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@Slamdunc Did you lose Boomer? You helped me so much with handling technique when my dog was young. You knew exactly what I was doing wrong from my description and explained how I could improve. It worked. Rather than argue with experts and experienced handlers here, newer owners should relax and accept the help when it is offered. It’s free and it’s good.
 

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None taken. Holy crap folks, what I did is not what you describe, which sounds frightening and violent and unnecessary. I would not treat a dog like that ever. When my dog was in my face acting inappropriately, I gently pulled him down onto the floor to make my point that this isn't ok. I said no, then released him after a few seconds to go lay down, or get in the car. Violence is never correct with these gorgeous animals in my book My point was the boy's safety first as the situation is concerning. Even a muzzle if necessary if the child is in danger. Who knows for sure. None of us do. Everyone here wants to be an expert, but dogs and situations vary and none of us are able to witness first hand this concerning situation. I feel for the family, but protect that child. Can anyone recommend a reputable trainer in their location
 

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@Slamdunc Did you lose Boomer? You helped me so much with handling technique when my dog was young. You knew exactly what I was doing wrong from my description and explained how I could improve. It worked. Rather than argue with experts and experienced handlers here, newer owners should relax and accept the help when it is offered. It’s free and it’s good.
Thank you for the kind words. Yes, I lost Boomer in 2018, he was twelve. I lost Boru in April, that was a complete shock and very sudden. Boru would have been 10 on July 1st. I expected that Boru would live to 14, he was such a strong dog. He was fine Saturday night, ate dinner. he was fine Sunday morning when I left to go kayak fishing. He was gone before I got home at 2 PM. It is never easy to lose a dog, Boru was an especially tough loss.
 

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Fern GSD 5yrs, Chloe the Cat
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My boy is submissive to me. He enjoys a chase and comes when called, but is not a killer and I wouldn't allow it. We sat and watched a young squirrel in my yard trying to climb a trellis. He doesn't like other dogs, but then he was attacked and injured at 7months by another dog. Very social with people visiting. Gets more protective when on a leash and I wouldn't let strangers touch him. Super protective in the car and have to work on it. Haven't had a problem with feeding.

which he started growling at my son for no apparent reason. Both of these happened while the dog was laying down but awake and perfectly aware someone was approaching (not a case he has been startled). The most recent one happened just now while I was petting the dog and my son approached at walking speed and the dog was aware of his presence since he got in the room. When my son got closer the dog locked his stare on him and started growling. No food or toys in immediate vicinity. Not very loud and no barking, but a clear growl.
I can’t imagine what has changed and I’m getting apprehensive with this situation.
Any ideas on what I can do to stop this behaviour, or what might be triggering the dog?


I'd love to see the pedigree of your dog. I'm glad your dog is bonded to you and I never said you physically harmed your dog.

I've been working and training dogs for a little while now. I only post on topics that I have some experience in and some knowledge from years of working with a leash in my hand. I think I can get an idea on other people's training and abilities by their posts. I'm not judging you, I just want good information to be put out to the thousands of people that might read this thread. I don't judge people, it is really not my style or how I operate. I certainly understand if you feel that I am disagreeing with how you have tried to correct this issue. There was a time when I was in your situation, and I needed help with my first hard, handler aggressive GSD. I was fortunate to get get into a SchH or IGP club and learn form several knowledgeable people. That started my working dog journey and that was a long time ago. I've also been on dog forums for a little while now. I've helped people with training issues and I've seen well intentioned people give some very bad advice. Some times the advice was even potentially dangerous. My delivery is direct, I am rather blount. Please don't take the delivery of my message personally. You did ask for advice, how you choose to take or apply the advice is totally up to you. I quoted you above.

As far as my dogs, they are actual working K-9's. I handle and train Dual Purpose Patrol and Narcotics K9's. The Dutch Shepherd I had was very well bred and imported from Holland. No doubt he had issues, I knew that when I got him at 3 1/2 years old. His name was Boru and his story when I got him is posted in the Police K9 forum. I'm convinced if I didn't stick it out with him he would have been put down by his next handler or Police Department. He became an outstanding Patrol Dog, I love and miss that dog. He passed way too soon. Being a Police K9 is a dangerous job, for both the handler and the dog. Boru and Boomer, my two past K9's have both been punched and kicked in fights with bad guys. Punching or kicking either one of those dogs was a bad idea. When I select dogs to be Police dogs they need to have high drive, be fairly social, willing to bite for real and be sufficiently hard. These are not problem dogs, but tough high drive dogs that will not back down from a fight. Not maladjusted, just driven and tough. Many members here will understand. These dogs are not the best pets, but can be for me. These dogs are not for the average pet owner.

I don't know what rolling is, but you may be misinterpreting my words. My dog is not the same as your situation. It seems you are being reactive.

The alpha roll is picking a dog up, slamming it on it's side and pinning it to the ground. Rolling is what you described as "pinning the dog to the ground" and holding him there. This is a poor way to achieve dominance, plus it doesn't work. Ask yourself what is the dog learning? What is the dog thinking? As he is pinned to the ground for 30 seconds for a minor infraction. I'm sory, but there is no other way to say it. It is very important to me that folks that might be "lurking" and not posting may have the same issue and may try your style of achieving dominance and get hurt or the dog get hurt in the process. There are many experienced dog handlers here and they offer excellent advice. When it comes to dealing with aggressive dogs people have to be very careful. While most dogs will not react aggressively, it only takes one dog to react and a forum member get bit. I've been bitten many times over the years and will undoubtedly get bit again. If I thought rolling or pinning a dog was a good idea I would do it. 30 years ago people did this to dogs. Today few good trainers do this, very few.

To be clear, IMHO alpha rolling or pinning a dog has gone the way of the Dodo bird. Because you are not in the same situation as me and I wouldn't pin a dog, I hope you will rethink this training ideology. There are so many easier, safer and much more effective ways to handle aggression and gain control and get the respect of your dog.

Please do not be offended, my intention was not to offend or insult. I just prefer to be direct, nothing personal.
I'm not the person this post is intended toward but I'm just really grateful for this forum. It's incredible that people new to dogs (like me) can find information like this from seasoned handlers/trainers on a public forum.
 

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He was an exceptional dog in so many ways. He was a challenge in the beginning but an absolute joy for the rest of his life.
You learn so much from these dogs as well. My first dog was difficult and there was no forum. It was trial and error. Being a teacher helped. That dog motivated me to dive into dog training. Without him I don't think I would have become a trainer and probably had Goldens. There was also a Golden available at that time but I chose him. That was about 40 years ago
 

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You learn so much from these dogs as well. My first dog was difficult and there was no forum. It was trial and error. Being a teacher helped. That dog motivated me to dive into dog training. Without him I don't think I would have become a trainer and probably had Goldens. There was also a Golden available at that time but I chose him. That was about 40 years ago
Slamdunc I appreciate your note and I certainly will study your take on particular situations. My boy is a Russian/Czech mix as you had inquired. The breeder supplies police and military. Odin makes a great family dog and working with him is an ongoing 24/7 lifestyle in which he is my priority. Safe handling always comes first. Building trust and respect always. Thanks.
 

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Eska von den Roten Vorbergen
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My first GSD was a marshmallow. She was so easy to train it was ridiculous.

My second one...hooo boy!! And back in those days, it was all Kohler training. I know I was too rough with her, but she was a hard dog, with a mind of her own, so the harsh training didn't destroy our bond. Eventually, I had a very nice dog that would walk by my side off leash, and was also a protector of our family, home and vehicles. Wish I'd had a forum like this, though. I would have avoided a lot of mistakes!

I learned ten times more from this hard-headed dog than I did from the previous dog.
 

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I learned ten times more from this hard-headed dog than I did from the previous dog.
Which kids do I remember from my elementary days? The tough ones that other teachers didn't like (teachers shouldn't have dislikes). I loved figuring them out, finding the reason for their behavior and build a bond. Kinda what we do with tough dogs.
 
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