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Discussion Starter #1
River is about 13 months and has been having some issues for a while. It's hard to pinpoint the problem because it doesn't make a lot of sense to us (my wife and I).

Basically, she is aggressive at certain times and we can't figure out how to stop this. At first, when she was a younger puppy, she was very submissive towards other dogs. Even in doggy daycare, she would walk in and immediately roll over and submit to all the other dogs. She seems to be over that now, as she is in the big dog room at daycare and does fine, with seemingly no fear.

But, she's always been a bit leash agressive. When we walk her, she will lunge at other dogs and bark at them. Which seems strange, because she's fine with all types of dogs at her daycare. But on leash, she is different I guess.

When we walk her, she will also lunge and bark/growl at people sometimes too, even kids. She seems to do this more when my wife walks her.

The weird part is, if we take her to a crowded place (Petsmart), she is fine walking on her leash with us and pretty much ignoring everyone. But if we turn down an aisle and there is one person alone, and that person approaches us slowly, she will lunge and growl at them. She seems to be particularly suspicious of lone, individual persons.

Today was the last straw - my wife was walking her and she lunged/growled at an elderly lady getting her mail. Now if there had been 25 people around the mailboxes, she would have been fine. But my wife is pregnant and we are expectng our first child in March. She feels like she cant even walk River at all because of her behavior.

My wife and I aren't the most social of people - we don't have tons of friends coming over all the time. We tried so hard to socialize River but maybe it wasn't enough? We took her everywhere and really socialized her a lot.

She's pretty well trained - has her CGC. But she learns quickly to adapt at training places and she behaves fine there. She's a wonderful dog. I take her to the park for off-leash ball retrieval and she is great. As a matter of fact, if I'm throwing the ball, she does not pay attention to anyone - just me and the ball.

Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a trainer or behaviorist in the Dallas area? Any other advice?
 

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when exactly did this behavior start? i ask because you mention your wife is pregnant. What would you say the relationship between your wife and River is like?
 

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i agree that she sounds leash reactive but i would still like to know when the behavior started and what the relationship is between your wife and River. Are they close? Does River stick close to your wife? Closer to you?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
She is definitely leash reactive, particularly towards other dogs. This behavior has been ongoing since she was a few months old. She's just not very social. But it only takes her a bit to get to know people. For example, she's wonderful at the vet, other than the reaction on leash to other dogs.

She definitely hangs on to me. She obeys me more, she sticks closer to me, etc. My wife is a little standoffish with her and River may pick up on that. But she's leash reactive with me handling her too. Just not quite as bad.
 

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She is definitely leash reactive, particularly towards other dogs. This behavior has been ongoing since she was a few months old. She's just not very social. But it only takes her a bit to get to know people. For example, she's wonderful at the vet, other than the reaction on leash to other dogs.

She definitely hangs on to me. She obeys me more, she sticks closer to me, etc. My wife is a little standoffish with her and River may pick up on that. But she's leash reactive with me handling her too. Just not quite as bad.

okay. The reason i asked is because its not unheard of at all for a dog to suddenly start being reactive, some would say protective, of their handler when they get pregnant. I was warned not too long ago about a great dane who's "mom" was pregnant and he was suddenly snappy and reactive if anyone other than her husband got too close to her. Needless to say that didnt help my issues with danes but another story for another time. If you have ever seen the show on animal planet Its Me Or The Dog with Victoria Stillwell, she's actually really good about teaching people how to work with leash reactive dogs. I would suggest looking into it. For me it was easier to watch some episodes where she deals with leash reactivity than it was for people to explain how to handle it. I'm sure others on this site would be able to explain it a great deal better than myself right now. Good luck and congrats on the upcoming baby! I miss when my kids were little and a new. My daughter is 3 and LOVES backtalking and my son is 1 1/2 and is learning to talk. Love them to death but i do miss the easier days where all they wanted to do was eat sleep and cuddle. I wish you the best and i hope you're able to work with River on her issue!
 

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what do you 'do' when she does act like this?

Finding a good trainer and getting into an obedience class won't hurt:)

My take, when your in a crowd there isn't to much of "one" thing to zero in on. When you come across one/two people she has more of a chance of focusing in on 'that'.

I would work on a good 'leave it', and BEFORE it happens, (as in when you know your going to come across one/two people) tell her to LEAVE IT, and continue on.

Being anti social with strangers is not uncommon, these dogs are not golden retrievers:) (I have one who is anti social with strangers)..However, they DO need to be able to be "ok" with someone passing by, you standing there talking to someone, etc.

If you know she's anti social, have people put her on the "big ignore" as I call it. No touch, no staring, no petting.

And leash reactiveness is not uncommon with some dogs either..
 
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