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Discussion Starter #1
OMG! Im at a loss right now! My dad took Bear for a few days to have a slumber party and he was outside with Bear walking around the yard, when some guy walked by on the sidewalk. He looked at Bear and went "RUFF RUFF RUFF" trying to bark at Bear. The guy was mexican, and didnt speak much english (that makes a point at the end) and as he kept walking past the house he was staring at Bear. Apparently, Bear ran up to the guy and knocked him over. he bit the guys hand, didnt break skin but left tooth impressions. I WAS NOT there, so i have no idea as to his behavior exactly. I dunno if he was excited and jumped on the guy thinkin he wanted to play, (which hes done before) or if he felt threatned by this guy barking at him. The way my dad puts it, he says he and Bear were playing ball and as the man passed he caught Bears attention. He was still holding the ball in his mouth and just looked at the guy and then turned back to my dad. At which point the guy barked at Bear (my dad says it was in a taunting way, and bear ran towards the guy and knocked him clear over. The man wasnnt hurt but told my dad he wanted to call the police, to which my dad replied, your an illegal immigrant living next door in an illegal appt (attic) with 8 of your family members, and YOU TAUNTED my dog, a GSD, and you want me to call the police?!?! So they guy quickly apologized to my dad and left. I really dont know what to do with him! He playfully nipped a young kid at the park a while back ( i posted about that too) and im just scratching my head thinking where did i go wrong? As a puppy, i socialized him like crazy! I brought him with me everywhere, introduced him to all sorts of dogs and people of all races and sizes. We had lots of company come to the house so he could learn how to be polite when having guests. I walk him up and down Main Street (which in our town has everything from laywers, to homeless people walking) and he never had a problem. I even let family members keep him overnight so he could learn to be comfortable anywhere with anyone (also incase i wanted to take a vacay, i wouldnt kennel they would stay with family) He had puppy classes and did very well, graduated and everything. I took him to another class taught by John Henkel of Wilendorf Kennels, but i pulled him out of there because i didnt like the way they handeled him. (his wife threw a book at bear during our session because he had an accident inside).

Bear is my big goofy clown. He is the only one who doesnt bark at the door, and when people come in, he gently walks up to them, sniffs their hand and goes back lays down. On walks he is a gentleman and never lunges or pulls at people passing by. This only happens when he is off leash. which i havent had him off leash since the last incident, after advice from you guys. Ive been working on his recall so that once he gets through this that maybe down the road he can enjoy off leash time with the rest of my hooligans. the only time i give him any off leash privliges are if we go to the park and there is no one there. I make him do at least an hours walk with him in a heel and listening to me, then i'll take them to the back field and i give them maybe 15 minutes to run around and then hes leashed again.

Sorry this is so long, but i really REALLY need your help! I do know now the first thing im going to do is have him neutered. the only reason i waited was for health reasons. But what else can i do to ensure this wont happen again? He has just turned one in january, and otherwise has been an angel of a dog. i have no idea whats causing this.
 

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oh i just realized when i reread it that young kid sounds really bad. the kid was of high school age, i should have been more specific. He is amazing with small children, i have a 10 year old niece and a 1 1.2 old nephew who play with him all the time, and he is very careful and gentle with them.
 

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This is a young dog that does not have the recall to be let off lead. He was in a bad situation to begin with (off leash without his main handler) and then a passer by did something stupid. I don't see anything wrong with the dog here, I see both passer by and mainly your Dad at fault here for putting him in the position to begin with.
 

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I wouldn't pin this entirely on Bear. There's three rules when you meet a strange dog...even if someone is intoducing thier dog to you.

1. Don't Talk
2. Don't Touch
3. No eye contact

Whenever I go meet a new GSD at the pound, our meeting goes like this.

1. I observe the dog from a distance watching how he interacts with his kennelmates.
2. Unless they have a rule that states that the assistant must get the dogs out, I always go in myself. I stand tall, but relaxed and walk into the gate but I pay the dogs no attention. The dogs reaction to me entering the kennel determines the amount of time I wait before I slip the loop over his head. I do this without talking, without eye contact, and without touching the dog with my hands.
3. I walk out of the kennel leading the dog. No talking, no touching, no eye contact.
4. Once I get outside I let the dog lead to observe how he interacts with his enviroment. I let him mark his territory, sniff around, etc. Once he clams down then I start my evaluation in this order.

Talk first, gauge his reaction. Does he glance at me? Does he try to initiate eye contact? Does he ignore me

Touch second, the first touch is always grazing and casual...I do NOT pet the dog.

Eye contact last, I walk to the maximum distance that the leash will allow then I crouch and call the dog to me in an excited tone, completely non-threatening and I watch the dogs face as he comes to me.

I say all that to say this; there is a certain way to go about meeting a dog. Barking at it and holding eye contact is NOT the way. While you can work on training Bear to ignore people he meets, I would pin the incident entirely on teh man and not the dog. You could also try educating your neighbors on how to approach a dog and/or set up a casual meeting NOT AT YOUR HOUSE, where they can meet bear. Have plenty of treats for them to give to Bear. Tell them to have him sit, then give him a treat. You want him to associate stangers with good things.
 

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I agree with John totally here! Bear is a young GSD with good socialization-- but still, a young GSD. Bear belongs on lead at this point, and should be offlead only with his main handler in controlled situations. Bear is not a vicious dog.... this was an accident waiting to happen. Dad didn't mean it, but, it put Bear in a rough situation with this passerby teasing him. Bear will learn better control. You are working with him still I am sure... he is a good dog. Just my 2 cents.
 

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thanks, im feelin a little better, but i still want to know what you guys think it is that would cause him to do this. I took him for a walk today down main street cuz its busy and i knew we would have to pass lots of people, so i could correct him if needed to try and nip this behavior. Well, on our walk this little old lady was walking past us with a big canvas bag on her shoulder. as we passed her he looked to her, and i immediatley corrected him, he took the correction and then turned back around and pulled her bag right off her shoulder! Its not an agressive move at all, just in the blink of an eye reached up and grabbed at the bag. He doesnt seem to be agressive at all towards people, he just walks up to them and nips at their hands or whatever he can grab. As we passed people on the street, i made him sit, and as the person passed us, i gave a "look here" command and treated him if he looked at me and not the person walking by. This worked, about half of the time, other times he sat but completely ignored me and practically broke his neck turning to watch them pass by him. I'm also going to enroll him in another obedience class after he has recovered from the neuter surgery i planned for the end of the month. Hopefully going to a OB class will get him to pay attention to me with lots of distractions.

Hes done have off-lead time as of now, i cant take the risk of this happening again. And i told my dad, from now on with his little sleepovers that he has to be on leash at all times. i explained to him what could happen if he does this again, and that he has to be super careful when they are walking.
 

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What kind of collar are you using? If he was able to pull the bag off her shoulder, you're giving him too much leash, you need to reel him in more.

Buy a pinch collar when you're working with a dog trying to correct an aggressive behavior. Not only is it more effective when giving a correction, but it also has a much slimmer chance of injuring your dog in the long term.

When you're looking to provoke a people aggressive behavior like this one, there's no need to actually walk by them. I would make that step two. Step one is you sitting by the sidewalk with Bear sitting beside you. Let him look around and if he GLANCES at someone walking by, that's okay! When he fixates on someone for more than a second, give a correction.

Don't give up after one day, it will take time. You're final goal is this....Bear looks at someone and corrects himself automatically by immediatly looking away. You do not want to correct a mere glance because it could make him more people aggressive or the opposite, very fearful. You don't want him to associate people with punishment, you want him to associate fixation with punishment.

Keep us posted! I've been through this very thing before and while it's frustrating, it's actually one of the easiest forms of aggressive to iron out.
 

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Originally Posted By: blackbirdzach
Buy a pinch collar when you're working with a dog trying to correct an aggressive behavior. Not only is it more effective when giving a correction, but it also has a much slimmer chance of injuring your dog in the long term.
Be very careful with this line of thought. With some dogs a prong will amp up the aggression as opposed to extinguish it. In this case, since the dog is not actually showing aggression - more like excitement I would agree with the prong suggestion. Also, be careful about the "too much leash" too. A tight leash creates tension and makes a dog instinctively pull.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSD
Originally Posted By: blackbirdzach
Buy a pinch collar when you're working with a dog trying to correct an aggressive behavior. Not only is it more effective when giving a correction, but it also has a much slimmer chance of injuring your dog in the long term.
Be very careful with this line of thought. With some dogs a prong will amp up the aggression as opposed to extinguish it. In this case, since the dog is not actually showing aggression - more like excitement I would agree with the prong suggestion. Also, be careful about the "too much leash" too. A tight leash creates tension and makes a dog instinctively pull.
Yes, good point. Don't confuse "less leash" with a tight leash. A tight leash trasnfers all your tension straight to the dog. What I'm saying just reel him in a bit. You don't have control over your dog if he's grabbing bags off the shoulders of little old ladys.

I've been told by more than a few people that my use of prong collars is out dated and inhumane, but I have always used them and I have always had great results with them.
 

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John is right on here! I would remind Dad as well that Bear needs to not be put in such a situation again.
 

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Originally Posted By: KathyWJohn is right on here! I would remind Dad as well that Bear needs to not be put in such a situation again.
Me: Doctor it hurts when I move my arm this direction

Doc: Well stop moving your arm like that

Problem solved.
 

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On another board I used to frequent there was an amazingly smart lady, who happened to be a trainer.

One thing she said that always stuck in my head was 'Never set a dog up for failure'.

Basically, don't put a dog in a situation where it can fail. Young GSD, offlead, with morons abounding is a bad situation.

I'd just ask dad to please keep that leash on while they play. It can be a PITA, but it's for Bear's safety and your peace of mind
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSDLOL. Once we all finally admit that our dogs are just that... dogs and that unless there is some major genetic shortcoming all of their problems are created by us we are much better off.
Best post in the entire "Training and Behavior" forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
i am using a prong collar with him, and he is in a "heeling" position with not to much loose leash, the sidewalk was on the skinnier side so it was my fault though that i should have put myself between him and the old lady.. i think today we are going to go sit on a bench in the park and just watch people passing by and playing all around us. Its kinda cold here so their wont be too many people, but with a bag of cut up hot dogs and some patience, hopefully we'll have a good day.

When you say correct when hes fixated and not just looking, he kinda does the whole turn his head so hes breaking his neck just to look where they are going. So its ok for him to look but if he continues to watch them i should correct him then?

I've noticed when something does catch his attention even with the leash being short (hes also very very tall and im pretty short so their isnt much leash between us) that it throws us both out of whack because hes much stronger than me so for him to turn around, makes me skip a step and trip, which then throws him way out of it, and it takes us a few seconds to get back on track. When this happens i usually stop, which he automatically sits when we stop, and i fix the leash, and adjust the prong collar back up on his neck, and then we keep moving.

I totally agree that somewhere down the line, myself or my dad has caused this problem, but im hoping to keep an eye on myself with him from now on, and then once i feel he is doing much better, then i think he can return to his sleepovers with pop-pop..
 

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Dont' let him follow someone with his eyes. A quick glance is okay. Don't let him fixate for more than a second. Make the correction quick and firm. If he continues to look at the same person after the correction, you did not correct hard enough. Also, this is very important, do NOT pull up or backward on the leash as this can potentially damage the dogs throat. Always check to the side...this should be easy since you said he's a tall dog and you're a little shorter side. lol

Also, if the dog is not use to being corrected he may yelp or act confused at first. A suprised yelp is okay, but you don't want to check the leash so hard that it affects his balance. If you pull the dog off his feet or make him stumble then you checked him waaaay to hard.
 

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Your response is precisely what I was told when my dog Timber took off after a few guys on bikes. Fortunately, he did not bite them, but it was scary for a moment.

Briefly, after evaluating Timber, who of course was on his best behavior, she made it clear it was my responsibility to make sure the dog was never put in that situation again.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
he's under the "eagle eye" now! LOL
 
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