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Discussion Starter #1
Sugar is now 7 months. She started out rather shy with my other dogs, but now she is wanting to move up the social rankings. There's nothing really to stop her since the other dogs are rat terriers (14 lbs each) and she's 65lbs now. The problem is the other dogs were not shy to put her in her place when she was little, but the tables have turned in a really big way and the smaller dogs are having trouble adjusting to the new reality.

To complicate things, Sugar is becoming increasingly jealous of attention and objects such as chew toys. I have to be careful walking into a room when all the dogs are present since it's now a trigger for an argument. What I've been doing is pinning them to the floor until they settle down. (No yelling or shouting.) Unfortunately, the arguments seem to be getting worse. They started out as shouting matches, but more teeth are getting involved and it's just a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

One of terriers has become reluctant to enter the house when Sugar is in sight. I would have hoped that this would end the arguments since the terrier has largely submitted, but Sugar is exploiting this show of weakness.

I'm sure I'm not the only one to face this problem. Suggestions?
 

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Lots of suggestions:

Ultimately, you have to make it clear that you are the leader. Pinning will not show anyone that you are in charge. There is a good discussion of that technique here: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubb...true#Post697653

Everyone needs to be on Nothing in Life is Free. You need to be a fair and consistent leader. No one gets anything for free, especially Sugar since she seems confused about who is in charge in your house (you!).

Take all of the toys away. No one gets anything of high value unless you give it to them and are supervising. If they are fighting over toys then take them away until you reestablish yourself as leader. You control the toys, they don't. They need to understand that very clearly. Your other dogs also need to understand that you will protect them from Sugar. Right now Sugar sounds like she's running the show and that has got to stop.

If you're not already, spend time with Sugar separately and again, if you haven't already, enroll her in a good training class.
 

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Quote:What I've been doing is pinning them to the floor until they settle down.
I don't recommend that, not a method many trainers condone anymore.

Quote: The problem is the other dogs were not shy to put her in her place when she was little, but the tables have turned in a really big way and the smaller dogs are having trouble adjusting to the new reality.
Sounds like for the past 7 months the dogs are in charge in the house. Of each other and all their interactions. So I'm not surprised that now you are 'suddenly' butting in they are ignoring you. YOu are just in the way, they know their job (cause that's what it has been) is to deal with all dog/dog interactions.

Quote: There's nothing really to stop her since the other dogs are rat terriers (14 lbs each) and she's 65lbs now.
In my house, my dogs are not in charge on any dog/dog interactions. With each other OR OTHER DOGS. Cause you know who's in charge in my house? That would be me.

And not cause I'm pinning anyone to the ground.

Being a leader means of ALL the dogs, big and small. Not just the big dogs cause they can do more harm. All sized dogs can be a bully and the trouble maker. So ALL my dogs know the rules and what is allowed or not.

So if I have to manage the situation and dogs while working this out, then I do so. Removing toys/rawhides from all the dogs is a good start during this stage. Crateing when the dogs ignore me when the situation starts getting tense (for a time out NOT as a punishment).

Way upping the exercise for ALL the dogs, off leash tears in the woods best. So there are plenty of distractions and the dogs won't focus on each other.

DOG CLASSES. It sounds like it's the little dogs that are really ignoring you at this point, so I'd start with them to give your GSD a bit of a break.

And read up on what leadership involves from our dog's perspective. We tend to look at it from the human point of view, or that ways we always were told to do it from long ago. And turns out we can do better.

The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell has alot of good info written well. NOT about obedience so that's nice. And breeze thru many of the articles on this site:

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/articles.html
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Actually, it occurred to me that the recent escalation may be because Sugar is about to go into heat. (The other dogs she's fighting with are females.)

Regarding the pinning. This shouldn't be confused with the alpha roll. It's also much more effective than trying to hold the dogs apart by the scruff of their necks or collars which allows them to continue to fight, even if it's at arms length. Verbal commands work up to a point, but when discipline collapses, yelling at them to stop just adds to the confusion and fires them up even more.
 

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Originally Posted By: CalipsoActually, it occurred to me that the recent escalation may be because Sugar is about to go into heat. (The other dogs she's fighting with are females.)

Regarding the pinning. This shouldn't be confused with the alpha roll. It's also much more effective than trying to hold the dogs apart by the scruff of their necks or collars which allows them to continue to fight, even if it's at arms length. Verbal commands work up to a point, but when discipline collapses, yelling at them to stop just adds to the confusion and fires them up even more.
Calipso, all of the above (and I don't mean this to hurt your feelings) are excuses. And excuses are not going to change the situation.

"regarding the pinning' ....... In my opinion, it doesn't matter how you describe it or what you call it. Not only do dog trainers in general no longer recommend it because it doesn't work..................................................... YOU ARE SAYING YOU HAVE BEEN DOING IT yet things are getting ever worse between the dogs in the house.

So both you and all the other wonderful trainers in the world are learning that this is NOT a method that works (long term) to prevent an unwanted behavior.

So I know I would move on and try something completely different.

Managing the house/dogs/situation is a good place to start. No longer leaving toys/chewies out. Using closed doors/crates to separate the dogs. EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE to wear everyone out and get the edge off.

And training so the human in the family is the leader and looked to by ALL the dogs. Not just when they want to pay attention to the human. But all the time. It's not up to my dogs to sometimes listen when they want. But if they REALLY want to mess with the other dogs it's up to them to ignore me and continue. NOT!

Leadership is not gained in my house by scruffing, pinning, yelling, or alpha rolling either. Leadership is gained by me being consistant, having crystal clear rules of what is and is not allowed, me following thru, and managing situations I know my cause trouble by NOT having the situation come up at all while I'm working thru it.

Dog classes dog classes dog classes. And, frankly, it really seems like your terriers are the problem dogs that are instigating the problem and then the GSD is getting in trouble for 'fighting' back. Just cause the GSD is bigger, all the dogs should have the same rules and knock it off.

NILF is a good start. The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell is a good start. Exercise and management of the house. And dog classes.

No excuses. No looking for 'why'. Fixing it.
 

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Originally Posted By: CalipsoRegarding the pinning. This shouldn't be confused with the alpha roll. It's also much more effective than trying to hold the dogs apart by the scruff ....
However, as you said in your first post, things are getting WORSE, so obviously this is NOT working.
 

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Originally Posted By: BowWowMeowLots of suggestions:

Ultimately, you have to make it clear that you are the leader. Pinning will not show anyone that you are in charge. There is a good discussion of that technique here: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubb...true#Post697653

Everyone needs to be on Nothing in Life is Free. You need to be a fair and consistent leader. No one gets anything for free, especially Sugar since she seems confused about who is in charge in your house (you!).

Take all of the toys away. No one gets anything of high value unless you give it to them and are supervising. If they are fighting over toys then take them away until you reestablish yourself as leader. You control the toys, they don't. They need to understand that very clearly. Your other dogs also need to understand that you will protect them from Sugar. Right now Sugar sounds like she's running the show and that has got to stop.

If you're not already, spend time with Sugar separately and again, if you haven't already, enroll her in a good training class.
EXCELLENT advice. I think each of the dogs need to be in OB classes and they all need a fair and consistent leader which is YOU.

I also agree that pinning isn't working and should be stopped before it totally escalates and a dog or person ends up injured because of it.
 

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Homones can escalate female/female fights. Bitch fights with GSD's are ugly, ugly and odds are the Terrier will end up dead. Not just a little hurt, not just nipped but bloodied and dead. Even if you step in and up at this point DO NOT EVER leave the little dogs unattended when the GSD is loose. You need to teach these dogs what crates are for everyones safety.

OB will help but it won't cure the problem. There have been a few people on the board that thought they had their female GSD's problems under control and they didn't. In one case one female died and the other was badly injured. You can't control things when you aren't there, even if you are in the other room, you can't control the situation.
 

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GSD becoming increasingly assertive - terrier?

bump
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The pinning was not intended to be a corrective. It's used to quell the argument and it does so quite effectively. But the under lying cause still needs to be treated which the basis of my question.

I think what I'm going to do is see about getting her spayed soon. She's getting old enough that her bone growth is nearly done so now might be a good time to do it before she goes into full heat.
 

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GSD becoming increasingly assertive-terrier?

So the terriers behavior is ok? You are just going to spay your GSD to fix this?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re: GSD becoming increasingly assertive-terrier?

The terrier's behavior needs work to be sure, but they belong to another family member so I'm limited to what I can do. As I mentioned, one of the terriers has largely submitted now, but Sugar will still show aggression towards her without any provocation. It looks like a display of jealousy/possessiveness which leads me to believe its hormones adding fuel to the fire.

What I have been doing is when the terrier enters the area and Sugar's hackles go up, she gets a warning. This might be verbal, or if she fails to respond, I'll take her by the collar and pull her aside until she settles down. I've also made it clear that the terriers are part of the group by interacting with them in full view of Sugar.
 
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