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Hi guys,

I need an advice. Buddy is 1 year old and socialized. I take him to dog parks, for walks and every evening to the playground near our house. He gets a lot of exercise. He likes to play with other dogs in the dog parks and behaves nicely. Then, in the evening we go out and throw balls for the dogs, he loves to retrieve the ball.
He was also good with other dogs around, just recently started to be aggressive to small dogs. Usually, when there is a ball included. Like he wants to protect his ball.
But today, he scared me. He attacked this little dog, I don't know why. He gets to meet that dog a lot. He was always fine with him. That dog was on leash. There was no contact, thanks God, he bared his teeth and barked. Does he try to be dominant over small dogs now? I don't know what causes this. How can I fix this? I don’t want to have aggressive dog.:(
 

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I had the same problem they other day with a little dog.
It wasn't Brady's fault the little dog growled and went off first then Brady went off.

Luckily nothing happened or else little mean dog would have been "a snack" (thanks Tracy)
 

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I wish I could help you
Some dogs Brady won't even look at
and others he goes mental
Brady is not at all aggressive. My DH call him a pansy
I think its all in what other dogs throw off and if you tense up
 

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I have the same problem with my long coat he just hates little dogs, when he was younger and we was out walking one ran from someone's yard and was barking, growling and was going to attack well my boy but it in it's place and the dog ran home never again did that dog do that but ever since then he has hated little dogs. what is funny he is a show dog in ukc he will try that when we are outside the ring but my 14 yr old handles him and when they are in the ring for group he is surrounded by some little dogs and pays them no mind but once he comes out of the ring different story. I wish there was something I could do to break him of that, but usually when I see him go off I don't know if the little dog start it by some body language or what, for dogs don't know size they read body language
 

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Its possible since that dog was on leash, that its owner was feeling anxious and tightened up. If that happened, it sent some message to her little dog, who in turn sent bad vibes to your dog.
 

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Be careful at the dog park. When my gsdx and I went to the dog park one day when he was about a year old, he went after a small dog, had the dog in his mouth shaking it when I got to them. He dropped the dog and then grabbed again. This time we both grabbed the dog. He finally let go of the dog and it ran off. Fortunately, the dog was not hurt. My gsdx had bitten my hand instead. It was a bad bite too and if the small dog had taken the bite, no telling if it would have lived. Of course, we are banned from the dog park. Turned out the small dog belonged to someone who was one of my dog park buddies who had just adopted the dog from a rescue. We are still friends tho, and I still love my gsdx. I'm just very careful around small dogs.
 

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I would keep watching him and try to introduce (or just be near) him to a well balanced small dog and keep it positive as possible. It may have been that the small dog gave him some kind of signal (standing stiff and looking your pup the hard stare in the eye perhaps?) and they are often little challengers. Did you see how the small dog was acting or his posture? How does that small dog usually play with other dogs? For that matter, how does your dog play? Is either overly aggressive in playing annoying other dogs until the have to snap to stop the game? Humping, standing over other dogs, etc.

Here is a good link on basic body language:
http://www.aspca.org/site/DocServer/CanineBody_Language.pdf?docID=6521
 

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Discussion Starter #10
He is not aggressive to all small dogs, just one or two I know. I didn't see why he attacked him, because I was getting ball for him. It was just a second. That little dog was rescued recently and is always on leash; because his owner is afraid he would run away. He usually jumps in the dog faces, but I didn't see, so I can't say what set Buddy off. My dog plays very good with others at Dog Park, he is not playing aggressive. They wrestle, chase each other. He is not allowed to hump the other dogs.
I try to socialize him a lot, I am afraid, if I don’t he will become overprotective of us and then we will have a problem.
 

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Help

My husband adopted a female german shepherd a few days ago. Shes so kind and gentle until my two smaller breed dogs come around, then she tries to attack them even if I'm holding them. Is it possible for these three to live peacefully? I need help and don't know which direction to turn.
 

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My husband adopted a female german shepherd a few days ago. Shes so kind and gentle until my two smaller breed dogs come around, then she tries to attack them even if I'm holding them. Is it possible for these three to live peacefully? I need help and don't know which direction to turn.
That's not much information to go on. :) How old is she? What is her history? Did she come from a shelter or a rescue? Has she lived with other dogs before? Has she had any training?

Many people have GSDs peacefully co-existing with small dogs and cats (I have two dogs & two cats), but it can sometimes take a bit of work.
 

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I read some of it, but here is my question :), do you know what age dogs come into their self (breeds differ) ? A shepherd at 1 is like a smart toddler :). Take control of your dog and it will be ok :).
 

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He is not aggressive to all small dogs, just one or two I know. I didn't see why he attacked him, because I was getting ball for him. It was just a second. That little dog was rescued recently and is always on leash; because his owner is afraid he would run away. He usually jumps in the dog faces, but I didn't see, so I can't say what set Buddy off. My dog plays very good with others at Dog Park, he is not playing aggressive. They wrestle, chase each other. He is not allowed to hump the other dogs.
I try to socialize him a lot, I am afraid, if I don’t he will become overprotective of us and then we will have a problem.
Your dog being 'protective' of you and your family has nothing to do with socialisation. If your dog is becoming overprotective it's because you haven't established yourself as a leader and your dog has taken on the role.
Small dogs are known to be more aggressive than larger dogs. This is nothing to do with genetics, it's simply a consequence of owners not taking precautionary measures to discourage the behaviour in small dog breeds because it isn't perceived as a problem. Someone with a jack russel that growls at little kids when they come up to pet it, might excuse the behaviour as the dog being "cute", when, in fact, it's coming from the same place as an aggressive large breed dog. Now if you imagine the same scenario but with a german shepherd, it's not only a lot more frightening but also potentially dangerous.
You will never know why your male dog attacked this smaller dog. But I doubt it has anything to do with your dog being fearful. You mentioned a ball which leads me to believe that it's probably possessive. Your dog probably has dominance issues. Prey-guarding, as it's called, is an extension of dominance and results from your dogs perception that the prey objects (e.g. balls, tugs, toys) that you give him, are his possessions. So he defends them in order to both consolidate his current perception of rank and to obviously maintain his possession of the object.
Dog's often generalise, so if he was attacked, or attacked a small dog in the dog park, he may now be aggressive to all small dogs in general, because he remembers the situation.
You may have to come to terms with the fact that this problem may never be completely resolved, a dominant dog-aggressive dog, at best, can only be managed - but this all depends on the extent to which your dog is displaying these behaviours. You can work on getting your dog to ignore smaller dogs that he's around but this will be completely counter productive if you keep taking him to dog parks, allowing free interaction with other dogs, without full control of your animal.
Going to a dog park and letting your dog run lose with other animals is not what I would consider "good" socialisation. It promotes "doggie" behaviour (i.e. you create a dog that is obsessed with interacting with other dogs), which detracts from EVERY training aim that you might aspire to. Socialisation should be about recognising that your pack consists of YOU and YOUR DOG (and family members of the household, if any) and nothing or no-one else. Socialisation should be able getting your dog used to being in the presence of distracting and potentially challenging situations but the AIM is to have your dog ignore these factors and focus on you. THIS IS IDEAL....
BUT....
If you still want to force socialisation upon your dog, then he needs to be controlled. You should start by taking away objects that promote possession, such as his tennis ball or whatever. This may outright mean no more fetch at the dog park. If this does not work then you may have to try discouraging the behaviour, teaching him to only interact with certain dogs - but I'd be very hesitant about using corrections. And finally, if all these avenues fail, you may be left with only one choice - to stop going to dog parks and to have control of your dog at all times. It's all up to you, but remember, you now have a liability on your hands.
 

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Alwaysaworkingdog, this thread is from 2008. The OP hasn't been around in 4 years. :)
 
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