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Anyone experienced with large dogs - GSDs specifically


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*Please don't flame! I'm just asking advice*

 

We have a wonderful GSD (Luke). He is almost 3 years old. He is a joy to have around - so long as it's only *us* (our immediate family - myself, my husband, and our three children). He lays next to Baby Schmoo's moses basket every night, never leaving his side, plays calmly and is very tolerant of our 3 year old DS, attached at the hip to our 11 year old DD, cuddles on the couch with me during the day....

About a year ago we had to resort to using a shock collar (I know, it isn't popular); if he chased one more stroller down our road, or went after one more "perceived threat" in our subdivision (i.e. any old lady walking, any UPS man making deliveries) we were terrified we would have the Dog Police on the patio to take away our Luke (read: he was showing aggression and we were at our wit's end).

 

Let me caveat with this for a second: He HAS been in obedience class - and he spent most of the time in "time out" for not playing nicely or growling at the other dogs (this was over a year ago). We left the class and decided he needed more one-on-one training.

 

Fast forward to now. The shock collar was short lived and seemed to very nicely do the trick with the aggression issue. For quite a while he did wonderfully - he sat nicely when someone came to the door, walked nicely, etc. His only "bad habit" left seemed to be chewing - he was destructive if we left the house and tore up any blinds within his reach, furniture, etc; so we started muzzling when we left the house. Worked great. Eventually we would forget to muzzle here and there until it seemed to no longer be needed.

 

Within the past several weeks it's BAD again. He acts homicidal towards anyone who comes to the door in a uniform (he has an issue with uniforms it seems). This becomes an issue because he weighs as much as I do and I don't usually have notice when a UPS man is going to walk up with something I need to sign for; it is difficult (sometimes impossible) for me to answer the door without him lunging at the uniform. This seems to be an "aggression" issue with him. Again, only really a problem with "uniforms".

Now, when someone comes IN the house to visit, it's different. Still a problem, but different. He isn't "aggressive" - he's overly friendly. All 90 lbs of him will jump on said visitor and lick, often knocking down the recipient. The last several times I've had a visitor, I have to put him in our bedroom for the duration of the visit (I tried to let him out, but he promptly jumped in laps and on the children in a "hold me and love me" kind of way).

The destruction. O-M-G. We left the house this morning to run to CVS. Across the street. Not gone for more than 20 minutes, tops. He managed to chew up my son's Mobigo and a ceramic lamb. Last week when he was left for a short period of time it was a remote.

 

He seems to be regressing for some reason. His diet is fine (he doesn't eat as much in the summer, but it's always available and he DOES eat); he is exercised as much as he can handle (with his coat, the heat seems to get the better of him and he can't seem to tolerate any more than 10 minute increments outside playing; this corrects itself when it starts to get cooler, always).

New baby? He seems to adore the baby, but is he reacting to that maybe?

 

I miss my wonderful, protective but trustworthy pup. For the time he was good, he was very good and I never hesitated to allow our children to play with him in the front lawn, throwing a frisbee or chasing sticks, but now I feel panicky any time I take him out. We love him very much and want to help him.

What do I do next? His breeder (small breeder - only Luke's single litter, otherwise he is a trainer) wants us to send Luke up to him for a couple weeks, but I'm not sure what good that would do - wouldn't he learn to obey the trainer, not us? He isn't local (at all), so we wouldn't be able to participate in the training really.

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You've got a lot of issues going on there, and some potentially VERY DANGEROUS behaviors, including your description of how his training class went.

 

Now take a rolled up newspaper and hit yourself over the head with it for continuing to allow him freedom in the house when he's demonstrated he's not trustworthy. :D

 

Crate him when you leave the house. Even for five minutes. Do NOT set him up for failure by giving him (and his separation anxiety) free rein in the house.

 

Personally, I"d take your breeder up on the offer to train. I wouldn't worry about him only obeying the trainer. If the behaviors are truly learned, he'll sit when you tell him to sit. GSD's are smart dogs, but increasinly, I"m seeing temperament issues in them that make me so sad.

 

astrid

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He looks so sweet and calm right now... napping at the edge of the couch.

 

I get it though. Totally. We will buy a crate this weekend and talk to the breeder on Monday.

 

He really is a great dog (feel the need to add that). I'm just not sure how to make him see the difference (again) between a "real" threat and a "perceived" threat. And what is the deal with uniforms??? He knows and loves our mail man (who is wonderful with him). Bah.

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You've got a lot of issues going on there, and some potentially VERY DANGEROUS behaviors, including your description of how his training class went.

 

Now take a rolled up newspaper and hit yourself over the head with it for continuing to allow him freedom in the house when he's demonstrated he's not trustworthy. :D

 

Crate him when you leave the house. Even for five minutes. Do NOT set him up for failure by giving him (and his separation anxiety) free rein in the house.

 

Personally, I"d take your breeder up on the offer to train. I wouldn't worry about him only obeying the trainer. If the behaviors are truly learned, he'll sit when you tell him to sit. GSD's are smart dogs, but increasinly, I"m seeing temperament issues in them that make me so sad.

 

astrid

 

 

:iagree: It will be easier for you to learn to work with him after the trainer has taught the dog the proper behaviour and cues. GSD's are smart, they know when they've outsmarted you. Accept the offer of help.

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:iagree: It will be easier for you to learn to work with him after the trainer has taught the dog the proper behaviour and cues. GSD's are smart, they know when they've outsmarted you. Accept the offer of help.

I completely agree - but why is he SUDDENLY disobeying? I mean he had his commands down cold, listened beautifully, walked nicely, greeted nicely... for quite some time. Why the sudden regression? I guess that concerns me too.

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He looks so sweet and calm right now... napping at the edge of the couch.

 

I get it though. Totally. We will buy a crate this weekend and talk to the breeder on Monday.

 

He really is a great dog (feel the need to add that). I'm just not sure how to make him see the difference (again) between a "real" threat and a "perceived" threat. And what is the deal with uniforms??? He knows and loves our mail man (who is wonderful with him). Bah.

 

Read the book "Click to Calm" for some GREAT ideas on turning this around. Before, you suppressed the behavior but didn't change his feelings about strangers. You need to change his outlook, otherwise those behaviors will keep popping up.

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Without seeing him and knowing the exact timeline, my guess is that without meaning to, you actually escalated his behavior by using the remote ecollar. Here's why:

 

Luke sees someone walking by on the sidewalk. His mind goes into alert mode, and his levels begin to rise--- he's now heading toward the sidewalk, ready to go into his protection mode.

 

You correct him with the ecollar. He feels it, and in his mind, his fear is reinforced. BINGO, he thinks. I KNEW they were dangerous!!!! So now he associates people at the door or walking by as a threat because they cause him pain. He doesn't know it's YOU, with the ecollar remote. He sees the threat, feels pain, and his fear/aggression is reinforced. "Oh, so I"m RIGHT to be afraid!"

 

I think a lot of this behavior is fear based, and again, without spending time with him, I can only speculate. Your description of his behavior around other dogs in his class leads me to think that he's got some insecurities which are leading to his separation anxiety/destructive behavior and his aggression. You inadvertantly exacerbated them with the ecollar.

 

:grouphug: He's a good boy. He'll come around. But really-- DO send him to the breeder for training.

 

astrid

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I agree with crate and let the breeder train him. I'm not normally pro-sending-them-away-for-training, but the breeder knows his lines and the temperaments bred from those lines, so might have good ideas.

 

When my Bosco pup was itty bitty and still biting me, and I'd tried all the typical positive reinforcement stuff, I called his breeder (in tears!), and she said, "I didn't raise a wuss dog!" and told me exactly how to fix the problem quickly and efficiently. And guess what? It worked. Right away. No more biting problems ever (my DH would even try to feed me to him while doing rough play, and he knew not to bite mom - play biting dad was fine while wrestling, but even play biting mom was completely unacceptable, and he knew the difference!!!!).

 

If the breeder training isn't enough, you might see if there are any Schutzhund groups near you with someone who does individual training. They might know more about working with aggressive dogs (Schutzhund dogs themselves should NOT be aggressive, and I'm NOT suggesting you do Schutzhund, but that a Schutzhund trainer may have more experience with this type of dog).

 

Also, I would highly recommend putting a prong collar on that dog for your safety. He weighs a lot. You won't be able to control him with a regular collar. A prong collar won't choke him (choke collars can damage the trachea - don't use that). When I did Schutzhund with Bosco for a year, one of the trainers (who was very into positive reinforcement type training and was fabulous with dogs) recommended I use a prong collar on him because he was so big and strong. It was a safety issue for me AND everyone else. If he decided to pull with just a regular collar on, I would not physically be able to hold him back. The prong collar helps a lot, as it gives them a good signal without damaging their neck. If you're not sure, try it on your own arm first, then try a choke chain on your arm. You would take the collar off when putting him in his crate, but leave it on when you expect someone might come to the door or when you're outside walking.

 

The chewing things... At 3 years old, it's probably that he needs a job to do. Is he from any kind of working lines? I have a rescue dog here that is 11 years old and still chews things sometimes. When we did agility, she was sooooooooooo much better. Unfortunately, she now has problems with her back legs coming out from under her, and she can't physically exercise at all.

 

You said you tried an obedience class. Did you keep up with obedience at home? GSDs need to use that brain power they have. They don't just need physical exercise, but mental exercise also.

 

Have you ever done NILIF with him? GSDs are typically dominant-minded dogs. It's not uncommon to need to do NILIF for a while, then relax *some* of those rules (not all!). It's kind of like when a school teacher is strict at the beginning of the year, then relaxes later in the year, and her class will still behave, whereas if she is too relaxed in the beginning of the year, they'll walk all over her.

 

Btw, my rescue dog, Kira, used to be aggressive to men (and butch women). She would nip at them. My DH was the only man she didn't do that to (which was strange because he's big and macho looking). At obedience class, we worked on it very hard. Every.single.man that came in the building had to give Kira a treat (and the butch women too :D ). By the end of the 7 week class cycle, she now believed that all men had treats and were therefore good! She's fine with people coming in now, though she's definitely crated when the UPS guy comes. UPS guys are constantly invading her territory. ;) Bosco used to bark at the UPS guy too, but he was fine with our mailman at our old house because I'd introduced him as a puppy and spent a lot of time socializing him to everyone and everything. We just weren't on Amazon Prime back then (didn't exist yet), so the UPS guy didn't come that often. :tongue_smilie:

 

I hope you can get this figured out! You're taking the first step in realizing you have a real problem, and I'm glad you called the breeder first. That's one of the benefits of purchasing from a reputable breeder - they should always be willing to help with the dogs they have produced. I am sure you would have a training session with him to learn what you can do at home once you pick your dog up, and then you can practice those things continually.

 

Good luck!!!

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Without seeing him and knowing the exact timeline, my guess is that without meaning to, you actually escalated his behavior by using the remote ecollar. Here's why:

 

Luke sees someone walking by on the sidewalk. His mind goes into alert mode, and his levels begin to rise--- he's now heading toward the sidewalk, ready to go into his protection mode.

 

You correct him with the ecollar. He feels it, and in his mind, his fear is reinforced. BINGO, he thinks. I KNEW they were dangerous!!!! So now he associates people at the door or walking by as a threat because they cause him pain. He doesn't know it's YOU, with the ecollar remote. He sees the threat, feels pain, and his fear/aggression is reinforced. "Oh, so I"m RIGHT to be afraid!"

 

I think a lot of this behavior is fear based, and again, without spending time with him, I can only speculate. Your description of his behavior around other dogs in his class leads me to think that he's got some insecurities which are leading to his separation anxiety/destructive behavior and his aggression. You inadvertantly exacerbated them with the ecollar.

 

:grouphug: He's a good boy. He'll come around. But really-- DO send him to the breeder for training.

 

astrid

 

:iagree: Shock collars rarely work and I have never seen it end well when being used with a dog like a GSD. Our neighbor tried to use one on her black GSD to keep her from chasing the horses, now she HATES livestock and is getting rather dangerous and aggressive with them. It's understandable that people use it when they are running out of ideas, but it's a risky move.

Edited by Dory
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I'd send him to the breeder/trainer. You have the opportunity to have someone evaluate and work with him from a more neutral perspective.

 

If this dog is unstable it could be him or it could be you.

If it's him, you need him away from your children.

If it's you, you need a trainer to teach you to be dominant calm.

 

In either case, figure something out. A 100lb dog can kill a child... Or do serious damage to an adult. This is an immediate thing.

 

We have a 90+lb. GSD - male, intact, and also three. These dogs are not to be taken lightly ever.

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Id use the crate- youre not being mean by doing it, youre saving his life. Seriously what if he chewed the wrong thing and choked and died? It is possible.

 

I agree with what Astrid said.

 

Also, you said exercise. BUT what kind? Can you take him to the dog park (you could go when hardly anyone is there if you think the agressiveness is an issue)? Take up Dock Diving? Agility?

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Id use the crate- youre not being mean by doing it, youre saving his life. Seriously what if he chewed the wrong thing and choked and died? It is possible.

 

I agree with what Astrid said.

 

Also, you said exercise. BUT what kind? Can you take him to the dog park (you could go when hardly anyone is there if you think the agressiveness is an issue)? Take up Dock Diving? Agility?

Exercise right now would be walking, running, ball throwing, frisbee chasing, etc. Until we get this under control there can be nothing where other dogs or people are around. He responds very well to me and the children, but I think my problem is that he doesn't see me as dominant, in any way. My husband is obviously his alpha and Luke treats him as such - me, not so much. He is wonderful with me, but doesn't listen very well.

 

I'm not aware of any docks here, so I'm sure dock diving is out? Not sure. Sounds fun and I'll look into it; agility is much more possible.

 

I think I will send him to his breeder/trainer for a couple weeks as soon as we can get that ball rolling.

 

I also (for some reason) feel the need to reiterate this: He is in no way, shape, or form ever aggressive (or even tense) around extended family and friends invited in - ever. He has NO MANNERS with them and sees no issue about jumping into their laps, which is an obvious safety issue with a 90 lb dog (lol); that is why we kept him in the back room the other day, but he NEVER gets tense, growls, or even shows annoyance with them or my own children. The ONLY people he seems to have aggression towards is a uniform (most notably the UPS men).

I feel panicky with him playing with the children in the yard, not because I'm afraid he will hurt them, but because I'm afraid (since he isn't listening to me otherwise) he will run off and after something/someone.

 

I agree with previous posters that the remote collar probably made things worse. Now I need to correct that <yikes>

Edited by AimeeM
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We have a 90+lb. GSD - male, intact, and also three. These dogs are not to be taken lightly ever.

 

:iagree:

 

I'd say more specifically that no dog should be taken lightly. But in particular people (in general, not only directed at the OP) need to fully understand what they're getting into with a large dog who's been bred to have protective instincts. Unfortunately way too many people naively think they'll get the "good" of the protectiveness w/o training and w/o any of the "bad" that can so easily go along with it, and that the dog will somehow magically be able to differentiate who is okay and who is not. And unfortunately it usually doesn't happen that way. IMO there is a lot of responsibility that comes with owning any dog; with a large dog bred for protection there is a tremendous level of responsibility that's required. Good for the OP for realizing something needs to be done.

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So are you with the general consensus that it would be best to send him to the trainer/breeder (who does professionally train both working GSDs for protection AND trains for shows)? I think that's what we're leaning towards. It appears that there is no one in the immediate area who has the expertise in training GSDs specifically, so the not-local trainer is our only sure bet (and he does feel a desire to help since Luke is from his litter and he still has Luke's parents as family dogs).

:iagree:

 

I'd say more specifically that no dog should be taken lightly. But in particular people (in general, not only directed at the OP) need to fully understand what they're getting into with a large dog who's been bred to have protective instincts. Unfortunately way too many people naively think they'll get the "good" of the protectiveness w/o training and w/o any of the "bad" that can so easily go along with it, and that the dog will somehow magically be able to differentiate who is okay and who is not. And unfortunately it usually doesn't happen that way. IMO there is a lot of responsibility that comes with owning any dog; with a large dog bred for protection there is a tremendous level of responsibility that's required. Good for the OP for realizing something needs to be done.

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So are you with the general consensus that it would be best to send him to the trainer/breeder (who does professionally train both working GSDs for protection AND trains for shows)? I think that's what we're leaning towards. It appears that there is no one in the immediate area who has the expertise in training GSDs specifically, so the not-local trainer is our only sure bet (and he does feel a desire to help since Luke is from his litter and he still has Luke's parents as family dogs).

 

I'm generally not a fan at all of sending a dog away for training. Training is IMO about 75 percent human and 25 percent dog. So when you send it away the dog gets its 25 percent but the human(s) gets none. But in your case it sounds as if that's your only real option. The best case scenario is if your trainer/breeder will be willing to spend some time "training" you, too.

 

And please understand I'm NOT saying that as a slam on you. Not at all. I'd say the same thing to anyone. For the dog to learn to obey you you're going to need to work with him and earn his respect, and you're going to need to know how to go about that. That's the 75 percent you miss when you send the dog away for training.

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I'm generally not a fan at all of sending a dog away for training. Training is IMO about 75 percent human and 25 percent dog. So when you send it away the dog gets its 25 percent but the human(s) gets none. But in your case it sounds as if that's your only real option. The best case scenario is if your trainer will be willing to spend some time "training" you, too.

 

And please understand I'm NOT saying that as a slam on you. Not at all. But for the dog to learn to obey you you're going to need to work with him and earn his respect, and you're going to need to know how to go about that. That's the 75 percent you miss when you send the dog away for training.

That's my concern. Since the trainer is hours away (and with three children; one being a newborn), I'm not sure how much we would be able to participate in the training. The trainer/breeder did say (when this was first brought up with him) that we would spend the last day there at his facility so that he could go over things with us; but because of the distance between us and him, that would be the extent of "our" training.

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Exercise right now would be walking, running, ball throwing, frisbee chasing, etc. Until we get this under control there can be nothing where other dogs or people are around. He responds very well to me and the children, but I think my problem is that he doesn't see me as dominant, in any way. My husband is obviously his alpha and Luke treats him as such - me, not so much. He is wonderful with me, but doesn't listen very well.

 

YOU need to do a lot of obedience training with him. Check out that NILIF link, since it will give you some ideas of basic around-the-house stuff to do (like making him sit before going through a door or before you put his food dish down, etc.). NILIF is great for establishing YOU as alpha. And obedience training on top of that will also help establish that.

 

But do go ahead and send him to the breeder, and get the breeder to give YOU a training session the day you pick him up. You may also need to do a private obedience class for a while after that. Ask your local dog club for recommendations.

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YOU need to do a lot of obedience training with him. Check out that NILIF link, since it will give you some ideas of basic around-the-house stuff to do (like making him sit before going through a door or before you put his food dish down, etc.). NILIF is great for establishing YOU as alpha. And obedience training on top of that will also help establish that.

 

But do go ahead and send him to the breeder, and get the breeder to give YOU a training session the day you pick him up. You may also need to do a private obedience class for a while after that. Ask your local dog club for recommendations.

Thanks! I will definitely check out the link and use the techniques you suggested.

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So are you with the general consensus that it would be best to send him to the trainer/breeder (who does professionally train both working GSDs for protection AND trains for shows)? I think that's what we're leaning towards. It appears that there is no one in the immediate area who has the expertise in training GSDs specifically, so the not-local trainer is our only sure bet (and he does feel a desire to help since Luke is from his litter and he still has Luke's parents as family dogs).

 

I don't know. For me, breed is not the issue. Training methods are. You do not want someone treating a fear based problem if they see it as a dominance based problem. It can make it worse, as you have witnessed. For me, I'd want a trainer that has worked with aggression issues and uses counter conditioning and desensitization to treat this. Look here for trainers that have been tested, and use proven methods, not old wives tales: http://www.ccpdt.org/

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I don't know. For me, breed is not the issue. Training methods are. You do not want someone treating a fear based problem if they see it as a dominance based problem. It can make it worse, as you have witnessed. For me, I'd want a trainer that has worked with aggression issues and uses counter conditioning and desensitization to treat this. Look here for trainers that have been tested, and use proven methods, not old wives tales: http://www.ccpdt.org/

 

How has she witnessed it? She hasn't fixed a clear dominance issue. She sees that the dog doesn't see her as alpha. Not good when dealing with a GSD from working lines.

 

The breeder of this dog regularly works with working GSDs. I think he sounds like a great first stop. :)

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I don't know. For me, breed is not the issue. Training methods are. You do not want someone treating a fear based problem if they see it as a dominance based problem. It can make it worse, as you have witnessed. For me, I'd want a trainer that has worked with aggression issues and uses counter conditioning and desensitization to treat this. Look here for trainers that have been tested, and use proven methods, not old wives tales: http://www.ccpdt.org/

While I know it seems like the biggest (and certainly the scariest) issue, aggression is really only a small part of it for us - he is only aggressive with uniforms. Our bigger issues are destruction (and by "bigger" I mean more prevalent right now, and on a daily basis) and his complete lack of... er... social graces with visitors (jumping to greet and not taking into account his weight -vs- theirs, licking, jumping into laps of guests, etc).

 

I will definitely check out the site you provided! Thank you all so much!

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I think one point ktgrok is trying to make (and I agree with) is that there's nothing inherently unique about GSDs or the behavior that this one is exhibiting. I wouldn't put a tremendous amount of weight into the fact that the breeder/trainer has GSD-specific experience. If there's a good trainer closer to you so that you'd be able to work with him/her more, then I'd certainly give that a lot of consideration.

Edited by Pawz4me
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I think one point ktgrok is trying to make (and I agree with) is that there's nothing inherently unique about GSDs or the behavior that this one is exhibiting. I wouldn't put a tremendous amount of weight into the fact that the breeder/trainer has GSD-specific experience. If there's a good trainer closer to you so that you'd be able to work with him/her more, then I'd certainly give that a lot of consideration.

 

right, that is what I was trying to say. The house manners issue is normal for all dogs. The chewing things and issues with other dogs/uniforms, etc says anxiety/fear to me...and while I do see a lot of anxious GSD's, again, not breed specific. Those are traits that need to be handled in a way that doesn't make them worse. I may be overgeneralizing, but those that train protection GSDs tend to use a very very very different approach than those that regularly work with aggression issues...fear based versus dominance based outlooks. Plus, the owner needs some training herself. A local CPDT could work with them both and is less likely to cover over any fear based issues by calling them dominance.

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right, that is what I was trying to say. The house manners issue is normal for all dogs. The chewing things and issues with other dogs/uniforms, etc says anxiety/fear to me...and while I do see a lot of anxious GSD's, again, not breed specific. Those are traits that need to be handled in a way that doesn't make them worse. I may be overgeneralizing, but those that train protection GSDs tend to use a very very very different approach than those that regularly work with aggression issues...fear based versus dominance based outlooks. Plus, the owner needs some training herself. A local CPDT could work with them both and is less likely to cover over any fear based issues by calling them dominance.

I will look into local as well. I should mention that he is only dog aggressive if another dog comes onto our property; he doesn't even flinch as they walk by the house or even come very close to the house - just when they come onto our property. For this reason, I may (in ADDITION TO a trainer) have my very firm handed husband try the dog park with Luke - leashed of course. It may put things in a playful perspective for Luke and allow him to see people interacting with each other, the dogs, romping and having fun... and help the fear portion of his problem? Maybe? Luke responds incredibly well to my husband (not so much to me; I'm his "comfort", DH is definitely his Alpha, so to speak).

Again, this would be in addition to a trainer.

Is it a bad idea (read: am I going to regret the dog park if he isn't yet properly socialized with dogs... but on that note, I'm not sure how to socialize him better without exposure)?

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I will look into local as well. I should mention that he is only dog aggressive if another dog comes onto our property; he doesn't even flinch as they walk by the house or even come very close to the house - just when they come onto our property. For this reason, I may (in ADDITION TO a trainer) have my very firm handed husband try the dog park with Luke - leashed of course. It may put things in a playful perspective for Luke and allow him to see people interacting with each other, the dogs, romping and having fun... and help the fear portion of his problem? Maybe? Luke responds incredibly well to my husband (not so much to me; I'm his "comfort", DH is definitely his Alpha, so to speak).

Again, this would be in addition to a trainer.

Is it a bad idea (read: am I going to regret the dog park if he isn't yet properly socialized with dogs... but on that note, I'm not sure how to socialize him better without exposure)?

 

 

What you would do is take him to the park, but stay OUT of the park. Hang out near the fence, and feed him some treats and have him sit and stay and such. Stay far enough away that he is relaxed and calm about it. If you hubby is having to repeat commands a lot, the dog is panting and freaking out, won't take the treats, etc you are too close and need to back up. The idea is to find the threshold where he can handle it well, practice being relaxed, then move forward a foot or two. Repeat.

 

If he is getting worked up you do NOT continue, as that is practicing getting worked up. You want to practice calm. You can't force calm. Does this make sense?

 

Feisty Fido is a book, and I think a video too, that is about this kind of thing.

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Ugh... I typed out a response, and my 3 year old hit a keyboard button that closed the tab, and reopening the tab just brought me to your quote, not the text I'd written. :glare: Trying again... :)

 

right, that is what I was trying to say. The house manners issue is normal for all dogs. The chewing things and issues with other dogs/uniforms, etc says anxiety/fear to me...and while I do see a lot of anxious GSD's, again, not breed specific.

 

Working GSDs tend to chew out of boredom. It's like the gifted kid in a classroom where he's not being challenged. He's going to act out. Same thing (I'm not saying GSDs are gifted, but that if they're bred to work, they have the drives to work, and they get bored if they're not working - this goes for any working breed, from field bred labs to herding border collies to livestock guardian dogs). So the chewing may or may not be fear/anxiety. The dog may just need a job to do. The other dogs/uniforms could also be fear, or it could be that he doesn't know his place in the pack (which the OP has stated is the case), and he's protecting his pack that he thinks he's alpha of. No, I don't think that's breed specific either, but we're looking at a breed that is typically dominant minded, and it sounds like this may be a working lines dog, and those are a lot different from your typical skittish AKC show lines GSDs (seen lots of fearful ones like that). Not seeing the dog, we both can only make educated guesses. Either way could be correct (or maybe a bit of both).

 

Those are traits that need to be handled in a way that doesn't make them worse.

Agreed!

 

I may be overgeneralizing, but those that train protection GSDs tend to use a very very very different approach than those that regularly work with aggression issues...fear based versus dominance based outlooks.

Hmmm... It probably partly depends on the type of protection training. I've mostly been around Schutzhund trainers, they tend to use more positive reinforcement methods than a lot of AKC obedience trainers I've seen. :tongue_smilie: Schutzhund folks are usually going for dogs that are really happy as they work, and you won't get that by beating the dog into submission. The trainer that suggested I use a prong collar on my dog was teaching folks how to use clicker training on the Schutzhund field. ;)

 

Plus, the owner needs some training herself. A local CPDT could work with them both and is less likely to cover over any fear based issues by calling them dominance.

I definitely agree that the owner needs training herself, but it sounded like she was having a hard time finding someone local. I also think that someone who really knows working dogs would be a better bet than someone who mostly sees pet dogs. There is a big difference in drive.

 

And I guess I come at this from the perspective that if I have found a breeder that I trust enough to buy a puppy from, having seen the family members of that puppy and how they interact with the breeder, I will probably want to trust him with training my dog as well. That's why I called my own dog's breeder when I had a problem (and she totally came through - thankfully, we didn't have to be in person, as she was clear across the country!). Perhaps this guy can help the OP figure out these problems, teach the OP on the last day there, and give her exercises to do at home and maybe even a recommendation for a more local trainer.

 

So I don't completely disagree with you. I just think that I personally would trust a trainer of working dogs with a working dog problem when that trainer is the one that bred my dog. :)

 

Now if the trainer has dogs that are afraid of him and he beats dogs or something, then I would run far, far away.

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Ugh... I typed out a response, and my 3 year old hit a keyboard button that closed the tab, and reopening the tab just brought me to your quote, not the text I'd written. :glare: Trying again... :)

 

 

 

Working GSDs tend to chew out of boredom. It's like the gifted kid in a classroom where he's not being challenged. He's going to act out. Same thing (I'm not saying GSDs are gifted, but that if they're bred to work, they have the drives to work, and they get bored if they're not working - this goes for any working breed, from field bred labs to herding border collies to livestock guardian dogs). So the chewing may or may not be fear/anxiety. The dog may just need a job to do. The other dogs/uniforms could also be fear, or it could be that he doesn't know his place in the pack (which the OP has stated is the case), and he's protecting his pack that he thinks he's alpha of. No, I don't think that's breed specific either, but we're looking at a breed that is typically dominant minded, and it sounds like this may be a working lines dog, and those are a lot different from your typical skittish AKC show lines GSDs (seen lots of fearful ones like that). Not seeing the dog, we both can only make educated guesses. Either way could be correct (or maybe a bit of both).

 

Agreed!

 

Hmmm... It probably partly depends on the type of protection training. I've mostly been around Schutzhund trainers, they tend to use more positive reinforcement methods than a lot of AKC obedience trainers I've seen. :tongue_smilie: Schutzhund folks are usually going for dogs that are really happy as they work, and you won't get that by beating the dog into submission. The trainer that suggested I use a prong collar on my dog was teaching folks how to use clicker training on the Schutzhund field. ;)

 

I definitely agree that the owner needs training herself, but it sounded like she was having a hard time finding someone local. I also think that someone who really knows working dogs would be a better bet than someone who mostly sees pet dogs. There is a big difference in drive.

 

And I guess I come at this from the perspective that if I have found a breeder that I trust enough to buy a puppy from, having seen the family members of that puppy and how they interact with the breeder, I will probably want to trust him with training my dog as well. That's why I called my own dog's breeder when I had a problem (and she totally came through - thankfully, we didn't have to be in person, as she was clear across the country!). Perhaps this guy can help the OP figure out these problems, teach the OP on the last day there, and give her exercises to do at home and maybe even a recommendation for a more local trainer.

 

So I don't completely disagree with you. I just think that I personally would trust a trainer of working dogs with a working dog problem when that trainer is the one that bred my dog. :)

 

Now if the trainer has dogs that are afraid of him and he beats dogs or something, then I would run far, far away.

 

I see your point...i kind of skimmed over the working dog aspect as I have always had working dogs so to me that is just normal, lol. (weims from field lines, border collie, etc)

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Ugh... I typed out a response, and my 3 year old hit a keyboard button that closed the tab, and reopening the tab just brought me to your quote, not the text I'd written. :glare: Trying again... :)

 

 

 

Working GSDs tend to chew out of boredom. It's like the gifted kid in a classroom where he's not being challenged. He's going to act out. Same thing (I'm not saying GSDs are gifted, but that if they're bred to work, they have the drives to work, and they get bored if they're not working - this goes for any working breed, from field bred labs to herding border collies to livestock guardian dogs). So the chewing may or may not be fear/anxiety. The dog may just need a job to do. The other dogs/uniforms could also be fear, or it could be that he doesn't know his place in the pack (which the OP has stated is the case), and he's protecting his pack that he thinks he's alpha of. No, I don't think that's breed specific either, but we're looking at a breed that is typically dominant minded, and it sounds like this may be a working lines dog, and those are a lot different from your typical skittish AKC show lines GSDs (seen lots of fearful ones like that). Not seeing the dog, we both can only make educated guesses. Either way could be correct (or maybe a bit of both).

 

Agreed!

 

Hmmm... It probably partly depends on the type of protection training. I've mostly been around Schutzhund trainers, they tend to use more positive reinforcement methods than a lot of AKC obedience trainers I've seen. :tongue_smilie: Schutzhund folks are usually going for dogs that are really happy as they work, and you won't get that by beating the dog into submission. The trainer that suggested I use a prong collar on my dog was teaching folks how to use clicker training on the Schutzhund field. ;)

 

I definitely agree that the owner needs training herself, but it sounded like she was having a hard time finding someone local. I also think that someone who really knows working dogs would be a better bet than someone who mostly sees pet dogs. There is a big difference in drive.

 

And I guess I come at this from the perspective that if I have found a breeder that I trust enough to buy a puppy from, having seen the family members of that puppy and how they interact with the breeder, I will probably want to trust him with training my dog as well. That's why I called my own dog's breeder when I had a problem (and she totally came through - thankfully, we didn't have to be in person, as she was clear across the country!). Perhaps this guy can help the OP figure out these problems, teach the OP on the last day there, and give her exercises to do at home and maybe even a recommendation for a more local trainer.

 

So I don't completely disagree with you. I just think that I personally would trust a trainer of working dogs with a working dog problem when that trainer is the one that bred my dog. :)

 

Now if the trainer has dogs that are afraid of him and he beats dogs or something, then I would run far, far away.

The trainers dogs LOVE him - and his kids, and his cats... lol. They are beloved members of his family. My husband spent an entire day observing Luke's parents and the trainer/breeder before bringing Luke home, just to make sure.

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It's very possible his behavior does have something to do with a new baby in the house. It wouldn't be unheard of--especially since you say he sleeps next to him every night.

 

Just out of curiosity, how does he act when you take him places and he meets new people? Ours is downright friendly with strangers everywhere but home. I always just thought that was normal for a protective breed. When we have people over, I put him up for a bit (in ds's room as he's ds's dog) and when we let him out later, he acts like he's known them forever.

 

Our GSD also strongly dislikes the UPS and FedEx drivers. I always thought it was the way the trucks just suddenly fly up the driveway. Never thought of his barking as aggressive. Dogs bark. (This behavior did take some getting used to though as our husky never barks at anyone ever. Huskies are not like normal dogs though. :001_unsure:) I just shove him behind me, shoo him away and get the box--making darn sure I don't let him out!

 

He's okay with the Schwan guy, but he comes IN and has seen him every two weeks his entire life.

 

Those UPS guys though - they toss a box at the house and take off. How strange that must look to our dogs! :lol:

Edited by darlasowders
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Absolutely take the breeder up on his offer to train the dog -- even if it means sending him there for a few weeks. I hate to tell you this, but any dog class that puts a dog in time-out for misbehaving is a crappy, feel-good dog class and isn't truly helping you train your dog. A good dog trainer would address the aggression issues your dog was showing in class. That's part of what training class is all about. You don't put a dog that's misbehaving in time-out. It's not a child. It doesn't work. He's not going to sit in a corner and reflect on what he's done wrong, go back to class, and try harder. We went through that with our old dog. He was a rescue and he had a ton of aggression issues. Not knowing any better, we brought him to Petsmart for training, as it was just fine for the GSD female we got as a puppy. They didn't know what to do with him. We lived with his aggression issues for years until he died because we loved him. We were like prisoners. We couldn't have anyone over unless he was locked up in another room, and it got worse once we had kids because that protective instinct increased once he had "pups" in pack to protect. We called several places and no one would work with us because a lot of trainers won't deal with aggressive dogs :glare: We were willing to pay for private lessons too -- we just couldn't find anyone willing to provide them.

 

We brought our new dog to a different training center -- one that had a negative reputation because the trainer was "hard" on the dogs. He is a GSD breeder/trainer and trains dogs for the police force. He knows his stuff. I never would have gone there and avoided the place like the plague with our old dog from the stuff I'd heard about it, but my brother took his little kick-me dog there for training and said he's strict and doesn't take crap, but he's not hard on the dogs. He was right! I wish with all my heart I had taken our old dog there. This trainer would have worked with him and I think our dog would have been different. In fact, he prides himself on the fact that he's one of the only trainers in the area who will work with aggressive dogs. He even has people send their dogs from out of state to train with him for a few weeks, and when the owners come to pick up their dogs he works with the owners too. Our new dog is very well trained. There were some aggressive dogs in our class and he was on them all the time with immediate correction. Some of it seemed a little on the harsh side, but his view is it's better to be harsh in the short-term then to let it go, baby them, and have a dog bite a person or kill someone's pet. He advocates shock collars -- not in his regular classes, but in some advanced off-leash classes and for modifying aggression issues. The dog doesn't wear it forever -- just until the dog is reliable without it.

 

Find a good trainer. Find someone who knows and specializes in breeds like GSDs. What little aggression our new dog showed in class was immediately dealt with and at almost 2 he's a wonderful, well-behaved dog. It's in a GSD's nature to be protective. It's part of the breed, and males have more of a tendency to display aggression than females. No flames here. I totally get it. I lived it. Get that boy to a good trainer. Any money you spend will be well worth it.

Edited by jujsky
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I hesitate to even post this as I might get flamed for it. But here it goes. Not all dogs have to be socialized or even sociable with other dogs.

 

I have worked with a few dog trainers over the years, and one specific one who owns a dog kennel.

 

I have been told numerous times that it is a myth that all puppies should be socialized with other dogs. Even as puppies, some dogs just do not want to be sociable with other dogs . The sooner you realize that is what your dog prefers, the better off all of you will be.

 

I own a lab/golden mix. He was "socialized" as a puppy, but never really got along with other dogs. And you know what? That's ok. There is no doggie rulebook that says "You should take your dog to the doggie park to hang out with his/her friends". Dogs just do not think that way. I love my dog. He is and always be an only dog because that is who he is.

 

So, I would not even begin to take your GSD anywhere near a doggie park or even near any other dogs until you get his behavior under control. And even after that. It is not a big deal that your dog doesn't have, or does not want to be bothered by other dogs.

 

I have GSD dogs in the past. They need consistency. They are "schedule" dogs, and can get very nervous if their schedule is tampered with.

 

I never took my dogs to any trainer. But it sounds like you might need some outside help. But I would strongly suggest that the trainer come to your home, not the other way around. This way, your GSD is on his territory. And since GSD are very protective breeds, he should be trained on his own territory.

 

You also need to determine who is going to be the alpha of the pack. You? Your DH? That is going to make all the difference in the world. There can only be ONE alpha. My dh is the alpha of my dogs pack. He will listen to me, but listens much better when my DH speaks to him.

 

So if you are the one who is going to be spending the most time with him, then you need to be there when training is taking place.

 

GSD are very smart, as I am sure you already know. He will learn quickly. But it is up to you to reinforce it and be consistent with him. Otherwise, one slip up and he is going to know he has you backed in a corner.

 

I wish you all the best with him. GSD are wonderful dogs. :grouphug:

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There are differing opinions on that. You've stated yours.

 

Mine is that if this dog lives in a residential neighborhood, with other dogs, other kids, strollers, delivery men, etc., then he needs to be able to TOLERATE these things. I didn't say he needs to love them and seek out interaction with them, but refrain from acting aggressively.

 

The fact is that chasing down strollers and raging at delivery men is a surefire ticket to The Big Pink. He may not LIKE delivery men, but he's got to deal. Or live in a crate. Because no one can manage an environment totally.

 

But that's just my opinion. Ymmv.

 

astrid

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Mine is that if this dog lives in a residential neighborhood, with other dogs, other kids, strollers, delivery men, etc., then he needs to be able to TOLERATE these things. I didn't say he needs to love them and seek out interaction with them, but refrain from acting aggressively.

 

The fact is that chasing down strollers and raging at delivery men is a surefire ticket to The Big Pink. He may not LIKE delivery men, but he's got to deal. Or live in a crate. Because no one can manage an environment totally.

 

:iagree:

 

 

If Dog A lives in the middle of 100+ acres with a single person or couple, never has delivery men or family friends coming by, can run around loose and doesn't live with any other pets then his socialization requirements may be vastly different from Dog B who lives with a family with young kids and other pets in a suburban neighborhood or urban environment that requires him to be leash walked. And of course both dogs will occasionally need vet care. So unless the owners are going to have a mobile vet come to the home, both dogs need to know how to handle coming into close contact with other dogs w/o reacting in an undesirable manner. Does that mean they have to love other dogs? No. But it does mean they have to tolerate them calmly.

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Let me stress that I was only referring to socialization of dogs with other dogs.

 

Not with people, noises, surroundings, etc.

 

Some dogs just do not like other dogs. Period. And there is nothing wrong with that. You just have to accept that as a limitation of your dog and respect it. Dogs do not think like humans. They don't need doggie friends. If you force the issue, you will end up being very dissapointed, frustrated and possibly injured.

 

My dog does not like other dogs. Period. We have other dogs in the neighborhood. If I walk him, and I see the other dog we go to the other side of the street. I don't put my dog intentionally, in a situation where he has to be around other dogs. Other then that issue, he has a great personality, loves everybody. He even loves cats.

 

A dog not liking another dog, and a dog not liking people in uniforms, or exhibits agressiveness towards them or any human , are two seperate situations.

 

The latter needs to be dealt with.

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GSD's need to have the ability to sleep stretched out... sleeping 'curled' in a crate will add to hip pain and damage.

 

If you could confine him to a small room-- or purchase one of those metal 'pens' it would be much better than a traditional crate.

 

We crated our first GSD---we were told it was the right thing to do-- he outgrew it very quickly (largest one the pet store sold). You are starting with an adult dog. If he will be in it for more than a few minutes at a time you need to get the PEN-- not crate.

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You've got a lot of issues going on there, and some potentially VERY DANGEROUS behaviors, including your description of how his training class went.

 

Now take a rolled up newspaper and hit yourself over the head with it for continuing to allow him freedom in the house when he's demonstrated he's not trustworthy. :D

 

Crate him when you leave the house. Even for five minutes. Do NOT set him up for failure by giving him (and his separation anxiety) free rein in the house.

 

Personally, I"d take your breeder up on the offer to train. I wouldn't worry about him only obeying the trainer. If the behaviors are truly learned, he'll sit when you tell him to sit. GSD's are smart dogs, but increasinly, I"m seeing temperament issues in them that make me so sad.

 

astrid

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree: I was very active in the GSD community for several years and I could not agree more with this statement. The weak temperaments of dogs that breeders still continued to breeed made me go :001_huh:.

 

It could be that he isn't angry about the baby, but he is feeling a need to be protective over the house due to the new baby? I agree about the need for a crate. You have to take control over your house. He is obviously not seeing you as the pack leader which is a big issue with a dog the size of a GSD.

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GSD's need to have the ability to sleep stretched out... sleeping 'curled' in a crate will add to hip pain and damage.

 

If you could confine him to a small room-- or purchase one of those metal 'pens' it would be much better than a traditional crate.

 

We crated our first GSD---we were told it was the right thing to do-- he outgrew it very quickly (largest one the pet store sold). You are starting with an adult dog. If he will be in it for more than a few minutes at a time you need to get the PEN-- not crate.

 

:iagree: Also a possibility.

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I completely agree - but why is he SUDDENLY disobeying? I mean he had his commands down cold, listened beautifully, walked nicely, greeted nicely... for quite some time. Why the sudden regression? I guess that concerns me too.

 

Because he is now the boss in his eyes. Somewhere along the line he got it into his head that he is the pack leader. Not you.

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I agree with crate and let the breeder train him. I'm not normally pro-sending-them-away-for-training, but the breeder knows his lines and the temperaments bred from those lines, so might have good ideas.

 

When my Bosco pup was itty bitty and still biting me, and I'd tried all the typical positive reinforcement stuff, I called his breeder (in tears!), and she said, "I didn't raise a wuss dog!" and told me exactly how to fix the problem quickly and efficiently. And guess what? It worked. Right away. No more biting problems ever (my DH would even try to feed me to him while doing rough play, and he knew not to bite mom - play biting dad was fine while wrestling, but even play biting mom was completely unacceptable, and he knew the difference!!!!).

 

If the breeder training isn't enough, you might see if there are any Schutzhund groups near you with someone who does individual training. They might know more about working with aggressive dogs (Schutzhund dogs themselves should NOT be aggressive, and I'm NOT suggesting you do Schutzhund, but that a Schutzhund trainer may have more experience with this type of dog).

 

Also, I would highly recommend putting a prong collar on that dog for your safety. He weighs a lot. You won't be able to control him with a regular collar. A prong collar won't choke him (choke collars can damage the trachea - don't use that). When I did Schutzhund with Bosco for a year, one of the trainers (who was very into positive reinforcement type training and was fabulous with dogs) recommended I use a prong collar on him because he was so big and strong. It was a safety issue for me AND everyone else. If he decided to pull with just a regular collar on, I would not physically be able to hold him back. The prong collar helps a lot, as it gives them a good signal without damaging their neck. If you're not sure, try it on your own arm first, then try a choke chain on your arm. You would take the collar off when putting him in his crate, but leave it on when you expect someone might come to the door or when you're outside walking.

 

The chewing things... At 3 years old, it's probably that he needs a job to do. Is he from any kind of working lines? I have a rescue dog here that is 11 years old and still chews things sometimes. When we did agility, she was sooooooooooo much better. Unfortunately, she now has problems with her back legs coming out from under her, and she can't physically exercise at all.

 

You said you tried an obedience class. Did you keep up with obedience at home? GSDs need to use that brain power they have. They don't just need physical exercise, but mental exercise also.

 

Have you ever done NILIF with him? GSDs are typically dominant-minded dogs. It's not uncommon to need to do NILIF for a while, then relax *some* of those rules (not all!). It's kind of like when a school teacher is strict at the beginning of the year, then relaxes later in the year, and her class will still behave, whereas if she is too relaxed in the beginning of the year, they'll walk all over her.

 

Btw, my rescue dog, Kira, used to be aggressive to men (and butch women). She would nip at them. My DH was the only man she didn't do that to (which was strange because he's big and macho looking). At obedience class, we worked on it very hard. Every.single.man that came in the building had to give Kira a treat (and the butch women too :D ). By the end of the 7 week class cycle, she now believed that all men had treats and were therefore good! She's fine with people coming in now, though she's definitely crated when the UPS guy comes. UPS guys are constantly invading her territory. ;) Bosco used to bark at the UPS guy too, but he was fine with our mailman at our old house because I'd introduced him as a puppy and spent a lot of time socializing him to everyone and everything. We just weren't on Amazon Prime back then (didn't exist yet), so the UPS guy didn't come that often. :tongue_smilie:

 

I hope you can get this figured out! You're taking the first step in realizing you have a real problem, and I'm glad you called the breeder first. That's one of the benefits of purchasing from a reputable breeder - they should always be willing to help with the dogs they have produced. I am sure you would have a training session with him to learn what you can do at home once you pick your dog up, and then you can practice those things continually.

 

Good luck!!!

:iagree: bolding mine

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Exercise right now would be walking, running, ball throwing, frisbee chasing, etc. Until we get this under control there can be nothing where other dogs or people are around. He responds very well to me and the children, but I think my problem is that he doesn't see me as dominant, in any way. My husband is obviously his alpha and Luke treats him as such - me, not so much. He is wonderful with me, but doesn't listen very well.

 

I'm not aware of any docks here, so I'm sure dock diving is out? Not sure. Sounds fun and I'll look into it; agility is much more possible.

 

I think I will send him to his breeder/trainer for a couple weeks as soon as we can get that ball rolling.

 

I also (for some reason) feel the need to reiterate this: He is in no way, shape, or form ever aggressive (or even tense) around extended family and friends invited in - ever. He has NO MANNERS with them and sees no issue about jumping into their laps, which is an obvious safety issue with a 90 lb dog (lol); that is why we kept him in the back room the other day, but he NEVER gets tense, growls, or even shows annoyance with them or my own children. The ONLY people he seems to have aggression towards is a uniform (most notably the UPS men).

I feel panicky with him playing with the children in the yard, not because I'm afraid he will hurt them, but because I'm afraid (since he isn't listening to me otherwise) he will run off and after something/someone.

 

I agree with previous posters that the remote collar probably made things worse. Now I need to correct that <yikes>

 

I love agility, but it doesn't sound like this is a possiblity right now.

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GSD's need to have the ability to sleep stretched out... sleeping 'curled' in a crate will add to hip pain and damage.

 

If you could confine him to a small room-- or purchase one of those metal 'pens' it would be much better than a traditional crate.

 

We crated our first GSD---we were told it was the right thing to do-- he outgrew it very quickly (largest one the pet store sold). You are starting with an adult dog. If he will be in it for more than a few minutes at a time you need to get the PEN-- not crate.

Good point. He has already outgrown the crate we *had* for him (and he outgrew it by a year old).

He actually DOES sleep curled up (and he is never crated at night - he sleeps in my room curled between our bed and the chest holding the baby's moses basket. He will NOT move from the baby's side - even though it means he may be cramped (and he could sleep on the other side of the bed, stretched out, if he wanted).

Is crating necessary at all (or penning him, for that matter). Can I put him in a secure, gated back yard... or does that defeat the purpose?

Edited by AimeeM
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For the crate, get a Great Dane sized crate. Bosco was tall and lanky, and he could stretch out on his side in that size crate. You have to buy them locally, as they have to be shipped via freight if ordered online, and that's expensive. Petsmart carries them.

 

I would not want to leave a possible aggressive dog outside when you're gone. For one thing, someone coming into the yard could get hurt (and you would be blamed). For another thing, other people could pester him and cause him to become more aggressive (I'm so thankful that my current male GSD-mix rescue is not aggressive after being SHOT in the side multiple times with a BB gun :angry:)

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For the crate, get a Great Dane sized crate. Bosco was tall and lanky, and he could stretch out on his side in that size crate. You have to buy them locally, as they have to be shipped via freight if ordered online, and that's expensive. Petsmart carries them.

 

I would not want to leave a possible aggressive dog outside when you're gone. For one thing, someone coming into the yard could get hurt (and you would be blamed). For another thing, other people could pester him and cause him to become more aggressive (I'm so thankful that my current male GSD-mix rescue is not aggressive after being SHOT in the side multiple times with a BB gun :angry:)

Ouch! Poor puppy!

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Or...he has a new stress in his life and is acting out because of it. Doesn't have to be about pack leader stuff..not everything is.

 

 

:iagree: In fact, the whole alpha male thing is based on outdated "knowledge". There is often an alpha pair in wolves, but all that means is they're the breeding pair. This is just one of many sites that discusses the pack leader myth.

 

OP, Astrid and Katie have given you good advice. They are both experienced and I would trust their recommendations.

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:iagree: In fact, the whole alpha male thing is based on outdated "knowledge". There is often an alpha pair in wolves, but all that means is they're the breeding pair. This is just one of many sites that discusses the pack leader myth.

 

I agree wholeheartedly. Way too many people have bought into the alpha/dominance crap (yes, I call it crap) with little understanding of what it actually is and how flawed most of the studies the theory was based on were. Not to mention how little domestic dogs have in common with wolves. Thank you very much (not) Cesar Milan.

 

Here is the position paper on dominance theory published by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior -- Link

Edited by Pawz4me
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