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In May I adopted a black GSD, she was a police dog in Czechoslovakia but failed a test. A couple brought her to Montana. My shepard mix was 12 years old and she had Cushings Disease and passed away. I found my Zoya on Craigslist. She is a really sweet girl, but when she sees another dog She goes bulistic. They told she was high prey drive, but when I brought her home, I have six cats. My 11 week old kitten put her in her place and she is great with my cats. But dogs are a different story. Does anybody have any suggestions to turn my dog that wants to kill other dogs into a well mannered dog that I could take to dog park and the river and have to worry about her attacking another dog?
 

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Yeah I do, because I've dealt with many older dogs that had bad behaviors like this. First, give her time to be who she is and do what she wants, just bond with her! This can take weeks or even months!

Then, and start small, start imposing your expectations. As another member of this forum said in another thread said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I don't teach, I just have rules".

I personally like to teach dogs all kinds of things, so...I don't approach it quite like that, but initially, it's exactly what I do! Teach her the rules!

In a case like this, my go to is always desensitization and obedience. Obedience is primary, and desensitization occurs as the dog learns. Expose her, at a distance that she's comfortable with and then work on obedience or play, or both!

Over time move closer to the thing or things she has suspicion of, and keep her focus on you. Playing or not, it's whatever takes to get her attention on you. Praise and treat profusely!

Have you had or worked with GSDs before?
 

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also, try your best not to pull directly back on the leash. It may seem counter intuitive but if you pull back on the leash the dog wants to counter that by pulling forward and lunging. Better to move sideways if you can. Use your legs and walk firmly toward your dog's head to swing her around. You may have to make a few circles but she should eventually break her focus on the other dog and look at you. "what are you doing, boss? I can't pay attention to that other dog." That is when you can give a command to leave, etc.

Sometimes it isn't aggression, sometimes it is frustration. The dog wants to go see the other dog and not being allowed to they create a scene. Sometimes it is fear. They want to get the first shot in. It will take time but once your dog learns that you will keep them safe it will settle down a bit.
 

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We went to the river and there was another dog there, it always down from us and the owners weren't watching it and it ran over and stole Zoya's ball and she went after the dog, luckily she is good at call backs. I had a lady I know hold Zoya and went over and talked to the lady that owned the goldendoodle and it was fine , it was a year old. But We were playing chuck it in the water and she was doing real good. But in the back of my mind, is there gonna be another dog that comes over and she will want to hurt them. I have have been taking her for walks and There are barking dogs and I will snap the leash side ways and tell her to leave it. Where I live this girl let her rabbits run loose and there have been a couple of times that she was gonna go after them but when called her back she came right back. Right now she is a work in progress. Thank you for your comments and I will use your suggestions.
 

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In May I adopted a black GSD, she was a police dog in Czechoslovakia but failed a test. A couple brought her to Montana. My shepard mix was 12 years old and she had Cushings Disease and passed away. I found my Zoya on Craigslist. She is a really sweet girl, but when she sees another dog She goes bulistic. They told she was high prey drive, but when I brought her home, I have six cats. My 11 week old kitten put her in her place and she is great with my cats. But dogs are a different story. Does anybody have any suggestions to turn my dog that wants to kill other dogs into a well mannered dog that I could take to dog park and the river and have to worry about her attacking another dog?
If it were me I would revise my expectations. She may never be happy with other dogs but the first goal I would work on is for her to ignore them and keep her focus on you. If she can be called back to you that is a great start.
 

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If she is very aggressive as you say, I would never allow this dog at a dog park or off leash where you may run into other dogs. Even if she's perfect around other dogs on leash a year from now, meaning she ignores them, doesn't bark or growl, and doesn't snap, I would still never trust her off leash. It is irresponsible, and it isn't fair that their dogs may have to pay the price when you knew how your girl is.
 

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My former GSD was a rescue. The vet guessed him to be two years old.
He was male dog aggressive and aggressive toward some men
He liked kids and women and female dogs.

The trainer that evaluated him told me that after two years old it is not likely that aggresion can be trained out of a dog. He said after that point an owner can learn to manage the dog’s aggression. That means learning what triggers the aggression and learning strategies to manage it ie distraction and or avoiding the thing that causes the aggression.

With that trainer I learned to manage my dog. He was a great family dog.
He lived to be 12.

Rescue dogs don’t come to us with a blank slate and it’s really tough to know the real story of where they were or what or who they experienced before we welcomed them into our families.

Good luck.
 

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I want to chime in here to say that sometimes, genetically fearful dogs can't and possibly won't ever overcome their fears enough to behave around other dogs. But IME many many many dogs can. It's a learned behavior, and only the weakest nerved of dogs can't overcome their fear of other dogs if you give them the time and your patience...most people quit or get frustrated too soon!

To borrow another member's disclaimer, I am not (currently) a professional dog trainer, nor do I play one on tv!

Give them your time and patience, and stick with it, most dog's really can "get over it"!
 

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Go to Leerburg.com. They are working dog people with a lot of free articles, videos and Cindy has a great Q&A section where you can look up other people's questions about dog aggression. The Forum has some sections that might help you. Just remember they are sometimes remarks by people that don't have that much experience in higher drive dogs.
 

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I'll chime in with my experience, but as you'll see I'm no expert. Learn from my mistakes. I adopted what NorCal rescues would call a Level 4 dog--high prey drive with dog aggression-- when she was close to 3 years old. That was 2 years ago. She's fantastic except for the dog aggression.

1. As I believe others have said, don't push her to meet and socialize with other dogs right away. I did with my girl, and I had some big problems. Let her settle in and feel comfortable in her new home/surroundings first. Part of what's going on is her world is turned upside down so she feels everything can be a threat. Also, she probably doesn't trust you to help protect her yet. It takes time-- months as others said.

1a. During the time of her settling in, really work on obedience training. It sounds like you have a great start with the recall. If she was trained for K9 work the foundation is probably there. This will help in a lot of situations, but I would never ever pretend my dog is going to recall in every situation. Get her focus and attention on you, so if another dog comes along you can work on getting her to ignore it if possible.

2. Just write off the idea of her playing happily with any random dog or dogs that come along, or in a dog park. You just have to let go of that with this kind of dog.

3. Introduce her to only 1 other dog very gradually in a VERY controlled environment. Trust the other handler 100% to know what can happen and how to react (see Leerburg). With my girl, proximity was 90% of it. The other 10% was how the other dog acted. You don't want to try this with another dog aggressive dog of course, and in my experience, a neutral GSD/Malinois/working dog of similar size and opposite sex is easiest.

4. Hopefully, the other dog can become a play buddy so she can learn that other dogs are OK, not a threat, and even fun. In my case, I foster other GSDs since I've never found a suitable play buddy. My dog's aggression ramped way down after just our first foster. Also, walking with a 2nd dog makes my girl really comfortable-- she can meet off-leash dogs when there's a foster with her. It's amazing.

5. Never, ever, ever think that she can't snap back into being a monster over nothing. I thought my girl was doing so well, and then one day, boom, $600 vet bill on a Jack Russell. You have to be eternally vigilant for the rest of her life, for her sake, yours, and other animals around you. Again, the best thing is to find a play/companion of her size and energy, and never ever let her go in any kind of unknown situation, especially around any animal smaller than her.

In my experience, things can improve, but I'm never going to a dog park. I can now walk my dog down at the beach where everybody lets their dogs loose. But I have her leashed, and we head straight across the river to play by ourselves (or with a foster) away from the maddening crowd.

Good luck!
 

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I'll chime in with my experience, but as you'll see I'm no expert. Learn from my mistakes. I adopted what NorCal rescues would call a Level 4 dog--high prey drive with dog aggression-- when she was close to 3 years old. That was 2 years ago. She's fantastic except for the dog aggression.

1. As I believe others have said, don't push her to meet and socialize with other dogs right away. I did with my girl, and I had some big problems. Let her settle in and feel comfortable in her new home/surroundings first. Part of what's going on is her world is turned upside down so she feels everything can be a threat. Also, she probably doesn't trust you to help protect her yet. It takes time-- months as others said.

1a. During the time of her settling in, really work on obedience training. It sounds like you have a great start with the recall. If she was trained for K9 work the foundation is probably there. This will help in a lot of situations, but I would never ever pretend my dog is going to recall in every situation. Get her focus and attention on you, so if another dog comes along you can work on getting her to ignore it if possible.

2. Just write off the idea of her playing happily with any random dog or dogs that come along, or in a dog park. You just have to let go of that with this kind of dog.

3. Introduce her to only 1 other dog very gradually in a VERY controlled environment. Trust the other handler 100% to know what can happen and how to react (see Leerburg). With my girl, proximity was 90% of it. The other 10% was how the other dog acted. You don't want to try this with another dog aggressive dog of course, and in my experience, a neutral GSD/Malinois/working dog of similar size and opposite sex is easiest.

4. Hopefully, the other dog can become a play buddy so she can learn that other dogs are OK, not a threat, and even fun. In my case, I foster other GSDs since I've never found a suitable play buddy. My dog's aggression ramped way down after just our first foster. Also, walking with a 2nd dog makes my girl really comfortable-- she can meet off-leash dogs when there's a foster with her. It's amazing.

5. Never, ever, ever think that she can't snap back into being a monster over nothing. I thought my girl was doing so well, and then one day, boom, $600 vet bill on a Jack Russell. You have to be eternally vigilant for the rest of her life, for her sake, yours, and other animals around you. Again, the best thing is to find a play/companion of her size and energy, and never ever let her go in any kind of unknown situation, especially around any animal smaller than her.

In my experience, things can improve, but I'm never going to a dog park. I can now walk my dog down at the beach where everybody lets their dogs loose. But I have her leashed, and we head straight across the river to play by ourselves (or with a foster) away from the maddening crowd.

Good luck!
you are a model dog owner ! not just for your dogs but for others as well.
 

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Yeah I do, because I've dealt with many older dogs that had bad behaviors like this. First, give her time to be who she is and do what she wants, just bond with her! This can take weeks or even months!
:surprise:
Once Suzanne Clothier, renowned dog trainer, had a good quote:" A new dog has three questions. 1. Who is in charge? 2. What are the rules? 3. Where do I fit in?"
It is not any different when you introduce a new dog to the resident dogs. They don't let the newbie do whatever he/she wants. They lay down the rules from second 1.
I have always kept them (fosters) on leash and/or crated to let them know where they belonged and what the rules were so I didn't have to undo behavior that resulted from "waiting and allowing them to adjust". Dogs need clarity in order to feel secure.
 

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:surprise:
Once Suzanne Clothier, renowned dog trainer, had a good quote:" A new dog has three questions. 1. Who is in charge? 2. What are the rules? 3. Where do I fit in?"
It is not any different when you introduce a new dog to the resident dogs. They don't let the newbie do whatever he/she wants. They lay down the rules from second 1.
I have always kept them (fosters) on leash and/or crated to let them know where they belonged and what the rules were so I didn't have to undo behavior that resulted from "waiting and allowing them to adjust". Dogs need clarity in order to feel secure.
I don't see any disagreement here at all. Those elements should be obvious to the dog just by living with you, and should not require any kind of formal training! What I do see some people do though, is to try and jump into some kind of formal training without giving the dog time to adjust and bond with its new owner/surroundings, and that can lead to difficulties down the road. I also see people trying to "correct" undesirable behavior like this, without having first trained a desirable alternative.

Being reactive on-leash toward other dogs on leash is a pretty common problem people have to work through, with puppies and rescues. It's not hard usually, but it does take some time and patience. Wolfy, how do you work with a dog that comes to you with dog reactivity?

I personally discourage it softly, and calmly at first, then step up the the intensity as the dog learns more obedience, along with the desensitization I mentioned.

OP, I agree with others who said taking this dog to the river and letting her run off-leash BEFORE the problem has been addressed is asking for trouble! If nothing else, you can buy 50' paracord at Home depot for less than 10 bucks. Keep her on that, or something similar, until she's proven to reliably leave other dogs alone!
 
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I want to chime in here to say that sometimes, genetically fearful dogs can't and possibly won't ever overcome their fears enough to behave around other dogs. But IME many many many dogs can. It's a learned behavior, and only the weakest nerved of dogs can't overcome their fear of other dogs if you give them the time and your patience...most people quit or get frustrated too soon!

To borrow another member's disclaimer, I am not (currently) a professional dog trainer, nor do I play one on tv!

Give them your time and patience, and stick with it, most dog's really can "get over it"!
Buds mother was horribly dog aggressive and we have no idea why. Neither sire nor dam were dog aggressive and none of her siblings or offspring were. Yet she went so far as to climb an eight foot chain link fence to get at her sister(my Lex) and the litter before Bud she tried to kill one of her own pups when he was 6 months old. The best we ever got was that she learned to ignore under supervision. She was never trusted around other dogs.

My point is that it isn't always fear, some dogs simply do not like other dogs.

As for actual fear, Shadow is weak nerved but clearly not as bad as I thought. She is shockingly environmentally sound and is fine around people in the house or yard. She may attempt a bite if random people try and touch her out and about, she is highly sensitive to raised voices or yelling and she hates, hates, hates other dogs. She was attacked multiple times by random dogs and she isn't "getting over it". At best she will walk past another dog on leash with a minimum of fuss provided it makes no gestures at her. Any lunging or barking at her and she will respond. I have worked tirelessly to improve her behavior.


The OP's dog doesn't sound fearful to me, but I can't see it and I also am not a trainer.
 

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Wolfy, how do you work with a dog that comes to you with dog reactivity?
I never took in fosters who were dog aggressive because I didn't have the set up for them as all my dogs had to live in the same living quarters (I had three of my own then) and I had a family to raise as well.
 

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The most important thing with correcting her is to catch the moment when she first notices the other dog. If she's lunging and pulling on the leash already, you're far too late! (Yes, you can correct her but it will be much more difficult.)

You need to be aware at all times of what's going on around you and what your dog is focusing on. Work on getting her to focus on you NO MATTER WHAT is happening in the environment. This is pretty much the foundation for all types of training, and it's best done inside, or in an area with very few distractions. You can add distractions as the dog gets used to it.
 
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