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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
I have a German Shepherd/Lab Mix. She is 1 1/2. Mom was full German Shepherd. She has been a complete delight since we got her at 6 weeks. She was potty trained by 8 weeks, love her kids, very submissive. Weary of strangers, but if she gets too upset (barking fearfully) we remove her from the room. She has gotten along with all our dogs until recently. I have a female westie. She is bossy, and gets into scraps with ever dog we’ve had in our home. I say attack but it’s more like a reprimand to them, and you can say her name and no, she ends it. She has really never “scraped” with a dog who didn’t submit to her. She has always been bossy with our mix since she was a baby. It wasn’t a issue because our mix is a very submissive dog.

Well in January we had a incident where the westie went after her and she didn’t just scrap but went into kill mode. She was shaking the westie and wouldn’t let go. We tried everything from trying to hit her to prying her mouth open. I grabbed her scruff and collar and lifted her as high as I could and she dropped her. My westie didn’t move right away. I believe she was suffocating her: there were wounds but none were deep, and luckily said westie recovered to normal. She knew what she did, and hid and even shook in her crate when you shamed her. This dog is very responsive, and intelligent. Honesty has been amazing to own. She after that wouldn’t play with the westie until recently, and would even run away or hide if you said the Westies name sternly.

Yesterday we were setting up our pool so the environment was excited, then the train was getting ready to come by a few blocks away and they love you howl with the horn. Well my mix is young and was overly excited so my westie tried to reprimand her, and my mix snapped again. It ended quickly as I could get our of the pool , my 14yr old tried to stop it but didn’t know to grab her scruff when lifting her up so the collar kept slipping. Again he tried screaming her name, no, even spanking her (this dog doesn’t even have to be disciplined more then a shame, she is a very mindful dog), it seemed long but was over probably within a minute. Again she was shaking my westie and no responding, until I lifted her by her collar and scruff then she let go. Mind you if I let her down immediately she wouldn’t stop but calms down by the time my kids ran the westie inside. Obviously I left her in the yard while assessing damage. The westie is fine but has 3 small (and shallow) puncture wounds on her leg.

My issue is I understand having a pack of dogs will have “scraps” but this isn’t a scrap. She is trying to kill my westie. I’m not even sure she would stop if she did kill her. It’s like a flip switches and she is not reachable and set only on killing my westie. I grew up with dogs, and have owned a total of 5 Westies in my life (as well as my Irish wolfhound), so I’ve seen scraps. But this isn’t a scrap over food, or dominance. I’m at a loss because the mix once she realizes what happened is so remorseful. When I went out to bring her in and crate her (separating the two) she was no where to be found and eventually found under my husband wood working table. She wouldn’t come out. Once I got her out and in her crate she wouldn’t look at me and shaked as I told her she was bad. This girl really is a great dog, but something happens when my westie reprimands her. She doesn’t always attack back, only has happened twice. But it is scary. I have never seen a dog try to kill another dog, and I’m at a loss what to do.

Both dogs are good dogs, my westie is bossy but I wouldn’t call get her aggressive. She never goes to hurt or kill other dogs, just to tell them calm down most of the time. My mix as I said before is amazing. Loves her kids, loves the other dogs in the home (another westie who is 9 1/2 and my 8yr old Irish wolfhound), she has gotten along fine with my bossy westie until these two times. I cannot let her kill my westie, I love my westie but I love her too. I just am at a loss, because she is a great dog, but honestly it’s like a flip switched and she wasn’t the same dog. Obviously now that it has happened twice I will have to be more careful but they get along and she doesn’t care about being bossed except for these two times. Any advice would be helpful.

Obviously keeping them separated especially since both times seems to happen in the back yard (maybe my mix sees the backyard as hers because she plays with the kids back there a lot and my westie is a mamas girl and usually near me) is a must. I feel at a loss because the westie starts it to a point but then my mix takes it too far.

This is the first German Shepherd mix I’ve owned, so I don’t know if this response is normal behavior or not. I feel I should add all pets in the home are fixed so hormones do not play a part. My mix is exercised constantly, we have 4 kids from 7-14. She is always running playing chase, football (her favorite toy is a deflated football), playing in the sprinkler, she even jumps with the kids on the trampoline. So I know the aggression response is not due to lack or exercise and stimulation. But I don’t know why the response is what it is, and why only those times? Is it going to get worse? Any recommendations would be helpful.
 

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I think you summed up the problem quite nicely:

She has always been bossy with our mix since she was a baby.
You have allowed your Westie to pick on your mix puppy all along...

It wasn’t a issue because our mix is a very submissive dog.
The mix was submissive until it grew up a bit...and predictably then

Well in January we had a incident where the westie went after her and she didn’t just scrap but went into kill mode.
Then the mix decided it had had enough!

You need to find a good, balanced dog trainer to help you manage the dog dynamics in your pack to avoid such problems. Period.

That, or do some rehoming for everyone's benefit!
 

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Keep you dogs separated the until you get a reputable trainer to come to your home who has experience with German shepherds. Your larger dog has had enough of your smaller dog pushing him around. The second attack left puncture wounds. With the size difference and how ingrained the behavior is in your smaller dog from being practiced, you most likely will need to keep your dogs separated indefinitely or rehome one of them. Hope the trainer can help here.
 

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"Scraps" should never be allowed in any pet dogs. They should not be normal and certainly don't have to be.

I agree with the others' comments. Your Westie is obviously the instigator. She should not be allowed to correct any other dog. That's your job, not hers.

Stop your little dog from doing this. You can see it coming so step in and prevent that behavior, or always keep them separated.
 

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This is an insecure dog getting picked on and then snapping. You are adding to the insecurity by "shaming" her afterwards instead of supporting her before she feels the need to defend herself.

The fact that she hides from you instead of coming to you for help explains your relationship. She has no one to protect her and she doesn't want to do it herself, but you have given her no choice.

Added to the problem is same sex aggression. Whether or not they are spayed, 2 females may never get along 100% of the time.
 

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I agree with the other posters. Keep in mind that your 14 year old could have been seriously hurt if either dog redirected onto him. Keep them separated, please.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
While your suggestions are somewhat helpful, they aren’t in some instances. The westie isn’t “allowed” to pick on the other dogs and does get in trouble for it. But the point is she is a terrier, this is a typical behavior for terriers. If you ever owned several terriers it would explain their personalities, and their “attitude”. She is not allowed to run reign picking on anyone. I suppose I should explained better on her “reprimanding” better example would be a grump old dogs attitude. Secondly my mix running is not a “example” of our relationship. She is a VERY sensitive dog. She isn’t fearful, but doesn’t like getting in trouble. As I’ve said she is very behaved for the most part, and RARELY gets into trouble (so the hiding isn’t because of our relationship 🙄, she sleeps next to me, lays outside my bathroom when I shower. Lays on the bed while I dress. Some would call her a Velcro dog, only time she leaves my side is when the kids are playing because she loves to play with the kids. This being said the same westie is usually next to her when this happens because she is also attached to me) She is a dog that is eager to please their owner, so when she is in trouble she takes it personal. I suppose I should elaborated more on our relationship and go more in depth with the dynamics. The part I do believe was right is I do believe she is responding to fear possibly. I’ve considered it, or maybe it has something to do with the excited state from the howling at the train. That is something they are extremely excited about, they all run out the doggy door (we believe that it also may be the same situation that caused the same fight). So you’re talking about a excited energy and I think if the westie tries to tell her to chill out she just takes that and turns it on her. I am keeping them separated for the most part. I’ve decided they can’t go outside alone period. I do believe the “attitude” my westie had may of learned her lesson. I have the mix lose crating the westie at night, never letting them be alone in a environment I’m not in control of (for example getting excited in the back yard over the train honking). I am controlling all the environments and energy. My mix was just walking through the living room and my westie was standing up to go sunbathe in front of the front door (another common thing for the breed) and looked and came over to me. The mix looked at her and went on by. It not a hateful relationship between them like they are at each other’s throats. They get along beautifully except for these two times. I do like the recommendation of a trainer, I will look into it, being I’m in a mountain valley it may not be possible when the nearest actually city is 2 1/2 hours away. But I am going to see if I can find one. As I said this is my first time owning this breed and while she has been a breeze raising (actually to train much easier then a terrier, but then again most people can barely potty train small terriers, I see people complaining about it on the westie groups on Facebook constantly. My Westies will stop and respond to anything I tell them to, even seeing a cat they may sit there and whine but will not move if I tell them to stay) I wasn’t sure if this is common response to conflict from the breed, and if there was any training commands I could teach her to de-escalate it from happening. She knows basic commands such as drop it, leave it but those didn’t work in those situation. As for my 14yr old we have explained the dangers of him trying to break them up. He knows he shouldn’t interfere. But again any recommendations other then assuming to known the situation of their living and situations. I was asking for help (which is why I think a trainer would help) because I do not have experience with her breed. I know there is tactics that work well based on breeds. So any HELP would be great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
yes I will roll my eyes when someone presumes to know a situation without giving asking questions to clarify before they choose to ridicule a situation. But thanks I will remember not to come to any German shepherd owners in the future for advice. I shouldn’t be surprised because I’ve witnessed the same thing from my fellow westie owners for first time owners of the breed looking for advice on situations. Funny how some can be so unwilling to help so people could learn to love the breed as you do, and raise successful pets without behavioral issues. Thanks anyways I suppose. I will see if there is resources I can find with people willing to help me train my dogs to prevent this situation happening again. Figured I’d ask experienced owners before searching for a trainer for her.
 

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You got replies, and you got help, but you don’t like what you were told.

Hopefully, someone with in a similar situation will take the advice given, and benefit.
That’s why we take the time and the trouble to type out these replies: we hope to help dogs.
 
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I've had terriers.Hubby's dog is a terrier mutt. My daughter,in fact, just got two terrier puppies last week. I 100% understand and admire their tough,assertive,and tenacious attitudes. Correcting them after the fact does nothing in the situation you describe. They need to be reminded before they give the other dog a look or a lip curl and the attitude(go ahead punk,make my day).I know which scenarios are most likely to be triggers and either redirect or point at the dog "Uh uh,not happening!" Not being able to train away a dog's genetics and personality, it has to be managed proactively IMHO.
 

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Keep them separated and find a good private trainer to come out to your house and observe. Because of your location that might be difficult, but it doesn’t seem you have the attitude or dog awareness to handle it yourself. ”Only two times” is still not a minor event. It will happen again unless you make sure it doesn't. This is all on you, not the dogs. David is an experienced trainer and handler. You have no idea what his experience is. By allowing yourself to get offended and leaving you are showing us you aren't interested in making changes, but want an easy fix. There isn’t one. Both dogs should feel and be safe at home. Your Westie isn’t going to stop on its own and your younger dog won’t stop defending itself. You need to make some permanent changes.

I noticed a few red flags.
1. You keep referring to the Westie behaviors and personalities as if being a Velcro dog or your Westie experience has any bearing on the other dog’s behavior. It doesn’t.
2. Your environment was excited yesterday, there was an incident in January and yet the dogs were both loose together in the yard while you were in the pool. They should have been separated until you were right there to stop any interactions.
3. David is 100% right. What did he say that was incorrect from a training or behavior situation?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've had terriers.Hubby's dog is a terrier mutt. My daughter,in fact, just got two terrier puppies last week. I 100% understand and admire their tough,assertive,and tenacious attitudes. Correcting them after the fact does nothing in the situation you describe. They need to be reminded before they give the other dog a look or a lip curl and the attitude(go ahead punk,make my day).I know which scenarios are most likely to be triggers and either redirect or point at the dog "Uh uh,not happening!" Not being able to train away a dog's genetics and personality, it has to be managed proactively IMHO.
Exactly thank you. We do stop her attitude immediately, and even after. You understand that assertiveness you have to use on a terrier. But also understand their personalities. We like you get on her if she get “grumpy”, I guess my problem is when it does go undetected as in a backyard while you are setting up a pool and they are excited and she sneaks a attitude in. My issue is the German Shepherd mix response. It wasn’t a growl back it was a full on attack and since I do not have experience with German Shepherd I don’t know the best way to address this with her, or for her to manage a better response. You can’t have one dog try to kill another because it did a growl, or whatever. You have German Shepherd as well? What would you do in this situation? I’m managing the terrier, but how to I manage German shepherds response as well?
 

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I’m going to say your biggest mistake is not taking David’s advice seriously. He is incredibly knowledgeable.
Do not excuse your westies behaviour as being due to breed, training is what is needed.
I have 2 schipperkes as well as a GSD. The schipps came to me with behaviours I wasn’t keen on. I’ve worked hard to change them but it’s an ongoing process. The one Schipp is as dominant as they come. I walk her and if a dog comes close and makes eye contact with her, they roll over to submit. My GSD doesn’t roll over or submit to anything but he does respect her place in our pack. She will attempt to correct him at times and I intervene. Big dog vs little dog, not worth the risk. They are never unsupervised when together and that’s without ever having an altercation.
Females are bitches, once a grudge is set, there is no fixing. Take this very seriously. My mom schipp and daughter would fight to the death of access happens so we keep them separate at all times. Female/female aggression is not uncommon in the breed which is why you won’t see me bring a female here with my other females. You are going to have a dead westie if you don’t change your mindset and get some professional help and assessment.
Dogs live in the moment so scolding and guilting them after has zero effect. What they do know is you’re upset because of body language and tone of voice, really unfair for them. Dogs also don’t just “feel bad or guilty”, they are reacting to you. When your dog hides from you,
It’s because they fear you in that moment, this is NOT good for your relationship with them.

lastly….

there are incredibly well know breeders and trainers on this board, your attitude towards their Input is nothing but insulting and will result in the right people not bothering to help you. These people don’t get paid to help those wanting to learn, they are volunteering their time and expertise , both of which they get paid for outside of this forum.
 

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We have had several terriers over the years. I completely understand their attitudes. None of ours was allowed to behave the way you seem to think yours is entitled to behave. Yes, they are terriers, but they also need to understand that they are not in control, you are. As long as you keep making excuses for your dog and allowing her to continue this behavior, there won't be any solution.

Please read over David Winner's response again and again. He knows what he is talking about, even if he doesn't know your dogs personally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Keep them separated and find a good private trainer to come out to your house and observe. Because of your location that might be difficult, but it doesn’t seem you have the attitude or dog awareness to handle it yourself. ”Only two times” is still not a minor event. It will happen again unless you make sure it doesn't. This is all on you, not the dogs. David is an experienced trainer and handler. You have no idea what his experience is. By allowing yourself to get offended and leaving you are showing us you aren't interested in making changes, but want an easy fix. There isn’t one. Both dogs should feel and be safe at home. Your Westie isn’t going to stop on its own and your younger dog won’t stop defending itself. You need to make some permanent changes.

I noticed a few red flags.
1. You keep referring to the Westie behaviors and personalities as if being a Velcro dog or your Westie experience has any bearing on the other dog’s behavior. It doesn’t.
2. Your environment was excited yesterday, there was an incident in January and yet the dogs were both loose together in the yard while you were in the pool. They should have been separated until you were right there to stop any interactions.
3. David is 100% right. What did he say that was incorrect from a training or behavior situation?
I’m going to say your biggest mistake is not taking David’s advice seriously. He is incredibly knowledgeable.
Do not excuse your westies behaviour as being due to breed, training is what is needed.
I have 2 schipperkes as well as a GSD. The schipps came to me with behaviours I wasn’t keen on. I’ve worked hard to change them but it’s an ongoing process. The one Schipp is as dominant as they come. I walk her and if a dog comes close and makes eye contact with her, they roll over to submit. My GSD doesn’t roll over or submit to anything but he does respect her place in our pack. She will attempt to correct him at times and I intervene. Big dog vs little dog, not worth the risk. They are never unsupervised when together and that’s without ever having an altercation.
Females are bitches, once a grudge is set, there is no fixing. Take this very seriously. My mom schipp and daughter would fight to the death of access happens so we keep them separate at all times. Female/female aggression is not uncommon in the breed which is why you won’t see me bring a female here with my other females. You are going to have a dead westie if you don’t change your mindset and get some professional help and assessment.
Dogs live in the moment so scolding and guilting them after has zero effect. What they do know is you’re upset because of body language and tone of voice, really unfair for them. Dogs also don’t just “feel bad or guilty”, they are reacting to you. When your dog hides from you,
It’s because they fear you in that moment, this is NOT good for your relationship with them.

lastly….

there are incredibly well know breeders and trainers on this board, your attitude towards their Input is nothing but insulting and will result in the right people not bothering to help you.
I am not excusing a dogs behavior but as someone said their attitudes is as part of the breed. We do respond instantly in the moment, if she does anything. I cannot explain a terriers disposition to someone who hasn’t owned them. But she is disciplined when she does anything. The dogs were together because we had not had any issues with them since then and never before that. We had slowly over time let them spend more and more time with each other since it happened 6 months ago. I was frustrated because I found I was having to defend a situation instead of really receiving advice. I am not looking for a quick fix but because I do live in a mountain valley and help is not available. It is farm workers and immigrants. The nearest Walmart is in the next town. Then 2 1/2 hours away after that. I came here for advice on the breed. How to react and prevent. I do have 20 years of westie experience but this is my first experience with German Shepherds and why I came here for help. I know trainers are great (if I can even find one) but people who’ve owned the breed know the trade secrets or better approaches. So it wasn’t a lack of wanting help it’s a lack of wanting to defend a things instead of getting the help I need. As I said above I cannot have a dog try to kill another because one growled . So I came to experienced owners for advice, because if I can’t find a trainer I’m in a bad spot. Obviously we aren’t ever going to let them out of arms reach alone ever again. I wish I could show you their usual reactions with each other. Even after last time they acted like it never happened and again they are acting the same. This isn’t a situation where a grudge is held. That’s why I’m asking help because it’s not aggressive dog situation. It’s the my mixes response, and why it happened. You’re talking about dogs that are bestie friends and then this happened. I honestly don’t know how to explain it. It’s why I came for help. If they hated each other I could handle it, I would know the signs and how to prevent. But it’s not like that. Other then maybe sharing pictures? It speaks louder then words. On their personalities, and how I’m at a loss how to fix it. Only one I have of them cuddling are videos (and videos of them playing, my other 2 dogs are seniors so they played a lot) and I don’t know how to post them. But these dogs aren’t like what you would expect they are all cuddle buddies. Maybe I should’ve started with how good their bonds with each other are before explaining what happened, because it was painted in a intense household with not rules and training which is opposite of what it is. As I said before so know how to train my Westies it’s my 20years of experience and do not know how to address this behavior from my mix.. I am going to look into a trainer (again if I can find one) but in the meantime if anyone has any suggestions other then separating them (which we are doing).
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What you’re not understanding is that once this starts, it will not stop and it will only get worse.
I think your best bet is to keep them separate because you are not fast enough if an attack happens, dogs will always be faster than humans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What you’re not understanding is that once this starts, it will not stop and it will only get worse.
I think your best bet is to keep them separate because you are not fast enough if an attack happens, dogs will always be faster than humans.
This behavior is unable to be fixed even with a trainer?
 

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@AliAlley my guess is the shepherd is being proactive herself - I'll get you before you get me.When you're doing something like setting up a pool one stays indoors or somewhere where they can't access each other. It becomes second nature after a while when you have multiple dogs - you know pretty much exactly what they will do when and just head it off before it happens.

I currently have a shepherd,a husky/hound mix,and hubby's pit/terrier mutt.All totally different personalities. It's been really fun and interesting getting this little pack to mesh.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@AliAlley my guess is the shepherd is being proactive herself - I'll get you before you get me.When you're doing something like setting up a pool one stays indoors or somewhere where they can't access each other. It becomes second nature after a while when you have multiple dogs - you know pretty much exactly what they will do when and just head it off before it happens.

I currently have a shepherd,a husky/hound mix,and hubby's pit/terrier mutt.All totally different personalities. It's been really fun and interesting getting this little pack to mesh.
You are probably right on the My mix girl. It’s not her nature. She is honestly the sweetest dog I’ve ever owned, and honestly the best other then this situation. My husband and I have discussed the situation and agreed to keep them separated, both dogs are very loved. My female westie I had that I lost in OCT 2019 due to cancer we kept separated 90% of the time. Not due to aggression but she was very old and lost pretty much all her eye site (the cancer wouldn’t go away and stay regardless the Intense treatments we did) so she would follow the others and get lost, being where we are located we have eagles, owls, coyotes. Very Rural area so it was dangerous for her to get lost even in the fenced yard (and winters are well below zero and we feared if she ever went out the doggy door and couldn’t get back in..) . I will just have to go back in the routine of keeping the other westie separate like I did my older girl before she passed. The westie doesn’t run so I can let her go out in the front to use the potty and she loves going bye bye, so separating them is possible and can be easily done (we did it for months before we reintroduced them together, they no joke 3 weeks ago I have videos of cuddling, cleaning each other’s ears) I will just have to make the separation permanent. Thank you for the advice.
 
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