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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, everyone. I have a 16-month female gsd. She is an angel at home, but not very friendly to other dogs outside, especially when she is on leash...

I take her to the dog park once or twice every week. When she was a puppy, she liked to chase with other dogs. Now, she only wants to play fetching ball with me, doesn't care other dogs at all. If other dogs try to play with her, she usually ignores them. If another dog does something she doesn't like, for example, biting the skin on her face(I think that's a playful bite, just kind of rough), or trying to get the ball from her mouth, or growling to her, she would immediately fight with that dog. Well, she hasn't really bit a dog, but it looks very scaring.

When she is on leash, there was even no reason for the fighting. Sometimes when I walked her, I let her say hi to another dog on leash. She and the other dog smelled each other's nose, face, under the tail... and then, about 50% of the cases, she would suddenly started to bark, tried to jump on that dog and bite his/her neck. I still don't know why...

Now I don't let her sniff other dogs when she is on leash. But that's not enough...Today. I was in the elevator and asked her to sit by my left side and stay. Some one else came in with another big dog later. They stayed in another corner (fortunately we have a big elevator) My dog didn't move, still sat well. However, when it got to the floor I live at, as soon as the door opened and I just made one step forward. she suddenly barked and jumped to that dog. Fortunately the leash was short and she didn't make it. It is the first time that she does that with no reason, even without sniffing with each other! I am a little worried.

How can I teach her to be calm when there are other dogs close to us? It really scared other people and I feel very bad...
 

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I would look into some kind of reactive dog classes. That would probably be a good start and would point you in the right direction.

As for the dog park, you might want to rethink bringing her there if she's getting in fights.
 

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I wouldn't go anywhere with the ball if there are other dogs if she is that protective of her ball.
I also feel that you must get other pet owners to help you with this issue. By having your dog in a sit stay let the other dog come in and sniff her rear showing your dog that you are in control and would not let anyone harm her and showing her other dogs mean no harm. Naturally you own a GSD and therefore you know they have a protective nature you must consider that but showing your dog that you are in control is huge.
 

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I would not have other dog owners and dogs sniff the rear of my dog when there is a chance of her attacking the dogs. If something happens it's her fault and she's the one thats gotta pay the bills.

Don't go to dog parks anymore or only go there when nobody else is around.

Find a dog trainer and join some reactive doggy classes and go from there.
 

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As I said working with someone means that that someone has a dog with no aggression issues and the other thing I said is you have to let your dog know that you are in control and you don't him or her to take control. No matter if you go to dog classes or training of some sort you are going to have to show your dog these things. jmo.
 

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I agree with this being a perfect time to find some great dog classes. It's a safe environment with other dogs on leash to work on these issues.

I would probably avoid dog parks while you are working on these issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I haven't been to the dog park these days. During the walk, I let her walk by my left side and ask her to sit/stay when we see other dogs coming, then I give her treats. I hope it will help her to control . At least now she doesn't pull leash hard to get to other dogs.

I searched online and found that aggression is usually because of dominance, or protective, or fear. How can I know what causes my dog's aggression? She seems to be fine with other good-temper dogs, especially small dogs. But she can not handle a little bit unfriendly sign from other medium size or big dogs. And she can not handle other intact female dogs...

I am looking for good dog classes/trainer now. Hopefully some one can help me to solve this problem...
 

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I'd say it's from fear. Easier for her to react and keep the 'scary' dogs away. Then put up with the tension as they get closer and closer and closer and closer....

Do you ever watch Animal Planet and 'It's Me or The Dog'? Victoria Stillwell has tons of great positive methods with dogs like yours. You are certainly not alone!

It's Me or the Dog Videos : Victoria Stilwell : Animal Planet has tons of videos.

I love her stuff...
 

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That is a great show. I have watched just in preparation of my new dog. You can also learn lots from Cesar Milan. At least that's where I first learned that a dog, especially a large one needs a pack leader and someone to be calm but assertive. I love watching him help people with their problem dogs. Very inspiring.

I'd say it's from fear. Easier for her to react and keep the 'scary' dogs away. Then put up with the tension as they get closer and closer and closer and closer....

Do you ever watch Animal Planet and 'It's Me or The Dog'? Victoria Stillwell has tons of great positive methods with dogs like yours. You are certainly not alone!

It's Me or the Dog Videos : Victoria Stilwell : Animal Planet has tons of videos.

I love her stuff...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I carefully recalled the fight and unfriendly behavior she has had.

1. In the dog park, another dog was playing fetching with his/her owner, my dog ran there and got the ball (she ran faster). The other dog was not happy and growled to my dog. Then my dog jumped on that dog, pushed him/her to the ground, put her mouth on his/her's neck and didn't let him/her move...
This happened three times.

2. Also in the dog park, my dog didn't wantto play, the other dog ran to her and bit/pull the skin on her face. Then they started to fight...
This happened one times.

3. In a fenced field here (Many people use that as a small dog park), another dog was already there. My dog and that dog both were very exciting, wagging their tails, seemed to want to play with each other. However, as soon as I let her in. They sniffed with each other and then started to fight...
This happened two times.

4. When I walked her on leash, she was lunging to another dog on leash passed by. If I let her go say hi, after she sniffed that dog, she would bark and tried to jump on that dog. I had to pull her back.

I just talked with a trainer. The first conclusion is that my dog is too anxious. I need to let her know that I am the boss and everything is on control.

hmmm, I am thinking whether to get help from that trainer, looks good, but a little expensive for me...
3


I'd say it's from fear. Easier for her to react and keep the 'scary' dogs away. Then put up with the tension as they get closer and closer and closer and closer....

Do you ever watch Animal Planet and 'It's Me or The Dog'? Victoria Stillwell has tons of great positive methods with dogs like yours. You are certainly not alone!

It's Me or the Dog Videos : Victoria Stilwell : Animal Planet has tons of videos.

I love her stuff...
 

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Hi Starwave -

Welcome to the Forum. I hope you'll find the posts and responses you will get here helpful in dealing with your dog. However, since none of us are there to observe your dog's behavior and body language, please understand that all we can do is make suggestions, and that you may need to enlist the help of someone professional, either a behaviorist or a trainer, to really come to the root of your dog's aggression and to address it correctly.

Personally, I think you will need to stop taking your dog to the dog park. Dog parks are a great place for well-socialized, friendly dogs to interact with other dogs - they are not a place where you take a dog to get him (or her) socialized with other dogs, and they are definitely not a place you will want to take a dog that is aggressive or reactive toward other dogs and has a history of getting into fights at the park.

In the first situation you described, I think the other dog's owner was not necessarily using a whole lot of common sense by playing ball with his dog while there were other dogs present. Lots of dogs love to chase balls, and when one has a toy and the others don't, that can lead to fights and possessive issues. (I only use toys at the dog park if there are NO OTHER DOGS present. If there are other dogs, the toy goes into my pocket and stays there.)

I think the other owner was not acting responsibly when he was engaging his dog with a ball while there were other dogs there. Like I said, playing with a toy at the park can easily lead to possessive behaviors and dog fights. I certainly don't think he acted responsibly after the first fight, if he continued playing ball with his dog, knowing your dog would chase the ball and his dog would instigate a fight to get it back.

I think the correct thing in the situation would have been for that owner to put the ball away or relocate to a different part of the park (if the park is big enough), and for you to take your dog and go to a different area or leave the park. I certainly think that allowing this to happen THREE times was a bad thing and probably contributed to the fact that she is getting more and more aggressive / reactive toward other dogs.

At this point, I think you will need to stop going to the dog park. You already know that she does not enjoy other dogs coming up to play, and that she is very likely to get into fights. The total number of fights at the dog parks you've told us about in your last post is FIVE. Park visits need to stop unless you go while there are no other dogs and are prepared to leave when other people arrive with their dogs.

Please don't let her approach another dog while they are both leashed, or if she is leashed and the other dog is not. Many dogs are uncomfortable approaching another dog while they are leashed because they cannot get away if they are frightened or the other dog acts aggressively or inappropriately, so their only real option is to be the dog that is threatening - barking, lunging, trying to "fight" the other dog.

Don't be afraid to tell other dog owners that they may NOT let their dog approach yours - lots of people, for some reason, think it's okay to let their leashed dog run up to another dog without asking the owner. It's not okay and since you know your dog is reactive, feel free to tell people to take control of their dogs, or go another route to avoid them if you need to.

You also do need to work on leadership. While I can't say with certainty that you are looking at a fear based behavior (again, I am not there to see your dog's body language), being a strong leader is a requirement with both fear-based behaviors and dogs that are reactive/aggressive. You need to be in charge of the situation and you need to be in charge of your dog. A good place to start with leadership is daily NILIF training (Google the term for information) and obedience.

Obedience classes would be a good start, as as good trainer will keep the dogs far enough apart to ensure everyone is comfortable in class and learns to work around other dogs and people. Some facilities offer classes specifically for reactive dogs called "Rowdy Rover" classes. That may be something to consider if there is such a thing in your area.

As far as Cesar Millan goes, a lot of his more recent shows have improved over the training he did when his show first aired. I am still not a fan of all the "shh'sh"ing and touching (or tapping the dog with his foot), nor of forcing/choking a dog into submission. It's a quicker fix than establishing leadership through NILIF and proper obedience training, sure, but I'd rather have my dogs HAPPY to work with me than forced into submission.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for the reply. AbbyK9

All of you mention the dog park. Actually that's not the big issue for me now. Those three fighting all happened about 3 months ago, when I just moved to this new place (actually in different parks here). My dog used to enjoy chasing balls with other dogs. In the old dog park I went, many dogs played that way. They just competed and saw who ran faster, no one got mad if the other caught the ball. So, after I moved and took her to the new park here, I didn't stop her when she went to chase other dog's balls. Unfortunately, some dogs do not like that... and that caused those three fights. After that, I took my dog away when I saw other dogs play fetching, and stopped her if she wanted to chase others' balls. So I think that's not a big issue now. Anyway, we don't go to the dog park now.

The thing that annoys me more is No3 and No4 situations because I can't figure out why she showed aggression. Now I don't let her sniff other dogs when she is on leash. And I don't take her to the field when other dogs are there.

I made an appointment with a trainer this Wednesday. He has handled many GSDs. Hope he can figure out my dog's problem. I'll let you know what happen~
 

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update:

The trainer came to see my dog today. He thinks my dog is confident and not dog aggressive at all... -_-|| Her over-reaction is because of frustration and excitement. My loose lease walking is not good so that she was pulling me to other dogs, which made her frustrating.

When he handled my dog and met with other dogs, she was very friendly... So it is my problem...

Then he taught me the skills about loose leash walking and how to keep my dog calm and get her attention. I'll practice this!

Thank you all~~
 

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Starwave

I went through some of the same stuff. Funny how an awful lot of it comes down to us the handler. Roscoe would do whatever my trainer wanted in minutes and be consistent with her...me lol weeks. even my voice in the way I was speaking to Roscoe had to be corrected..meaning I would give a comand like 'look at me" and my voice would go up in octaves at the end of the command and he wouldn't listen. She would say it matter of factly not loud or agressive just calm and matter of factly and bang he would listen. Oh that was tough.

Roscoe developed OCD with a frisbee and could be very possisve over it with other dogs...not super agressive...but would manhandle it back to the point the other dog would get agressive. Teaching Roscoe to "leave it" and avoid confrontation in this situation was a long process. I started with making him "stay" while I threw the frisbee. Then a minute or 2 later asking him to retreive it. I kept him on leash while I threw it ( my trainer said to do this as not to set him up to fail). It took a hair over a month for him to sit in a 'stay" and only retreive when I gave the command. the next phase was to have other dogs around (friends dogs) and make Roscoe "stay" and watch them retreive his frisbee. At this point he is 99% perfect off leash with sit stay then retreive or let another dog retreive...my choice not his.

Roscoe had fear agression with people and somewhat with other dogs. For Roscoe the pinch/prong collar ended all of the lunging barking immeadiatly and allowed me to aproach other dogs and people and begin to build his confidence that people and dogs are OK and not going to hurt him and from what my trainer explained let him see that I am in FULL control of the situation. I got him as an adoption when he was just about a year old. He came from the ghetto of Baltimore where he was taught people are not ok. He wasn't abused but the previous owner lived in a rough section where people were probably not ok and approachable...so from the ghetto to the suburbs..lol.

I have been in one on one training since January. He has worn the pinch/prong collar on every walk...I take it off him when the walk is over. I am now switching to walking him on the flat collar. When we walk now I put the pinch collar on him but do not connect it to the leash. 6 months later he is about 70% on a flat collar of walking perfect...he will get there.

Roscoe is my first GSD and man do I love it. He is a huge challenge. Before getting a GSD everywhere I read said the same thing ..get training get training get training...I said to myself I have had dogs all my life but I should probably listen to this...I got Roscoe in december and began training the first week of January and it was the best thing I ever did for him and me. I love the intellegence and his "pushing/challenging" me which is way tapering off as he is seeing me as the one in control and in charge. Training opened my eyes to a whole new world of dogs. It was pricey but woth every penny.
 
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