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Hello, I have been lurking and reading for a few weeks and I'm sorry I don't have a great deal of time to do an intro topic so please bear with me.

I have grown up with GSD's all my life, registered and non registered. Farm and city. I have never in my life had such a fearful/aggressive dog.

Tirasu is my nearly 4 month old registered GSD pup. We picked her because she was the sweetest and most laid back pup of the litter (consistently on our weekly visits since they were born). Because she was the runt of 9 the breeder gave her extra attention to ensure adequate nutrition and socialization etc. This breeder is known internationally and has a very good reputation. We have an 11 year old GSD from the same breeder and have been very happy. Rock solid temperment etc...

Since we have brought her home we have socialized this dog more than I have done any in my lifetime. She is becoming more people and dog aggressive. I take her to the off leash park and I keep her on leash. I do not have adequate recall to get her back if I was to let her go yet. She physically attacks any dog that gets close to us. It's embarassing but I keep trying to do it. We went 3 days in a row (after assured by my vet that immunity was adequate) then the severe cold snap hit us. We have had windchill warnings for almost 2 weeks now. Skin freezes in 2 minutes....

When I am at work my father (will be 70 this year and is still able bodied) will take her out for some extra socialization. In front of mall doors, the park, businesses etc. wherever they won't get kicked out of.

My dilemma is that regardless of all this work, her fear/aggression is increasing. I am afraid to take her to puppy classes because she is so fearful and aggressive. We cannot take her some places even outdoors and walk her amongst people because her behaviour scares people and we have been asked to leave. Many in the dog park understand what we are trying to do and have offerred their senior dogs to mingle and that has worked somewhat. We have a behaviourist/trainer coming in tonight (I have been waiting for more than 3 weeks for this)

Please wish us luck, this is not the pup I wanted her to be and am doing my best to stop this process. I am looking for support and any suggestions are helpful. I utilized the advice here on crate training with very good success and for that I thank you all.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Can one of the moderators move this to puppy behaviour which is where I wanted to post it initially? Sorry everyone
 

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Stop taking her to dog parks for now. She sees all other dogs as threats. She's clearly very uncomfortable around them, to the point where she feels a need to attack. You're her leader, her protector, she relies on you to protect her but she's finding herself forced to protect because her comfort level is breached. Stop the dog parks, enroll in puppy classes where everything is CONTROLLED and monitored. If you and the trainer decide it would be too much for her, check into private classes with the trainer for one on one attention. A good trainer may have access to a very well behaved, mellow, calm submissive dog that will help your puppy overcome aggression or at least function with it. I see you've found a behaviorist, that's a good step. You could also try a schutzhund club- the one I attend had a dog that was in desperate need of socialization that was there to work through it. Schutzhund clubs are great because they're normally very controlled and filled with people who are intimately knowledgeable about aggressive dogs, especially dog-aggressive dogs. It may not help for her dog problem, but it may help on the people level.

Lastly, have you had a vet check her inside and out and xray her up and down? Sometimes dogs have a vertebra out of whack or some hidden condition that causes them great pain and they appear aggressive when in fact they just don't want anyone near them because they hurt like heck and don't want to be hurt more.

Good luck, sounds like you're on the right track. Definitely stop the dog parks unless you can have your own fenced-in section to yourself so the two of you can play good games in the presence of other dogs, but not with direct dog-dog interaction.
 

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All puppies go through fear periods...the most rock solid dog, one day will be scared the next...

Diane M gave some very good advice...you are your pups protection. If that means scooping her up when she's in a situation that she finds stressful...do it. A very good controlled puppy k class might be just what you need.In my opinion,Doggy parks can be the source of a lot of trauma.

Something that can be very helpful is you working with her on positive reinforcement basic obedience. Sits and downs for her food, going out the door, etc. Give her some structure in her life..show her you will take care of her, if she pays attention to you.She needs to be in her comfort zone and you need to find out what that is.

Good luck, we've all been there. There are some very good books on the subject of fear and reactivity.
 

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You said she is becoming dog aggressive, has she had time where she didn't act aggressive towards other dogs? Is She spayed or intact?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all!

We had our first session with the behavioural/trainer. She's very good and we've noticed a huge difference around here for certain. Much calmer, not nipping (as much she's not even 4 months old and teething) and loves to work for food.

I did take her out in public to a park with my daughter(5) and her friend of the same age. There weren't many people around but those that were there set her off. I like the idea of finding a Schutzhund club because I notice that if I can get her attention and keep her working/playing she will let go of the barking and put her hackles away. The challenge is becoming her protector and her master to the point where she can tune out distraction and just work.

People seem to love to come and touch a puppy. The trainer said just say no for now, respect her space and work her for a bit. Then we'll conquer the meeting people and dogs later.

She will be spayed at about 6 months and has always been dog aggressive. We have an 11 year old Shepherd and she's fine with him... well fine in that the hackles aren't up and she seems to want to play so rough with him. I don't get them together right now very often because she won't let it go, he won't let it go and I cannot control her yet.

Thank you and I'm sure I'll have more questions as we go. She's a beautifully tempered dog with us around here so I know the potential is there I just have to do the work.
 

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This is too late for you but anyone else reading should not take a puppy to the dog parks. It is overwhelming and a bad experience will make the dog fearful. The dog should feel safe. As she is now even though you get her out she doesn't have confidence in your ability to protect her.

I hate dog parks but think they are especially harmful for dogs under 6 mnths.
 

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Originally Posted By: mjb03

I hate dog parks but think they are especially harmful for dogs under 6 mnths.
I'm sorry that you have had a bad experience with dogs parks. Dog parks can be great but it really depends on the people and the dogs who go there! Without the nearby dog park I would never have been able to rehab my extremely fear aggressive dog, Basu, nor would I have been able to socialize him with other dogs.

Back to your dog--is she fear aggressive? What is your trainer's assessment of her behavior? Would you like some book suggestions?
 

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http://www.leerburg.com/pdf/dogparks.pdf

I personally am wary of dog parks. It takes just ONE bad experience to ruin my dog, or God Forbid, injure or kill my precious pup. There are just way too many idiot owners out there, IMHO, and I feel as long as my pup's own pack (my husband & I) can provide every aspect of her needs & wants, dog parks are of no value to me.

But that is just my opinion. My pup is 4 months old, and I am her protector & alpha leader. I don't want my dog unintentionally hurting another dog (law suits are so popular in the States) or another strange dog hurting my pup.

I will let her interact & socialize with dogs, but under close supervision and with trusted dogs & owners in a neutral zone. If I can do it at a dog park with such a group, that's wonderful. If not, I will find another outlet.

Now that she is a little bigger, I am planning to introduce her to a few trustworthy dogs that frequent a dog park. But we are doing it early, early morning, to avoid the crowd.
 

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If you read any dog boards you will find threads apon threads of people with suddenly dog aggressive dogs. Most have going to dog parks as a common denominator.

The leerburg link does a great job explaining why dog parks are basically a bad idea.

Before I knew anything I did know that mostly the dogs brought to dog parks were a quick, easy way for owners to exercise their dogs.

Lots of underexercised, hyper dogs plus unaware owners are a receipe for disaster.

If I HAD to go to a dog park then I would go off hours and one that had a membership that required vaccinations be up to date and the dogs altered (spayed/neutered).
 

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I don't agree with pushing the panic button on the vaccination issue or the dog park issue.

The vaccination thing is way overblown. We won't get into that right now though but let us just say that if your dogs have been vaccinated as pups and had one booster shot then they should be well protected.

Most of my dog park experience comes from Madison, WI. You needed a permit to bring your dogs to the dog parks there or you would get a ticket. There were many different parks and they all had their own personalities and reputation. A number of them were very large and people walked their dogs there. A few were smaller. One of the smaller ones was near my house. I took my dogs there every day, usually at the same time of day. Some people walked around the park while others stood there and let their dogs play. The majority of people were regulars and did a good job of letting people know the (informal) rules as well as policing the park for irresponsible people for problem dogs. In general we did an excellent job of controlling our own dogs.

But I have also visited many non-official and official dog parks here in western New York as well. I am careful with my dogs and I do not hesitate to call people out for their dogs' poor behavior. I am especially strict with other gsd, rottie or pitt owners when their dogs are acting rudely since our dogs already have such a bad reputation.

Incidentally, I have had many "bad" experiences with my dogs and other dogs (other dogs going after my dogs). This has happened on walks in cities, in the country, at dog parks, in regular parks, in my neighborhood, in other neighborhoods, etc., etc. My dogs learn through all of this socialization that I will handle the problem dog/person. One bad experience has not ruined any of their lives because I continuously work to socialize them and work with them. There are irresponsible people everywhere and there are also people who have no idea how to train or socialize their own dogs.

No one HAS to go to a dog park. But many of us choose to. We don't post about it because it's not an issue.
 

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Hi GirlMedic,

Your trainer is a very thoughtful and perceptive person. I agree too, to stave off any interaction with strangers and dogs. Just tell strangers to please not touch your puppy as it is in training. :eek:) Forcing a puppy to mingle with humans or other animals will only reinforce its unwarranted behaviours.

Your pup (might) have had a negative experience with an older dog to cause it to be dog aggressive.

One reason why I personally avoid dog parks with my pup. It is not a panic situation, but it is one I prefer to avoid. Like I mention, once is too many for me.

Good luck with your puppy. You are definitely on the right track!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks all,

I guess there is a couple of things. My trainer said to hold off for a bit on the dog parks for now and will readdress. I do need to get her out amongst people more. With my work schedule (full time days), my ringette schedule and the weather here it is the worst possible timing but I do my best.

In addition my gut just tells me it freaks her out too much right now. I've been trying to put my own 11 year old and her together for about 1/2 hour per day and all they do is play fight. No hackles no snarling no snapping just a whole lot of dog spit all over each other. So I think that's enough for now. I worry putting her with good dogs that I know as I think she will injure another. I've got a puppy class starting beginning of March so hopefully by that time we will have worked alot more on me becoming the alpha and her protector so she can concentrate on doing what she needs to do. I need to socialize her to humans and have her welcome people into our home. Again a challenge.

Thanks for all your help!
 
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