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We have a 17 month old male neutered GSD rescue that shows aggression toward children. We recently had a baby and are looking to place him in a home without children. We want to be sure he gets a good home - any suggestions as to how to look for an appropriate new owner?

He is compliant with sit, heel, stay, come, down, is a great swimmer, runs great off leash, is very loyal and protective of his pack family, is house and crate trained, is an indoor dog, likes to chase cats and tries to play with them when he does get to them, does well with another dog in the house... has a nipping problem toward all children and some adults.
 

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Nipping could be a herding instinct being triggered. True aggression towards childern should not be tolerated at all. By anyone. Ever. But nipping is perhaps NOT exactly "aggression" ! You must be very careful how you describe this dog if you want to rehome him.....saying he is "aggressive towards children" is going to be such a negative in every rescues books that he will not get rehomed.

Lee
 

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I would have an experienced behaviorist or trainer who is familiar with GSDs and other working/herding breeds come to the house and evaluate the dog. As Lee said, what you're seeing may not be "aggression" and may be a very simple fix. Whether you keep the dog or rehome the dog, it's important for everyone involved to know exactly what is going on.
 

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Grooming, an excited pack behavior is often mistaken for nipping. My male does this (I have only had him for about 2.5 months) when he gets excited. He only does it once in a blue moon with me, but tries to do it more with visitors, my wife and to children if I would let him (individuals he perceives to have a lower rank - which we are working on) . To someone that does not know what it is, and what is going on in the dogs head it can be quite unnerving. Especially since most peoples instinct is to back away or turn around and away from the dog as he does this which instinctually makes the dog push forward and excites him more. He is not aggressive to children or anyone for that matter but is not ready for small children. He is 85 pounds of muscle and fur that gets so excited to interact with them that he would bowl them over. We are working on it. Just another possibility to look at.
 

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Could you be clearer about what you mean by nipping? Is the dog nipping in fear, in play, what? I have seen many young and undersocialized dogs nip at children as part of play behavior because they see the children as playmates. I have also had dogs who have high herding drive and see any movement as very exciting and so they grab at people's legs and arms. This is not aggression and is relatively easy to work with.
 

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He bites at people who are passing by, or who come to our home. He wears a head collar so doesn't have any leverage on walks, but there is no question he is trying to bite. He has made contact with several people (mostly children and teens) and broken the skin on one person (an adult).

What happens: he sees a kid and all his hair stands up on his back like a dinosaur, he growls menacingly, and if they are close enough, he bites at them. There is nothing friendly about it. I'm pretty sure he was not socialized properly as a puppy because he was pulled from the shelter at 8 weeks old. He lived at a vet until 4 months old when we adopted him.

We have been to 2 trainers, both of whom say he is probably fixable, but it requires time and money, both of which are in short order since I am a new mom.
 

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Strong fair leadership is the main thing, along with lots of patience while providing him with positive experiences without pushing him too far and setting him up for success. Socialization at the level that the dog can handle while proving to him that you will provide for, protect, discipline and be a fair leader to him.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSD lots of patience while providing him with positive experiences without pushing him too far and setting him up for success. Socialization at the level that the dog can handle while proving to him that you will provide for, protect, discipline and be a fair leader to him.
I am still working on the leadership part, but I have seen the progress that can be made following John's advice. Mary Jane
 
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