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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wondering if anyone here has been bitten by their dog, seemingly unprovoked. My 2 year old GSD has gone into a rage twice. The first time I was putting salve on his sore elbow. The last time was yesterday around 3 other dogs that he only sees ocassionally. It starts with a deep growl and then he lunges at my arms, biting me repeatedly. He acts like he's in a frenzy when it happens. Shortly afterward he is fine, like nothing happened. He only attacks me. The rest of the time he's a wonderful dog, very loving and obedient. I have pictures of my arms, showing the damage, but wasn't sure if I could post them here, since they're a bit graphic. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Also, he is getting neutered tomorrow. We're hoping that helps.
 

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I'm sorry that happened to you. I wouldn't say that Jupiter has ever attacked me, but in some circumstances, it seems he has a switch flipped, and you could describe that as a sort of frenzy. If he jumps on something, it sometimes makes him very excitable, and he'll vocalize and try to grab my arm. Never broken the skin. He also has a habit of getting whipped up it's lunchtime (for me, not him--he eats afterwards), and I go to turn on the stereo in the living room. When it ends, usually because of being distracted or simply me going to the other room, it ends as quickly as it started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you CactusWren. I wish I could pick up on the signals before he attacks.
 

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I'm wondering if anyone here has been bitten by their dog, seemingly unprovoked. My 2 year old GSD has gone into a rage twice. The first time I was putting salve on his sore elbow. The last time was yesterday around 3 other dogs that he only sees ocassionally. It starts with a deep growl and then he lunges at my arms, biting me repeatedly. He acts like he's in a frenzy when it happens. Shortly afterward he is fine, like nothing happened. He only attacks me. The rest of the time he's a wonderful dog, very loving and obedient. I have pictures of my arms, showing the damage, but wasn't sure if I could post them here, since they're a bit graphic. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Also, he is getting neutered tomorrow. We're hoping that helps.
These are not unprovoked, though I can understand that you feel they are not justified. Touching a painful location.

What was happening with these 3 dogs?

Redirection is a thing, but to begin to understand it, you must look at things from the point of view of the dog.

Can you shoot some video of you going through some OB?
 

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Yes I've been bitten by my own dogs. David is right, they are not unprovoked but it can take an outside look to see the signals. It's scary and our brains expect our dogs to be more in control for some reason.
 

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If he is causing blood and bruising to you, I think the best thing to do is find a trainer/behaviorist in your area that is well versed with German Shepherd Dogs and if leadership needs to be improved upon, you might have a chance. Otherwise, you if you don't want to put the dog down, then you will have to adjust what you expect out of your dog. Being in a group of 4 dogs (including him), maybe playing with ANY outside of your pack dog may have to stop. If the dog needs to have medicine on an ouch-y spot, muzzle him first, and when he calms down, then remove the muzzle. The problem with a dog like this is that you don't know all of his triggers yet. If he will bite you, then whenever you have people outside of your family in your home for any reason, securely crate the dog in a room where no one can go, if that means locking that door or the basement door, then lock it. Because if the dog is willing to bite you, he'll bite someone he doesn't know quicker. And as preventative measure, muzzle him at the vet. Chances are he is going to have a sensitive spot probed at some point and you want for him to be safe. And, every time he wins by biting, it makes biting more of a way to make unpleasant things go away. So, if he bites the vet tech, and the vet tech eventually hands him back, biting worked. So get out in front of that and just muzzle him.

Again, I think the best thing to hope for is that your dog for some reason, thinks that you are easy, not a disciplinarian, and he can get what he wants by biting if it's you, whereas if it is your spouse or parent, he realizes that is going to happen. In that case, some non-confrontational changes in behavior toward on your part, might change his behavior toward you. If he is just very sensitive to pain, and fearful in a group situation and his fear-response is to direct aggression toward you, then management is your hope, I think. But you really need to get him assessed by someone who knows what he/she is doing.

On the other hand, if we are talking about marks rather than punctures, than even in a charged situation -- pain or multiple dog get me out here anxiety -- he would showing extreme bite inhibition, which would communicating on his part, and he would just need to be trained to not do that. A good trainer/behaviorist should be able to help.
 

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Yes I've been bitten by my own dogs. David is right, they are not unprovoked but it can take an outside look to see the signals. It's scary and our brains expect our dogs to be more in control for some reason.
I remember asking the very excellent vet here, "how many times has a dog bitten u" and he just laughed: "uncountable." One might think he might be an awful vet then, but no, he's Nepal's true dog whisperer, imo. He gets down on their level and communicates with them, like I try to do everyday to every dog i know.

Dog talk does not follow the same reasoning or logic as people talk, this I've noticed over a lifetime. We have hands and words, they move ears and tail and fur and eyes to do the same thing. Dog talk is subtle and nuanced, unlike people talk, which for the most part is diarrhea of the mouth. Dogs are more controlled in their "language" in the sense they are not barking for their health - a bark means something; and is not utter nonsense, unlike our own social media.

Cat talk is the same, only perhaps even more nuanced, so much so you might need a lab to figure it all out. For the most part, as mentioned above, "the talk" is there, we just refuse to listen or we are too busy to notice. For example, our cat hates Bernie, who is an outdoor dog mostly because of that animosity. Yet even the slightest sight of a dog in the window will turn Mimo from fluffy house cat to dangerous lioness with needles for teeth and razor blades for claws. To the unsuspecting, such as a passerby or the inattentive pet owner, these reactions to what we see as normal calm situations can be easily overlooked, with sharp consequences.

Animal talk as a collective activity is real, and expressed beyond our sight and senses for most of the day. Learning this universal unspoken mode of comms isn't easy for humans, for sure, for example, I can't even speak Nepali after being here for 20 years... but after only a few months of getting down in the dirt with everyone here, we were communicating just fine, especially for the basics like food, water, shelter and love.

Let me end this was comment-now-weird lecture to say, perhaps getting down into the dirt with your companions is a good idea, despite the advice from the most-highly paid trainers that I know. Perhaps having your spouse of other loved one feed u like a dog, down with the dogs, with help anyone learn the lingo faster. Maybe setting up a tent for the dogs, and then sleeping with dogs, will help do the same?

I'm going to give that a shot soon, but Bernie and I will have to have a "talk" first, before he's even letting me in...
575764
 

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When working on a sore spot, definitely muzzle first, do what you need to do, then have a great treat ready as you remove the muzzle. When dogs feel acute pain, their instinct is to bite the source, to make the pain go away.
As far as the three dog incident, no idea, because we don’t know enough to make any kind of guess as to why he went into bite mode.
 

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I don't know. As the first Kojak puppies matured, a couple of them gave some of my more experienced owners trouble. And the one, who is an obedience trainer, and shows, and got a dog of my from Jenna and Gispo's first litter up into Utility, her pup out of Kojak and Bear (Jenna/Gispo pup) was giving serious trouble, and she got him neutered and a few months later, she told me she got her puppy back. It made all the difference. The dog was 2 when they neutered him.

The other male in this litter I gave to another trainer, who trains to invisible fences as his day job, and who I've had several dogs assessed by before rehoming, and I thought that would be good. The guy was giving Sherry a home, Sherry was going to die, according to all the vets. She was a Bear/Mufasa pup who has a terrible heart condition that they said was inoperable. At 10 months, this was discovered, so he was just going to keep her to give her the best life as possible. And a few years later, when Kojak/Bear's first litter happened, I gave them Teaser because they were taking care of that girl who was going to die. And the guy really liked Kojak, when I first got him. He was taking Sherry to fire departments to demo oxygen masks. And he and his son, had a business with dogs and it seemed a good placement. Unfortunately, that wasn't stable, and the dogs went back and forth between him and my friend Teresa. Finally Sherry was rehomed to another family, and she is still alive and they took her to another vet hoping that they were just wrong, but they can't figure out why she is still alive, she is six I think. Deef is back with the dog trainer. He is 3, and over the first three years, he bit several people. They finally neutered him, and a few months later they tell me he is night and day different.

Maybe neutering, removing the testosterone, in some cases does make a huge difference. Maybe having dogs that have the goods to be police dogs, for people who generally have obedience/show-type dogs is too much when they got those hormones going full strength. I don't know. So if it comes down to putting the dog down or neutering, I would give neutering a try, noting that the testosterone remains for a month or so.
 

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Sorry, but if you have to remove body parts from a dog to get them to stop biting you (a) the dog has a neurological problem, or (b) you have a serious relationship problem with your dog!

I do agree that if it's a question of euthanizing versus neutering I'd go with neutering. But it's sad that that particular choice is seen as the only choices available!

OP, hire a competent, balanced, GSD experienced trainer or behaviorist to reinvent your relationship with this dog. Somehow, I don't believe that it's all on the dog...
 

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Sorry, but if you have to remove body parts from a dog to get them to stop biting you (a) the dog has a neurological problem, or (b) you have a serious relationship problem with your dog!

I do agree that if it's a question of euthanizing versus neutering I'd go with neutering. But it's sad that that particular choice is seen as the only choices available!

OP, hire a competent, balanced, GSD experienced trainer or behaviorist to reinvent your relationship with this dog. Somehow, I don't believe that it's all on the dog...
I never have, yet.

But the first pup/owner I really believe that the woman knew what she was doing and was doing it right.
The second pup/owner, I know that pup was bounced back and forth and had several homes because the guy his kid lost their house and moved in with girlfriend, then with parents, and I heard some disquieting things about the pup's environment from 8 weeks on through year 1. So, I don't know. Kojak has his parts, and will never bite me. When he was two a bitch's owner took him to be collected and then the dog bred naturally to the bitch and he was brought home the next day, no issue. The day I let him take the dog I lost Ninja and couldn't have taken the dog to get that done on the same day. I have Kaiah out of that breeding, great bitch. A few years later, same guy, I couldn't lift the dog into his vehicle so he did it. Took the dog to his house, he bred his bitch, he let the dog sleep in the room with his brother, and the dog bit his brother. I wasn't there. What to you do when the dog has never done anything in your presence and something like that is reported to you? Never let your dog go anywhere without you again? Probably. This dog is the sire of a working police dog. He's not good with male dogs, but again, I have no fear of him. I have taken him on leash, to meet numerous puppy buyers, with no issues. I've taken him to classes with no problem save carsickness as a puppy. I am just saying that some of the owners of his male pups have had an easier time after neutering. They geld stallions and alter beef cattle to make them easier to manage, and it works. You don't have steer riding, it's bull riding. A LOT of race horses are gelded, and you would think if you had a winning race horse, you might want to breed it, the only reason you might geld a racing prospect is if it is more intent on fighting than on racing, or if it is unmanageable to the stable staff. It must work, else their wouldn't be any geldings racing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. A few more things...my husband brought our GSD Blue home when he was a pup. He had one years ago and just fell in love with the breed. This is my first GSD, so I was sceptical especially since the only dog that bit me prior to Blue was a GSD. I was 6 years old. Luckily, it was just a nip.
I know that I have a lot to learn about GSD's. I've only had labs, a cocker spaniel, and a doberman previously. They were all good dogs, no biting. I took Blue to puppy training classes for 12 weeks. The only issue he had was when they let all the pups run around for social time, Blue would try to run away and hide from them. This was concerning to the trainer. I will be taking him back for aggression training as soon as he's healed from his surgery.
As far as the incidents when Blue bit me, the first was because I touched a sore spot. That was my fault. Now, my husband can do the same thing and Blue is fine. But, he can read Blue much better than I can.
The second time he was very excited. But he quickly lied down and let me scratch his belly. One of the other dogs came over and wanted to be petted too. I was leery but Blue seemed ok with it. He even licked Penny's ear, but then he put his entire mouth over hers. He could have swallowed her head. He's 110 lbs, she's about 15 lbs. Anyway, I pushed her away, got Blue to stand and as I was leading him back outside, he attacked me. My screams brought the other 2 dogs into the room. My mother in law was trying to pull Blue off of me by pulling at his collar. It didn't work and just made him more aggressive. Also, the first 2 days we were there (dogsitting while my MIL went on vacation), Blue attacked the other two dogs, one of them 3 times, the other one once. He has also attacked our other dog 3-4 times. It was usually food related. She's a 15 year redbone.
I love Blue very much and when things are good with us which is most of the time, it's wonderful. I just want to get him the training he needs and deserves.
Sorry this is so long. Hope it sheds a little more light.Thank you for reading it!
 

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Too many dogs involved with this person. (OP) The dynamic is not good. The second scene sounds particularly chaotic. To be kind, I'll say management is lacking and let it go.
 

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Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. A few more things...my husband brought our GSD Blue home when he was a pup. He had one years ago and just fell in love with the breed. This is my first GSD, so I was sceptical especially since the only dog that bit me prior to Blue was a GSD. I was 6 years old. Luckily, it was just a nip.
I know that I have a lot to learn about GSD's. I've only had labs, a cocker spaniel, and a doberman previously. They were all good dogs, no biting. I took Blue to puppy training classes for 12 weeks. The only issue he had was when they let all the pups run around for social time, Blue would try to run away and hide from them. This was concerning to the trainer. I will be taking him back for aggression training as soon as he's healed from his surgery.
As far as the incidents when Blue bit me, the first was because I touched a sore spot. That was my fault. Now, my husband can do the same thing and Blue is fine. But, he can read Blue much better than I can.
The second time he was very excited. But he quickly lied down and let me scratch his belly. One of the other dogs came over and wanted to be petted too. I was leery but Blue seemed ok with it. He even licked Penny's ear, but then he put his entire mouth over hers. He could have swallowed her head. He's 110 lbs, she's about 15 lbs. Anyway, I pushed her away, got Blue to stand and as I was leading him back outside, he attacked me. My screams brought the other 2 dogs into the room. My mother in law was trying to pull Blue off of me by pulling at his collar. It didn't work and just made him more aggressive. Also, the first 2 days we were there (dogsitting while my MIL went on vacation), Blue attacked the other two dogs, one of them 3 times, the other one once. He has also attacked our other dog 3-4 times. It was usually food related. She's a 15 year redbone.
I love Blue very much and when things are good with us which is most of the time, it's wonderful. I just want to get him the training he needs and deserves.
Sorry this is so long. Hope it sheds a little more light.Thank you for reading it!
Ok, an attack is something where the hormones, I think, are effected. Adrenalin. I don't know. But they are heightened, and this does not go down for a couple of days. So putting the dog together with other dogs right away like that, was going to have another fight. Several. I am sorry, but you may have a dog that shouldn't be around other dogs. Usually males are ok, even if they fight at one point. But some dogs are never ok with other dogs. You have a dog that redirect his aggression on to you when he is in a scenario where a fight is imminent. Don't go there. It isn't that hard. You keep your dog away from other dogs, to keep yourself safe. To keep him safe. To keep other dogs safe. And your 15 year old redbone, she is too **** old to be recovering from dog fights.

I tell you what to do. If you have a garage or basement, get 2 5'x10' kennels and set them up downstairs or in the garage. Put a nice cot in there for the redbone. If the redbone grazes, then she will need to have her food in the kennel. The GSD should ONLY be fed in his kennel. Put his food down and let him have it and leave him in there with the kennel door shut. Your hound dog can be out when he is kenneled. When you put her in her kennel, you can then let the other dog out. It's called musical crates. I think crates are a little too confining. A kennel gives enough room for the dog to have a cot, to have food and water. And maybe for some safe toys or chews. Right now your allegiance is too that old dog, and it is criminal to let the other dog attack her. Once she passes, then you can maybe put the two kennels together to make one big one and put the dog in there when you have company. And if you can't keep your dog at home, and still take care of them while pet sitting, say no. Because no one wants to have their dog killed, and you don't want your dog to kill another dog. And what are you going to do if he does become intent on killing one of those other dogs. How will you stop him? How will you perceive him if he does kill one of the other dogs? Can you still love your dog if you know he killed another dog? It's a question. Lots of people could not separated canine from human and attribute a lot of human-attributes to dogs, and if the dog acts like a dog, one that doesn't want other dogs around, can you separate all that in your mind? German Shepherd Dogs are not generally so dog aggressive that they kill other dogs. Bitches sometimes do. They are certainly capable of it, and some dogs might kill another dog either deliberately or by accident. It is up to us, the humans to prevent that from happening.
 
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Blue boy with one of his favorite toys.
From that picture I'd have to say that clearly your dog is a mix, not a GSD entirely. Do you know his parentage?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
From that picture I'd have to say that clearly your dog is a mix, not a GSD entirely. Do you know his parentage?
No, I don't know his parentage. My husband said he's a blue shepherd, which is rare, but it's not a defect. If you Google it, you'll find dogs that look just like him, with blue eyes. I've said that he might be part something else though, and would like his DNA tested.
 

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Ok, an attack is something where the hormones, I think, are effected. Adrenalin. I don't know. But they are heightened, and this does not go down for a couple of days. So putting the dog together with other dogs right away like that, was going to have another fight. Several. I am sorry, but you may have a dog that shouldn't be around other dogs. Usually males are ok, even if they fight at one point. But some dogs are never ok with other dogs. You have a dog that redirect his aggression on to you when he is in a scenario where a fight is imminent. Don't go there. It isn't that hard. You keep your dog away from other dogs, to keep yourself safe. To keep him safe. To keep other dogs safe. And your 15 year old redbone, she is too **** old to be recovering from dog fights.

I tell you what to do. If you have a garage or basement, get 2 5'x10' kennels and set them up downstairs or in the garage. Put a nice cot in there for the redbone. If the redbone grazes, then she will need to have her food in the kennel. The GSD should ONLY be fed in his kennel. Put his food down and let him have it and leave him in there with the kennel door shut. Your hound dog can be out when he is kenneled. When you put her in her kennel, you can then let the other dog out. It's called musical crates. I think crates are a little too confining. A kennel gives enough room for the dog to have a cot, to have food and water. And maybe for some safe toys or chews. Right now your allegiance is too that old dog, and it is criminal to let the other dog attack her. Once she passes, then you can maybe put the two kennels together to make one big one and put the dog in there when you have company. And if you can't keep your dog at home, and still take care of them while pet sitting, say no. Because no one wants to have their dog killed, and you don't want your dog to kill another dog. And what are you going to do if he does become intent on killing one of those other dogs. How will you stop him? How will you perceive him if he does kill one of the other dogs? Can you still love your dog if you know he killed another dog? It's a question. Lots of people could not separated canine from human and attribute a lot of human-attributes to dogs, and if the dog acts like a dog, one that doesn't want other dogs around, can you separate all that in your mind? German Shepherd Dogs are not generally so dog aggressive that they kill other dogs. Bitches sometimes do. They are certainly capable of it, and some dogs might kill another dog either deliberately or by accident. It is up to us, the humans to prevent that from happening.
You're absolutely correct on all counts. The aggression didn't start until he was about 1 year old. He just turned 2. He hasn't attacked our redbone in about 6 months. We feed them separately and take them outside separately. Half the time they sleep together during the day.They sleep separately at night. As far as the other dogs at my MIL's house, this was the first time he ever attacked any of them. I'm the only human he's attacked. Fortunately we had the appointment set for his neutering yesterday. Going forward we are taking all necessary precautions. He won't be around any other dogs, except the redbone from now on. The ONLY time he has ever attacked her is food related, and that situation has been fixed. I'm also taking him for aggression training. If that doesn't work, we will seriously have to consider euthanizing him. Thank you again for your advice. It is much appreciated.
 

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I have never in my life been attacked/bit by my own dogs. Not a foster pup, nothing. That's a serious problem and likely the breeder didn't go over the mom/dad paperwork or look into the behavior, you didn't ask the breeder if her other pups bit anyone, correct? This is likely a redirect issue. Someone is approaching or dogs get him excited so he turns to the nearest (usually another dog) and the excitement causes them to bite each other. Your own dog and others in this litter have genetic problems. Those two dogs should never be bred with each other again. This is what happens when a breeder isn't experienced with lineage, or getting the dogs titles or tested for breeding purposes. Working dogs work. They need more exercise than most other breeds. A tired dog is a good dog.
Even a CGC would help but breeder needs a German judge to make the determination whether her dogs should be bred or not. I'm in the 'not' category.

Only serious bite I got I was fostering an adult dog because a family was moving. The dog had serious food issues, he had always been fed in a crate. If you left him out and went near his food-good freaking luck to your fingers or hand. This rescue asked me to watch Cesar undo food aggression on his videos. I did everything he did except he never returned that dog to its owner he kept it and traded for a calmer dog. The stuff he did, the dog was restrained, then he fooled around moving the bowl so I did that. Eventually I had the mental case loose after 5 months of REtraining, he seemed much better. But he really didn't want the food to move away from him and when I withdrew it he bit me really good and wouldn't let go. I grabbed his neck fur and swung him into a crate where he detached, I screamed at him, he growled at me. I then called the rescue and said get this jerk out of my house NOW. He wasn't a pure shepherd and not well trained and I hate him. LOL
 

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^^ You really well deserved that bite, I don’t even know what to say. You abused the dog by doing this stuff to him. I’m sure the hate was mutual and hopefully the dog found a more experienced foster and home.

OP, be careful with the “aggression” training. I suggest you better consider rehoming the dog. So many things were done not right, starting from the puppy classes where all the pups were let loose to run around... Don’t go to that trainer again.
 
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