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We have a 16 month old GS that we have had since he was 7 weeks. A couple of weeks ago, my 12 year old was in the kitchen getting food and she turned around to pet the dog and he bit her. Hard enough that I had to rush her to the hospital. Since then, he frequently starts to go after her if she comes near me in any agressive way. I was in bed last night and he was laying in our bedroom as he always does and she came into the bedroom and he went after her. So I took her in her bedroom to get her settled, came back out. He was laying at my doorway so I started yelling at him pointing my finger at him telling him he did wrong by going after her and he lunged at me and attempted to bite me. Here, I thought I was the one he wouldnt go after cuz he is always protecting me. He has not been fixed. My daughter is adamant that we get rid of him but my husband is having a hard time with it. Im really worried that he is gong to really attack one of us. Any idea why he is being like this?
 

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First of all Welcome to the Forum !!!
Have you had your animal in training classes, does he get enough exercise ?
 

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Welcome to the forum. I'm glad you found us but sorry it's because of this situation.

He was laying at my doorway so I started yelling at him pointing my finger at him telling him he did wrong by going after her and he lunged at me and attempted to bite me.
At this point, too much time had passed to correct your dog for biting your daughter. He had no idea why you were yelling at him and perceived your behavior as threatening and protected himself. It is not an excuse for him trying to bite you, but I am explaining why he may have done that.

Do you routinely yell at him like that?

he frequently starts to go after her if she comes near me in any agressive way.
Does your daughter come at you aggressively often or do I misread that?

What kind of exercise and socialization does your dog get? He is a teenager and needs lots of both.
 

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Wow, so much said in a short time to try and digest.

Daughter comes at you aggressively? Why? Is yelling and aggressive action part of your family life? Dog may see that like barking aggressively and acting thus.
 

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Welcome to the forum - this is one of those things that while a forum can help provide support, needs to be seen and worked with in person.

Welcome to k9aggression.com | Dog Aggression Education, Support and Resources
PETFAX Behavior Consultation: Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

are some additional resources, but I would be looking for a behaviorist in your area.

While this is an aggression issue and lots of times the natural thinking is to tamp it down immediately, it is really good, in my mind, to get at the root of the matter first and then apply the necessary behavior interventions at that point. So a lot of thought needs to go into this.

Right now you are all going at stimulus - response and that leads to reacting, which is not good as you have seen.

If you give us your general location we can perhaps offer suggestions as to people who can help you in person.
 

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I think your dog thinks he OWNS you, and is resource guarding, more than being protective. NOT GOOD! It means he thinks HE is the boss in the house, and you are his personal property, and does not want to share you. Not to him to make these decisions at all!! Not for him to decide who in your household is allowed near you. I get the sense that your daughter may never have been very comfortable with your dog from the beginning and he is picking up on that.

Like the others have said, there are a lot of details you mentioned that give ring alarm bells for me - I could be reading it all wrong, but often the wording a person uses to describe a situation does give a lot of underlying info:

First, at 16 months, your dog would be in the age where they start being protective (sometimes). If he has always been protective of you, even from a pup, that was more likely resource guarding - very different than protection and a BIG NO-NO. That means he feels like he is the owner and controller of resources in the house, not you, or your daughter. I think you have a household rank issue here, and that can be fixed, but it does take a lot of work and effort and consistency from everyone.

With the bite in the kitchen, not sure what happened, hard to say if we can't see exactly the details - but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe he thought that your daughter was going to give him a treat (kitchen, food, hand), and he bit her by mistake, thinking she had something in her hand for him? Did he growl at her first? Do you have more details of the incident? If not, again, he might have been acting in a possesive way of the food on the counter.

For the bedroom incident - I agree that reprimanding your dog after the fact is too late - by that time he did not associate your displeasure with his behaviour, so in his eyes you were coming out of nowhere with threatening behaviour towards him - though his reaction was still not acceptable.

One thing that is a common element here is that both times he has reacted to someone reaching out a hand towards him. Has anyone smacked him one in the past so that he feels he needs to defend himself?

Your daughter insists that you get rid of him? How much authority and power does are you giving a 12 year old? It sounds like the dog and the child have way too much power in this house-hold. Not wanting to be mean or critizise, trying to get a big picture of what is going on - and I think there is a big picture of what is going on that needs to be examined, not just the individual bit and aggression incidents. I get the impression that there is a lack of clear, strong and confident leadership in the house, and this is causing problems for both your GSD and your daughter.

Being a strong leader is a way of being, but people can learn. It is not about yelling and threatening, and bullying. Strong leaders are calm, and firm and confident, and inspire respect.

I think you need to practice some tough love with your GSD - start NILIF right away, take away bedroom priviledges. Sorry - that would kill me too not to have my dogs with me, but this is very serious, and if you don't take steps to set, enforce, and maintain a clear hiarchy in your house, you will be in for more issues.

Your daughter does not get to say who stays or who goes in YOUR house - but she does have a right to not live with fear - so I would always make sure that your GSD is somewhere where you daughter does not have to worry about being bitten again, let that be in another room, in his crate, directly under your supervision and control.

And what is this about your daughter coming to you "in an aggressive way"?
 

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I agree you need some professional help with this dog asap.
 

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I think she meant to say, he goes after the daughter in an aggressive way if she comes anywhere near her.

At least, that's the only thing that makes sense to me. After the biting incident, the dog acts aggressively to her daughter anytime she comes near her mom.

Please correct my assumption if I'm wrong...:rolleyes:
 

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:thumbup: to everything Castlemaid said. Oh, and I would buy a crate for this dog. If you want to keep him in your bedroom at night, confine him in a crate. He should not be laying in the doorway "protecting" you from other household members.
 

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If you won't rehome to a home who is experienced with a dog like this and is going to get a trainer and behaviorist and you won't put him down, get in touch with a reputable behaviorist and trainer ASAP.. And do not give him a chance to attack her again. Meaning if he is not tied to you he really needs to be locked in a room or outdoors (in a kennel or something) or crated. She has a right to feel safe in her own home.. and I can't tell you how incensed I would be at my parents if they forced me to live with a dog that acted like he wanted to rip me open when I was that age.

As Cassidy said, get a crate and start using it. However, I would not let him sleep in the room with you. I think he lost that privilege..

Castlemaid.. the girl is 12, she's not a small child so it's not like a spoiled brat bossing their mom around. Her being adamant about getting rid of the dog is understandable and pretty expected, he bit her badly for no reason and now he keeps trying to hurt her, she has a right to be scared and be held with more importance than the dog.

Growing up my parents were pretty old school with the dogs. If one of them did that to me or my siblings at that age it would meet a bullet between the eyes. Dogs were expected to protect and provide companionship to us, not decided one day we were fair game. I am not that harsh, but I see 'biting the hand that feeds you' to be about the worst thing a dog can do. I would let a dog who has had no rules, no manners taught and no structure get away with nipping or acting like an arse because that can be corrected with proper treatment. This sounds like it is much more, because the dog didn't just bite once, now he's acting in a way that suggests he won't tolerate the girl in her own home and is resource guarding the mom.

I want to ask.. has he always been pushy, out-of-control and generally like this, without the biting? It really sounds to me, without knowing the full story, like he has not been raised properly and he sees you humans as his property.

How bad were your daughter's injuries?
 

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Ok, no, we dont beat our dog and we never have. He is very spoiled and we probably have given him his way too much. As far as my daughter being agressive towards me, I meant, she is a 12 year old girl and will not think and run towards me, not to hit me or anything like that. We are not an agressive family. We do not hit our children nor our animals. Boy, some of your minds just kill me. I know its alot to be able to explain this for everyone to understand. As far as the bite in the kitchen, I do not know what happened. I was not there. She just said she turned around to pet him. I dont know that I totally believe her myself. He bit into her hand causing one tooth mark on top of her hand and one on the bottom, serious enough to need to go to the ER. I also suspected that maybe he thought her hand was food. He has no formal training. We are in NE Ohio on the PA border and I dont know many around here. He will lunge at my husband if he hugs me too so I do think he thinks he owns me. But when he went after me last night, I was really surprised. I guess it was a little late to yell at him for it. We then put him out in his kennel in the garage which is where he stays during the day while we are at work. He barked all night long. He is a very hyperactive dog. When we are home, he has the run of our land and is out chasing shadows most of the time. We made the mistake of starting him out on a lazer when he was little, now he looks for it every night and we have to use it to get him settle down at night. I agree with APBTLove. My 12 year old does have the right to feel safe in her home and not have the dog come after her everytime she comes running to me for something. Believe me, I have no plans on putting him down. I love this dog like he is my own child. But I may not have a choice. We have to take him to the vet today. Because of a bite and ER, the Health Dept got involved and the doc will have to decide whats best.
 

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He's out chasing shadows? Does he show any other odd behaviors? I would stop with the laser asap, there are better ways to exercise him and you are not helping his mental health. Google laser pointers/OCD behaviors. Was your daughter teasing him with food and he got her hand instead?
I hope you get a good trainer to help you learn how to deal with him....
 

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Boy, some of your minds just kill me.
People's minds weren't just going in weird directions, the replies were based on how you worded the incident. It's good that you clarified some things, now we have more information to go on. But you did get some good suggestions that you should consider implementing immediately.

I see some problems right here:

We then put him out in his kennel in the garage which is where he stays during the day while we are at work. He barked all night long. He is a very hyperactive dog. When we are home, he has the run of our land and is out chasing shadows most of the time. We made the mistake of starting him out on a lazer when he was little, now he looks for it every night and we have to use it to get him settle down at night.
He's in the garage when you're gone at work, and when you're home he spends most of his time running around outside. How much time does he get to spend indoors with the family? How much time do you (or anyone else in your family) spend training him, playing with him, interacting with him in any fun or productive way? He might be hyperactive because he's bored.

And using a laser pointer to tire him out is not a good idea at all, it can create OCD behavior - as you said "chasing shadows". Imagine how frustrating it would be to try and try and try to catch something that's not there, so you can never succeed. How about taking him outside and throwing a ball for him instead? Something he can chase after, and GET, and then bring back to you for more fun? You say you "have to" use it to get him to settle down at night - have you ever taught him to just hang out and chill, maybe on a special rug or mat that's his special "place" to go to? Do you ever reinforce him for just calmly laying on the floor chewing a bone? Have you ever taught him what kind of behavior you DO want from him?

From your description of the incidents I'd have to agree that he's resource guarding you. A healthy dose of Nothing in Life is Free would be a good place to start. Effective immediately everything good, everything he values should come only after he's done something you've asked him to do - sit, down, etc. Yelling at him is pointless, you need to TRAIN him, you need to reinforce the behavior you like, stop reinforcing the bad behavior and not let it work for him anymore. You need a trainer. This is not meant to be a slam against you, but you don't seem to know much about dog training, so if you love this dog and are committed to keeping him, please get some help before he hurts someone badly enough that you won't get to make that choice. Good luck.
 

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It sounds like we're in the same area. If so, I may be able to be of some assistance or at least evaluate him for you. PM me if you are interested.There are definitely options you can pursue before opting to euthanize him.
 

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I so hope you do not opt to put him down. What I am about to say is in no way meant to be disrespectful but it sounds like his behavior has been brought on by his owners. No dog but especially a GSD left in a garage all day then left out to his own devices at night will be the best behaved. He needs to be worked, trained and as everyone has said NILF. I do not believe it is to late for him to turn around I encourage you to take Agilegsd up on the offer for help. It is a good place to start and give the boy you love a chance to show you that he can be a great dog.

I am so glad you came here and are looking for help. Welcome, I just wish it was with happier news. Please keep us posted.
 

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Ok, here we go again people reading stuff into what Im writing making me and my family look like bad people and we are not. Im going to explain the stuff I said that you dont understand then that will be the end of conversation. Im kinda sorry I even asked. He is not let out to run free all night when we get home from work. He is in the house most of the time, he scratches the door when he wants let out and scratches when he wants back in. The family is in here and plays quite frequently with him. I just wanted to put it out there that we didnt keep him tied up and he has plenty of play running around where he wants to outside. Didnt know the laser would make him ocd but now I see how it is making him that way. After going to see the vet, for the best for the dog and for our family, we are going to find someone to take him that can spend the time with him that we cant. I thank god the vet didnt suggest to put him down cuz I could never do that. I cry everytime I think about him leaving us but I have to think of my family first. Im going to contact the GS rescue in NE Ohio and see if they can take him in and find someone for him. Im sure you will all start saying crap to me about doing that but its the choice we have made.
 

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A dog with a bite history will not be accepted by a rescue. I think you need to spend time and work with him so he will be successful as a good pet~instead of giving up on him...he deserves that much from you. Please get with AgileGSD for some help.
I think the only other option is euth:(
 

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I agree with Jane, Agile GSD has offered to evaluate him for you, I would take her up on that offer and no rescue will touch a dog with a bite history:(

Good luck please let us know how it works out.
 

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Ok, here we go again people reading stuff into what Im writing making me and my family look like bad people and we are not.
Nobody said you're bad people. Now YOU'RE reading stuff into what we're saying.

He is not let out to run free all night when we get home from work. He is in the house most of the time, he scratches the door when he wants let out and scratches when he wants back in. The family is in here and plays quite frequently with him.
That's great! But what you said previously was this:

When we are home, he has the run of our land and is out chasing shadows most of the time.
I'm glad he actually spends "most of his time" in the house rather than outside like you said in your previous post. If you had said that in the first place that would have been better. We can only react to the information you give us, if that information is inaccurate or incomplete you're going to get responses that you may not like or that you don't feel really apply to your situation. I asked how much time the family spent playing with him because you never mentioned anything about that. In the absence of such information we can either guess or we can ask. I asked. I'm sorry if you were offended by that, but really, we're trying to help you. None of us are there to see what's happening, we can only go by what you tell us.

It may be best to try and rehome him, but you do have other options. As Jakoda pointed out, another board member has offered to meet with you and evaluate him. What do you have to lose by taking her up on this generous offer?
 

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I think when you're calmed down you should got down all the recommendations and try to apply them. Definitely have AgileGSD evaluate him. Then see what your options are and what you might be able to do. If it comes to rehoming him, take your time and be honest about his history.


It really is amazing, though, with these GSD's how some serious structure goes a long way. I had a foster who was a resource guarder (even over water!), and within a matter of about a week and a half of some no-exceptions NILF she was like a different dog. Granted, she didn't show any human aggression, just dog aggression...but it really made a big differen.ce
 
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