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Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum, and this is my first post here. I've been reading threads the past couple days and wanted to see if any of you had words of advice for me:

We recently adopted a 9 month old female german shepherd, Heidi about 11 days ago. We introduced her to our 3 year old resident dog, Sasha (shepherd mix), at a park and the introductions went smoothly. (We adopted Sasha a couple years ago from a shelter as well). After the walkings and introduction, we came home and crated her and slowly introduced Heidi to the new house and when she wasn't out, she was in the crate as we didn't want to overwhelm her. At times, we did let her out with Sasha (both on leashes), however, I quickly noticed that Heidi seemed to be guarding my husband or me and didn't seem to want Sasha to come near us when she was 'guarding?' us? There were a few instances in which they growled at each other and we corrected and separated them. We brought Heidi to the vet for a checkover, etc. and she says that Heidi may be in heat, she is either come into it or coming out of it. We are bringing her back next Friday for another checkup. We were hoping to have her spayed as soon as we could but now have to wait to be sure.

On Tuesday, Heidi attacked Sasha, and both my husband and Sasha needed stitches. Both were on each side of my husband while he was on the floor looking in the cabinet (something he shouldn't have done or allowed to happen I think), and suddenly Heidi just went for Sasha's neck. There was blood everywhere from both my husband and Sasha. It was one of the scariest things I've witnessed, and I never want to see it happen again.

I've spoken with a behaviorist who was recommended by a friend, and he believes that once she is spayed, her jealously and aggression will diminish if not go away all together. I hope he is correct. She is completely fine with my husband and my children, no aggression whatsoever during play or food. We keep them separate when we play because any excitement seems to also cause Heidi to go after Sasha. It's a definite juggling act.

While I was out today, apparently Sasha hopped over the couch to get to my husband and Heidi lunged for her who was sitting nearby (I've told my husband to not let Heidi guard him, as she will try to do to both of us). Luckily no serious damage was done this time, except that Sasha went and hid under my daughter's bed upstairs and is even more skittish. They had been tolerating and ignoring each other the past few days until the incident tonight. My 10 year old son is extremely upset and doesn't want to keep Heidi. He is very attacked to Sasha and this is hard for him to watch.

We are obviously wanting to have her spayed but cannot until we know for sure when she is out of heat. I'm wondering though, is the behaviorist right, that her aggression towards Sasha will decrease? When we have had them together in the house, we are watching them and quickly try to redirect or correct any time either get excited or if Heidi looks like she was going to bite Sasha (I was able to correct Heidi when she tried to go after Sasha as I was putting Heidi's walking collar on and Sasha got excited because she thought she was going too (she couldn't because her collar would rub on her stitches so she couldn't go)).

Unfortunately I don't know much about her background. We adopted her through a friend of a friend, and we were told she was friendly with all dogs, kids, cats, etc. That seems to be true except for the fighting between her and Sasha. I'm also worried about Sasha and how this is affecting her.

If there is any advice you can give us, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm so stressed over this. I've been on so many websites and some say the spaying will help, others say it won't. She appears to be somewhat trained, she knows a few commands, and will listen if we say no. But once she starts going after Heidi, there has just been no stopping her.

This will be our second german shepherd, our first one died at 11.5 years. We love this breed and feel she can be a great companion for our family. Some of our friends and family think we should just give her up or put her down. We don't want to do either. But I won't lie that this isn't stressing me right now. We are going to keep them separate as much as possible with switching them in crates, etc. Is there anything else we should be doing? Or do we need to keep doing this until Heidi gets the okay to be spayed? Would having a muzzle on her while she is around Sasha help?? I've never used one or had to.

If you got to the end of this, I appreciate it.
 

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Kudos to you for wanting to work on this issue. I don't know how her heat is affecting things but I would be very surprised if the aggression and resource guarding completely disappeared and it may be exactly the same once she is finished her heat. Sasha certainly will not trust Heidi and you shouldn't either.

If you get a really good behaviorist/trainer you may eventually be able to do some things with the two of them together but I would keep them completely separated for now and that may need to be the case forever.

I would see if a trainer can test Heidi with a male dog and see if she has the same problems; she may need to be in a home with another male dog or with no dogs at all.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So she is resource guarding us?

She has been at the groomer (she was filthy when we got her) and she was fine with all the dogs there. The workers there loved her. She was walking around with itty bitty dogs with no problem. Since she is still new to us, might she calm down and realize Sasha is not a threat to us or her?
 

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It would be really hard to determine if she is in fact resource guarding you over the internet. It is certainly possible given that she is new to your family and you are likely her safety zone at the moment.

Being in heat could be contributing to her aggression but again, there is no way to know if that is the cause or if she is same sex aggressive until the hormones have subsided.

They should be kept separated until she is spayed, healed and you can do reintroductions under the guidance of an experienced trainer.
 

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Spaying her may or may not help. Some females just hate each other. I've read, and been told by my trainer, that spaying a female can sometimes make the aggression worse because of the imbalance of hormones. This is only relative to female dogs.

We have two females that can't get along and we spayed the aggressor. It made no difference because the hormones were not the problem to start. HOWEVER....what did make the difference is building pack behavior. You need to teach your girls to behave as a pack and work on resource guarding. Unfortunately, Jax got hurt so all training stopped for a while and we need to get back to it now that she's on the mend so I could only tell you the first step.

Right now you need to keep them completely separated. Fighting floods their body with stress hormones that takes days to go away. They will be more edgy and willing to fight until that settles down.

Where are you located? Perhaps someone here can suggest a good trainer.
 

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Keep them separate for now. Once she is 1-2 months out of heat, spay her. Reintroduce properly on neutral ground in small steps. Consult a trainer if necessary. Agree with Michelle - some dogs don't get along. Work with the dogs, see if they can get along later, if not, you will either need to manage them by separating or you can rehome one.
 

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I've spoken with a behaviorist who was recommended by a friend, and he believes that once she is spayed, her jealously and aggression will diminish if not go away all together.
It may or may not be that way. As a rescuer we only let people with no other dogs, or a male (neutered) if present, when we have female dogs to adopt out, and especially German shepherds, because of the potential for same-sex aggression.

Follow the above advice, crate and rotate the girls. One's crated while the other is out interacting with you, going potty, etc. Different rooms for the crates would be recommended so they don't sit and stare at each other while being crated/out.

Also if you have rooms with entry points that can be gated, I'd suggest that, too, get gates and put them up as an added layer of protection. You'd need the 4' gates for adult GSDs.

Maxi Walk-Thru Gate with Pet Door Carlson
 

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Females can be deadly with each other.

Having said that, I once had a young female who, while in heat, attacked my older female. They'd always gotten along famously until then. I had her spayed, and we never had another incident. But I can't say that will be the case with your two dogs.

I am sure that resource guarding is playing a role here.

For now, the safest thing to do is crate and rotate, until you can get the younger bitch spayed. Then for another 3-6 weeks after that, to let the hormones settle down.
 

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It may or may not be that way. As a rescuer we only let people with no other dogs, or a male (neutered) if present, when we have female dogs to adopt out, and especially German shepherds, because of the potential for same-sex aggression.

Maxi Walk-Thru Gate with Pet Door Carlson
Your rescue doesn't even look at the household or temperaments of other dogs when doing the adoption process? I have two females with great temperaments, but personally I wouldn't rock that boat by getting another female. It kinda makes me sad to think that I might not have gotten my second female because of my first female if I went through a rescue...are all rescues this way?
 

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You can get a female dog anywhere, if you already have a female. You can get a dog anywhere, in fact, not just from rescues.

I'm not going to try to answer about other rescues.

Many breeders won't sell a female to a home with an existing female. Are all breeders this way?

Your average pet owner doesn't relish breaking up fights and in fact at the slightest lip curl, the dog is already making it's way back to us.
We want to avoid that at all costs, as failed adoptions are good for nobody, least of all the dog. We'll take whatever steps necessary to avoid failed adoptions.

In this particular situation (the OPs) one of the household members was injured during the fight; again, we wish to avoid these situations at all costs, even if it means people get mad at us.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We are going to get a gate and rotate them from areas and try to keep them separate. We were alternating crating, and Heidi wasn't liking it. I'm worried if we keep her in there too long she will get more frustrated. So we have a leash on her and are being extra cautious. They are also fed in their crates too and we have no toys for them to fight over as well.

I live 30-40 minutes south of Chicago. Any recommendations for a behaviorist would be great. We are going to work with one and have her spayed and see how it goes from there. I just hope we can all survive that long.
 

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My 10 year old son is extremely upset and doesn't want to keep Heidi. He is very attacked to Sasha and this is hard for him to watch.
I keep thinking about this. It must be really scary and confusing for your son to have this dog come into the household and attack "his" dog. I am sure he's feeling worried and unsafe, and thinks it's unfair to Sasha to have Heidi come in and try to take over.

Was everyone in the family on board with bringing Heidi into the household?

I'm also worried about Sasha and how this is affecting her.
That would be my concern as well.
 

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Hi free step, yes we have been talking with the kids about a second dog for a while now. We knew we wanted a Shepherd and preferably older. We waited until the kids were older although we've actually been looking for a while. I've been browsing shepherds rescues for years. So we didn't take this decision lightly. However, he and Sasha definitely have a special bond, Sasha sleeps with him. We've tried to explain that we have to avoid letting Heidi guard dad (because he is apparently the trigger), and that she also needs to be spade. And that we are going to try to see if we can resolve this. Plus I was reading our county ordinance and it is illegal for us to sell or rehome or give away a dog that has bitten someone. I would see if we could contact a Shepherd rescue if things didn't get better. We are not the type to give up on animals, our first cat is now 15 and mean mean mean. So we try to honor our commitments. But he would not be unhappy if we didn't keep Heidi. He's now witnessed her twice going after Sasha.
 

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That type biting is much different than an aggressive dog that has bitten.

That type (during a fight) isn't hardly enough to register on my own radar and I'm a rescuer who refuses to take in known biters.

If you need to give her up, definitely enlist the assistance of a rescue, and spay her first (which you're planning anyway) to avoid her being taken by a puppy mill or backyard breeder.
 

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So you wouldn't consider this an aggressive action then? She is really vicious toward Sasha when she attacks her. Never witnessed anything like it before.
 

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Not towards HUMANS, no. Dog aggression and human aggression are two different things.

Well, I'm assuming your husband reached into the fray to stop the fight?
 

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Then, no, if she doesn't just up and bite, it's solely dog aggression, more specifically bitch-to-bitch or same-sex aggression.

Did you get this girl from a rescue?
 

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honestly i would return the dog to whoever you got her from. its not fair to your resident dog Sasha to be constantly on guard from heidi, not to mention your child seeing his dog attacked. there is no guarantee that heidi will calm down after spaying. sometimes some dogs just dont like other dogs of the same sex. it will be a crate/rotate life for the next 15 years if heidi doesnt calm down after spaying.
 
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