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Fear? aggression

1172 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Kayos and Havoc
I'd appreciate your thoughts on here about Eb. She is a (nearly) 4 year old black GSD, good parents, good breeding. She lives with 2 other GSDs who she is fine with and currently I would say is middle of the pack, most of the time we follow NILIF with her and she is a perfect pet home dog and rarely do we have to do much with her at home in terms of scolding etc. She is very sweet natured and loves people. However, I *think* she is fear aggressive with other dogs.

She was socialised like mad as a pup and taken to puppy classes and then obedience, where she was fine, we then couldn't take her for about 6 months and during this time she was run at (not proper attack but barking and flying at her) by a miniature poodle a couple of times. We enrolled her back into obedience and also started agility but noticed that she was now barking at most dogs and in some cases lunging. She doesn't make any contact with the dog and if she is off lead will run up barking to a certain distance and then if the dog comes over, or barks back, will fly back to us which makes me think that it is fear aggression. She will play fine with some dogs (those she knows) but is always pretty vocal, but at both obedience and agility she will stand and bark at the other dogs (very high pitched, almost wanting to play sometimes I think). This is especially the case at agility where if a fast dog is running she will get really het up and bark and pull at the lead - because of this (and the fact that she will chase a ball for hours) I have introduced her favourite ball on a tuggy so if I know a situation is arising where she may bark or I can see her getting wound up I will encourage her to tug with me (although she does not always do this). Recently she was run at by a collie (who is dog aggressive) and now she will not tug when this collie goes past and will bark - I have since removed her from class where this dog is and enrolled in the later one as I felt this was stopping us making any progress. She is very wary of other dogs when she is running agility in that if she is running at the end of the course where the other dogs are waiting she will watch them all carefully, slow down and generally 'worry' whereas if we are working away from them she is happy, fast and confident.

I am encouraging her to tug more with me, letting her win at the end etc. I am also seeking out people with calm dogs just to walk with and eventually I would like to let her off the lead and let her play but not yet (I want to stop the barking first!) but I am not sure if I could be doing anything to build up her confidence in herself or whether I should be doing this!! She is such a lovely dog but of course when someone sees a GSD barking they of course think the worst and I really don't want this! Also, would I be better taking her out on her own (also to training) rather than with our other dogs as I wonder whether she isn't learning to be by herself properly.
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Almost the exact same problem with my dog, little over a year old. She used to be great, had a bad experience with a chocolate lab and now has to put on a big barking and lunging show. If the other dog stands its ground, she will retreat and huddle right beside us. She's great with dogs she knows though.
I would recommend purchasing and watching Calming Signals by Turiid Rugaas the book isn't the same, you need to really watch and see what's going on with our dogs so we can act early if needed or know if our dogs are fine in a situation. has great articles about agressions AND articles about how when we can become a better leader to our dogs (what they perceive as leadership, not always the same as what we are doing) they look to us and calm.
You might also purchase Control Unleashed by Leslie MCDevitt. Her program is designed for reactive dogs in fast paced sports like agility. The things learned will bleed over to everyday life. You can buy it at
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