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Hi again,
Our GSD is now 5 mo., old and quite a handful! Any advice or suggestions would be beyond appreciated! Our two biggest concerns are: biting & grabbing our adult cat by his neck and barking & fearful behavior around children. Regarding the cat...a typical example involves "Charlie" chasing the cat, and then clamping down on his neck, in a position of dominance. We are quite concerned that he could easily injure our cat, and are desperate for some advice. We have tried the "leave it" command and saying "no"....nothing is helping it seems! We don't expect them to be best friends, but would at the very least like to have them exist peacefully in our home together. The second concern is a new behavior that has recently surfaced over the past week....barking at children! This is something we are obviously quite concerned with, we don't have any kids in our home yet....but planning a family in the future. "Charlie" could be out walking in the park with us or at a family party and if a baby and/or child approaches him....he almost appears timid and begins to bark repeatedly!! We are trying to bring him around children as much as possible, but really don't know what else we could be doing to help curb this behavior?! Any tips, suggestions or great trainers in the Chicago area would be beyond appreciated!!
Thanks!!
 

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Find a behaviorist in your area and get started on this NOW! Especially with aggressive displays towards children your dog could turn into quite a liability. They will work with you and develop a plan to counter the fear response and teach that aggression is not tolerated. Also talk with your breeder about this problem.

I have the same issue with my female and after a year of work and constant emails with the breeder he finally admitted her mother is aggressive in the same way. Nice breeding program eh?
 

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Ace barks at kids. We rescued him when he was 5 months old and he came to us with that problem. I walk him by parks with kids and we sit for a while on the OUTSIDE areas just so he can get use to the sounds of kids. Were moving really slow but he is getting better. He is fine with the kids in my family. I have 5 & 7 yr old neices that pretty much live with me and he loves them. But when were out almost 95% of the time he will bark at a kid.
 

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Does Charlie know (really know) the leave it command? My GSD will also bite around the neck of my cat but she has been around him for 2.5 years and I know she is playing. But, accidents can happen. You should make sure that the cat has an escape route and can get away from the dog if needed. And work on a solid leave it command.

Have you noticed that the dog is barking at certain age of child? My GSD when she was around 1yr old was afraid of little girls around the ages of 5-8 yrs old. She had never seen a girl that age before and they were now face to face with her which is threatening and scary for a young dog. You need to keep him at a safe distance and begin with as many positive associations with children as possible. My Raven was not barking or a threat and so a day of young girls giving her lots of treats and she know loves girls this age.

I also second getting a good behaviorist to help you work through these things.
 

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Hi again,
Our GSD is now 5 mo., old and quite a handful! Any advice or suggestions would be beyond appreciated! Our two biggest concerns are: biting & grabbing our adult cat by his neck and barking & fearful behavior around children. Regarding the cat...a typical example involves "Charlie" chasing the cat, and then clamping down on his neck, in a position of dominance. We are quite concerned that he could easily injure our cat, and are desperate for some advice. We have tried the "leave it" command and saying "no"....nothing is helping it seems! We don't expect them to be best friends, but would at the very least like to have them exist peacefully in our home together. The second concern is a new behavior that has recently surfaced over the past week....barking at children! This is something we are obviously quite concerned with, we don't have any kids in our home yet....but planning a family in the future. "Charlie" could be out walking in the park with us or at a family party and if a baby and/or child approaches him....he almost appears timid and begins to bark repeatedly!! We are trying to bring him around children as much as possible, but really don't know what else we could be doing to help curb this behavior?! Any tips, suggestions or great trainers in the Chicago area would be beyond appreciated!!
Thanks!!
Try tethering him to you. I did this With Josie too because she did like to go after my cats as a young puppy. I would give her a correction when she biting on them followed by a "no bite" command, i used leave it too. She was not allowed to play with the cats until she knew her boundaries with them, it also helped that one of the cats really sunk their claws in her and she had a rude awakening. I would also recommend having a safe place for the cat to go to like an extra room with the baby gate up. Reward when he plays nicely, give a correction when he gets too rough and starts biting Takes alot of repetition and also redirect to something else like a toy. Giving him enough exercise may also help curb his wanting to go after the cat, he may be bored too.

As far as barking at Kids don't force your pup onto kids. You can go places where there are children like a park, just sit at the bench and let him watch kids of all ages run around so he gets used to hearing the sound of kids. Taking him for walks by the school early mornings where kids are crossing the street to their school is also a perfect training opportunity. At this point you don't need to let kids start petting your puppy. Just let him see them walking around or even playing. Going to training class now will also help plenty.

I would avoid petsmart training, those trainers are not real trainers imo :). Do you have kids in your family?. If so maybe borrow those kids to socialize with your puppy. You can find dog training by googling it in your area. make sure this trainer has worked with German Shepherds before.
 

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I am not an expert by any means but my pup is a bit too interested in my cats at times so I have her on a lead inside so that way if the cats are in the same room and she does more than look I can grab her before she gets too near. Should add that my cats are elderly and I use a baby gate sometimes to stop Molly from always being in their face!
 

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All my dogs have chewed my cats heads. It takes time with the cats, I have 2 cats. My older cat Spitz, 17 yrs, has trained 4 pups & 2 older dogs in his lifetime. He does not back down or run, which helped teach the pup "respect me or I'll wack ya". Lakoda chews his head now, my cat allows this, and can even leave him in peace, or walk by. My other cat, Misty was a ferral rescue, she's about 7 & very skidish, she will run, puppy will chase. I try to intervien best as I can to not allow the pup to chase, but that's really hard. Misty doesn't want to come in the house when the pup is right there, she'll let the pup sniff, work her way in, everything is fine, then she says enough by wacking the pup, runs and the chase is on. I like to reward Lakoda big time when she's being calm, when the cats walk by her and she doesn't move. It's been 2 months and Misty has come around a little, I wish she wouldn't run. Patience, training & time.
 

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Do you have access to the book "The Other End of the Leash"? I think it would benefit you in this situation. Since you don't have children, he sees these small people and doesn't understand. It's a fear reaction, not aggression.

Try to distract him before he can react so you can catch him before he is focused on the kids. Try to find some neighbor hood children that can give him lots of treats. Maybe have them walk by, do NOT make eye contact with him, and toss him treats. He'll start to associate the small people with good. Then work towards having him sit while they walk by and toss a treat. Finally, have him in a sit and they can stop to treat him. I bet it won't take him long to catch on. :)
 

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Teach him "Leave It" for the cat. Jax liked to grab Cracker by the neck too. And always have a way for your cat to escape. I don't think any of my dogs would hurt Cracker on purpose but when you have large dogs, and a cat that likes to attack their butts, accidents happen.
 
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