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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm in a bit of a dilemma and am looking for some insight.

I have 2 Male GSDs - 3 year old and neutered, and 11 months and potentially getting neutered.

I'm having some dominant issues with my 11 month old. He does not seem to like other dogs that are dominant and will bark aggressively at them, he will even try to dominate females. He was socialized with strange dogs until he was almost 6 months old (I moved home to a rural area where there are not many dogs around) and he is around our families dogs regularly with no issues. Currently my 11 month old is trying to dominate my 3 year old which is resulting is consistent growling from my 3 year old and warning bites.

I want to know if I am making the right decision to get him neutered before aggression sets in and a fight breaks out between my 3 year old and 11 month old. I also want to make sure that my 11 month old will be fine around other dogs as well and I think a majority of our problem is him trying to be dominate right now as he does go to "day care" and this is reports from the day care owner.

Thanks for reading!
 

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Well, neutering won't help, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest it could even make it worse. I'll defer to the more experienced here. Do you have a trainer?

I have a neutered rescue pit and my 10 month old GSD is intact. My neutered dog still tries to dominate. Neither of them like any other dogs, and I am fine with that. All I require is they mind their own business, focus on me and do not go after other dogs. That came with training.

Can you switch from daycare to in home dog walker? Someone that comes by and lets them out while you work? I know here daycare is like 45 to 65 per day whereas a 1/2 hour home visit is 15 to 30 bucks.
 

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No there's no one going to do that. I do have a trainer (retired k9 police officer). He only goes to day care maybe twice a month, that's it. It's also the place where we board him when we go on vacation.
 

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I think doggy day care is a good place for Labs and the doodle-family. For a GSD it is the best way to hate dogs. Sorry, MHO. Lost of dogs go to daycare to 'get tired' so they are easier to handle when the owners come home. Most day cares don't train them so owners have a harder time to handle the dogs so off to day care it is. Remember that the GSD wants order and harmony; where do you find that in a doggy day care?
Neutering: it's not a fix for problems. You may create more. Generally the intact ones are the sanest dog-conflicts.
 

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Neutering does not fix behavior, training fixes behavior.
There is ample evidence of this and ample evidence to support that leaving dogs intact is healthier. There are no quick fixes for behavior problems. Work with a trainer, preferably not one who is a treat dispenser.
I agree 100%....it's like the old saying...."If I'd only known then-what I know now".....for me neuter/spay would be a big thing I wouldn't have been so quick to get done....especially young dogs....because of later health issues those "hormones" may have helped or prevented.----The "right" trainer who's worked with this problem before AND time/patience on your part will fix the problem.....you've got a young dog and you're going after it early....it's fixable with your "intact" dog.
 

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There's got to be a more intelligent way to get dogs to behave than neutering and spaying them. The pre-neuter/spay-period had well behaved dogs as well and so does Europe currently. We remove too many body parts from our dogs. OK, I better stop now.....
 

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I'll go ahead and be the black sheep here. By all means if you are having dog-dog conflict and one is intact, neuter him! I'm not really pro-neuter or anti-neuter. I have an intact male who will not be bred, he is intact because it may be healthier for him and him bring intact wasn't bothering me. It has not caused us any problems. If I had another male and there were problems, neutering one or both would probably be the first thing I would do.

There are a lot of people who are active in dog sports, manage their dogs well and have no problem with multiple intact animals but my feeling is for the average pet home it is potentially going to add an extra dynamic which is trouble you just don't need.

In a nutshell my belief is this: if you have the ability and management style and facilities (i.e. fences) to prevent accidental matings, you are willing to do whatever is necessary to prevent accidental matings, and your dog being intact doesn't cause problems then good for you.

If you DON'T have the ability, management style, willingness or facilities or your dog's being intact is causing or may be contributing to problems, then speuter them.
 

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I used day care a lot with rescues, but my current male hated it. He become dog reactive and I think it was due to day care. I was able to teach him not to once we stopped day care. They get stresssed and either go after other dogs or run from them. Neither is good. GSDs don’t tend to pack up with strange dogs when their owners aren’t around, they bond with people. Do you want your puppy bonding with a bunch of strangers? Mine ran too much and got sore legs as puppies. They could never settle. I think they were looking for me.
 

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Go to Leerburg.com and read all their info about dog packs, managing your dogs, dominant dogs. They also have great free videos and an Q&A section that has categories you can search.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I hear you. My dogs only go to "day care" when they are being boarded and I am away. The person I board with happens to run a doggy day care, but my dogs only go out by themselves, and her own 2 mastiffs that they are used to. My 11 month old is reacting with aggressive barking to the dogs on the other side of the fence or kennel door when in her care.
 

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I think play care is not monolithic. People who don't use it tend to wrongly assume they "know" everything there is to know about it, and not realize how much variation there is.

Yes, there's a lot of "bad" play care -- too many dogs, too little screening of reactive dogs, too few people, too little knowledge, too many opportunities for problems. There's also cookie cutter day care -- Camp Bow Wow style, where dogs aren't allowed to play or get excited, just mill around (a little bored, actually).

And then there's GOOD play care (usually trainer-owned or vet-owned). It will have very experienced, knowledgeable people, and plenty of them -- one trainer-owned facility I used for years hired people with training, behavior, or similar backgrounds, and paid them VERY WELL in order to keep them. Most of the play care clients were also training clients. They used play care to rehab some shy dogs through short sessions with very easy-going dogs -- one of mine who would hide from other dogs at first soon gained enormous confidence through the sessions they did for him. They were honestly fabulous with him because the owner/trainer was looking out for him to help him make progress, and was right there with him to keep it therapeutic and positive. The owner was a good egg, and great with him. He ended up becoming very gregarious and happy-go-lucky around other dogs over time, thanks to what she started for him. She knew what she was doing and was fabulous...expensive, but worth it.

GOOD places are also very selective about grouping by size and personality, and the staff personally know every dog and its quirks. They take time to see dogs as individuals. Troublemakers get booted out. They separate mellow oldsters, rambunctious youngsters, tiny dogs, etc., because they have enough staff and space to manage all that. They use individual kennels for rest breaks every few hours. The place is orderly, and you can look at any group and see people in charge of what's happening and leading whatever is going on.

I've had many GSDs who enjoyed the GOOD kind -- but it's because they love the smart, dedicated people running the show who demonstrate good leadership. I've watched them on video feeds often, and the GSDs are always next to or interacting with people in groups of dogs, so the enjoyment of the situation really depends on how interesting, interactive, and savvy the staff is in a multi-dog situation.

My current dogs are dog-tolerant because we've had so many foster dogs, and they did years of field socialization exercises with my training. They also happen to love play care at the vet clinic where they currently board because the staff is superb with very little turn-over -- mine go once a week, and the staff adores them, gives them a bunch of attention, throws the ball for them, splashes in a pool with them, and only puts them with very select other dogs well matched to them. It's interesting to see that they actually have "dog friends" who come on the same days -- that might surprise some here who think dogs don't engage outside their own families. My old male used to have a "girlfriend" golden retriever he loved to see every week -- he looked for her and was totally smitten, following her around with star-struck eyes all day. It was lovely to see the affection those two had for each other.

It's not right for all GSDs -- or all dogs of any breed. Mine really enjoy it, and its made them love going to the vet, as they always think we're going to go see their "friends" after their appointments.
 

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I think play care is not monolithic. People who don't use it tend to wrongly assume they "know" everything there is to know about it, and not realize how much variation there is.

Yes, there's a lot of "bad" play care -- too many dogs, too little screening of reactive dogs, too few people, too little knowledge, too many opportunities for problems. There's also cookie cutter day care -- Camp Bow Wow style, where dogs aren't allowed to play or get excited, just mill around (a little bored, actually).

And then there's GOOD play care (usually trainer-owned or vet-owned). It will have very experienced, knowledgeable people, and plenty of them -- one trainer-owned facility I used for years hired people with training, behavior, or similar backgrounds, and paid them VERY WELL in order to keep them. Most of the play care clients were also training clients. They used play care to rehab some shy dogs through short sessions with very easy-going dogs -- one of mine who would hide from other dogs at first soon gained enormous confidence through the sessions they did for him. They were honestly fabulous with him because the owner/trainer was looking out for him to help him make progress, and was right there with him to keep it therapeutic and positive. The owner was a good egg, and great with him. He ended up becoming very gregarious and happy-go-lucky around other dogs over time, thanks to what she started for him. She knew what she was doing and was fabulous...expensive, but worth it.

GOOD places are also very selective about grouping by size and personality, and the staff personally know every dog and its quirks. They take time to see dogs as individuals. Troublemakers get booted out. They separate mellow oldsters, rambunctious youngsters, tiny dogs, etc., because they have enough staff and space to manage all that. They use individual kennels for rest breaks every few hours. The place is orderly, and you can look at any group and see people in charge of what's happening and leading whatever is going on.

I've had many GSDs who enjoyed the GOOD kind -- but it's because they love the smart, dedicated people running the show who demonstrate good leadership. I've watched them on video feeds often, and the GSDs are always next to or interacting with people in groups of dogs, so the enjoyment of the situation really depends on how interesting, interactive, and savvy the staff is in a multi-dog situation.

My current dogs are dog-tolerant because we've had so many foster dogs, and they did years of field socialization exercises with my training. They also happen to love play care at the vet clinic where they currently board because the staff is superb with very little turn-over -- mine go once a week, and the staff adores them, gives them a bunch of attention, throws the ball for them, splashes in a pool with them, and only puts them with very select other dogs well matched to them. It's interesting to see that they actually have "dog friends" who come on the same days -- that might surprise some here who think dogs don't engage outside their own families. My old male used to have a "girlfriend" golden retriever he loved to see every week -- he looked for her and was totally smitten, following her around with star-struck eyes all day. It was lovely to see the affection those two had for each other.

It's not right for all GSDs -- or all dogs of any breed. Mine really enjoy it, and its made them love going to the vet, as they always think we're going to go see their "friends" after their appointments.
This is my impression as well.
 

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I hear you. My dogs only go to "day care" when they are being boarded and I am away. The person I board with happens to run a doggy day care, but my dogs only go out by themselves, and her own 2 mastiffs that they are used to. My 11 month old is reacting with aggressive barking to the dogs on the other side of the fence or kennel door when in her care.
That sounds like typical brat behavior and should be corrected. Fence fighting is one of those self satisfying behaviors and since I allow no one but me to correct my dogs, I would set it up and deal with it myself.
 

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Finn’s trainer told me early on that he is dominant. He said that he’s not going to look for a fight but if he’s challenged by another dominant dog he’ll react.

I assumed dominance and aggression were the same thing. I thought it was bad for a dog to be dominant.

I asked the trainer and the vet if neutering would make him less dominant and both said, no that neutering wouldn’t change him at all.

I neutered him at 2 1/2. That was a year ago.
It did not change anything about him. He’s the same.

He’s always been pretty laid back. I don’t see dominance in him at all but I trust that it’s there.
On two occasions the trainer used Finn to correct the behavior of a dog that was new to the class. So I did see his reaction when a dog lunged at him.
 

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So the trainer let a dog lunge at yours so Finn could each that dog and even without you present? I hope I didn't read this correctly because that would be insane and set your dog up for dog aggression and it only teaches the other dog to continue the behavior. Please clarify. How did it work out by the way?
Do we know that everyone, including myself, can call themselves a 'trainer'?
 

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So the trainer let a dog lunge at yours so Finn could each that dog and even without you present? I hope I didn't read this correctly because that would be insane and set your dog up for dog aggression and it only teaches the other dog to continue the behavior. Please clarify. How did it work out by the way?
Do we know that everyone, including myself, can call themselves a 'trainer'?
Wolfe dog. So not to change the course of this thread I sent you a private message.
 
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