German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have an awesome German Shepherd that is 3 years old on December 19. We have had him since he was 9 weeks....

His traits are as follows;

High drive. Strong willed. Works like a horse. Will not pick a fight with another dog, but will finish a fight if challenged. His recall needs work (if he is on a job and really into it). Can't keep him crated, he will destroy it. Can't keep him in the yard, he will scale the fence, or chase (and kill) small animals. Better off leash then on. GREAT for home protection. Looks terrifying, will bark/pursue like a maniac, but LOVES his family. Great at fetch. VERY talkative. Will say hi, bye, hello, I want that, I'm sad, I love you. He is VERY vocal.

Not good with small dogs, cats, chickens, or any farm animals....

This evening my small dog picked a fight with my German Shepherd like he has a thousand times before. My German Shepherd is VERY patient. EXTREMELY patient, and I think he puts up with little dog because I do try and discipline little dog when I see him acting like a fool. Unfortunately, my German Shepherd (after almost 3 years) decided it was time to give little dog the what for. My son was laying next to my small dog, and tried to protect him when the fight broke out and he missed the little dog and bit my son...along with biting the little dog.(Both are fine! No ER or vet visits, however my son is going to have quite a bruise-no puncture wound-he could have done a lot more).

I'm struggling...I'm bawling my eyes out because I don't know what my options are at this point...little dog was here first, and the two have lived together for the most part, peaceably these last 3 years, however, I'm not sure what to do at this point with him biting my son. This dog is my love. He is an amazing dog. Albeit, even more so when he is a solo dog (like when we take him to the mountains or on a hike-he stays by my children's side and I am always confident they are safe because they have him beside him. When my husband is working, we all feel safe because he is home with us.

Despite his many quirks I KNOW this dog! I'm really upset that he missed and bit my son. I always thought in the back of my mind that he might finish a fight with little dog and am always on my guard (I was in the other room when this happened and as soon as I came out my German Shepherd stoped) and try and keep them separate for the most part. I never would have thought that my kid would be in the cross fire....

We are now faced with; do we find him a new home?....will he bite my kid again? Is this a real possibility? Am I over reacting? Do we NEED to find him a new home, and then of course, he has SO many quirks. He is a serious working dog with great potential. We live on a small little homestead and use him to work every now and then so we have the capability to keep him busy, what if we find him the wrong home? I'm struggling....I could use some advice of others who know this breed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,810 Posts
All this behavior is because he hasn't been trained to behave the way you had hoped he would. He takes the slack you give him. Why in the world do you let the other dog annoy him, leave him alone in the yard, allow him to bark, taking charge and having him make the decisions? Time to turn the tables. Work with a good trainer and practice NILIF (check the forum on this). There are many issues you can solve. Love is not enough; he needs a leader to guide him.
Regarding high drive; maybe he has, maybe it is because he doesn't get the exercise/training and mental stimulation, resulting in just running wild. Never let your son be so close to him in the presence o the other dog. You are lucky that it wasn't more serious.
I agree you are finding yourself on a threshold; it is either finding him a good home or take charge of this boy so he knows his place. Keep your little dog away from him and train that little guy as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
513 Posts
I agree with Wolfy. It sounds like he's been given the run of the house. He needs someone to lead him. I would stop the little dog from starting fights - probably correct him if he even starts to go over to start one. It's not acceptable behavior and clearly your big dog is not a fan.

I think your child was bit accidentally. You're right, there could have been more damage.

Right now, I would try to keep your son from sitting/laying on the floor next to the dogs like that in case it happens again. I also agree with getting a trainer that could come out and see the two dog's interactions and offer advice. I think you could get him to tolerate other animals/farm life, but it will require work on your part. He needs to know what is acceptable and what is not.

Crating - they have high anxiety crates for dogs that don't do well in regular ones - have you tried one of these?
 
  • Like
Reactions: tc68 and Kearka2

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
439 Posts
Offer your GSD to someone who can give him the appropriate attention and direction. He is already 3 years old and to be honest you did your best and because you want whats best for him. Find him a great home. I feel in your situation it's going to be way more than you and your little dog and your kids can handle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
Train both of the dogs, don't ever let the little dog annoy him, little dogs need training and exercise just as much as the big dogs. Train them to "place" and unless you are doing something with them or in the same room as them they are both separated through the "place" (once they get good at it) or a crate. Find a crate that he will not destroy (ruff tough, gunner kennels, impact crate etc...) (they are on the market just more expensive) or crate the little one or put it in a room when you leave.
I don't believe the shepherd will purposely bite your son or other children again unless he is going for the little dog again and "misses" which shouldn't happen anymore since you should be managing them properly.
I agree with the NILIF. if you want your little dog to maintain the same freedom as it has up till now then you have to manage the shepherd at all times, tethering, crating, down stays etc.. and keep the little dog away so he doesn't bug him, this should have been taught to the little dog when you first brought the shepherd home.
A serious working shepherd like you are saying your dog is, needs to be trained and worked everyday, "we use him to work now and then" isn't enough
If you aren't willing to put in the money for a good trainer or crate and the time to follow though on the training then rehome him or the small dog for the small dogs safety
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I have an awesome German Shepherd that is 3 years old on December 19. We have had him since he was 9 weeks....

His traits are as follows;

High drive. Strong willed. Works like a horse. Will not pick a fight with another dog, but will finish a fight if challenged. His recall needs work (if he is on a job and really into it). Can't keep him crated, he will destroy it. Can't keep him in the yard, he will scale the fence, or chase (and kill) small animals. Better off leash then on. GREAT for home protection. Looks terrifying, will bark/pursue like a maniac, but LOVES his family. Great at fetch. VERY talkative. Will say hi, bye, hello, I want that, I'm sad, I love you. He is VERY vocal.

Not good with small dogs, cats, chickens, or any farm animals....

This evening my small dog picked a fight with my German Shepherd like he has a thousand times before. My German Shepherd is VERY patient. EXTREMELY patient, and I think he puts up with little dog because I do try and discipline little dog when I see him acting like a fool. Unfortunately, my German Shepherd (after almost 3 years) decided it was time to give little dog the what for. My son was laying next to my small dog, and tried to protect him when the fight broke out and he missed the little dog and bit my son...along with biting the little dog.(Both are fine! No ER or vet visits, however my son is going to have quite a bruise-no puncture wound-he could have done a lot more).

I'm struggling...I'm bawling my eyes out because I don't know what my options are at this point...little dog was here first, and the two have lived together for the most part, peaceably these last 3 years, however, I'm not sure what to do at this point with him biting my son. This dog is my love. He is an amazing dog. Albeit, even more so when he is a solo dog (like when we take him to the mountains or on a hike-he stays by my children's side and I am always confident they are safe because they have him beside him. When my husband is working, we all feel safe because he is home with us.

Despite his many quirks I KNOW this dog! I'm really upset that he missed and bit my son. I always thought in the back of my mind that he might finish a fight with little dog and am always on my guard (I was in the other room when this happened and as soon as I came out my German Shepherd stoped) and try and keep them separate for the most part. I never would have thought that my kid would be in the cross fire....

We are now faced with; do we find him a new home?....will he bite my kid again? Is this a real possibility? Am I over reacting? Do we NEED to find him a new home, and then of course, he has SO many quirks. He is a serious working dog with great potential. We live on a small little homestead and use him to work every now and then so we have the capability to keep him busy, what if we find him the wrong home? I'm struggling....I could use some advice of others who know this breed.
I have a similar situation. So far, our GSD has only held our little jerk of a dog down while showing his teeth. As for the bite, it was an accident. If the GSD knows biting a family member is not allowed, what is the issue? Hasn't he accidentally bit you? It happens to me all the time when we are playing rough. Our GSD, Major, will immediately recoil (ears down tail down) when his teeth accidentally touch skin. I realize the 3 year-old was trying to protect the little dog. But, getting between fighting dogs is a bad idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Good morning all,

I'm reading all your responses and am humbled. I think sleeping on my emotions has helped as well.....This is definitely a wake up call for me. I don't want to call it quits on him honestly because he has so many great traits and really is such a good dog, and I have failed him to give him what he needs, and I appreciate those of you who are suggesting tools and will definitely look into bringing in a trainer to help....(as far as that goes, what are things to look for in a good trainer?).I have never heard of NILIF and will look into it.

1) You are right, I gave him the run of the house too long, too often, and didn't realize it until you said something! For myself I definitely got lazy with him....

We have another GS in the house, and she is such a breeze that I thought I could handle this dog.

2) I definitely need to be more intentional about keeping the two dogs separate (they NEVER go outside at the same time).

3) I NEVER thought he purposefully bit my son, but he did bite him...

Thank you everyone! I have some serious reading/learning to do....I do appreciate this forum for the feedback it gives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
You’re getting a lot of good training advice from others who have posted. I agree with getting a trainer, a GSD-savvy trainer, to evaluate the dogs and you together to help you decide what to do. You need the trainer to help *you* learn, almost more than the dog does. Implementing the advice offered here will take some work and a shift in perspective on your part, and working with someone who understands the breed will help you do that.

As others have said, your dog sounds like he is taking charge in the absence of clear rules and limits on his behavior. I don’t know you, but I’ll bet you absolutely *can* learn how to set those rules and limits. If you’re willing to do the work, I’d bet you can keep him, and be happy you did. If it sounds like too much work to take on given the rest of your busy life, then yes, consider giving him up.

If you decide to rehome him instead, make sure he goes to someone who understands what they are taking on. I think he sounds like he’d be an awesome dog for someone who understands and can provide what he needs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I have a similar situation. So far, our GSD has only held our little jerk of a dog down while showing his teeth. As for the bite, it was an accident. If the GSD knows biting a family member is not allowed, what is the issue? Hasn't he accidentally bit you? It happens to me all the time when we are playing rough. Our GSD, Major, will immediately recoil (ears down tail down) when his teeth accidentally touch skin. I realize the 3 year-old was trying to protect the little dog. But, getting between fighting dogs is a bad idea.
Hi Dave,

If I am understanding you correctly, he has NEVER bit any of us. If he mouths in play, he does shy away and "apologizes" and in this situation I didn't get between the two dogs, I yelled at him and he stopped right away.

My son however, is 7...and his instincts was to protect his buddy, however a great teaching moment. Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
663 Posts
All this behavior is because he hasn't been trained to behave the way you had hoped he would. He takes the slack you give him. Why in the world do you let the other dog annoy him, leave him alone in the yard, allow him to bark, taking charge and having him make the decisions? Time to turn the tables. Work with a good trainer and practice NILIF (check the forum on this). There are many issues you can solve. Love is not enough; he needs a leader to guide him.
Regarding high drive; maybe he has, maybe it is because he doesn't get the exercise/training and mental stimulation, resulting in just running wild. Never let your son be so close to him in the presence o the other dog. You are lucky that it wasn't more serious.
I agree you are finding yourself on a threshold; it is either finding him a good home or take charge of this boy so he knows his place. Keep your little dog away from him and train that little guy as well.
Lots of wisdom and experience in this reply wolfy, I'm bookmarking it for my own use. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
875 Posts
Sorry OP.... but in your case like many-many threads started here....I don't see the GSD as the culprit here.....BUT as with a few other breeds (some of which can't be mentioned here).....the GSD is always at fault simply because they're a german shepherd......you say the little dog picked the fight----like he'd done a thousand times before.....if that number is even remotely close to being accurate...your GSD has more restraint than any dog of any breed I've ever dealt with......you say the GSD never starts a fight but will finish one....not exactly true or you'd be burying the "little dog" in the blink of an eye....period


You should have controlled and corrected "little dog" in what ever manner it took to make him get a grip....a long time ago.....most times after a serious fight it's next to impossible for the two dogs to coexist under the same roof unless they have a ton of respect for their owner and that doesn't just happen...that respect is earned and built over time......the fact that you've let "little dog" continuously pick fights with the shepherd---is clearly on you for either doing nothing or not enough......and btw --no I don't think the GSD is a threat to your child he was simply collateral damage for being in the middle of a dog fight....that could have ended much worse....people getting hurt trying to break up a dog fight happens every day....again IMO it should never have come to this point
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32,379 Posts
Forgot this: the dog has good bite inhibition. He could have easily killed the little dog. And one day he actually might, but it won't be his fault as he has given plenty of warning.
Best post ever.

Your son got hurt because he got in the middle of thst fight. My guess is your dog didn't even realize it was him. Sounds like you have a great dog that needs more training and a small dog that needs ALOT of training and a correction that introduces him to Jesus when he wants to start a fight.

Make sure your children know how to safely stop a fight without putting their body in the way. Like throwing water, dropping a blanket over the dogs, or....first choice is always calling for an adult.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32,379 Posts
Forgot this: the dog has good bite inhibition. He could have easily killed the little dog. And one day he actually might, but it won't be his fault as he has given plenty of warning.
Best post ever.

Your son got hurt because he got in the middle of thst fight. My guess is your dog didn't even realize it was him. Sounds like you have a great dog that needs more training and a small dog that needs ALOT of training and a correction that introduces him to Jesus when he wants to start a fight.

Make sure your children know how to safely stop a fight without putting their body in the way. Like throwing water, dropping a blanket over the dogs, or....first choice is always calling for an adult.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,834 Posts
# 1 cause of dog bites is people getting into the middle of a fight and accidentally getting bitten because the dog was so amped up they bit the human by mistake. It's very, very common. Don't blame the dog - if he hasn't bitten you or your son before, he's going to be just fine, as long as neither one of you gets into the middle of a fight!


Google Leerberg to find out how to safely break up a dog fight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,810 Posts
My dogs tire out the most during search and fetch games. Not mindlessly running after a ball when the owner stands under the eaves with a chuck it and repetitively throws to the same spot. Start engaging the dog. Example: sit and wait while you hide or throw a ball/toy out of sight. Return to the dog, and give him the command to Find It! Of course, first teach him the sits and downs and stay.
Same with the little dog. Alternate the sessions with the dogs being separated. You have a sound GSD that you love very much so give him what he needs most.
Regarding the little dog's annoying behavior: as soon as you see 'THE LOOK', immediately put him behind bars with : TIME OUT!
I had a 25 pound female Whippet who could bully other females with her eyes. But I had her number and told her "No Way!" She would turn one ear to me and kept the other on the other dog but refrained from trouble.
Please stick around and keep us updated. This can be fixed so you can keep both.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,460 Posts
Not sure about why the bigger dog is getting most of the blame here. Though clearly he will cause the most damage, it's the smaller dog that is the instigator and the smaller dog who's failing to listen when told to KNOCK IT OFF by the humans..

If your GSD was just randomly starting fights with your poor innocent small dog, I'd be way more concerned about him.

Instead, I'd be going to dog classes and crating/baby gating/ TEACHING that little dog his manners in life as well as around your GSD.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I don't blame my German Shepherd, and if I had written this in such a fashion that one would think that he is to blame then that is on me. However, he is much more powerful then my little dog, and need to know and understand how to move forward. This thread has helped a lot. I understand that I am at fault for what has happened in my home. I also understand that it is my little dog that instigates, and my inability to correct him to an extent that he respects and obeys my command as well as other dogs in my home.

I was not in the room when this happened, the little dog instigated more then likely because he is possessive of my child and my GS had had enough. He relented as soon as I came in the room and yelled, however, though a few seconds, it was enough to wake me up.

I hope that the moderators allow my responses to be posted so that I can get further advice. Thank you to all who as shared their input!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,868 Posts
High drive. Strong willed. Works like a horse. Will not pick a fight with another dog, but will finish a fight if challenged.
How do you know this? Has he harmed another dog in the past? What do you mean by "finish a fight"?

His recall needs work (if he is on a job and really into it). Can't keep him crated, he will destroy it. Can't keep him in the yard, he will scale the fence, or chase (and kill) small animals. Better off leash then on.
If you can't keep him in the yard because he scales the fence, he's not better off leash than on. How many small animals has he chased and killed?

GREAT for home protection. Looks terrifying, will bark/pursue like a maniac, but LOVES his family.
Pursue who, what? Friends that come to the door, strangers?

Not good with small dogs, cats, chickens, or any farm animals....
Has he alwyas been this way or is it getting worse as he gets older? What you see in a young dog if not trained properly, will often be magnified as they reach maturity.

This evening my small dog picked a fight with my German Shepherd like he has a thousand times before. My German Shepherd is VERY patient. EXTREMELY patient, and I think he puts up with little dog because I do try and discipline little dog when I see him acting like a fool. Unfortunately, my German Shepherd (after almost 3 years) decided it was time to give little dog the what for.
From what you said above you seem to have already known he doesn't like small dogs and he's killed small animals in the past? It's probably best to assume he will at some point hurt the smaller dog so until you reach a final resolution, crate and rotate is probably the best option when you can't watch them.

I'm bawling my eyes out because I don't know what my options are at this point...little dog was here first, and the two have lived together for the most part, peaceably these last 3 years, however, I'm not sure what to do at this point with him biting my son. Despite his many quirks I KNOW this dog!
I understand that this is really hard and stressful but are you sure you haven't been ignoring signs of problems? If you already know he doesn't like small animals so much so that he's killed them in the past, will finish off another dog in a fight, bark and pursue like a maniac etc. this information had to come from somewhere. You really need a good trainer who can evaluate the dog and set up a plan to train him.

It sounds like your son was bit by accident rather than being the target. Unlike others I wouldn't allow or expect a young kid (not sure how old your son is) to break up a dog fight, it's not worth the risk.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top