy, don't stress him out more. Try a more reassuring training approach that builds confidence. I raised a fearful puppy and it was tricky business. Now is a good time to get professional help before the puppy grows bigger and become even more set in its ways.
 

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It is possible the pup inherited the behaviour from it's parents but there are other things need to be addressed. I would like to go through your list point by point but do not have the time right now. Some of the behaviour such as 18&19 are normal prey behaviours and all of them could be more fully explained to you as well as give you advice on what to do in those situations. I will post back tomorrow if someone hasn't done it in the meantime.
 

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Guys thank you so much for your help. I am so worried now. I want to cry. I really hope he will be ok when he is just around me he is so loving and good to me. Do you think these problems can be 100% fixed if he is treated the right way? What are good GSD trainers in Los Angeles? I watch a lot of Caesar Milan and I see him pin down dogs so thats where I got it from.
 

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If you guys have any advice let me know.
Stop trying to show dominance over him.
Stop trying to make him submit.
Stop watching Cesar Milan. :)

He's an 11 week old puppy, which is a baby, roughly the developmental equivalent of a 5 year old child. His experiences with the world should be positive and fun. You should be showing him what you expect of him by rewarding him for the behavior you want, not correcting him for doing what you don't want. He doesn't know right from wrong in human terms, it's up to you to teach him, and it's unfair to punish him for not knowing the difference.

Build his confidence by setting him up to succeed. Have you enrolled him in a puppy class yet? What skills does he know, and how have you trained them? What kind of play does he enjoy (will he chase balls, does he tug with you, etc.?), and how much time each day do you spend playing with him?
 

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So we've seen the negatives. What is the puppy doing right? Reinforce those positive things. Please try positive methods. Also... The German Shepherd puppy Ppopulation are known as landsharks for a reason. Biting hands, clothes, etc. Is normal. Please see the other threads on basic puppy behavior. There's lots of good info there.

*-*Summer*-*
 

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None of us started out knowing everything and none of us do know everything. There is a lot of good things you can pick up from Cesar but remember he is working with screwed up dogs. I got my first GSD thirty seven years ago and I am constantly learning and getting better with each dog. I am still in a rush and will get back to this latter, hang in there, the socialization period ends roughly at 4months of age, maybe you can turn this around or at least make it substantially better.
 

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Do take him to positive training puppy classes. It will help a lot with socialisation. Read Ian Dunbar's book or articles on the web.
 

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WAY too much of the big world all at once to a such a young pup..... at 12 weeks was our first trip out of the house and to a puppy class. Than back home and not until 20 weeks after all the shots we went for play time at a local park (not dog park). Only dogs at the training club were allowed near my pup to make sure they are not reactive or aggressive. I think it's not a puppy issue here.
 

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Honestly, are you ready to take on a dog that needs intense work? Especially with a young child? I say re-home it now while it is still cute and get a pup that has been well socialized...especially if you are concerned for you child. Make sure to get an experienced owner who can handle aggressive dogs. I got a puppy like this once. They need A LOT of work. I never could fully trust the dog either. It would be fine one minute and the next it would growl at my little niece. We had to lock it up when people came over. I think you have a mix of bad socialization, too early removal from mom, and a more aggressive bloodline. I personally will never have a dog like that again. We finally got ours to become friendly toward people we meet on walks but it took 9 years.
 

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Honestly, I think if you turn your approach around, start positive training classes and are a kind, clear and consistent leader you could see great results. If he is genetically fearful then you've got a little more work in store.
 

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Guys thank you so much for your help. I am so worried now. I want to cry. I really hope he will be ok when he is just around me he is so loving and good to me. Do you think these problems can be 100% fixed if he is treated the right way? What are good GSD trainers in Los Angeles? I watch a lot of Caesar Milan and I see him pin down dogs so thats where I got it from.
Try having your dog evaluated (for free) by the GSD trainer I posted in my previous post. He has a lot of experience and is fair in his training approach, more positive than correction.

He may not be that bad if you change the way you've been interacting with him and given time to mature. But if he's of bad genetics, you just have to learn how to best manage that and he could still be a good dog with some limitations. I've a fearful dog but she's still a wonderful dog.
 

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In your case I would take him to a veterinary behaviorist, the dog equivalent of a human psychiatrist. This person has a veterinary degree as well.
I agree with everyone else that this dog needs serious help. This puppy is under a lot of stress.
 

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You probably want to go out and get a book called the Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson and do a bit of reading. You're likely going to have lifelong issues with this pup that you are going to have to start working on ASAP. The socialization issues to dogs and people are going to be part of that. You can't shy away from that kind of thing but you are going to have to work with him slowly. To be honest you really need to find a good behaviorist/trainer that has a lot of experience with cases like yours.
 

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Honestly, I think if you turn your approach around, start positive training classes and are a kind, clear and consistent leader you could see great results. If he is genetically fearful then you've got a little more work in store.
I agree, and I think it's really too soon to tell if this is 100% due to a genetic fear issue, or at least partly a problem created by the owner being overly forceful with a baby puppy. It would be pretty easy to overwhelm a 4 or 5 week old puppy if you are constantly trying to dominate it and physically force it to submit rather than making socialization a fun and positive experience, engaging the puppy in play, and building confidence with reward based training. :(

Ditto on the book recommendation by Ballif - it's excellent!
 

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I watch a lot of Caesar Milan and I see him pin down dogs so thats where I got it from.
CM has some good advice but not the way to train your pup. The dominance model is outdated and will not work for a fearful dog. You need to build his self esteem by gently training him what to do. Look into clicker training. start all over as if you just got him.
Some good books: "Don't Shoot the Dog" from Karen Pryor and "The Power of Positive Dog (?) training" by Pat Miller.
Check out Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources for trainers in your area that work with the gentle techniques. Observe the classes before you take your pup there.
Give it your all, this is the most crucial time in his life to make changes.
 
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