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Discussion Starter #1
My 3 year old female GSD has shown aggression in house and on leash. She does however play fine at the dog park and at doggy day care. When on leash, when she sees a squirrel or another dog, she starts shaking and begins tugging on the leash. When in the house, she will act fine (although cautious) until someone other than my roommate and I get up. Then she will follow them and attempt to bite. If someone else tries to step over her, she will try to bite as well.

I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I have had multiple trainers out here with little success. Just curious if anyone here has any input. Thanks.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
Sorry, I left something out. When the bite is made, it's not a full on lunge, rather just a snap. There is no warning when this happens.
 

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I think the squirrel thing is prey drive and completely separate.

There are a lot of dogs who are MUCH more aggressive when they're on a leash or otherwise confined than they are when they're loose. Usually if they're loose they feel secure enough that they can run away from trouble versus on a leash they think they're stuck. But they can get over it.

First, more info...

When these snaps happen at home, can you describe them further? When she snaps are the people's backs turned away from her or are the people facing her?

At the dog park/day care is she fine with strange people as well as other dogs? What about strange people when she's on leash?

If you or your roommate step over her, does she snap? What's her body language like at that point (ears up or back, body flat or does she stand)?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Would the prey drive cause her to shake?

She is fine with strange people at the dog park and at day care there are normally different people working daily. She shows no sign of aggression there toward animals or people.

The snapping is totally random. She will lay fine on the floor while my girlfriend and I sit on the couch and watch a movie. When my girlfriend goes to get up, she will eyeball her and will eventually snap. The snapping is not at any certain point, rather random and there isn't really any other good way for me to describe it.

She is totally submissive with my roommate. She is a little cautious when he walks over her, but she has never tried to bite. I'm sure this is a natural reaction.
 

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She sounds like a pretty well socialized dog.

Any chance the "snapping" is play based? It's so hard to tell without seeing it. The things you're describing sound like different behaviors rather than adding up to the symptoms of one issue or possibly not aggression at all?

Yes, the intense desire to get that squirrel could definitely cause her to shake, having nothing to do with fear - it's more to do with just being extremely amped up. Tugging on leash and shaking when she sees another dog could be acting amped up rather than fear also.

Has she done anything else that seems "aggressive"?

When she snaps, what is her body language like? Ears up or down? Snarling or smiley?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The snapping is definitely not play based. Her body language is ears straight up and the fur on the back of the neck up. She doesn't grown or snarl, but will just randomly snap.

She has been to two different 3 week boot camps in attempt to fix the problem (once at the breeders, once elsewhere) and they simply could not get her to bite anyone. She is only like this in my apartment.

She hasn't done anything else that seems aggressive... I can't figure this dog out!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes. For example, yesterday I was walking her at the park and someone without a dog came up to me to ask some questions about her. I had her sit and spoke to the lady. She was shaking the entire time.

She also does not eat too much. I feed her 2 cups twice daily and she will be lucky to get through one meal. Not sure if that will tell you anything or not.

EDIT: no I don't have a video camera.
 

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Shaking isn't aggression, it's excitement/elevated arousal (not in a sexual sense). It can take an aggressive turn or not, but it's not aggression by itself.

What are you feeding her? Sometimes behavior can be improved by lowering the sugar content/getting a more balanced food (just like with kids), sometimes not.

It sounds like you've done a good job training her.

When she snaps, doe she bite on? Hold on? Bite the air? Go back to what she was doing before or remain at attention? Seem otherwise spooked?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've tried ALL kinds of food... You wouldn't believe haha. All the holistic stuff, all the cheap stuff, all the middle of the road stuff. I can't really get her to eat much of anything.

Most of the day she just kind of lays around until it's time to goto day care (once or twice a week depending on my schedule) or to go for a walk/throw the ball around the apartment.
 

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Wow, you have a tough situation to deal with. I am a bit of a novice, but imagine in this case it is difficult for even the most experienced to provide good advice, unless they meet the dog.

As for trainers, my experience has not been good with one exception. In some situations my GSD was becoming overly aggressive. I mentioned to find a dog behavior specialist who profiled the dog, and provided great advice.

Perhaps if you tell us where you are from, someone knows a person that can meet the dog and helpout.
 

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What about taking her to the Vet for a thorough check-up? Maybe she has a health issue going on?

Just a thought.
Kristina
 

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Discussion Starter #13
She's been to the vet, she's in very good health. No worries there. As for a trainer, I'm in Richmond VA but have been through a lot of trainers. Recently I had one out who's techniques I have been practicing. He suggested using clicker training and clicking -> treat everytime a stranger gets up.
 

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Have you tried doing NILIF in your house with the whole household participating? It almost sounds like a dominance issue with her snapping when people step over her. You could try getting a mat/bed/blanket and train her to go to her "place" or "go lay down" to get her out of the walking path so no one is stepping over her until the reason for her snapping is taken care of.

The following people and snapping could be her trying to control where everyone in the house is located if her issue is indeed dominance. I think it is especially important that until you are able to find adequate help from an experienced trainer, that you keep your part to practicing NILIF and avoiding confrontations with your dog. If you start outright challenging her, you could be setting the scene for an escalation from air snapping to contact bites.

You mention that you have a hard time getting her to eat. How do you feed her? Do you free feed? Feed at scheduled time? Before or after you eat? Do you try to coax her to eat? Feeding problems could also be indicative of dominance related issues... it is another point of control for the dog.

I hope you have some success with your girl

Michelle

ETA You might also want to try a grain free kibble
 

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NILIF Nothing in Life is Free...
Basically before she gets anything she must work for it, to be fed she needs to offer a sit, to go outside, wait patiently, to be pet, sit nice etc....

4 cups a day seems like a lot of food.......I'm feeding only 2 cups total of Canidae and she is still a bit on the heavy side.......I have never fed more that 3 cups. How big is she? My girl is 57lbs.
 
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