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German Shepherd Aggression

 

German Shepherd aggression can have various causes, as we discuss below. But whatever the cause of the German Shepherd aggression, you need to address it now straight away or it may soon become both scary for you and others, as well as dangerous.

Causes of German Shepherd aggression

There are many potential causes of aggressive behaviour in a German Shepherd:

  • Your GSD may not yet have accepted you as the alpha leader in the pack
  • Your GSD may feel threatened if you or someone else is sometimes intruding its territory in a disrespectful way
  • The aggression could lead back to an attack by another dog or by any person during the dog’s life
  • Dog aggression may result from a mistake made with the puppy
  • Dog aggression could be triggered by heredity and genetics
  • Most of the time however aggressive behaviour in German Shepherds is down to stress and fear

Stress and fear, and generally the environment a GSD is living in, is the most likely cause of aggressive behavior in a German Shepherd. When you subscribe to the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL for free here on the site, you will over time get countless German Shepherd tips.

Factors contributing to German Shepherd aggression

In the wrong environment every dog can become aggressive – just like every human too really. A German Shepherd that has poor living conditions, harsh owners or handlers, no or bad socialization, or that has been frightened or attacked by another dog or human is far more likely to become aggressive. In the vast majority of cases German Shepherd aggression is the result of stress and fear in their environment.

Despite what many photos of a GSD with fledged teeth seem to suggest, GSDs are not prone to aggression. A German Shepherd from purebred breeders that has been treated and trained well will only ever show aggression as a means to protect its owner and the family it has accepted as its pack. Remember that a GSD’s genetic heritage is that of a guard dog for herding sheep.

In other words, German Shepherd aggression is a reflection of their protective nature. The fact that many police forces in the world employ German Shepherds is not due to the GSD’s ability to fight off terrorists but due to the dog’s personality attributes. In fact, while a German Shepherd is very well suited as a guard dog and protection dog, its ability to fight is surpassed by various other breeds.

Genetically, aggression can grow from the need to establish a pack pecking order. Biting, posturing, and other aggressive signals are often the result of a German Shepherd testing its dominance. Therefore you, the owner, must establish dominance at a young age and maintain that alpha position throughout the German Shepherd’s adolescence to ensure it doesn’t take a lack of leadership in the pack as a signal to take control over you, the family, or others.

Also note that German Shepherds that have not been neutered or spayed are more prone to aggressive tendencies if there are other contributing factors.

The seeds of German Shepherd aggression

German Shepherd aggression can start as young as 5 weeks of age, the age at which the puppy should be socialized with other dogs and people and be given the required training that will also prevent German Shepherd biting in the future. This period of socialization lasts until the German Shepherd turns 12 to 16 weeks of age. Rarely it should take longer than this.

A GSD puppy needs to have been adequately socialized with plenty of people and other dogs by the time it reaches 16 weeks of age, or else it may become difficult to avoid future German Shepherd aggression issues.

You should never take a puppy away from its litter before it is about 8 weeks old. Never use harsh discipline with the puppy, and certainly no discipline punishment at all before the age of 10 weeks. Always ensure that your German Shepherd is being treated gently and considerately, making use of positive reinforcement. Any form of yelling, hitting, beating, kicking or similar punishments can breed aggressive behavior in German Shepherds that manifests over time to become a serious problem.

In other words, if you or another handler lose temper, your GSD will too. To learn more, also read German Shepherd Puppy Training.

Controlling and Stopping German Shepherd Aggression

If your GSD shows aggressive behavior after 16 months of age or when it has reached sexual maturity, you should address the problem immediately. First, ensure that you have established yourself as the alpha leader. Never reward your German Shepherd for aggressive behavior by giving it special attention, even if it is due to the dog being scared.

Use German Shepherd Dog Training and in particular German Shepherd Obedience Training to make your German Shepherd respond to your dog commands. Maintain consistent feeding and walking times, and make sure that the dog has a strong alpha leader in the house. If you defer to your German Shepherd or if you allow it to take liberties in your house, then it may develop stronger aggression towards others.

If your German Shepherd is defensive-aggressive, then it may strike out at a person in fear. These German Shepherds may not have been properly socialized or may have been treated badly. Keep them away from children (which they may see as direct threats) and attend a few hours of formal gsd courses or visit German Shepherd trainers who can slowly acclimate your dog to a social atmosphere.

Although German Shepherd aggression would be a severe problem, it certainly can be controlled – both at a young age and also as your dog gets older. If your own stress ever advances to violence, consider hiring a professional dog trainer to intervene before someone gets hurt and your German Shepherd is wrongly held responsible.

  90 Responses to “German Shepherd Aggression”

  1.  

    Hi, I recently got a female black GSD aged 4.Her history is unknown but I don’t think she has been treated well, however her obedience and training has/is top notch ! She bonded with me instantly and knows I’m the alpha. She is very protective of me but not aggressive. She has blended into my home perfectly,even accepted my 2 cats no problem.However over the month I’ve had her , she has attacked 3 dogs whilst out walking In the woods.She took off at great speed and body slammed one dog.She came back immediately when I called her.I then leashed her, took away her ball and walked her home in silence.
    Any dog she sees ? She wants to attack , even when walking on the leash.I tell her no and she will stop trying yo lunge at a dog.I don’t know her history as the people I got her from wont respond to my texts or emails. I fon’t know if she is defending me or herself ? If she has been attacked herself by another dog ? I just need some guifance on how to address this issue because she is such a good girl otherwise and I’m not giving up on her :)

    •  

      Hi Mairi, frankly I haven’t heard such story before, she’s totally obedient to you even when speeding towards other dogs, but nonetheless aggressive towards other dogs?
      She’s certainly unique, ha!
      But yes, obviously she is traumatized, no question! So you need to start desensitizing her re/ other dogs OUTSIDE. Slowly.
      Start with arranging a neighbor’s/friend’s dog walking in the distance, while you speak calmly to her. Decrease the distance to the other dog slowly. This can take a few weeks!
      When you reach the distance where she goes nuts (all while on leash!), immediately do SSCD (the way you see in Dan’s videos).
      With her it will be a process, not an immediate fix. But I guess you know that.
      I am slightly concerned that one day she might turn against you though, if you don’t start solving her trauma now!

      •  

        Hi Tim, thanks for the advice but I can’t afford to join to watch Dan’s techniques. I have paid out hundreds of pounds in vet costs for Kiera. She really was not treated well or looked after !! The vet suspects she may have been forced bred, which could explain her aggression to dogs.She adores my cats and is very gentle with them.I also know she has been hit by soneone because she has ducked a few times in fear, thankfully she has stopped doing that and knows I’m not going to hurt her.
        I have been socialising her with neighbours dogs and I see an improvement, she isn’t lunging to get to them and has started wagging her tail to one of the dogs.
        I’m concerned that you are worried she may turn on me one day ?
        At the moment she is like my Shadow, is not overly interested in other ppl if I’m there.
        She has not challenged me at all or shown any aggression to me or any person at all.
        I think she has totally attached herself to me, almost as if she knows I rescued her from a horrible life. I will continue to work with her and her dog issues , she rewards me with so much love. Any tips or further info would bw greatly appreciated.

        Cheers Mairi from Scotland :)

      •  

        Thanks Mairi.
        Why concerned? Because aggression always radiates if left untreated, that’s why, it happens all the time!
        You say you can’t afford videos? Who said you must? You afford the vet, right? But with her aggression, your vet can’t help you an inch.
        What you do about it, is your choice. But above, and in the Periodicals, I gave clear advice how you CAN solve her aggression issues, if you apply it. Your socialising with neighbors’ dogs is a very good start, don’t give up! :-)
        As I said, it’s a process.

    •  

      I was googling for this same issue!!!! Almost verbatim. The first trainer just told us to avoid other dogs….

  2.  

    My neighbor has a 7 year old shepard that is not fixed. He is very, very aggressive. She says he is very protective, but I see extreme anxiety and obessive behaviour. She says he always wants to play ball. When he walks out the door for a walk, he comes out barking in an attack mode. Truthfully, I get nervous because I have two dogs who are friendly, but also will bark and growl back. Aggression feeds aggression. I pull my dogs in another direction very quickly. I have been helping her by speaking to her (at a safe distance) while he sits on leash. Sometimes his stare is so strong and intent I get scared and remind her to hold the leash tight. So far so good, but I cant make fast or loud noises. Is there hope for her and the other dog owners in the neighborhood? I have known shepards and had one growing up with no problem. I have also experienced mildly aggressive dogs, but never to this degree. I feel for the dog. Oh I forgot to mention that he came to them friendly. Do you think he claimed them as part of the pack (he is not fixed) and they allowed it not realizing it?

    •  

      Donna, there is NO question that your neighbor’s dog feels as Pack leader, yes! From what you describe, the situation is serious. If you can, ask your neighbor to get in touch with me.

  3.  

    I’m having trouble with my nearly 18 month old German Shepherd. He is such a sweet dog inside the house and with any visitors who come inside. If, however, we go in the backyard and the neighbors are in the adjoining yard he has a fit! He barks his head off and has even tried to nip at the neighbor kids. I’ve gone to both puppy and intermediate training and he is obedient in the house but outside it is as if he loses all reason. If you are on the other side of our fence he will try to nip at you if you reach your hand over. I want to make it stop. Please help!

    •  

      So you’ve gone to both puppy and intermediate training, and it didn’t help. But what exactly have you done from what WE HERE write?
      Then I can write back what you missed here.

  4.  

    Dear Tim,

    I have a 7 yr. old GSD. I bought her when I knew nothing about dogs from a back yard breeder. Her father was extremely aggressive and her mother was very fearful. I bought her because she was beautiful and I was 5 states away from home and had just lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. After I bought her, I enrolled in a school to become a dog trainer and was appalled at the mistakes I had already made. One day I returned home to find my beautiful puppy (about 6 mo.) hiding in bushes waiting for me. I have never witnessed a living creature be so traumatized, yet be alive. There was a man in the neighborhood, notorious for hating dogs. In fact, he had already told me that he shot stay dogs that wandered on his property. After that day, my lovely dog at first became fearful of EVERYTHING. I worked with her for 2 years trying to overcome most of it. When the family returned to Louisiana, much of her anxiety left, however, she has become territorial and extremely aggressive. She will socialize with women, but I believe she would literally kill a man. We love her, and we keep her very close to protect her and others. Do you have any ideas, because I think she is dangerous, but she is like my child.

    •  

      Please urgently follow our advice on desensitization and feeding routine (indeed!), because what you write sounds like she IS dangerous, yes.

  5.  

    I have a 2 year old GSD that we have had since she was a puppy,she is the sweetest most loving dog to my husband and I and our kids and to our 3 year old male GSD. But if anyone comes to our house or gets too close in public she freaks out. When I take her to the vet she shakes and hides behind me and barks at everyone. But if I take her to the vet and they take her in the back without me they say she is perfectly fine and let’s them do whatever they want and she’s not the least bit aggressive. The reason I’m writing anything is because she nipped my nephew on his leg while she was on a leash but he walked too close? Too fast? I don’t know…he is fine more shaken up than anything but I don’t know what to do with her. So now if anyone comes over she has to stay locked in her cage or leashed and muzzled the entire time and I’m scared to take her anywhere. Again I want to say she has never showed any aggression toward me or my family and actually when she went at my nephew she pushed me backwards first. Help! My husband is so upset he wants to put her down and she’s my baby!

    •  

      You MUST act or it will get worse. Pl follow the adult GSD training essentials TO THE LETTER.

  6.  

    I have a German shepherd pup who barks none playful when I discipline and any hint to be alpha over her she almost 5months

    •  

      How to become the alpha for your dog is a core topic we feature regularly, so make sure you subscribe to the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL.

  7.  

    I have a 2 year old gsd. He is very friendly and loveable with his family but he aggressively barks at the neighbors when they are outside. He recently lunged over the fence and bit my neighbor on the arm. How do I correct this behavior

    •  

      I hope you’ve got a good insurance then!? To prevent recurrence, make sure you follow our adult dog training essentials and the relevant Periodicals to the letter!

  8.  

    Hi Tim, Again thanks for the info. I ‘ve been going through your periodicals and your advice about socialising with other dogs. As you said it will take time and no way am I giving up on her :) I feel she is fear aggresive with. other dogs She did get nose to nose with a neighbours Springer Spaniel through a wire mesh fence. Some barking at first, then whining and wagging tail just like the Spaniel. Was a start :)
    Thanks Tim
    Mairi

  9.  

    Hi, I have a 4-year-old pure brown/black GSD that is lovable and returns the love. In the house we never have problems with him and he has a lot of toys to keep him occupied.

    Currently, he’s on his fourth bite. When he’s outside playing, he immediately stops and barks at people or dogs passing by. To get him to stop, we have to either make distinct noises to grab his attention or poke his belly so that I can get his attention. He has nothing but live for my mom and I, but sometimes I feel like he goes above and beyond when it comes to defense.

    My mom and I have so much heartache because if he gets another bite, the city will put him down. It’s frustrating for us to discipline him when we dont allow him near people or people near him. The closest he has to outside source is my moms friend and that took time for them to get along because we always keep our dog muzzled when dealing with people or the vet.

    Growing up, he didn’t have much of a puppy hood because he was originally under my dad’s care growing Uo and he wasn’t allowed near dogs or people. It wasnt until two years ago when my GSD decided he didn’t wantt him and left him at our house. My dog shook in the presence of my dad so my mom and I spoil him to show we care.

    My question is: How do I stop him from biting people that he sees on site? The recent bite was a person he was familiar with, but it’s as if he doesn’t think; he just jumps. We’re getting a trainer, but it will take time. What can we do as owners, un the meantime?

    Thanks

    -Claudia

    •  

      Serious issue Claudia, and as so often, because of errors made during puppyhood socialization!

      1) Make sure that you immediately follow the Adult Dog Training Essentials Periodical (or the respective book) TO THE LETTER.

      2) Strictly follow the Feeding Routine (I know, it doesn’t sound like it would relate, but it does!).

      3) Systematically desensitize him regarding people AND animals. This will take time, but you must start urgently.

      4) Collect all the toys in the house, and instead give him ONE toy at a time, for a maximum of one hour, then swap with other toy. All day, yes!

      This should all have been started before the FIRST bite. But it’s NOT too late now. If you start immediately.

      Of course, as always, you better had subscribed here! We are not one of those bullshit affiliate sites. Although we too need to generate an income, we provide hands-on advice like no other/

  10.  

    Hi my GSD is a little over a year and she recently has been lunging at people that are walking by. She is friendly to some people but when I am walking we she looks to lunge when people walk by. She is fine with other dogs its just certain people and little kids.

    •  

      Jennifer, make sure you too apply our GSD Training Essentials, to the letter, ie even the points that you THINK are not pertinent to your situation – they are. All.

  11.  

    I have the most beautiful 4yr female gsd who loves people yet has extremely bad dog agression. She was beaten when I left her at a ‘so called’ friends house (by the husband) and attacked by a pit bull 2yrs ago. Her walks are always on lead but thght I shld try a muzzle so she could run-but within 2mins she pounced on a dog. Luckily no damage due to the muzzle. She is well behaved at home & I realize she is ‘boss’ at times but it pains me that she can’t run free. She was socialised from the minute I was able to take her out. She would not be able to join dog training due to the agression. I can’t fix this by myself. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    •  

      Yes. Apply the dog training essentials to the letter, don’t divert an inch. Then(!) desensitize her from other dogs. Is all in our Periodicals, and in my books.

  12.  

    I have a 19 month old GSD (entire), who is nervous/aggressive towards other dogs when we are out. I always keep him on a lead and when we see other dogs he pulls on the lead to get to them, his hackles go up and sometime he begins barking at them.Heis great with all people and even my 2 yr old nephew.
    The history is that we had himand his sister from 9 weeks of age. We also had 2 other adult dogs. The puppies playfought but over thenext few months/1 year, thia turned into female puppy being very dominant and bullying over the male puppy. This got so bad that we ould never leave them alone together and the female was rehomed. My male GSD was by then very submissive and dejected and we did ojr best to build him back up anc he has now become a healthy and happy boy. I have recently left my partner and brought this dog to live away with me – they were all more bonded with me more than anyone in the house at this point as I spent most time with them. This dog is now going to much more built up areas with me for his walks and runs and is getting used to seeing cars and people more often but I am scared to let him too closeto other dogs as he gets so wound up even seeing them. Yesterday we were out walking and he was on his lead. A man came the other way with 2 dogs, a bull terrier and a labrador. The BT came over and started sniffing my dog, who remained quite calm although his hackles were up. They sniffed each other for a second or two then the BT just got very aggressive and laid into my dog, baring his teeth and going for him. The owner didnt seem in a big hurry to get his dog on a lead, and it was scary. No injuries or anything but I think it has now made my dog worse. We have been out a few times since and now my boy is even more tense when he sees another dog and is now very vocal as well as getting his hackles up. Prior to coming away with me he was used to running around on our large field with the other 2 dogs rather than going out and meeting other dogs so he is not well socialised anyway. What is the best thing to do right now to stop this getting worse?

    •  

      Well Paula, for Socialization it’s never too late, and your dog urgently needs it. It will require a lot of work from you to desensitize him from meeting other dogs. But the sooner you start, the easier.
      Another point however is, how do YOU behave in such moments? It sounds like you don’t know how to behave the right way, hm?

      Here’s what I would do, if say I were to rescue your dog from you now, in this unfortunate condition:
      1. I’d apply our Feeding Routine Periodical TO THE LETTER to establish myself as accepted Pack leader (so important it is!) – you are NOT his accepted Pack leader as it appears from what you write :-0
      2. For further manifestation and to avoid the Pack conflict your dog will experience, I would also apply the “Attention Seeking” advice and the “How to Play” advice.
      3. Once I see signs that I am the accepted Pack leader, I would arrange with a dog-owning friend to walk past us on the other side of the road at a time when my rescued dog is totally calm. If he then gets aggressive, I would use the Distraction Tools and the Sedatives from the Dog Training Toolkit to get him calm again, to the extent of being uninterested in the other dog!
      4. Every day I would adapt the characteristics of the situation to desensitize him more and more (reduce the distance to the other dog, be on a slightly higher energy level from the outset, choose a different environment, etc etc).

      Based on what you write, I guess I would have completely socialized him with other dogs within 2 to 4 weeks, depending on how much time I can invest.

      Start now!

  13.  

    Hello! I was wondering if I can please get some advice! I have a German shepherd who is approximately 5 months old, he is neutered. We just moved from a house with a large back yard to an apartment because I’m attending college. Back at home, he had no problems what so ever meeting new dogs. He would bark a little then start playing. He would however become timid with large dogs at first. Since we have moved he has been barking, growling, and the hair on his back has become raised when I walk him and we run into other dogs. I’m not sure if he is protecting me or his territory (which he hasn’t done before). I have been taking him to an off leash dog park to help with the socialization and at first he reacts in the aggressive way but I distract him with playing before allowing him near other dogs and then he is a perfect angel after the distraction. I have tried applying the distraction around my apartment but he still seems ferocious at first. Any advice as to what I’m doing or anything I could be doing? Thank you!!

    •  

      Distraction Tools are a good start! Neutering was wise too.
      Note that if he’s 5 months, he is in Puberty development stage (Puppy 101), and his behavior change is normal. This is obviously exacerbated in your case because of suddenly being confined to an apartment.
      So I would specifically do some training re/ both. Calming, distracting, desensitizing. Foremost, I would ensure regular Feeding Routine application (Periodical, Puppy Training Essentials, and also in every book) and the other measures to ensure you are accepted Pack leader. Then when you stay calm, he will.
      If you keep it at least under control now, then it will disappear with age (in around 2 months). Better though is to act as said.

  14.  

    Hi
    I have a beautiful 16 month German shepherd, she has been trained and socialised from day one that we got her. Just over the past 2 weeks she has started to become aggressive towards people when I am out walking her, lunging with her hackles right up and showing her teeth she only does it when I walk her if anyone else in the house takes her she is fine. I am the alpha of the pack and indoors she is so obedient yet take her out and she is like a dog posseced she will become disobedient, nothing has changed in the last couple of weeks that we can think of but its making me worried that she might hurt someone what do you suggest thank you
    Sandra

    •  

      Is she spayed?
      What makes you say you’re the Alpha?
      Are the others who take her out, male?

  15.  

    I’m hoping for some advice. We have a 2 year old male(Trooper) and a female that will be 2 on Friday (Raven). Our aggression problem is with the male, Trooper and it is primarily directed at me. It started after he was 1 ½ years old and has escalated. He growls at me quite often if I touch Raven. I know he is very attached to my husband, who is with him all day. He doesn’t want to share my husband with me and has put his nose between our hands when we hold hands. I have never done anything to provoke him, I have never struck him, I have only been good to him and praise him every time he is good about something. The strange thing is this only happens in the house. If I touch him in any way in the house he will growl at me. In over two years he has only growled at me once outside and that was a month ago when I returned home from being out of state for a week. Inside, it is a daily occurrence and sometimes he barks and bares his teeth. That behavior is becoming more commonplace. When the occasional growling first started, it was suggested that he is trying to put himself before me in the “pecking order” but has now gone way beyond that. In the beginning he would rub his head and body on the wash cloth I used after I bathed and has recently started doing that again. I don’t know what is pertinent information and what is not.

    I worked with him on “stay” when he was young and when he is not in an aggressive state he is very obedient and will sit, lay down, or stay if I tell him to.

    We started your feeding suggestion religiously. (Pretending to eat their food first while they sit and stay, then giving them permission to have it). We make them sit and stay at the door before we go outside and make them wait for “OK” after we go out. When he growls at me, my husband takes him into the bathroom and closes the door where he stays until he is quiet for 15minutes.

    Last night I was standing about 7 feet from his crate looking at the TV (he was laying down in it with the door open) and I never even looked in his direction but he stated growling. I stood still and said nothing while my husband told him to come out and grabbed ahold of his collar. Trooper knew immediately what was going to happen and started barking and snapping at me. When my husband walked past where I was standing, Trooper tried to lunge at me, barking and snapping. There is no doubt in my mind he wanted to hurt me and would have done so if my husband were not holding tight to his collar. My husband said it was all he could do to hold him (he is 6’4” and 240 pounds). I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t scared because I was. This is obviously not acceptable as it is but there is no reason to believe it won’t get even worse. We don’t know what to do. Do you have any advice?

    I love Trooper and really don’t understand why all this is happening or what to do about it. We really need help.

    •  

      Puuh, this is serious!

      - Is he neutered? Is she spayed? Are they both pedigreed GSDs?
      - It started after he was 1.5 years old – What was back then? Was there any incidence?
      - it was suggested that he is trying to put himself before me in the “pecking order” – Who said that? Who have you consulted yet?
      - How does Raven behave while Trooper growls at you? (Your husband behaves great, good for you!)
      - We started your feeding suggestion religiously. – When, how long ago? Every meal? Where’s your husband when you Gesture-eat? How does Trooper behave then?

      - When my husband walked past where I was standing, Trooper tried to lunge at me, barking and snapping. – That is BEYOND the point that should ever have been allowed to happen, Gail! The growling at you alone is too much misbehavior! Trooper has the most serious aggression issues, and you must not let pass another hour(!) before you address this. You allowed this for half a year?? I wouldn’t!

      Pl answer me the above questions asap, give as precise detail as you can, and I will devise a solution (I hope!)

  16.  

    They are both registered pure breed GSD. No Trooper in not neutered and Raven is not spayed, we were going to breed them.

    There was no incident when this started. The very first time it happened I was awakened in the night when Trooper was whining. I got up to see what was wrong and he had thrown up in his crate. I let him outside and cleaned his crate before letting him back in. An hour or two later the same thing happened but this time when I approached his crate, he growled but did nothing else so I let him outside again. It escalated form there over a period of months. I can’t tell you exactly when it started but it was late Fall / early Winter.

    The lady at the vet’s office that gave us some training tips when he was a puppy suggested that he was trying to establish himself before me in the pecking order. When things escalated, she said we needed to find more help and that is when my husband started searching the internet and came across your website.

    When Trooper acts outs Raven usually doesn’t react at all except to retreat. Before we started putting Trooper in isolation, when we scolded Trooper, Raven would go to her room (crate) and we would tell her she didn’t do anything wrong, she was a good girl. Raven has never shown any aggression and is very loving.

    When we gesture-eat we do it together if we are both there. My husband does it alone when I’m at work. We’ve been doing this for 2 or 3 weeks. When we do this, Trooper usually looks at me and then goes to the opposite side of my husband from where I am. He always sits and stays whether we do it together or when my husband or I do it alone. We do this for every meal, their food is put up until the next meal. If I cook meat in a pan, afterwards I put a little water in the bottom and scrape the pan to flavor the water and let them have it, but they sit and stay for that as well and only move when I say “OK”. Trooper loves it and drools on the floor while waiting.

    Their favorite toys are Kong rubber tires about 4 inches across and I put Milkbones dog biscuits inside the tires and they have to lay down on the living room floor to get it. Trooper loves this treat so much he flops down instantly when they are ready and is so excited while I make them he is whining and wiggling. During times like this or when he is so excited to go out, I can touch him and he doesn’t even take notice and has no problem with it.

    We ride horses every weekend together and during the week my husband rides every day. This is how they get their exercise because we live in the country with no sidewalks and with my husband being disabled, we can’t walk them. The trail is through dense woods and is rocky with steep inclines so they get several miles of good exercise daily. When we ride, at some point while we are stopped in the woods or when we arrive home and are ready to get down, Trooper jumps up and puts his front feet on my leg or the side of the horse and I pet him quickly and he gets back down but never growls.

    They love to play fetch but Trooper’s version is very different from Raven’s. She will bring the stick immediately back to us and never wants to stop. Trooper, once he gets the stick refuses to give it up. He will run along with Raven when she goes for the stick but doesn’t do anything else unless that stick is bigger than the one he has and then he takes hers and leaves his. Sometimes he will get to the stick we threw for her first, and then he chews it up as fast as he can then grabs his own stick before she can get it.

    We believe Trooper is afraid/fearful but don’t know why. Raven takes off ahead of us and Trooper usually follows behind the horses. Raven is fearless. Trooper has always been more cautious than Raven. When Trooper was a few months old, my husband took him to the river and he loved it and swam like a fish. Last summer when he was one and Raven was not quite one, we took them swimming and they both loved it. A week or so ago, my husband took them swimming again and Trooper was very frightened. Raven jumped right in and swam like a fish the whole time. When Trooper couldn’t touch the bottom he seemed to panic and jump on his hind legs instead of just swimming. My husband recognized immediately how scared he was and wanted to get past that as quickly as possible. A couple of days later he found a place where he could take the dogs and get in himself as well. He got in and gently tugged on Trooper’s collar to pull him in deeper water. He put one arm under his body in front of his back legs and the other on his chest/neck supporting his head and talked to him while he moved him around in the water until Trooper started swimming himself without flailing. (We had just watched an episode of “The Dog Whisperer” that used that approach). After that he had a ball and would even get two sticks at a time.

    Before we knew about your methods (isolating in the bathroom) we usually scolded him and sent him to his room (crate). When he would growl at me, he would start to walk towards his room, turn his head and growl at me over his shoulder- it was very deliberate. When I get up in the morning, my husband is still sleeping, and I go into the bathroom and close the door. When I’m ready for work and open the door, Trooper would start barking at me. On occasions like that or other times when he was in his crate and started barking at me, I would say nothing but walk over to his crate and turn my back to him and stand there until he stopped. Sometimes he barks in the morning and sometimes he does not.

    We have two Jack Russells that were here when we got Trooper and are about 14 years old. As a puppy, Trooper wanted to play with them but they are old, arthritic and didn’t want to be bothered and just growled at him if he bothered them. We knew he needed a playmate and that is why we got Raven when he was 6 months old. The day we brought her home, Trooper was in the back seat and made the most mournful, pitiful sound when we drove home when he realized she was coming with us. They are so close and neither has ever shown any aggression towards the other. Trooper will growl if he is in the kitchen and one of the Jack Russells come into the room and will stand over their shoulders. I tell him to stop and show one of them out of the kitchen. During the day, if the Jack Russells come in the house he doesn’t have a problem with it but in the evening, if one of them comes in from outside he barks and gets in their faces. One of them will turn his head away and back off but the other one (who has 3 legs and one eye) stands his ground and growls back – if we don’t move them immediately they will jump on one another. The Jack Russells stay outside most nights during the summer but stay inside in the Winter. Their beds/crates are in a bedroom. If one of them is inside and comes out of the room in the night (they have been allowed to do so all their lives) Trooper comes unglued and wakes us up and continues until we tell him to stop numerous times. We now have to put a door on that bedroom so we can close the Jack Russells in at night and prevent them from leaving the room.

    Raven licks the Jack Russells’ faces relentlessly, even inside their mouths, which they hate so they growl at her. We tell her constantly to stop when she does that. She and Trooper do that to each other and are very affectionate towards each other.

    All of Trooper’s aggression started in the evening. Trooper used to jump up on the couch and “kiss” (lick my cheek) me goodnight before going in to his crate for the night. Then it started that he would kiss me then start growling and get down and go to his room. I would take a bubble bath in the evening and he would come into the bathroom and I would pet him and then he would turn and look back at me over his shoulder and growl as he walked away. (This behavior where he would give affection and then just switch is what made the lady in the vet’s office think is had nothing to do with his affection or respect for me, just wanting to be above me in the pack.) I would lay the washcloth on the edge of the tub and he started coming in to rub his head and body on the washcloth while I was still standing there drying off. Then he would just leave the room.

    He used to be very excited when I’d come home at night and would want to be so close that he would walk back and forth between my legs getting petted. He would lay down in front of me rolling around and flailing his legs to get petted (he still does that to my husband). Now I don’t touch him. I call my husband before I come home and when he hears my car he makes Trooper and Raven sit and stay until I come in and put my stuff down and then tell them “OK”. When I say OK, Raven comes running and going crazy to get my attention and affection but Trooper just walks away from where I am.

    If I’m in a room that Trooper enters and I speak to him in any way, he growls and turns around and leaves.

    We have a reclining love seat that my husband and I sit on in the evenings and Raven (65 pounds and is much smaller than Trooper who is 95-100 pounds) comes up to lay on our laps. Trooper wants his time too so used to come up and lay across us. Then he started sitting on me with his front half on my husband’s lap. Now he will cram himself into as small a space as he has to not to sit on me or touch me. If he is completely on my husband’s lap and my husband is scratching his butt at the base of his tail which is against my leg (he loves that) he will keep looking back to make sure it is my husband touching him and not me. If I touch him, he immediately growls and gets down.

    Even Trooper’s behavior regarding the isolation has changed. The first couple of times he didn’t make a sound and just went in and sat down. Then he started to bark when my husband closed the door. Then he started barking when my husband approached the bathroom door so my husband would go in with him, close the door behind them, tell him to stop and stand in front of the door until he stopped, then left the room and closed the door. Now he starts barking as soon as my husband gets ahold of his collar.

    Trooper has growled at my husband but not often. In the evening when they are going into their crates, if my husband pets Raven to say goodnight, Trooper will growl. Truthfully he just doesn’t do that anymore and we have changed some of our behaviors to avoid the problem. If we call Raven to get attention and Trooper growls, Raven retreats to her room and won’t come out when we call her. Last week Trooper growled at my husband for something and the rest of the day my husband used your suggestion about pushing him away with the back of his hand and arm every time Trooper wanted his attention. It was very effective and was obvious Trooper wanted to get back into my husband’s good graces.

    My husband started giving them the tire treats when they go into their crates at night. (I don’t ever put them to bed anymore because Trooper will bark and snap if I touch his crate to lock the door.) That’s another thing that changed quickly. At first they would eat their treats and stay quiet. Now as soon as he’s finished Trooper starts barking to register his displeasure and we have to tell him to stop. Raven never makes a sound.

    Monday night when Trooper acted out so badly, my husband put him outside on the chain for the night after he came out of the bathroom. All day yesterday he was desperate for my husband’s attention but my husband mostly ignored him and Trooper seemed to be trying to be better behaved to get back in his good graces. There were no incidents last night. All he wants is my husband’s attention and affection and withholding that seems to get his attention more than anything. My husband is convinced that sometimes when Trooper growls he just has a blank empty “nobody’s home” look in his eyes. I don’t see that because when he’s growling, barking or snapping at me he is looking directly at me and is very deliberate.

    This is an awful lot of information but I just don’t know what is important and what is not. We sure need help badly and appreciate anything you can do for us. Thank you

    •  

      Gail, I can’t believe how much you wrote. Although we are not even in a dog training consultation. Be it so. I read it all.

      You may need a local trainer to handle Trooper for a while. I understand you try to avoid the cost, so I do what I can from here. Because, as I said before, you have a VERY serious situation there!

      Okay: Here’s my input.
      - Trooper is domineering your entire Family Pack, INCL. your husband and the Terriers!
      - Gesture Eating should never happen together (where did I say so?), but always by ONE person (except for a baby in baby sling).
      - Your husband should stop dealing with Trooper for a while (yes!). No Feeding, No petting, No attention. Nada.

      - BUT: So that Trooper understands that your husband is angry with him BECAUSE how he behaves towards you, it is crucial that your husband starts this at a moment when Trooper acts out against you (growling is enough). And from that moment, consistently ignoring Trooper!
      - There should be no more night treats
      - No more treats at all. ONLY the Meal(s) at consistent Meal Times.
      - One growl, or just bark, and you cancel the Meal immediately. No more food until the next scheduled mealtime. Another bark, again NO meal. He will stop acting out before 3 missed meals, I guess.

      - He has to be fed seperately for a while. Feed Raven first (have your husband tie Troopers leash to the radiator if need be!), Trooper must NOT intervene.
      - Then pretend that feeding is finished, he won’t be fed. Raven goes after her own business.
      - IF Trooper behaves top notch (he won’t the first few times!), after a few minutes you start the Feeding Routine with him
      - OUR Routine, by the letter! Study it again, several times, before you attempt it (cause you did some things wrong).

      - Further, you will NOT pet him for a while, neither down from the horse. Nada.
      - You demonstratively only do the MINIMUM of dog care. GSDs understand this very well. He will hate being ignored, by BOTH of you. Only difference: YOU will give him the basic care, your husband won’t.
      - Raven will be treated normally, ie nice.
      - One growl from Trooper (there will be many in the beginning!), and he has to be isolated BY YOUR HUSBAND. NOT the way you do right now, but the way we say/ I’ve written. No exceptions for Trooper!

      - Further: You and your husband should stage a theater play for a while: Your husband demonstratively(!) obeying your “commands” (he can silently laugh about it, no problem – it’s a theater play)

      This may need to be followed for a week or a month (at worst), but I assume Trooper WILL change back to what he was like: Accepting you as Pack leader. Acting like a well behaved German Shepherd.

      Goal: We are positioning you as the ultimate Leader of the Pack (for a while at least). Trooper must SEE and HEAR and FEEL that your husband follows your lead, Raven follows your lead, the Terriers follow your lead, the farm rats follow your lead. AND that, if Trooper wants to be accepted by you (and be treated as well as Raven), he has to treat you with the utmost respect!

      Play the game at least one week longer than you feel is necessary. I’d do it 3-4 weeks longer in your serious case! Then GRADUALLY balance things back out.

      Upon the slightest sign of return of his behavior (this time the slightest!, you have waited far too long!), you continue with the game/theater play.

      Oh, and no, in my opinion Trooper should certainly not be bred.

      Try the above – Tim

  17.  

    Thank you so much for the help, we will discuss and start as soon as I get home tonight. Sorry for the lengthy report, I just didn’t know what is important for you to know.

  18.  

    2 weeks ago my pugged and my moms Gsd got into a fight. My mom accidentally shut them in a room togethern unaware they were both in there. Anyways she thinks it was over a yogurt container. My dog required surgery and she may b blind in one eye. Won’t know until oct 2nd. Anyway I needed advice on handling these 2. Neither one of us is willing to give up our dogs so we really need a solution. Please help. Thanks

    •  

      Are you a (free) member? Pl see the Periodical with the Training Essentials document. That will help – if you BOTH apply it.
      If you do all of that, then you will NOT need the “Introducing new dog to resident dog” in the New Dog Checklist.

      •  

        I am a free member. They aren’t new dogs they have been around each other for about 1.5 yrs. I think the problem is they both wanna b alpha female. I was here so I can’t tell you exactly what happened. But we are pretty sure it was over a yogurt container one of them got from the trash, I don’t want my dog to be in harms way. And I can’t ask my mom to give her dog up. I really need some help in preventing this and starting to trust them together again so please Any help would b greatly appreciated.

      •  

        Lacey I did help you already, kindly see above. It would make zero sense if I draft here what I have perfectly explained elsewhere (but it would waste my time). Hence I advised you BOTH to apply the Training Essentials document.
        It would only make sense to get back later, AFTER you’ve applied that (eg to thank).

        Oh, can it be that your GSD owning mother isn’t a member here? No way.
        But if so, she’ll love it. It’s free. ;-)

  19.  

    I don’t see the document you are talking about. Would you so kindly tell me where it is? My Mother doesn’t really use the computer. Maybe I’m just dumb but I searched for what u mentioned above and didn’t have luck. Could it be because I’m using a tablet? Thanks for your reply!

    •  

      No Lacey it’s not because of that, it’s because of the two lines written at the top of the page…(!) Your mother belongs to the 19,850 :-(

      Anyway, since you try so nicely to help your mother with HER GSD, I’ll send you the Training Essentials (as an exception, others who read this should not conclude that I’ll do that everyday, for all 19,850! I can’t!)
      Which email address, this with ‘princess’ here?

  20.  

    Hi I was looking for some advice for my 15 month gsd. He is not neutered, always been friendly with friends and family but I’ve had three separate occasions now in the last 3 weeks he nipped at my brother in law which he has know since we have had him (10 weeks) after he was just patting him on the head in our backyard, a friend was patting him on the head the 2nd time and he started growling and the 3rd another friend which has known him since 10 weeks old was patting him and as he turned my dog jumped up on his back and tried bitting him? He has never been like this towards people I know and he knows but lately he has been very weird. He doesn’t go back to bite them afterwards but it seems to me he does not like anyone else touching him lately besides me and my partner? Any help would be much appreciated.

    •  

      Sure: From Puppy Training ESSENTIALS (says it all) to Aggression Periodicals, all included in our membership, and that’s even FREE. Seeing the top two lines?

  21.  

    Hi Tim thanks for the fast response I have singed up but I can’t find the puppy training essentials?

    •  

      You’ve signed up for our Periodicals, right? They come … periodically, yep (once a week)! You don’t want 200+ editions in one go, hm? No magazine would do that either. But no problem, I’ll send the puppy training essentials to your email, I see it here. Any questions/problems, let me know Nick. Thanks

  22.  

    Yes mr carter the princess email address is perfect to send to, thanks a bunch! :)

  23.  

    I have a 2 1/2 year old GSD. I think he is getting a little to aggressive with me. He listens to my husband, but my husband does not like him. He is an outside dog. He is in a 5×10 pin, but I let him out about an hour every day and on weekends he’s out most of the days. He has always shown a little dominent to me not with my husband and my kids he hits them with his mouth but does bit them. I might not have explained that very good. I have tried to train him with a shocker collar, he does ok, but he knows when he doesn’t have it on. Lately, when I let him out he is so excitied to run that he runs at me and growls, circles me and his hair stands up at me. I don’t know why he’s doing this. What can I do? I don’t want to put him down but I’m not going to be afaid of my own dog. I’m starting training classes this weekend. Do you think that will help? Any advise would be great.

    •  

      Oh God Jen, I don’t know where to start, so many mistakes are being made! Best suggestion: Subscribe. Then send email and I’ll send you all relevant Periodicals upfront, as an exception, because you’re in real trouble.

  24.  

    Hey, i used to have a gsd the last we saw of her she was about 6 years old and we had gotten her from a proper breeder when she was a pup. she was always fantastic and so loving around people and i mean everyone she would always go up to anyone and give them licks and roll over for a belly rub. But what was so confusing was whenever she was around dogs she would immediatley run over to them, sniff them with her back hair standing up then she would stand over the dog completely still for about 5 seconds then try and bite it, she actually killed one of our friends dogs once and it was so heartbreaking because she was such a lovely girl. The thing is she would mostly be aggressive to smaller dogs such as jack russells but when she was around dogs her height or taller she would stay away and just look at them closely with her back hair up

  25.  

    Hi! I have a problem in my household! We have 3 dogs-a little rescue girl, a 1 yr old GSD (not castrated) and a 12 year old GSD who is castrated. We live on a farm and they have ample space and kennels and have a fantastic fresh meat diet. Ou problem is our 12 year old GSD. Over the past 6 months he has become excessively aggressive to nearly everyone except us and our close family. Barking like a wild thing and scaring people to death with his lunging. He has always been the pack leader and now he will only come to heel for my husband. My husband mentioned having him out down….. What can I do?? I love my dogs more than anything, but if someone gets bitten…… Help!!

    •  

      >He has always been the pack leader
      Until age 12 years??
      >What can I do??
      Become his Pack leader. Certainly worth for the 1yr old. Now you see why.

  26.  

    i recently took in my brother’s 8mth old german shepherd (3wks ago), male and to be fixed next week. he was alone a lot while my brother worked lengthy shifts and wasn’t getting the care and attention he needed. the first few weeks that i’ve had him he has been exceptionally well behaved and calm for a pup. i have taken him for walks and he pulls but does okay on a leash, doesn’t bother with other people. i’ve also taken him out with other dogs and he was impressively well behaved. the last 2 days he has started showing some aggression and this worries me because i have a 7yr old daughter, and he can be scary when he shows aggression. i’m not sure if he’s trying to intimidate me or if he might actually bite me? he has started running and pouncing at us, with his top lip up and teeth showing, also some growling. biting at me but as tho he is purposely just missing my arm or hand. i have a cat which has just now came out of hiding since i took in the dog, and she has been hissing at him the last couple days and trying to attack him and i’m wondering if this might have caused his aggressive behaviour towards us? but more importantly i need to know how to stop this? when he gets like this he doesn’t listen to me and runs back and fourth through the house continuously. i have him set up for obedience classes to start in a month from now, but i really need to know what i should do to correct this behaviour immediately. i have him in his crate tonight because (not gonna lie) i was more than a little scared. i know a crate should never be used for punishment, but i didn’t know what else to do with him. i previously had a female german shephard for 13yrs (until she passed) but never had any aggression issues with her. i really love this dog but i can’t have this behaviour from him when i have a child. please help! and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    •  

      Crystal and others, PLEASE use punctuation and new lines. And short & succinct. Anything else is too much of an effort to read. Obvious? If not, try to read it yourself first. If you struggle, I struggle too. ;-)

      Now: Yes, sounds serious, and honestly, if you don’t get a grip of that now, I know the dog will end up at a shelter! Happens all the time, when owners don’t know how to handle a dog.

      1. Forget Obedience Training in your situation at the moment. Save the money. You need to get the dog’s BEHAVIOR under control first. You can’t achieve that with obedience, you make it only worse.

      2. Are dog and cat always fierce, or sometimes friends? If not, that COULD be the source. Then desensitize the dog AND the cat from each other. That is some work.

      3. Do not leave the dog alone with the kid!

      4. Avoid locking the dog in the kennel. Based on what you write, your dog is already under INTENSE STRESS. Crating makes that worse. Instead, use Collar Freeze and length sessions of inhouse SSCD. Be totally calm yourself! If you are stressed, go away from the dog (because dogs are energy recipients)!

      5. What happened 2 days ago when he has started showing some aggression? Analyse that day. SOMETHING was different. What??

      6. Do NOT punish the dog in any way, that will make it worse! Use your own CALM behavior to get your dog calm too. This requires all the other aspects I always mention as well. Foremost: Feeding Routine! Perform it exactly as I describe it.

      7. Make sure he’s never dehydrated, give plenty to drink.

  27.  

    2 days ago is when the cat first came out, she had been hiding for the entire 3 weeks i’ve had him. He is just now aware of the cat and no, they have not been friends at all. The cat hisses at him and pounces at him. He is now showing aggression back at us since this. I think that it is likely the source. He was perfectly well behaved before.
    My questions would be: how do I desensitize the cat and dog from eachother? And where specifically do I find the information for collar freeze and SSCD training?
    The last thing I would ever want is to put him in a shelter, he has up to this point been such a good boy and become my best friend. I need to get this straightened out. Thanks!

    Also, should I use a muzzle in the meantime, until I get his behaviour under control? So that I know he can’t bite us..

    •  

      You find all that in our Periodicals of course (and in the books too).

      Yes, you can use a muzzle until you feel safe, however muzzle use has to be trained as well, or you create a new problem.

  28.  

    Two weeks ago I got a 12-month old GS that I fell in love with instantly. He was such a good boy the first week but now I have a serious problem on my hands. When I go out back with him to throw the ball to him to give exercise etc. he begins to be very mean. He jumps on me, bites and seems to be attacking my arms and clothing. Nothing I do will stop him and the more I push him off the more aggressive he returns. This does not happen when we’re inside, only when I take him out to play. He is not neutered.

    •  

      Okay Melissa, you have some tasks on your hand then, the first of which you noticed yourself:
      1) Get him neutered asap (that should have happened much earlier, as a member see the Neutering and Spaying Periodical)
      2) It sounds like he has some trauma from the prior owner/shelter! You need to work on that immediately. It appears(!) to be due to or exacerbated by possessive aggression. Consider if you noticed other instances than Play, where he shows such aggression.
      3) For now, stop playing any games where he signals aggression – or play them in a different way, such that you don’t hold any item in your hands that he may consider as his possession!
      4) In addition to neutering, immediately start Bite Inhibition training!
      5) Likewise, immediately perform our recommended Feeding Routine exactly as described!
      6) Further, consider your own energy level, make sure you are always calm with the dog(!), and provide all the means I explained elsewhere to get your dog to be calm too (in particular, avoid the Pack conflict that I explained in the PRIME SECRET about dogs)!
      7) Do not EVER accept to be bitten by a dog. If you didn’t avoid that (by doing what I wrote above!), then at least instantly, but calmly, lead the dog into Isolation.

      Doing all of the above will help, but if you have any further questions, pl see our Periodicals, or my books.

  29.  

    hi there i dont no where to start i have a 22 month old gsd who is very aggressive anxious with people and dogs zola our gsd has many fearful problems, she is a beautiful family pet who is great with are two little boys who are a 3 yr old and 2 yr old we have had zola from the age of six weeks old due too mother rejecting pups. zola was very food aggressive and wld attack us when we went near her we managed to sort that out by hand feeding her she is great now very obedient has many commands she does fantastic , yet zola for some reason does not want us to pet her when she is lying down or sitting next to us,she growls and shows teeth.when out walking she will run up to people and stop, then bark at them also the same with dogs,she seems better of lead but still does the same. i live in a small village and our zola is starting to get a bad name for herself people are now being nasty and shouting at me when im out with zola if she is of the lead. i dont no what is going thru her head but i carnt walk past people without her wanting to kill them if you like.she is not so bad with my husband but still does growl to warn people off.as i said earlier zola has amazing obedience …… she sits and waits for her food even when we go out the room………. she does many commands perfect yet lately when we ask for her paw she gives it and growls at us.i want to help zola to be calm i even passed a course in canine behaviour to try and help her but still having problems, its upsetting people are scared of her and think she is dangerous, please can you help in any way as im worried …

    •  

      Hi Ursula. Sounds like a lot went wrong. I’d stop everything else, and start applying our Puppy Training Essentials instead, from TODAY. Be consistent. Particularly with the Feeding Routine (yes, never mind the term, it fits perfectly).

      In addition, pl start noting down the situations in which she shows aggression. We need to figure out, and remove, the stressful stimuli for her.

      One thing I know for sure based on what you wrote: She’s terribly stressed! All the time. She’s experiencing a Pack conflict, I described it in my books, under “The PRIME SECRET about dogs”.

      Further, I’d not leave the kids alone with the dog for now. Always be vigilant.

      Finally, I would start Behavior Training her. I bet she got enough Obedience Training for life, but she missed Behavior Training. Your problems now are typical in such case.

      Pl proceed as said, and after 3 days report back to me what the status quo is. I hope you are a member.

  30.  

    Hi there ,Ursula`s husband Tony here,pleased to meet you….Just wanted to add a few things myself if thats ok…..Ursula did mention most things but heres my add ons……
    1.When out walking Zola always seems alert,looking round all the time ,every now and then I get her to sit and we just stand for a couple of minutes,but she continues to look around.
    2.In the house she barks at anyone that passes the house esp a guy that has in the past told us that he hates GSD`s.
    3 When Zola does run and bark at people,she always stops when about 6ft away from them.
    4 If I stop in the street to talk to someone ,I get her to sit ( which she does no bother ) I can chat but if the other person should look,touch or talk to her,then she growls as if to say ” leave me alone ”
    5 Barks at all in the garden
    6.Car barks
    7 Loves my mam to bits and cries to go and see her if she sees her on her walks.

    So just a few more points there……..Sorry but where do we read on “puppy essentials ” ?

    Thank you

    •  

      Fine Tony. Still, I’d do exactly as described earlier and report back in 3 days.
      The Puppy Training Essentials? You clearly still aren’t subscribed if you don’t know them.
      If you can’t bother, I can’t bother: No money left to permanently answer questions without compensation :-(

  31.  

    Hi there ,Since we last wrote ,we have started to use a short stick ,which Zola loves,as a way to distract attention towards other dogs and people,as soon as we leave the house Zola takes the stick and carries it to her walking place,she still looks around while walking but this time there is no growling or barking when passing other dogs or people.Once off lead ,the stick becomes her only attention,when we see dogs or people approaching we take the stick off her and get her to sit…..it works ,no barking or looks,eyes just fixed on stick………….with me that is,,but with Ursula things don`t go as smoothly ……she seems more alert with her surroundings,,doesn`t want to hold the stick,and attention seems else where……….until she gets to her walk area…..coming back home is perfect…so why the difference ? At home her problems remain with barking at passing people and very protective over her toys

    •  

      Tony, we have Periodicals on all of that. Barking, attention, possessive aggression etc etc. But all your problems are only the symptoms. What you really need to apply urgently is: curing the cause of the problems. This is achieved with the Feeding Routine Periodical and the Training Essentials. Or alternatively with my books. You choose.

  32.  

    Hi,

    We just adopted a female German shepherd from a pound in a nearby state. The person working at the pound had assured me that the dog was friendly with other dogs, but that some of the other dogs did not like her because she was “hyper” at times. We have a male shepherd/lab mix and a female golden retriever/chow mix. The female retriever mostly just wants people to pet her. The male shepherd mix is pretty easy going. He likes to be petted, and enjoys playing ball and tug with my husband. Our male dog has acted just fine when other dogs have been in our house visiting. He shares his toys, his water dish, his beds, etc. I thought from the pound worker’s description, we should have no problem, because she indicated that the problem was with the other dogs not liking the pound shepherd dog’s “hyperness”. Well, we picked up the dog and brought her home. She acted like she definitely was familiar with the inside of homes. She made herself right at home. She especially loved the various dog and people beds throughout the house. Our dogs were curious, but seemed ot have no problem with her. She was not hyper towards them….but we immediately noticed that she seemed to want to be the alpha dog. We were trying to stress to her that our male dog was above her by allowing only him on the couch and letting him exit the door to go outside first. I thought she was doing pretty good….but then, as I was feeding them a switch just seemed to “flip” and she went nuts on our male dog. I had her sitting and waiting to be given a treat. Our male dog was walking up to sit nearby as well. She gave him a hard stare and went nuts. It was very scary. I grabbed her from behind by her collare and put her in her crate to cool off. When we let her back out, the dogs seemed to all be okay with each other. I think I was more upset than them. But, the next day I was feeding the three of them. They had finished eating, and they were sitting next to each other. Our female retriever mix was sitting nearest to the new dog that time. Suddenly, the new dog started giving our retriever this hard stare down. I tried calling her name out, and tried getting her to look at me, but she wasn’t really making eye contact with me…and then she went nuts on our retriever. My husband pulled her off that time and put her in the crate to cool off. I really don’t crate the dog unless I am not going to be home to supervise her (when I run out for errands), or when she has just attacked one of our other pets. We have only had the dog for five days, and there have been two full blown attacks, one body slam maneuver in the back yard, and several growling sessions. I am concerned that this dog will hurt our other pets. It is like a Jekyll and Hyde thing. She can be sweet and loving, just wanting to be petted and acknowledged by our family…but she can suddenly get this hard stare at our other dogs and attack them. I can take the dog back to the pound where we adopted her from….but it is a kill shelter. Do you think there is any way this dog can be reformed? Do you know why she is behaving this way? The pound worker thought the dog was a little over a year old, but a lady at PetsMart told us that she felt the dog was around two years old. The dog was extremely thin when we got her. She acts like she is constantly hungry, looking to be fed. She also whines a lot. The attacks have both occurred during or immediately after she had received food. Although, she still tries to bully the other dogs at other times during the day.

    •  

      Who’s going to read that? I myself can’t. Pl be considerate and leave structured, concise questions that others can and want to read.

  33.  

    We have a 3 year old GSD. We’ve had her since she was 3 months old. I’ve completed a 12 week puppy manners class, and 21 weeks of scent training with her. She is a love, and from the day we brought her home, we have done everything the books say to make sure she is non-aggressive and knows her role in our family. However, with all the training and time we’ve all spent with her, whenever my daughter gets ready to leave the house, our Nishka goes crazy. She postures, she barks, she lunges, and even nips at her arms and ankles (it’s obvious that she is not biting to hurt her). I just don’t understand it, and I’m not sure what to do. We’ve tried having our daughter carry treats when she leaves, and if Nishka backs off and allows her to the door without a fuss, she rewards her. Needless to say, she doesn’t care if she gets the treat, because she continues to react to her leaving in this way. It’s very frustrating, because 99% of the time she is such a love. And, the fact that it’s only my daughter is also frustrating, because clearly Nishka is ok with anyone else leaving the house. Any suggestions or explanations are greatly appreciated and warmly welcomed!!!

    Thanks!
    Kori

    •  

      Kori, is your daughter the main caretaker? How old was your daughter when you got Nishka? Any incidents since then?

      •  

        Tim,
        No, my husband and I are the main caretakers. My daughter was 10 when we got Nishka. This behavior has basically taken shape over the past year.

      •  

        We were actually concerned about the dog trying to gain dominance over my daughter, simply because my husband and I were clearly claiming the alpha position. I even involved her when we did the puppy manners class and scent training with the hopes of avoiding any conflicts. Like I said, it’s only when she leaves the house. As soon as Nishka sees her getting ready, she waits at the end of the hall, then postures, barks and nips the entire way down the steps until she is out of the house. When we are just sitting around, Nishka leaves her alone…she even sleeps on her floor at night.

      •  

        Hm, you make it difficult for me… ;-)
        (that’s my humor)

        No, seriously now: Introducing treats was wrong, and indeed is always wrong. Remember that for future issues. Regardless of all the displays of love, I suspect that your daughter is not the accepted Pack leader for Nishka. Mark accepted.

        From your text I got the feeling that you parents forgot (or didn’t know) to position your daughter as accepted Pack leader as well. EVERY family member must be (I always say that). Indeed, you were lucky that nothing worse happened (often it ends in biting the children at some point when they are not positioned as Pack leader)!

        So, pl try this: Our unique Feeding Routine (yes, of course). It is the key to almost everything. :-)

        Have your daughter perform our Feeding Routine for one week, and then let me know if the issue is resolved. I guess you will need one more thing though: Your daughter AND you parents should apply our other key principle: Avoid excessive Attention-Seeking, at least for this same week.

        If you do both, I bet it will resolve. – Of course Nishka will now need to get used to your (daughter’s) changed behavior, so be gentle with the change.

      •  

        Tim,
        Thank you so much! Hmmm…treats were wrong? That’s actually quite funny, because the place we took her for training (a CCPDT facility) placed a strong focus on treat rewards for positive behavior. I say funny, because there were a lot of issues I had with the whole “shower them with treats” belief. I sucked it up on training nights. However, that philosophy was what prompted me to try it in this situation. Thank you so much for steering me in a better direction. I will certainly try the feeding routine. I think you are right. My daughter needs to assert herself as an alpha again (probably lost that respect once school went back and she was limited with the time she spent with Nishka…my daughter is 13…need I say more? LOL).

        Thank you again. I will certainly keep you posted! :-)

      •  

        You’re welcome Kori.
        >the place we took her for training (a CCPDT facility) placed a strong focus on treat rewards for positive behavior.
        Yes, sadly even most professional dog trainers are still focused on the ’3F’ of Obedience Training – which entails massive problems later as our members are reporting.

        Sadly, that will not change for quite some time since mygermanshepherd.org has too little impact to change the world for dogs (and the GSD is just one breed…).

        >there were a lot of issues I had with the whole “shower them with treats” belief.
        You felt totally right! Follow your gut instinct. ;-)

  34.  

    Tim, I have a four year old gsd that has recently become aggressive. He has not been cut and lives on a farm with plenty of room to run. It started around the same time I got a new pup 18 months ago. He growls at people for petting him a certain way and has just started it with me a little bit. When I lay my hands on him and get still he does it. He acts like he is very nervous(shakes). I need some advice.

    •  

      Okay, let me recap: Male GSD has recently become aggressive, it started around the same time you got a new pup 18 months ago.

      Recently, and 18 months ago, is that the same case? What pup? Where do the dogs stay, day/night? Could he be jealous?

      The growling only started with the new pup? What do you do when he growls?

      From what you wrote I can only suspect that he feels very stressed, likely from the experienced Pack conflict.

      Overall goal should then be to relax him. However: At the time when he growls, he needs to know it’s not okay, regardless of stress level. Thus I’d perform the Collar Freeze the way I decribe it in my books, or as Dan shows it in his videos (however way you feel you learn better).

      Upon the next growl (after the Collar Freeze): Isolation. Again, the way described.
      For both execution is key. Are you subscribed?

      •  

        It started with other people around the same time I got the pup. I let him breed a friends Shepard and got a pup out of it. It’s a female he is jealous but I don’t think jealousy is what causes the aggression. He plays really rough with her growling and all, but he’s playing with her. When he does it with people he’s not playing. Within the last few months he will growl at me only if I pet him a certain way. I verbally discipline him push him away tell him to leave. He keeps coming back wanting petting. Now when he growls at me his back legs are shaking his ears are laid back, and he stares me in the eyes. I don’t break eye contact and keep telling him to hush so he knows I’m not intimadated. He seems to me that he feels threatened, but I don’t know why he would. I have a little girl the same age as the pup, 18 months. I don’t feel like I should take any chances unless you have some quick acting advice. They both roam free on the farm day and night. They sleep on the back porch. Do you think giving the pup away will fix it.

      •  

        No Brett it won’t. I’d do what I replied before.

  35.  

    I am not subscribed. Sorry just now read the bottom part

  36.  

    My 7 year old male GSD has been barking/growling at my wife and kids if I am petting him or he and I are in an enclosed space (like our kitchen and he’s lying at my feet) It is something that just started over the past 6 months or so. Before that, he began growling at everyone (including me) when you got to close to him and his food – that began about 2 years…we’ve worked on his food aggression and it is getting better. All of these behaviors started as our female GSD/mix advanced in age and started attacking him and protecting her personal space. She passed during Christmas. The vet said she was half blind and had a type of “dog alzheimers” – she was 13. We thought his behavior would go back to normal when she was out of the picture, but they are getting worse. He is a loving, loyal, protective dog, but I am worried about his aggression. Any advice?

    •  

      Loads Patrick, pl see the 77 prior notes, or our Periodicals.

      •  

        Thanks Tim…I was looking for a specific area to focus my attention to. I am not sure if reading all of the user comments before mine will help. Does registering for the Periodical allow you to search for specific behavioral problems?

      •  

        No Patrick, that’s why they are Periodicals, they come periodically, like a magazine. Although I’ve been practicing a LOT, I am still unable to conjure them out of thin air. So far, each Periodical takes btw 1 to 3 WEEKS to prepare.

        Sadly search works badly in wordpress (this software) when the index table is as massive as ours, so I doubt it will help (per search, I myself can’t even find what I am looking for, although I know we have it…). Pl search via Google.

      •  

        Thanks for clarifying what a periodical is, as I must have missed that in my Master’s studies. Meanwhile, I assumed periodicals were stored for research purposes (which most periodicals are if they have valuable content). I sought some advice about what action I should take reagarding my GSD, and what I obtained from visiting your site was to: read other people’s unrelated problems, subscribe to a periodical and wait 1-3 weeks to see if some advice specific to your problem comes up, and if not, wait another 1-3 weeks, and last but not least, Google it. I don’t have a problem spending money on getting my GSD the best help to change this behavior, but I do have a problem spending it on the wrong things that will not help.

      •  

        I like your humor Patrick. First I thought “why is he so harsh when I take time to reply twice?!!”.

        It was honest and helpful. Google really links to our content much better than our sw’s search function can.

        Other Periodicals, even without valuable content, charge you before you even get to open them. They charge non-academics too, everyone is treated equal. So there is no comparison to our Periodicals anyway. And certainly no reason for ill-directed sarcasm.

        Like everywhere else, subscribers have privileges. Those who want to be privileged, subscribe. Those who want to waste time, don’t. Has always been like this.

        Finally, if you look through, you’ll see that every friendly question/dog problem got a helpful reply – my tone will always reflect the person’s tone. But you are so secretive about your dog’s problem, that I cannot possibly guess what it is before you tell me. However, given how many thousands (yes) problems we have already solved, I am confident that your’s too has been solved already. If I can’t solve your’s, I’ll say it frankly. I have nothing to hide, and nothing to boast. But MY TIME is extremely valuable to me.

    •  

      Thanks for clarification your comments Tim. I apologize for the sarcasm, it seemed you were serving it up a little too. With all that aside, I look forward to subscribing, but if you could give a little direction to specific materials/books/behavior training, it would help me get my 7 yr. old GSD some help to get back to himself.

      In my first post I detailed my male GSD’s specific aggression problem – he has been aggressive with growling and barking at my family members when he is laying or sitting near me…especially if I am petting him. This behavior started when our old female GSD (13) started attacking him and stealing his property..it started with food aggression and has been getting worse. She has passed recently and we thought he would get better, but he seems to be more protective of me. I’ve done common sense things to avoid the issue, like walking away from him or ignoring him so others can be around him, but I know these are not permanent solutions.

      Again, thanks for your time responding.

      •  

        Sorry that I missed that then, I rarely look on these public pages as all happens on the inside, for subscribers.

        This sounds like either:
        a) stress from the experienced Pack conflict (see inside: The Prime Secret about dogs – or via Google, like I said, but not sure if that works), or
        b) some unnoticed trauma that need to be desensitized from.

        I would first start with the Adult Dog Training Essentials, strict to the letter for one week. Improvements typically visible after 2 days. If not improving after 10 served meals, I’d suggest to report back (but not here pl).

  37.  

    Scientists now know that previous concepts of dog “pack structure,” in particular the ideas of “alpha” positions and “dominance” struggles, are simply FALSE concepts. These concepts came from the mid 1900′s, from studies of captive, non-related wolves put together in artificial “packs” in zoo environments with no escape from each other, and so aggression followed. In the wild, wolves do not behave like this. There is no struggle for pack dominance or “alpha” positions, because the “alphas” are simply the mother and father of the pack members.

    As applied to domestic dogs, this means that puppies brought into a human family simply do not compete to be “alpha”, and you do not have to struggle for
    your puppy to “see you as alpha.” The ONLY time this might be the case is if you were to bring an older dog into your home that has no way to escape, and does not get along with the other animals or people in the household. Then aggression might develop, but this is unusual.

    It is important to recognize these developments in our understanding of Canis lupus and it’s “subspecies,” the domestic dog. Dog training and the human-dog relationship can really benefit from leaving behind concepts of “alpha” struggles and “pack aggression” that simply have no basis.

    A great book to read for those interested would be “Dog Sense” by John Bradshaw.

    •  

      I didn’t want to reply at all, because it’s wasting my time to reply to such dog wisdom. But since it’s Friday the 7th I make an exception, Rachael Dawn from Germany:

      1) “Scientists” do NOT know what you claim they know. I am a scientist, and there are many different ones.
      2) Scientists and Non-scientists who merely watched ONE episode of Attenborough’s wildlife documentaries know very well that both wolves and wild dogs (and domesticated dogs too) ARE Pack animals (and by the way humans too!). No need to pseudo-quote “scientists” for such simple insight. WATCHING is always better than talking.
      3) Dog owners shouldn’t read what you suggest, and you neither, dog owners simply LOOK and EXPERIENCE how their dog behaves, and you should too.
      4) John Bradshaw is completely right that “positive reinforcement is better than punishment” – but BOTH are from yesterday. Today is reflection. The future is Behavior Training. – For MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG Behavior Training has been the choice for a long time. We do not use Obedience Training. Thus we do not use any punishment either.
      5) Your misunderstanding (and maybe Bradshaw’s too) seems to be based on the misunderstanding of Pack leader/ Alpha role. He, and seemingly you too, construe this to be equivalent with a Master – Servant relationship, but it is not necessarily. In fact, in OUR case, we pledge a PARTNER relationship with the dog – nonetheless even the smallest child MUST be established as accepted Pack leader, for safety reasons!
      6) Where this is not done, these are the cases you read and hear and watch in the news – where children are mauled to death.
      7) If you are not careful, should you ever get a dog, the same may happen in your family too if you continue with your above view.


      There will be NO add-ons to this.

  38.  

    I have a two year old male German Shepherd. I had received him at the age of 3 months and had him trained well. He never required a leash because I mever had a problem with him running off or not listening to me. He was great around other dogs and in the park. When he was 1 year I gave him to my daughter as a birthday gift and he went to live with her in Phoenix. While he was there he was never walked and kept by himself in the back yard. I recently took him back and he is now living with me in Colorado. At times he seems to remember some of his training (mainly indoors) but when around other dogs is almost like a wild dog. He tries to free himself of the leash and will not listen until the other dog is a distance away then he will be obedient. There is another dog who lives in the household with us (an appple head Chihuahua) and my German Shepherd gets along great with him. Even lets him sleep on top of him. My German Shepherd does not bark until he sees another dog or human. I am not sure if this has to do with him not being neutered or just the lack of continuous training and attention he did not receive while he was with my daughter and her mother. Like I said, he listens amazing while in the house (almost near how he use to) but as soon as we are outside/park it’s almost like he doesn’t even hear me.

  39.  

    Hello! I have a three year old GSD who is a pretty awesome dog, but as of lately I have been having some aggression problems with. We got him at about 8 weeks old. Now, I know we screwed up in the beginning with socializing him properly. one of his litter mates died of parvo. we were very paranoid and were told to not bring him around other dogs until he was 6 months old. the only socialization he got were the few people that came over and the stress at the vet (he is very aggressive at the vet). Now, he gets along wonderfully with other dogs, we had to pick up a second dog (beagle mix) sense he ended up having separation anxiety and would escape the 6 foot fence everytime we left. The problem is people. And me every once in a while. he has grown very mouthy (likes to put his mouth on people) goes crazy barking at any person, and uncontrollably jumps and pees on friends that come over that he knows. He is now starting to raise a lip and growl at me if I tell him to get off the couch (not allowed) or time to go outside. Me and my husband are trying to have a baby and I would really like to find some way to have a child and not worry about him.

    •  

      Hi Jessi, you just slipped through as the last visitor when I turned off comments: As written above, there’s no money left to answer questions! :-(

      However, since you managed to slip through (and your case is serious), maybe it’s a “sign”, and I will reply here one last time. I am already used to not even getting a thank-you on these public pages, hence no problem that comments are now turned off.

      So Jessi: Like I say, your case is more serious than you seem to be aware (you see only your current situation – I’ve seen the development of many such situations over time…). Situations like yours always end up in biting and then shelter/high kill kennel. :-(

      Why? Because people take action too late. And even then they resign to comment boxes on websites, instead of buying the right books, or spending $1 (ONE dollar!!!) to see and hear what to do in their situation (urgently!), rather than wasting hundreds of dollars to an uneducated local trainer (or surrender fees to a shelter!). Very, VERY sad.

      Back to you Jessi. Please take action NOW:
      1) Your dog does NOT accept you as Pack leader, that’s clear.
      2) But you are commanding him all the time, etc

      1 + 2 = 3) He is suffering an enormous Pack conflict, namely what I called “The Prime Secret about dogs” (see in our Periodicals for free, or in my books – actually one where it’s in is currently free too: The Puppy Love Bundle, be quick!!)

      4) That Pack conflict experienced by your dog leads to immense stress for a dog – even much more than for us!
      5) Stress leads to aggression. Doh!
      6) Thus you must ASAP reduce the Pack conflict experienced by the dog.

      7) To reduce and then mitigate the Pack conflict, foremost apply our renowned Feeding Routine (to the letter!), see the Periodical. That will help within less than a week.

      There is of course much more help in my books, and in Dan’s videos).

Sorry, no funds to reply to every random dog owner. Subscribe if you are serious. Are you?