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Chief is a one year old German Shepard mix. He is my pride and joy and he is BIG! We never imagined he would grow to be 90 lbs. plus. He's growing into his big boy paws and has the case of Alpha male syndrome. We have another dog KC, she is a year old black lab mix and they’re the best of friends. We adopted Chief and KC together when they were six weeks old. Before adoption they were fostered by our neighbors who have a lot of experience fostering puppies. While KC was okay health wise, sadly chief was very malnourished and probably abused. Chief does get along with other dogs for the most part. He is friends with certain neighbor dogs and he did great at the dog park with dogs bigger than him and smaller. Although it seems that when other dogs challenge Chief he reacts aggressively. If children or other animals, or people walk around the back yard or the house he will bark at them aggressively. I understand he is a big dog and that can be startling to certain people. He's such a good boy with our family but it seems to be certain visitors or unfamiliar faces that tip off his aggression and barking. I’m not sure what triggers the behavior exactly; it could be that he seems himself as the alpha male or he feels threatened. I could really use some advice about what might cause his behavior and how to help him conquer it. If I can’t help him calm down its possible that my dad might send him to the farm. Please help Chief and I!!!
Thanks!
-Chrissy and Chief
 

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Do you know what other breed Chief is mixed with? Barking at strange faces may just be that he is protecting his property. Does he bark so aggressively that you believe he would harm them? e.g is he straining to get at them? My female GSD (only 5 months old) barks at 'strange' cars and people when they come up our driveway, but we consider this normal - however I know that she wouldn't charge them.. she is just unsure of them. I'm sure your dad would appreciate him barking at a stranger if there was a robber coming around the back of your house, as opposed to staying quiet and not doing anything!
 

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Talk with your parents about getting a trainer involved. You will want one who knows GSD and working breeds. There is a number of reasons he could be displaying this behavior and without eyes on him to see this behavior, it would be difficult to say how to train him. The trainer will help you learn what his triggers are, how to handle him and get his focus back on you, and what to do if signals are missed and he reacts. It is doubly important to get started on this asap especially with people and kids involved, one wrong nip and the results could be bad.
 
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