German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,201 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My white Kei is exhibiting reactions that are really making me nervous. If he sees a dog or person on the street he goes into a fit of snarling,growling and biting anything and everything he can. My female gets out of his way while he has this "fit".Corrections aren't even heard and he's come at me a couple of times. He has got 2 bites already(a friend,thank god) and I'm seriously considering putting him down. My trainer tells me he's a major liability, and be careful he doesn't get loose.When he's not aggitated, he's very loving to me, but will not accept anyone else. Is his fate to cross the bridge? I've tried so hard with him,socialized,trained till I'm blue in the face and he's getting worse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,492 Posts
Kat, this must be terribly difficult for you. I will just supply the recommendation that everybody gives: be sure there is nothing medical at the base of this aggression.

It could be thyroid imbalance and that means a full thyroid panel. That can be done with blood submitted to Dr. Jean Dodds at itsfortheanimals.com.

It could be a brain tumor-and your local vet can make recommendations.

Don't think of the Bridge if Kei has a treatable medical condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,483 Posts
I'm really sorry you and Kei are going through all this!

Can you give some more information about the circumstances in which Kei has bitten? Also what has happened when he came at you? The circumstances leading up to it, what happened next etc. Anything you noticed about his body language? - even seemingly trivial stuff can be important.

Any background on him? Where did he come from? How long have you had him?

Sorry for all the questions! Just trying to put it all together before weighing in. There are a couple possibilities that occur to me from your post but it's hard to tell which is correct.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,680 Posts
Originally Posted By: pupresqI'm really sorry you and Kei are going through all this!

Can you give some more information about the circumstances in which Kei has bitten? Also what has happened when he came at you? The circumstances leading up to it, what happened next etc. Anything you noticed about his body language? - even seemingly trivial stuff can be important.

Any background on him? Where did he come from? How long have you had him?

Sorry for all the questions! Just trying to put it all together before weighing in. There are a couple possibilities that occur to me from your post but it's hard to tell which is correct.
Ditto to ALL of that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Dont put him down, there are many dogs that go through these stages, read what everyone has said. It may take some work,but it will be worth it. I have seen the Dog Whisperor fix many dogs like this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,201 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Kei came from a pound in southern Illinois about 1 1/2 years ago at the age of about 10 months to a year. He was formerly owned by a drug dealer that let him run and was finally caught by ac there. He is aggressive to animals and people. He has escalated with his aggression to the point I'm scared to death if he ever got loose what he'd do. He gets into a frenzy so bad he will bite everything around him, like the fence,a shrub,anything near him. I understand he's frustrated hence the "bite everything" but good example, today I had both dogs in the car because I'm showing the house tryig to sell and need to have both out of the house. He saw a woman walking her dog and spazzed so bad he shredded my headrest,bit his own tongue and grabbed my shoulder and ripped my jacket.He was just hellbent on getting the dog. Corrections of , no,leave it,etc weren't even heard.He's so loving with me most of the time, but this behaviour is not ok., and I'm to the point I'm afraid to walk him on the street anymore.I work with him in the yard but his attention span in low to zero most of the time. Ya I know he's around 2 and at that age full of the dickens with attituds,behaviour glitches,etc. but this is a scarey pattern he's got.Trips to the vet mean he's sedated before,muzzled and he still fights contact(he doesn't like to be restrained)I'm by no means wimpy with him but he's really I'm ashamed to say out of control.He's gone through one hip surgery, has hd but is ok.. I don't want to pts but, once the house is sold I'm going to be renting(find an apartment that will accept 2 gsd's??)and once a landlord sees Kei in action they aren't going to rent to me. When he did bite my guest, I had introduced him to the person and Kei sniffed him, turned away then turned back and bit then repeated the same action but I grabbed him before he made contact. Maybe he didn't like the person but still it wasn't ok. His action was intense sniffing at the persons feet with tail wagging, no hackles or growling.I know he's testing for alpha with me so I am sure to correct each time but god, he's wearing me out!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
I'm sorry that you and your dog are going through this. A few quick things to try.

1) Get a comfortable, wire basket muzzle for Kei (you mentioned you already had one?) and get him used to wearing it. Then be sure to take him out with it on any time you leave your house, even if it's in the car.

2) Get a seatbelt for him in the car.

3.) Read "Bringing Light to Shadow." Actually there is a huge list of books I could recommend but I would start with that one.

4). Practice NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) if you aren't already doing it. There is no need to meet aggression with aggression. Work on being a fair and consistent leader. He gets nothing without giving you something in return.

5). Get a front clip harness for him. I find these much easier to control dogs with and they cause no pain to the dog so there is no risk of amping up the aggression reaction.

6). Start practicing getting his attention every day, multiple times a day, with a really high value treat (hot dog, cheese, sandwich meat, etc.). Start inside your house and then when you're solid there, move to outside in your yard. Only give him the treat when he responds to you. Along with this, I would teach the "Look," "Focus" or "Watch Me" command. Mark it first ("YES!" or with a clicker) and then give him the treat. Then start this on walks. Start with very low level distractions like a car going by or a dog in the very far off distance. Eventually you will get an automatic look from him when he sees another dog in anticipation of the treat. It will take a while but it really can work.

In the meantime, I would consider putting him on some sort of anti-anxiety medication or herbs. Be sure that they do not have a side effect of increasing aggression.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,201 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I'm game to try anything at this point. I'll give everything a whirl and pray something works for my baby. He is so damned loving when he's 1:1 with me it is just so frustrating when he goes beserk the way he does. Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,483 Posts
I'll admit right up front that I've never encountered anything on the level you're describing ( - and you have my total sympathy).

But I'm interested in aggression and I'm trying to figure this one out. Sounds like a super reactive dog (duh - sorry) but maybe fear/phobia based? I have one that will escalate and go bonkers with the things that scare him - and becomes actively aggressive towards them even though he has an avenue to escape. It's very counterintuitive and hard to deal with.

My guess would be for your guy his spastic episodes are self reinforcing - they're probably incredibly scary for him as well as everyone else and just reinforce in his brain that these things are terrifying. Sort of like if you're afraid of flying and then one time you have a panic attack on the plane, the next time you're still scared of flying AND you're remembering the panic attack.

I had a different foster who was incredibly aggressive towards cars. Once he went into the "red zone" there was no reaching him. He couldn't hear me or perceive anything I was doing at that point, he just lost it. The good news on that one was that we were able to desensitize him eventually and now he's a perfectly normal dog.

NILIF is still an excellent program regardless of the root cause of the behavior. Any little reinforcement he gets for non knucklehead behavior is a good thing and helps build boundaries and structure to his universe.

I like Ruth's suggestions - anything that will physically prevent his antics and stop the escalation cycle is a good idea. Do you get any ramp up before he goes into full frenzy? Are there clues that it's on it's way or is he pretty much zero to 60 in a matter of seconds?

Has your vet looked for non obvious things like hyper thyroid (rare in dogs and typically caused a thyroid tumor) or other metabolic issues?

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,204 Posts
There are some plastic greyhound muzzles which could suit a GSD and the beauty is they are very light compared to many other style muzzles which helps the dog to accept them.

I feel for you with Kei's behaviour. He has to learn that he cannot vent his aggression on your property and (if nothing else) a muzzle will at least protect your property.

All the best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,201 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I've seen the plastic muzzles but wondered if they'd be strong enough to do the job as opposed to the wire ones(they hurt like **** when he wacks ya with it)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,201 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
To restrain this baby means the seatbelt is shredded,the leash is chewed through(using a chain leash now) and he just blows up. I have never seen a dog act like this. I can compare it to my kid sisters tantrums when we were small. She'd just lash out at everyone then lay on the ground kicking and screaming until she was worn out.I know he's in the butthead stage of growth, like call him to come in and he just stares at me as if he's saying"you want me to do what?" He is a very stubborn baby.(he's not 100% shep, he's either part sibe or husky)Crating him means bribe him into the crate, then when he realizes he's locked in he goes into a spaz fit.He comes up lead when walking if he sees another dog trying to get loose and bites the lead(I keep my hands out of his way) but I can hold him. I usually run across a woman walking her brothers husky and she's got him on a flat collar and holds onto the trees to keep her dog from breaking away from her. I know it is scarey to see it because he's going to get away one day. Maybe Kei feels my fear of that other dog breaking away and is reacting. I don't know anymore. I'm so confused.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,204 Posts
Originally Posted By: nylasmomI've seen the plastic muzzles but wondered if they'd be strong enough to do the job as opposed to the wire ones(they hurt like **** when he wacks ya with it)
Yes they do work. The wire ones are very heavy but they also work with the added "whack" impact.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,201 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I've re-read your post several times and will have bloodwork done, and get a lighter weight muzzle, and I really CAN'T pts. I re-read my own post and saw there are areas I need to work on.I can't fail this baby and if I did pts I would be doing just that.All you guys are great when I can't see the trees for the forest you always show me the way. Thanks, I hope to be able to work Kei and me through this issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,878 Posts
i find it really interesting you said you have 2 gsds. How does Kei act in the house around the other dog? Id their any dominance over the other dog, any fights? I think if he can see one dog hes not afraid of, then their is hope! Is your other dog good with people/dogs? or do they both have similar traits about strangers?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
297 Posts
Has he always been this way? I've worked with numerous aggressive dogs before, but never had one that would just "loose it" like that...biting the fence, bushes, headrests, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,767 Posts
Originally Posted By: nylasmomI've seen the plastic muzzles but wondered if they'd be strong enough to do the job as opposed to the wire ones(they hurt like **** when he wacks ya with it)
BEARLA has a plastic bucket muzzle. it can hold up, just make sure you get the right size. Bearla is a size 9 as most GSD are from what i hear. ive never had to muzzle a dog before (except the pitbull and that is due to city laws and the ban).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,201 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
He's grown progressively worse with his fits.When I first adopted him I found out he didn't like his feet being touched at all, and would try to bite if I tried. I still have to sedate and knock him out if his nails need trimming.(I try to keep him active on hot top to keep the nails trimmed naturally)To get his vaccinations done, he's muzzled,sedated and at least 2 vet techs to hold him. I don't know what this baby experienced from his former owner(and my step son,(now gone).I'm trying to feel my way through his behaviour and 1. I was "the person" that took him from the flight crate,2.I am the one that does feedings,grooms,walks,exercise,etc. I'm wondering if he thinks he's protecting me? He's good with my female, both a little jealous but not an issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Hi,

You are a good person, and I commend you for taking on this responsibility. I have experience with the symptoms you described. First things first, rule out medical problems. I know, it's hard to get medical attention when the pup is terrorizing everyone who tries to help, so try this:

SUPER SOAKER water gun. The kind that has a finger-pull trigger. I've worked with numerous behaviorists, professional trainers, etc., and found that even the craziest reactive dogs can be "shocked" out of their fits. You just have to find the right thing. For one of my rescues, the prong only excited his aggression faster. I needed something to snap him out of his fit and get his attention if only for a split second.

I had water gun in one hand and sprayed it towards the front feet or head area. It might grab your boy's attention for enough time to allow you to give a proper correction and command. After a few corrections, all I had to do is shake the water gun and the sound of the splashing water was enough to make my boy back off.

Everyone has provided you great advice here. Find what you are comfortable with and believe in, because if you don't believe it can work, your implementation will be weak. He needs a strong-minded handler that he can look to to lead him. Strive to be that leader and don't give up!
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Top