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I have a Russian friend who bought a German Shepherd as a guard dog. He saw all these video's on youtube of German Shepherds that were incredibly trained. And was so excited by that. He bought a BEAUTIFUL dog, Gustav, about a year ago. Well, Gustav basically just hung out in my friends back yard for the past year. He would take him out for walks around the neighborhood at night for about 15-20 min. Thats it. He would probably get walked once a day or once every two days.

My friend never really took the dog to any parks to meet other dogs or people in fear that the dog would become "soft" and not be a proper guard dog. He thought a proper guard dog should be mean to anything and everything except its owner. My friend also thought the dog was trained because it would do simple commands when my friend would have food in his hands and when the dog was in the back yard. but let the dog outside and show him a person riding a bike, and the dog would run after the biker and bark, scaring the living daylights out of the biker.

Well, my friend is in jail for 2 months. And no one was really giving the pup the attention it needed, so i took it to my house. He has been here for 3 days and im already seeing an improvement. I have trails around my place. wide open spaces. and the beach is about a 4-5 min walk. Gustav had a severe pulling problem when walked. I bought him a Hilti trainer, and he is learning very quickly not to pull.

I am amazed how intellegent this dog is. Ive owned a lab before, and this German Shepherd is miles above that dog. Its truly an amazing breed.

But I think Gustav's biggest problem is his lack of socialization. I took him to a unleashed dog park today (Gustav stayed leashed.) The first male (Boxer) he met he sniffed, became stiff, then started to bark and lash out at the dog (who was also aggressive with him.) Then the next dog who walked by the park came up to the fence, Gustav sniffed, started to growl, then started to lunge at the dog.

Gustav is not fixed. I haven't "legally" adopted this dog yet. My friend knows I have taken the dog to my house and that I am training him, and is thankful. My question is does Gustav have to be fixed before he can be a properly trained dog who can interact with other males normally?

Sorry for the long post.
 

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Welcome to the board!


To answer your question: no. Gustav is likely unsure of himself with other dogs at this point, male or female. Neutering does not improve fear/insecurity issues. If he also has a dominance streak a mile wide, that would be a different story, and *maybe* neutering would improve things then. But right now, Gustav needs positive experiences working around-- and then meeting-- other calm dogs.

I know Gustav is not your dog legally, but how about a reactive dog class? Humane societies often have classes just like this. They help dogs learn to relax around other dogs when on leash and in groups. Very, very helpful!
Good luck!
 

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Thanks for helping this guy out. I think the dog park will be too much for him at this point. Also, keeping him leashed can cause MORE aggression and reactivity, b/c it's unnatural and frustrating for the dog when the others are free and he is being pulled and held back. The tension on the leash goes down to the dog and indicates that other dogs cause tension, which leads to aggressive reactions. However I would not let him off lead with other dogs just yet.

Keep taking him on many walks where he can see and pass by other dogs, but does not have to meet them face-to-face. Patti's suggestions for a reactive dog class is a great one. The best way to work on the reactivity and socialization will be in a controlled setting with an experienced trainer. If he goes to the dog park off lead before he is ready, a dog or human could get hurt.
 

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I don't think he needs neutering at this point (I would wait till he's 2 years old anyway, he still needs the hormons to grow up properly).

He doesn't show any agression, he's just not trained, not socialized and has lots of energy. I think any obedience class would be good for him to attend, and a consistent leadership is a must (you can google NILIF to get more info). German shepherds are very intelligent and you always need to think a step ahead and be very proactive. He's a 12 months old pup so pretty soon, when he settles in your home a little, he'll try to test his limits. Just remember that it's normal and it doesn't necessarily means agression. Also make sure to wear him out physically as well as mentally, it will make both of you happy


I'm not a fan of dog parks at all, I think it's a stupid idea to let strange dogs together and hope that they all will get along. Because they won't and it has nothing to do with neutering.

Just wanted to ask. What do you do when Gustav sees another dog or person, when he barks, growls? Does Gustav have his hackles up when he barks?
 

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It sounds like you are doing a good job.

As for the dog park, if the dog can meet only one at a time for now and adjust to the other dog that would be progress. Perhaps a friend that owns a dog.

I have a un-neutered Male European Working GSD. I also take in rescue. The rescue shepherds have never got in serious fights, but it takes afew days for my dog and the rescue to adjust.

It would be nice if you could take another dog, female, for 3-4 days and see how things evolve.

As for chasing bikers, my dog did the same thing, and I was worried about him biting someone. I pronged collar, tight and high up on the neck resolved that issue after only two jerks.
 

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I agree with everyone concerning the dog park. I think it is way too soon to start with one. And some dogs never can get used to all of the excitement/stimuli of a dog park. Ozzy, who is fairly social with other dogs, completely stresses out at dog parks, protecting me and snapping at any dog who gets too near.

I would try introducing Gustav to a female on a neutral territory. Do you have a friend who has a confident female? Also, the more non-forced interaction but nonetheless exposure to toher dogs trips will really help him as well.

Thank you so much for taking him on! He sounds like a great dog and I hope you get to actually keep him.

Also, GSDs need lots and lots of exercise. If Gustav actually gets the exercise he needs, you may see an improvement in his reactivity with other dogs.
 
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