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Hey everyone,

I'm new to this site. I recently moved in with my Fiance and he has a two year old German Shepherd (Sam). When I first starting visiting (a year ago) things were really great. We now live in the basement apartment of a house and he has the entire yard to play with his brother (a 60lb mix dog) and four other dogs on the property (we use the invisible fence). Lately though things have been tough. He is really great around us in the apartment - he will sit and wait until he is told to eat and to go outside and gets off the furniture when told and has no aggression problems. But we were just told by the landlord that Sam bit another dog and then tried to bit his owner too (they are the neighbors). This isn't the first problem we've had. He bit the cleaning lady that he has met numerous times and her boyfriend in the middle of the day, as well as one of the smaller dogs that are also on the property. From what we've seen from other instances (and we haven't seen any of the examples above) it seems that he will be playing with a dog and then one minute he will turn aggressive for no apparent reason. He doesn't do anything in front of us so it's kind of hard for us to know what to correct when we don't see it and we are all out of ideas... Does anyone out there have any suggestions?! This is the first German Shepherd we have had and we are LOST!!!
 

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The simple answer is, he needs to be confined in your apartment or crated when you can't be with him to make sure he stays out of trouble.
 

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You say you were not there to see these issues. Who is watching your dog when you are not there? How are these instances happening without your supervision? Not trying to criticize, but your dog should not be outside unsupervised even with the fencing. If the cleaning lady got bit when you were not home, the dog should be crated and I may be reading this wrong, but your dog should never be unsupervised. As a responsible owner, you should be with your dog at all times he is not in your home. Stop leaving the dog loose when you are not there to supervise. Invisible fence or not, if the dog is outside, you really need to be supervising his activities. The law says you are responsible for your dog's behaviour. Please keep your dog crated and inside when you are not home to supervise him.
 

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I agree with everyone else, your dog needs to be with you so you know what's up. Or in the house/crated until you get home.

How have the dog classes been going? What does your trainer suggest? How are weekly socialization walks going?
 

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I have to agree with everyone else. I can't see myself ever having my dog either playing with other dogs or interacting with strangers unless it's under my strict supervision, ESPECIALLY if it's around the house or property. GSD's can be territorial. Male dogs can be territorial. A male GSD was bred to protect the house and property. It is your job to teach him what visitors are ok and what visitors are not. If you are not there to supervise him he could be thinking that he NEEDS to take things into his own hands. Or not, it could be any one of infinite number of possibilities - how can you know what's the trigger if you are not around?

Short answer: keep his encounters with strangers and dogs brief and supervised. Use treats to reward good behavior (welcoming someone in a friendly manner) and let him know it is unacceptable to nip, growl, or (obviously) bite another person or dog.
 
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