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My husband and I got a 7 month old German Shepherd from a rescue back in February. We fell in love with her and wanted to add her to our family, which at the time was us, our year old Aussie, and two cats who we have had for several years.

Over the last 3 months as she has gotten comfortable she has started to be very aggressive. It started with our cats who she would obsess over and try to get any time they were in the house, and it is now to the point where they have had to become outdoor cats.

After that there was an incident with my sister's chihuahua/ Weiner dog mix who bit her face. She grabbed him by the shoulders and threw him across the room, and at the time we attributed it to self defense. However, since then the only other dog who she has been around was my mom's chihuahua who she jumped up and bit the second she saw him while he was being held and not barking, he is a very old and gentle dog. We won't allow her around any animals besides our Aussie.

However, even this has become a problem. She has become extremely aggressive with him over the last month or so, to the point that I have to grab her collar and pull her off of him. She will grab him by the ears, legs, or throat and shake him around (he is considerably smaller than her) and when he yelps and struggles she doesn't stop. When he does get away he will run and hide under me or under a table with his ears down and she still won't stop biting him and barking at him. He never initiates this kind of play with her, he is extremely docile. She rips huge chunks of fur off of him and I am pretty certain that if he didn't have such thick fur to protect him she would have hurt him. She has also started humping him, snarling at him, and having serious food aggression to the extent that they don't get fed un the same room and I have to stand guard while they are eating.

The biggest issue is the way she is with me. She bites me multiple times a day, jumps on me, growls at me, and barks at me any time I a) pet our other dog b) pull her off of the other dog c) am sitting on the couch d) try to put a leash on her to take her outside to go potty e) just because. My arms, hands and legs are covered in scratches, bites and bruises and I don't know what to do. I have tried isolating her when she does these things, trying to teach her that it hurts by over exageratedly crying out and then ignoring her, positive reinforcement when she does listen to me (not often) and negative reinforcement when she is hurting me bad enough that I have no other option.

She isn't this way with my husband and when he is home she is like a completely different dog. We have come to the conclusion that she was abused by a male because any time he enters the house she is skittish and if he talks to loudly or approached too quickly she runs and hides. He never sees this behavior so it is creating a huge issue for us. I can't stand being hurt or seeing our other animals being hurt by her, but he isn't there and doesn't realize how bad it is. I've had 7 dogs and never had something like this happen. We have a baby on the way and I'm afraid that her agressiveness will continue on to her.

Any help is appreciated. I love her so much and I have been crying and praying about this almost every day. I just can't stand getting hurt or seeing her hurt our other animals any longer, and she has just been getting worse.
 

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Do you think there'll be some upside here Jessica? This sounds like a dog that will need to constantly be managed in way that doesn't allow anything to happen. I'm a firm believer you can't change a dogs temperament, are you ok with a dog that may be 12 years of careful management and nothing but work on your part to keep yourself and anyone else from getting bit? Based on what you posted, this isn't a dog I'd let within 10' of a baby.
 

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First, I would contact the rescue and report the issues do they are aware of a potential return.

Second, contact a good trainer. Steve is correct, this is a dog that will have to be managed. You have a dog with extreme prey drive, she's biting you and out of control. You need a trainer to egal in person and then you need to decide if you are the right family for the task.
 
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And let me add, this is NOT a dog that an 'all positive' trainer is going to be able to help you with!

This is a dog that's gotten away with murder in the past, and she needs to learn NO MEANS NO!

The potential for this dog seriously injuring or killing another dog/animal is extremely high - don't fool yourself! She is NOT just playing!
 

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Do you think there'll be some upside here Jessica? This sounds like a dog that will need to constantly be managed in way that doesn't allow anything to happen. I'm a firm believer you can't change a dogs temperament, are you ok with a dog that may be 12 years of careful management and nothing but work on your part to keep yourself and anyone else from getting bit? Based on what you posted, this isn't a dog I'd let within 10' of a baby.
I wouldn't let her within ten feet of another dog either, including the dog you have. You called it "play" but I didn't read anything that sounded like play. I would separate her from the Aussie immediately
 

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As a mom of two...that first year with a baby is exhausting and demanding (joyful too!) but trying to manage a potentially dangerous dog as well as taking care of the baby...sounds like an impossible situation?
While feeding & diapering & caring for the baby - there will have to be also "where is the dog? is the dog crated? put the dog outside because baby is having tummy time", etc....dealing with all that blows my mind.
And once the baby comes, believe me, you won't have the time or energy to be training the dog and working with the dog a lot (unless you are a superbeing).

Then there is the fatigue of the first few months when you're not sleeping...waking up every few hours to breastfeed or bottlefeed...
you feel absentminded and foggy, you forget things, you don't notice things...
if you have a dog with aggressive tendencies around, that one little time you forget, could become a tragedy.

We adopted a rescue and they kept emphasizing to me:
if it doesn't work out, he will always have a home with us...
we are there for our animals for their whole life.
Why not contact the rescue & let them know what's going on...


PS And congrats on your new family addition! I didn't mean to make it sound so horrible - those first years with the kids are actually some of the best memories of our lives. :)
 

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I would take her back. Rescues have an obligation to be honest about dogs they place and to take them back if they are wrong. It could be something you have done, but I doubt it. The dog is not a match. This is an example of why I got out of rescue. I was working with a breed rescue, then with some independents and got tired of being given aggressive dogs to foster.
 

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If you are pregnant you will NOT have the time to do what this dog needs, which is daily, consistent training and complete control of the dog whenever she is with any other people or dogs. Please rehome it, for your family's and pets' safety.
 
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