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Discussion Starter #1
My GSD mix has lived with our cats since we brought her home at 8 weeks. They have put her in her place for months. About a month ago, she started nipping at them if they'd approach her treats/bowl/toys. It gradually got worse and she began full on strikes towards them for no reason. She could be asleep and then wake up, walk around the couch, and decide to pounce on a cat. We removed the toys. We have handfed, but that doesn't seem to make a difference, as she has never been aggressive towards us humans. She went after my older GSD once, and the older dog definitely let her know who was boss. I just don't understand why after 11 months, she'd decide she wanted to hurt the cats. Any ideas? Sometimes the toys she takes are CAT toys and she gets pissy about those too...:(
 

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This sounds like resource guarding. It sounds like she is claiming space and because she's successful she keeps claiming more and more space. Kai resource guarded me from my cat and my other dog.

I would buy Jean Donaldson's book, "Mine!" It is a great book on resource guarding and will help you work her through this.

If she isn't already on NILIF (Nothing in LIfe is Free) I would put her on that and I would also be sure to do short daily training sessions with her and work especially hard on the "Leave it" command.

Also, and most importantly for your cats' immediate safety I would crate her when she's sleeping or is having down town so that your cats have time to move about the house unmolested. You can also put up gates so that the cats have their own space that she cannot access.
 

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Thanks for the advice. We have started the NILIF training and she is crated if we aren't home/asleep. I can't trust her and I'm not willing to risk the safety of my cats because she is unpredictable.

Even with the NILIF, she still pushes. For fairness, we've been doing it with both dogs. The other dog gets it 190%. If we ask her to sit before going outside, she does it. So we let her out. Then the bad dog has to stand at the door and stare outside and can't seem to figure out why she is inside and the good dog is outside having fun. And she stares at me. And I repeat my command (which she knows well) and she continues to stare at me...like..."I'm not going to sit. I'd rather crap on your floor." She is the most frustrating dog I've encountered (and I grew up with dogs and worked as a veterinary assistant for 3 years in a practice that frequently worked with rescues of shepherds, dobies, rotts, boxers, etc).

Because of her poor behavior and not listening, while she rough-housed in the backyard one evening, she jumped at me and broke my arm. We have seriously considered rehoming her, but I feel some kind of moral obligation to keep her because we rescued her from the kill shelter and I don't feel like anyone else would tolerate her and would put her down. My husband gets so irritated he has to leave the room. She just stares and stares and stares.
 

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Sounds like your pup is going thru the normal teenage "butthead" stage - probably just need to keep working with her and maintain discipline.

Does she actually try to hurt the cats or just rough play?
 

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Ps the staring is normal for some dogs. My 3 yo male GSD has done that since little puppyhood (we got him at 7 weeks!). He will sit in the house across the room and just stare at my wife or me. He also does it outside in the back yard! Funny as heck (unless you are in a hurry to get him to do something!)!
 

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She tries to hurt them when they're doing something she doesn't agree with...like playing with their own toys. My other shepherd picks the cats up and takes them out of the room so that the bad dog doesn't hurt them. Its comical, but obnoxious.

I figured the staring thing was just....some dogs...and that's exactly it...when I want her to hurry up and do a command and she's just staring at me...I want to beat her. She's a beast of a dog though, so I don't even think beating would do any good.
 

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Sounds like the butt head stage for sure and resource guarding. but it's going to get worse if you don't reclaim some leadership now with this stubborn girl. I would say sit once while standing about 4 inches from her face and when she doesn't sit inch closer leaning toward her until you are right on her. Basically pivot into the dog slowly which should naturally cause her to lean back in the sitting position because it will make her uncomfortable. If this doesn't work gently force a sit end of story. If your giving commands and giving up because she simply stares at you she has learned I ignore mommy and she leaves me alone- she is the winner every time and therefore has no reason to listen:)

Tether her to you when you are up and about the house and begin marking good behavior around the cats. If she doesn't lunge and whine she gets a treat. Start several feet away from them of course so she has a chance for success and slowly over the next few weeks work her to getting closer and closer. I would feed her only in the crate as well as put her water there and not allow the cats inside- this will be her space and you have to make the cats respect it. Until she can ignore or be gentle with the cats I would keep her leashed and/or tethered in the house so you can both correct and reward good behavior:)
 

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The crating is easier said than done, as she has chewed two crate pans into quarter sized pieces in the past 2 weeks. She can do it in less than 10 minutes now, and she does it to be a jerk. I feel bad but I've been putting her in the crate with a sheet and no pan now because she just keeps destroying them. Is there a solution for that?

The getting closer thing for sitting is/was a great idea....we've already started with that and it works like a charm every time. You can see it in her face that we're annoying her so she just sits.

We're working on the leashing in the house. We have found that when we do this though, the cats get really ballsy and approach her to tease her, because they know we'll yank the crap out of her if she moves. See below for pictures of bad dog.


 

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This is 'merely' a leave it type command, but our dogs will only listen to that if we have a good leadership role in the house in place.

What does your dog trainer say? Does this ever happen in dog classes?

Here's some good info if you need to work on a 'leave it'



 

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So my kittens got spayed today. Bring them home, they're pretty lethargic. I leave the room for long enough to unlock the front door, and come back, and she's got one of them pinned. I'm at my limit with this dog.
 
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