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Sasha is 8 and a half months old. She's very social with people, and usually with dogs. We take her to obedience class and she's fine (except she gets so excited and pulls on the way in there). She goes to the dog park and she's fine; she loves to play with the other dogs.

The problem is when we're at home. We take her to relieve herself in the front yard because we don't have grass in the backyard, and if a dog or person is walking by she goes crazy. She becomes really fixed on them and will charge up to them if she has the chance. I know she isn't aggressive, but she looks scary as she runs up to them barking with her hackles up, and it usually scares the dog and owner. But once she gets over there and sniffs them shes fine.

She only does this near home, so I'm wondering if she's just being property protective? How can I stop this behavior? I know she won't actually attack them, but I don't want my neighbours afraid that I have a vicious, unsocialized GSD. If anything, I would be more afraid of a dog not appreciating her style of greeting and attacking her :/
 

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I would be sure to keep treats in my pocket and when you see someone coming down the street get her attention and start distracting and treating her. If she's normally good with other dogs it shouldn't be hard to eventually get her to let the neighbors walk by without mass chaos.

If she's a normal 8 month old it should go something like this when you first start.
Distract, treat, distract, treat...distract...opps...lunge...distract, treat. :)
 

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Is she unleashed when she runs up to them? First thing I'd do is put a leash on her, then practice doing things OTHER than charging/fixating when other dogs go by. When she does lunge, she hits the end of the leash and self-corrects.

What you do NOT want to do is start getting tense or doing lots of corrections when she sees the other dogs, that can make the situation worse. If she self corrects, that's fine, it doesn't really add any tension or stress because you are staying calm. But you would try to avoid the self correction by practicing stays, sits, etc. on leash and with tasty treats.

If it only happens at home then it could be challenging unless you can stage other dogs walking past. I'd definitely start with a leash or some other barrier that will prevent her from getting the satisfaction of storming up to a passing dog and sniffing. She can learn that that particular behavior does not result in anything fun, but sitting, staying, hanging back etc. has benefits.
 

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I just keep walking by, put a little distance between me and them so she can't get the satisfaction of getting what she wants, after a few weeks when we run in the morning she quit doing it, and still only gets to greet another dog if they stop to say hi, and heidi ignores her until I say "greet" which means she may approach and investigate the situation :)
 

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dog socialization courses and walks needed :

Go to those places, does not matter if in Petco, petsmart or with a dog trainer, but go to those places where people bring their dogs with them and sit in a circle and learn what the dog trainer has to say. That way you will eventually calm down, so will your dog then, as well as all other dogs, then they get to know each other.

Probably the main reason why your dog charges other dogs is because the way you react now everytime you see another dog is a mix between panic, being annoyed and having doubts and hoping for the best and then you probably act the wrong way and there your dog goes off again. He feels all of what you feel.

Then i suggest, go walk with other people that have dogs. Preferably walk in a group where people have several dogs alone so it learns being around other dogs is normal.

Do that asap.

Just walking by other dogs ignoring them does help but it would be wiser that your dog if still young, learns to socialize with other dogs to begin with. The ignoring other dogs and just walk by you usualy do if you see the other dog is a race that is not compatible with your dog, or when the other dog is highly a Boss dog, or those tiny small dogs that are scared to death of your dog but got to bark around and bite his ankles to pretend that he is not scared and so forth.

What not to do :

- Carry your dog to another dog that is on the ground or vice versa so they look at each other like some toads not knowing what to do next.

- Make baby noises to the other dog and kneeling, pointing fingers at the other dog and saying what a good buy it is.

- Giving treats to the other dog

- Walking with your dog leashed to the other dog, especially when the other dog is an alpha, so the leashes get all tangled up and both dogs end up with stitches and whoever goes in there to sort the dogs out with a accidental bite in their leg.

- ignoring all other dogs and just walk by every single time. (you do that on certain occasions I mentioned above).

- bringing a bunch of neigbour dogs to your house or garden or vice versa "so they can meet each other" (do not do that if your dog is over a certain age, consult with specialists with how many months they start becoming very territorial.

- bind your dog to a tree and walk to the other dog to pat it and give it a treat.

I have seem all of this happening over and over and over and what I hate the most is the people that carry their dog over and then hold them around their ribcage and slowly hover push them towards your dog.
 

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MRL, Shasta does this, too, and I'm wondering what causes it. I just don't see her as being particularly aggressive or dominant. If I had to say anything I'd say fearful, but she will run right up to another dog to greet it. Could it just be over excitement, plain and simple? Even the hackles? (Which, by the way, is hilarious...the combination of long fur, plus the particular color reminds me of a porcupine.)
 

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German shepherds were first bred as guard dogs its is instict to protect their home, it is up to you to teach her that people walking on the side walk or road are allowed to be there. Keep her on a leash until she masters control. Get people in your neighborhood to help with training (most people will be willing to help) use treats or toys which ever she like best . When the people approach get her attention feed her small amounts of the treat while the people walk by. If she does not settle with the treats and continues to lung walk her away. As she learns to settle when people walk by start to get her closer if she lunges back up to where she was. the goal is to be able to walk her up to the people and other dogs for greeting. If at any time she slips up take her back the point where she remain calm. It takes time and most of all patients. Good luck.
 

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Ugh. Heidi is 2 yrs. old and has been charging other dogs since she was 8 mos old. She is not unfriendly, just likes to charge right up to the other dogs face and then lick them. Scares the heck out of the other dog owner.
 

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Yep...know what you're saying. My dog is fine with people too once he knows they're ok with us. I think it's their natural instinct to protect their pack leader and the perimeter of the property (no matter where you are) at least with my dog it is...he hackles up and charges to the fence line. No matter what I say he won't stop...it's like he's gone deaf in his quest to defend his property/people. It is pretty scary if you don't know them!! Keep trying...I am and he's 5 yrs old now!
 

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I think its a hard situation to be in. Being young, she may not be really aggressive yet, but I'd be willing to bet that its a dominant behavior. Especially considering that she is on her property, she isn't going to let an intruder on the property. Its in her blood. Using a leash would be the best thing to do IMO. My male would undoubtedly attack another dog without hesitation, so for us, any time we have to pass a dog he will get corrected until he settles down. Its the only thing that works. Try to squash the problem before it actually becomes an issue. Good luck!
 

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Hachi does the same, however, with him it is all the time. Whenever he sees or hears a dog he goes crazy, trying to charge at them and barking non-stop. He is taking obedience classes, but it is really hard to train him outside of home. In the class there are only two other dogs and even though he has seen them for the past 4 weeks he still barks at them and won't stop, unless I distract him with something else. While what the trainer taught me in great to keep his attention, whenever he looks at the other dogs he starts again, and I want to teach him that it is okay to be around them, but I don't know how anymore.

When we left him at a boarding place for a day, we also let him do the "dog day care" thing where he plays with other dogs. We went to visit and see from a distance how he reacted to being around the other dogs and even though he didn't bark at them he didn't want to be close to them. He would mostly follow the people around and not the dogs...

Any ideas?
 

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Brinkley has this problem too. Although he loves other dogs, since he hasn't been instructed how to greet other dogs (in a way He understands) he doesn't know any other way. We are working on this, and the most important thing is if they are not completely calm without you having to yell, jerk on the leash, ect. they don't get to get close to the other dog. He's starting to learn that all the ruckus doesn't get what he wants.
Keep at it, don't give up, and she'll get it sooner or later. :)
 

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Exercise, exercise.

Find a friend with a dog or two and go hiking with the dogs. This is how I overcame that situation. I live near the Bruce Trail in Ontario and go hiking/walking regularly. The more hills the better...exercise in a natural setting does wonders for a dogs mind and yours. Keep the dog on a longer leash so it can have some freedom and you are not always nagging it to do things. In fact I don't tell the dog to do anything...I let it sniff , look, listen and think about what's going on around her. Never take your eyes off of your dog and that way you learn to read her body language...you know when someones around the next corner, across the ravine on the next ridge etc. By the time we meet another dog on the trail she's already taken in alot of other "stuff" (for lack of a better word), and she's burned some energy...and so has any other dog (which is usually off lead by now) that we meet on the trail at that point. I always call out hello, in a normal voice to the other person whether I see them or not. This let's my dog know I'm ok with what's coming...remember, I'm the pack leader so this has taken the pressure off her to make a decision about what's coming. I make sure that there is absolutely zero tension on my line when they meet. I keep it fairly short and sweet, you have to read the dogs at this point and then keep moving. I do not praise for the interaction...they are supposed to be civil....but I do praise quietly when she looks at me and follows. Another three hills and we may meet someone else. Anyway, meeting other dogs quickly gets "normal". The other key element is your reaction, body language,voice etc. every single time. You have to be in control, zero anxiety etc. Sorry for the long answer winded. Hope it helps.
cw
 

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Question: Why do dogs pull on leashes?
Answer: Because people follow.

To the OP - first I wouldn't let the dog pull me anywhere - dog parks, whatever. If he pulls, I stop walking. The minute the leash gets slack, we walk again. Bring lots of patience. Pulling is a dominant behavior and isn't helping your home situation.

To the other posters - if the dog is barking & lunging, distracting with treats & toys COULD be seen as a reward by the dog. I had this with Zack. We did Control Unleashed where we started with the other dog far away. Going for a walk, we might need to cross the street to get distance. He looks at the dog "Good boy!" and gets a treat. Before you know it, your dog is looking at the other dog & then looking at you for the treat. Hey! Dogs are good! Thanks for the cookie, buddy!

Now, we can pass most dogs without getting paid. But, if there is a particularly aggressive dog who is lunging at Zack, Zack turns to me like "Pay Up!"

The whole idea is that the dog DOES look at the distraction but then turns his attention to you. Jerking the dog & getting excited just exacerbates the problem. Pull on the dog, they pull back. The analogy I learned was - if you're really afraid of snakes & somebody put a rattle snake right behind you - you can hear it rattling, but every time you turn to look, you get jerked away - wouldn't you figure out that "snakes = very bad." OTOH, if you saw the snake from a distance & somebody handed you something delicious - maybe snakes might not be so bad after all.

Lastly, Zack has little dog-sniff tolerance. He's good for about five seconds but then he wants to play, which means "I jump on you & you like it." So, he gets about three second sniffs then, "Good boy!" a cookie & we continue on our way. I want every encounter to be a GOOD encounter. That's where a halti is nice - I can control his head with a "good boy" e.g., take it out of the other dog's rear area & we're on our way.

He ain't perfect and I'm not a perfect trainer, but so far, this has worked the best for both of us.
 

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Oh god, I feel so relieved that I've found this to read through. I've been to scared to ask on my usual pet forum because they're quite brutal about dogs that aren't under control, I'm glad to see that it's not just my German Shepherd. I did my best to socialise her, took her to dog parks almost every day and she was fine til she hit a certain age, then it just turned to custard.

I found she lunges at other dogs and gets incredibly distracted as we walk past on leash. Have found it quite unnerving because I never know how she is going to react. She feeds off the other dog's energy. If they're excited she'll go crazy, if they're hostile she'll be snappy. If they're calm she's fine. Rearing up on her back legs and looking completely out of control... Ugh. Completely lost my confidence for awhile, ended up buying a halti headcollar for fear she was going to bite someone or another dog and have to be pts... Now that I'm able to cope with it we're dealing with it but for awhile I think I completely gave up and felt like a failure.

I also notice she really hates when dogs bark at her from their property. She doesn't so much mind the 'hi I'm here' barks, but if the dog snarls, growls, rushes the gate or acts otherwise hostile she's lunging at them, snapping and barking. She's fine if we cross the road and they're nutting off, just if we're quite close to the gate - I'm not sure if she's rising to the challenge and being defensive/protective in reaction to the aggression but I was thinking with the nature of a German Shepherd it would likely be the case?

When I get home from work I'll def be reading through this and trying out some of the advice. I think I'll be able to kill two birds with one stone here.
 

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German shepherds were first bred as guard dogs its is instict to protect their home, it is up to you to teach her that people walking on the side walk or road are allowed to be there. Keep her on a leash until she masters control. Get people in your neighborhood to help with training (most people will be willing to help) use treats or toys which ever she like best . When the people approach get her attention feed her small amounts of the treat while the people walk by. If she does not settle with the treats and continues to lung walk her away. As she learns to settle when people walk by start to get her closer if she lunges back up to where she was. the goal is to be able to walk her up to the people and other dogs for greeting. If at any time she slips up take her back the point where she remain calm. It takes time and most of all patients. Good luck.

hi i am afraid you're thinking that GSD were first bred for guard dogs is not really correct ! They were first found in an area of the Alsation mountains and were working as Shepard dogs, hence the name German Sheperd Dog, during the war GSD were found to have such great abilities and inteligence that us British brought them over from Germany to seek for Blitz victims. Of course we coul;dnt call the dogs German at the time so named them after the mountain range, hence Alsations which is really an incorrect name !! Fran:)
 

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Ugh. Heidi is 2 yrs. old and has been charging other dogs since she was 8 mos old. She is not unfriendly, just likes to charge right up to the other dogs face and then lick them. Scares the heck out of the other dog owner.
Yeah, we've been dealing with that too. Shadow is 9 months old and an "only" dog and if she sees another dog on our walks she tries to lunge at them. the only things that help are redirecting her attention to me, or just sitting until the other dog passes by ( but this is hard for her to do).
 

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My male gsd was pretty bad and still kinda does the whole barking and running up to dogs. He used to lounge even on leash. He is not aggressive but rather is stimulated by the other dogs especially if running. and partly it is my fault he acts like that. If i see another dog and get excited or my anxiety flairs he reacts and nothing stops him.
He now has alot of obedience under his belt. and what ive found for him that works is if we're walking (he has a nice heel) and there are dogs out, i dont acknowledge the dogs, i keep my eyes forward or down and ive done better at staying calm and tell him "good fuss" and he pays no mind to the other dogs.:happyboogie:
Im currently doing agility with him and once again i try to ignore the dog and if we arent moving i have him do a few obedience tricks or treat him for sitting still and being quiet. He only whines when the little dogs go ahead of him. but that is something we will continue to work on. :)
 
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