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My male GSD 'Jager' is 2 years old. He's a pretty huge dog, very intimidating. He started showing signs of aggression at about 6 months old, territorial etc.
He's not a 'bad' dog, I think he just has alot of drive and energy and he's just a typical GSD.
But I'm starting to think I need a trainer. He's gotten pretty out of control, he's charged people, snapped at stranger's in the house etcc. Never bitten anyone. He turned on my border collie, they were always buddies and now they can't even be in the same room without trying to rip each other apart.
It's gotten to the point where I can't even take him for a walk anymore, because he's too strong for me now, he probably weighs as much as I do, I'm just a little 100lb girl.
When I do take him for a walk, i usually load him up in the car and take him to a secluded place where I know there won't be any people or dog's around.
I really need help, I just found out I'm a few weeks pregnant and everyone wants me to find a good home for Jager, but i cant do that. I've been through everything with this dog and I'll do whatever it takes. I know he's an incredible dog, he just needs a little training.
I live in southeast Missouri, are there any good trainers around here??
I know theres a schutzhund club in Stl but I'm not sure how that works.
 

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Hi Jager,
I think you are right on target in thinking that you need the help of a good trainer. I am not in your area, so I can't help you with that. If you go to APDT.com, they have an entire section on how to choose a good, qualified trainer and I believe they have a search function, too.

It is really difficult to judge how you should work with him without being there and seeing his behavior in person. That is why it is so important that you get an experienced trainer to work with you.

The schutzhund club might be a good idea as well, but remember that a club is only as good as the members! If the members are experienced and qualified, you'll get wonderful help and support. If the membership is in the dark about temperament and training, you'll do more harm than good if you follow their advice.

Good luck!
Sheilah
 

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Have you had Jager checked out medically? A full thyroid panel? It's not normal for a 6 month old GSD to show aggression and it's not normal to turn on a dog that was always a friend.

You can turn Jager around but it's going to be work and comittment from you. Talk to the local Schutzhund club and see if they can recommend a trainer to work with. You need a behaviorist that has experience with aggression.

To answer the title of the post, a muzzle may be necessary for Jager when he is public for everyone's safety but it something you need to train him to get used to. You can't just stick him on one and go for a walk, the muzzle will likely stress him out more and make things worse. If you are going to train him to a muzzle it should be done at home with lots of treats and good associations before asking him to wear it in a stressful situation.
 

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I also urge the thryroid panel. YOu can send it to Dods to do ...do you need the link for that? I am sure we can find it for you. Is Jagger intact?? Is the other dog in the house intact?? This might be one issue. I agree that you need to get on this NOW!! Dont' wait any longer. We tend to underestimate the danger that our own dogs might pose to others. That is quite common and understandable ,but minimizing his "problems" wont help him or you...or that baby!
As for the muzzle. It is a tool...most dogs hate them so you need to introduce it slowly using treats. Also think about what kind of muzzle you purchase. We worked with both a basket muzzle and a leather one for our aggressive girl. You can feed treats thru a basket muzzle for instance. A well fitted one is a must so that he can't work it off. I will also agree with gsdraven that this is going to take a lot of work, commitment and patience.
 

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One more thought...as for being urged to find a "good home" for Jagger...I would not be counting on that. There will not be a lot of takers for an aggressive basically out of control German Shepherd. Look on our rescue pages and you will see lots of friendly GSD's who can't find a home. Another fine reason to get busy on his rehabilitation.
 

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Jager is a young dog, but this is NOT typical behavior for a GSD.

It MAY be typical behavior for a GSD who has a strong personality, does not have good leadership, or training, or exercise.

I agree with the vet check, and the trainer.

I think you should look up NILIF and read up on it. It is not necessarily training, but a way to change your leadership style. Lots of people have had great success with it, and use it on all of their dogs.

I think you will need to get your dog under better control before you go into a class setting with other dogs and people. Training is really something that you do for your dog. It is not an eight week course that you start at 0 and end at 100% perfect dog. Evenso, the change in just eight weeks can be considerable. I would consider private lessons first and then get him in classes, and plan on going for three or four six week sessions. After that, it sounds like you are going to be very busy. The NILIF should be just part of your life from here on out.

Getting your dog under control can literally save his life. I am not a fan of prong collars or head collars, but to save your dog's life, it is worth it. Dogs with strong personalities HATE head collars, but they give you control of the dog's head instead of his neck and shoulders. A dog can pull you all day long with his neck and shoulders, but he cannot with his head.

I would start with a prong. Interview your trainer, and make sure this is a tool they are familiar with. Make sure they show you exactly how to fit it. Many, maybe most of the people I see with prongs on their dogs have them fitted incorrectly and do not know it.

If the dog continues to lunge and pull you with the prong, I would consider using a head collar too. Leave the leash loose, but do not let him pull you, if you must, turn his head away from whatever is getting him going.

What this will take is commitment. You will need to exersize the dog, walk him every day and preferrably twice a day. You will need to practice leadership. And you will need to work on obedience commands with your dog for a period every day as well.

Or you need to find your dog a new home.
 

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As for a muzzle, well, if you cannot guarantee that your dog will not drag you into someone and bite, then you should muzzle before you go out, every time, until you have built a decent bond with the dog through training and exercise.
 

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In addition to a regular behavioral trainer, you may want to consult your closest university that has a veterinary hospital. Specifically, you want to see a Veterinary Behaviorist -- a vet that has extensive training and experience in evaluating behavior and can prescribe medicine if appropriate. There are board-certified veterinary behaviorists in the community in many areas. It depends where you live. Your vet should be able to tell you if there is one near you.

I attended a presentation by Dr. Karen Overall recently and she spoke about the progress that has been made with using medicine (like antidepressants) to help dogs overcome aggression issues. We don't JUST medicate them. But we use a combination of medicine and training. It used to be that medicine was used as a last-ditch effort, after all efforts at training have failed. But more and more, we're learning that if we use medicine sooner rather than later, we don't get to that "last-ditch" desperate place to begin with. Quite a few dogs are successfully weaned off the meds later, especially adolescents once their brains are done developing. Not all, some have to be on meds for the rest of their lives, but for the quality of life for the dog and the owner, this is a reasonable choice.

Plus, most veterinary behaviorists give you an evaluation, suggestions for behavior modification (training) and will follow up with you. That will help you and your trainer ensure you're on track and that you're using the right tools (a prong collar for a dog that reacts out of anxiety and fear may not be the most appropriate tool, for example. )

So with your guy, before I thought about rehoming (since it seems like you're very attached to him), I would go that route as well.

In the interim, get a muzzle. As Sue indicates, if you can't guarantee that the public is 100% safe at all times, your dog needs to be muzzled.... and this is for YOUR protection and Jager's as much as the public's. A dog that charges people can injure them (he doesn't need to bite anyone). A bite can result in his being euthanized if the authorities demand it.

Muzzle now. Trainer asap. Veterinary behaviorist too.

Good luck. :hug:
 
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