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Bailey tried to bite a little girl

1223 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  GSDLove
Help! Bailey is almost 8 months old and has started being very aggressive. I mean charging my fence at other dogs. Now he has taken to charging the fence at people.

I have been working with him to correct this behavior.

Today I had him for a walk and a little girl and her Dad came up. The Dad has GSD's and wanted to see Bailey. Well Bailey growled at him, I made him sit, and gave the man a treat to give Bailey. He was then able to pet Bailey. Well his little girl then walk up and before I could stop Bailey he charged the girl who is about 7 years old. He grab her upper thigh and got her pants.

He is from German working line parents, un-neutered, and has been in some form of obed. from the day I got him at 10 weeks.

I am ready to send him back to the breeder.

Any advice?

Thank you.

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Do you practice NILIF with him? He may think that he is your protector instead of the other way around. Let him know you will be the one to protect him. He is still young and maybe going thru a fear stage...How often is he around little kids?
Onyx is wierd around that age group 4-8 yr olds, she doesn't know how to read them, as they are unpredictable.
What type of collar did he have on? Some types may ramp up the level of excitement when corrections are made.
If he hasn't been socialized with young children, he may have a fear of them. Sorry everyone had to go thru this, is the girl ok?
If a dog growled at me, even briefly, I would NOT let my child approach that dog.
I have started to work him on a pinch collar. No he has not had a lot of exposure to kids other than the ones that walk or ride bikes around the lake.

Yes, we do practice NILIF.

Thank you.
Could you maybe try another collar? I am all for the prong when the dog can handle it, but maybe he would do better on a front clip harness That way when he pulls it is towards you, and the harness wouldn't amp him up if he needs corrections, like a prong would. I switched Onyx to a gentle leader in feb. after having a prong collar since 8 mos old. (she is 18 mos), and recently using a no-slip for the past few days with good results, though she hasn't been around small kids with this one on.
A prong collar can ramp up aggression.

I would work on counter conditioning Bailey to have positive reactions to people. I would start by clicker training (or marker training) him. Teach focus first. Once you've got that down, start socializing him from a distance. Assign a word or command like, "Look, a person!" and click and treat. Do not let anyone approach him. Once he is more comfortable then get closer but again, don't let anyone touch him. You click and treat him for all calm, focused behavior and ignore the rest. Be careful not to flood him (get too close, do too much at once, etc.). Take it very slowly. If he is showing fear then you need to back up a step. If you keep up with this you will get to the point where you can have other people feed him treats. Be sure to make the treats very high value. For example, you might choose hot dog pieces and make it so that he only gets hot dog pieces when he is calm around people.

Keep us posted...

And yes, I have counter conditioned using this method and had total success.
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I too will also say to please use a different collar than a prong. It can really increase aggression in the longrun.
Maybe also find a canine behaviorist (not a trainer) who can evaluate him?

Now is a great time to begin working on focus in those nice, calm, boring, predictable situations, like say-- in you own livingroom. Then, working up to holding good long focus (for click and treat) in your quiet backyard. After a week of success there, move it the focus excersises for click and treat into the park on a q-u-i-e-t day. After many quiet-park-days of success, go to the same park and work that focus on a weekday at 4pm when the kids are out of school and there are joggers getting off of work. After a week of great focus under these distractions, move it to a Saturday at the same park. After a few Saturdays of consistant great focus, well, golly.. try any park you like for variety on a Saturday. YOU are what he needs to focus on when a dog, kid, etc. comes by when he is on lead.##Emma Parson's book, "Click to Calm" was written just for your situation. There is no quick fix, but, boy does this program work! You can also read Feisty Fido. It is about dog-dog reactivity, but, it is a great program for working on focus and improving such a volatile tendency. Wishing you the best of luck, and some great support from a caring behaviorist!
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Hi All,

Thank you for the advice. I also spoke with the trainer I have been using. She works with working line GDS and is very good.

She suggested I contact my breeder to find out if any of the other littermates are having this problem.

She suggested it could be a fear period or more seriously a line issue.

I will take the advice to stop with the prong collar.

Thank you again.

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I would also do everything possible to stop the fence running. In my experience that behavior leaks over to other problems.
Hi all,

Here is an update on Bailey. Since his aggression toward the little girl we have gone back to the basics in our training.

For walks I am using a gentle leader. I am making him do lots of sits and downs and watch me in the back yard and on walks.

He did not react to two girls walking around the lake behind my house this weekend. He did bark and growl at another dog while we were walking. I made his sit and watch me.

The trainer I am using suggested I get his breeders input, I haven't heard from her yet as she is out of the country until June 7.

I am very concerned about Bailey and his aggression, but I am more hopeful that this is a fear period that we can work through and not a genetic defect.

Thank you.

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