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Discussion Starter #1
I was going to post in "Braggs" but hoped someone who is maybe in the same situation I was might see this and gain some hope.

I posted a few months ago regarding our 1.5 yr old shepherd mix rescue. He started exhibiting signs of aggression, seemingly out of nowhere, this past winter. We have had him for just over a year now, he is fixed and was a wonderful puppy. This winter we noticed he was most definitely becoming territorial aggressive. It was scary to say the least. Barking, growling, snarling, and even snapping at unfamiliar visitors in our home. We were at a loss, as we thought we had been doing everything right. We took him to training classes, he goes to puppy day care when we work long hours, and is constantly out and about with us on walks, runs, bike rides and trips to the park. A day doesnt go by that we dont take him out multiple times. He listened well and picked up on commands very quickly. Then, he started to test us.

It was surprising and like I said, quite scary. He was no longer this little pup that was easily controlled, but an 85 lb dog. We worked relentlessly with him. We implemented the "nothing in life is free" lifestyle, as suggested on this forum and other resources I looked into. He was made to sit, stay and wait not just for meals now, but to come and go from the house, before car/bike rides, walks, runs, before and during play, and even before recieving physical love. It was pretty tough. Tough to remember all of the time first of all, and to put into action. He was very resistant to the changes in our behavior. After being told what to do, at times, he would bark at usand sometimes just walk away. We would remind ourselves constantly to remain calm, walk away for a few moments if needed, and come back to try again. We never let him get away anything. Ignoring us was no longer an option...even if it seemed like a petty or unimportant command for him to obey, he was going to do it...and would be rewarded in the end. We knew he was smart, and understood what we were saying. So physical force wasnt needed...Just persistance.

To nip the territorial attitude in the bud, we invited multiple guests a day into our home, that were unfamiliar to him, but familiar and comfortable with helping us in our predicament. It took a few weeks, but he finally started relaxing. (I bribed helpers with cold beer or coffee/tea and cookies.)

Within one weeks time, he was not just begrudgingly obeying our commands (or not obeying at all), but he was so excited about it...tail wagging and all. It only took him a short time to realize that when he listened, good things came his way. Not to say he didnt, and still doesnt, test us...but those moments became few and far between. And even now, when he resists at first, he easily backs down. I became so excited to get off work and take him to the park to work on more training and have some play time. Not stressed and frustrated that things may not go as I wanted.

It's been a couple of months, and the results are incredibly rewarding. It's an everyday thing, Arlo doesn't miss a beat. There were times when I was with my friends labs or goldens and was jealous that these dogs obeyed without a second thought. Not anymore. I underestimated the sensitivity, perceptiveness, and intelligence of this beautiful animal and have learned so many things from it. Patience, empathy, and trust to name a few. Once my pup realized I was in control and he could trust me to be in control for him, the rest came easy. It wasnt a simple task to prove to him, and our little family is still a work in progress...that will probably last til the day we have him in our lives. But it is sooo sooo worth it, and totally possible. :)
 

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:thumbup: kudos to you for sticking it out and being persistant but fair.

Sometimes dogs like this are the ones that teach US everything:)
 

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What a great story! Some of these dogs really take a lot of work, but when you are persistent and patient, the result is very rewarding. You are lucky to have friends willing to help with training. Guests coming in our house is still an issue - unfortunately it is difficult to find willing guests. If we do ever find somebody, good to know over time the effort will pay off.

I know the feeling of "what did I do wrong" when from what you wrote it sounds like you did everything right, similar to us. I am glad you were able to take a positive attitude and not give up on your dog.
 

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Good for you :) I'm glad your hard work is paying off
 

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This is so wonderful to hear.
Training is mandatory if you own a German Shepherd.
We had to step up training, too, when Hans turned one.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
i was honestly at a place where i thought we were just in over our heads. i lost sleep and shed tears. i loved him still, but was worried we couldnt handle him. they are powerful animals, and it can become a very scary situation. i just want people out there to know that it IS totallty possible.

we are in no way shape or form dog trainers. (well, maybe now id consider myself one :rolleyes: i saw arlo at a shelter, and decided right and then and there he belonged in our lives. i had done ZERO research on the GSD prior to adopting him, and after problems started emerging and i actually started doing the research i became very discouraged. but please dont! nothing worth having is easy...yet another lesson learned from my dear sweet pup!
 

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Major Congrats!! Great job!
 
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