Dog Aggression


Dog aggression can have various causes as discussed below, yet regardless of the cause of your dog's aggression you need to address it NOW or it will get much worse! There are very, very few situations where dog aggression resolves without that we change something in our own behavior. :idea:

"I want to stop dog aggression, not change my own behavior!" - this often is the reply of unsuspecting dog owners. And while your dog will change his or her behavior over time, if you desire a targeted change - like to stop dog aggression - then there is no change in dog behavior without a change in your own behavior.

And UNaddressed German Shepherd aggression is very serious: legally, financially, eventually. In the beginning, scary for you. In the end, dangerous for others and for you.

To stop aggression, you must first identify the CAUSE of the dog aggression.

Causes of Dog Aggression

  1. Most times, dog aggression is caused by lack of socialization during puppyhood!
  2. This or something else leads to stress or fear which can cause dog aggression
  3. Your dog may have not accepted the family members as Pack leader
  4. Your dog may be experiencing a conflict in the Pack
  5. Your dog may feel threatened when someone intrudes the dog's assumed territory
  6. The dog aggression may be habituated due to an earlier attack by another dog or person

There is no scientific evidence that you can give up on a dog arguing the dog aggression is caused by heredity. Generally, and particularly for the German Shepherd with this breed's extreme need for ample socialization, dog aggression is always caused by present or past behavior, not by genetics.

Dog Aggression - Contributing Factors

In addition to identifying the CAUSE of your dog's aggression, also helpful is that you understand that in a dog's living environment certain factors contribute to dog aggression, while other factors help to mitigate dog aggression. Simply said: In the wrong environment every dog can become aggressive, just like every person too!

Dog aggression contributing factors, or triggers, are:

  • Excessive use of methods of the much overrated Obedience Training
  • Chaining the dog
  • Locking away the dog (using a kennel = locked crate!)
  • Excluding the dog from family happenings (particularly problematic for German Shepherds!)
  • Misapplied Bite Inhibition Training
  • Misunderstood dog bite training
  • Misunderstood dog protection training
  • Misusing the dog for fake or real dog fights
  • Spooking the dog (eg exploding out of hiding)
  • Dehydrating the dog - either by withholding fresh drinking water or by feeding dry dog food!
  • Overheating the dog (temperature and/or exercise)
  • Depriving the dog of peaceful sleep (peaceful is where the dog can feel safe)
  • Not altering the dog, or altering the dog late

Be aware that none of these aggression contributing factors individually and as a one-off will trigger dog aggression, but a dog exposed prolonged or frequently to any of these factors may develop aggressive behavior - particularly when the trigger goes in line with one or more of the CAUSES of dog aggression that you found listed above.

The most common example: Out of ignorance more than out of incompetence, the dog owner failed to establish every family member as accepted Pack leader for the puppy (see 3 above), and by the time the puppy is a BIG strong adult German Shepherd the resulting conflict in the Pack from the dog's viewpoint (see 4 above) causes the dog stress 24/7 (see 2 above). If on top of all this comprehensive puppy socialization (see 1 above) has also been missed - as is typically the case - then no wonder the dog is aggressive!

There you see: Dog aggression often has several causes, all of which add up and ultimately become a major problem. So don't wait too long when you suspect that your GSD is showing dog aggression in some situations, but in others is still calm and friendly.

Got a German Shepherd? - Relax!

Despite what many photos of a GSD with fledged teeth seem to suggest, GSDs are not prone to aggression. A German Shepherd from the right source that has been treated and trained well will only (possibly) show aggression when the GSD feels that there is an attack on the dog's accepted Pack members (say your family). Remember that a GSD's genetic heritage is that of a guard dog for herding cattle. Herding dogs are least likely to show aggression.

How to stop dog aggression

Now what if you are facing German Shepherd aggression right now?

Then you may be looking for some dog aggression training right now. That's a foolish term though, dog aggression training. It doesn't make sense to try to train a dog to be less aggressive. Instead we have to remove the CAUSE of the dog aggression. This is why our article here straight away started with the Causes of German Shepherd Aggression, and then further elaborated on the Dog Aggression - Contributing Factors.

So, have you identified what is CAUSING your dog's aggression?

And have you identified all the factors contributing to your dog's aggression?

Fine. Now you need to address the aggression causes, and to remove the contributing factors, one by one. But you won't even need to address all of them, no worries. Start with the one CAUSE that you feel is the most likely cause of your dog's aggression.

Say, you believe lack of socialization during puppyhood is the prime CAUSE of the dog aggression. Then start today to make up for that: Socialize your German Shepherd comprehensively. Utmost! One cannot socialize too much. Seize every chance that daily life offers you: on walks, with neighbors, when you go shopping, everything! Except when you meet stray dogs. Don't have your GSD socialize with stray dogs.

Then also address the three aggression contributing factors that you feel are most likely affecting your dog's behavior. Eliminate them, one by one.

THIS is what you need, not what you were looking for when you searched for dog aggression training or whatever. From all the reported "dog problems" here, over the past years I learned that almost all what dog owners are looking for in terms of dog health and dog training, is not what they need.

We won't service your wants, sorry. But you will get a LOT of what you need for your GSD once you are subscribed to our free Periodical. And preventing dog aggression of course is a topic too in the world-renowned MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL.

More here:

Dog Biting

Dog Biting Problem

Stop Dog Biting

Puppy Biting Problem

Stop Puppy Biting



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    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....


    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.


    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.


        I have the same problem with my boy. He's almost 2, played well with the neighbor boys until recently. Now he nips at them and growls/barks when they come over. But never to any other kids or adults. Only them. The oldest has always been loving and playful to my dog since he was a puppy, the younger boy has not however. He was throwing rocks at teasing our gsd last summer/fall. I don't know what to do as they are very good friends to us.


        "I have the same problem with my boy" - then pl follow the same solution.
        Have you started?


      What would you do if that same child was throwing rocks at your child??? Doesn't your dog deserve the same protection from you? A talk with his parents is in order, and if nothing is accomplished by that, then you should not allow him to come over. Mean behavior is not acceptable anyplace.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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!


    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


    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?




      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/


    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.


    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.


    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!


    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.


    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


    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!)


    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


    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.


    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. ;-)


    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?


    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?


    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


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


    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 5x10 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.


    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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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 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.


    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 :-(


    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 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 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.



    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.


    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!!!



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


        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.


        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 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 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. ;-)


    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.


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


    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 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).


    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.


    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.


    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.


    good day. I just got a 4weeks gsd, she cries all night and doesn't like eating much. she likes to sleep on my bed and loves talking a walk with me in my yard..she's friendly to others and very playful. she obeys instructions..but seriously can't figure out why she cries all night..please help me..I love her very much


    Im so happy to find your site. I just purchased a 3 yr old male. The lady I got him from said she rescued him at the last minute from being euthanized. She said she's had him 7 mths but other things she said hasn't been true to my husband and I. The dog has no patience with children and we have to be very careful when my grandchildren are around or other ones when walking him. He almost rips my arm off when walking him and he sees another person or animal as he lunges, barks and growls. Another deal is we have to take him out to wet every couple hours ,I know he drinks a lot but I won't deprive him of nutrients. The previous owner also said he loves riding in the car however he was always in a kennel, also she said he loved water and she was always spraying him with a hose, however at the lake he's scared of the water ( won't even get his feet wet ) We will work with him on all of it but I'm starting to wonder if she wasn't just a person getting dogs from being put down just for money and not an actual rescue. I'm so sad I could cry.


    Good morning,

    We have our first GSP. He is 6 months old. We got him at 8 wks. He was very loving at first but my daughter has a male Siberian Husky that is very aggressive when it comes to his toys and food. He has attacked our GSP on many occasions.

    The husky is no longer in the picture because my daughter moved into her own house but now as Sarg is older he is very aggressive towards other dogs and people out of our home. Like in training class.

    We must stop this behavior. Help!


      Please read above and follow through, it can't be any simpler or more helpful. What have you applied yet??


    My fiancé and I just got a 9 month old German Shepherd rescue. We have a year old Pitbull who is super friendly and just plain goofy, they met twice before we adopted the German Shepherd but today we noticed that he started biting our Pitbulls next and head and kept going for his legs. He isn't necessarily doing it hard it doesn't look like and he doesn't seem to be doing to hurt him but it makes me uncomfortable. Is this normal or is he just not a good fit with my family and other dog? Thank you.


      Hard to say from your few words, it may just be intended play? If you feel it's not play then I would intervene with training the GSD the right way.
      I trust you've read through the pages of this site and thus you know HOW to train him. A GSD certainly is a good fit for any dog household as GSDs (being herding dogs) are integrative, including all Pack members. Become his accepted Pack leader, and he will easily follow your lead.


    Hey . We have a 10 month old female who s very smart and playful , she shows no sign of aggression towards humans but add another dog to the mix other than the 10 year old we aleady have . And she goes crazy . Barking and bitting we socialize her as much as we can with weekly dog park trips we take her for walks but those turn into a nightmare when other dogs are walking across the street how can we stop this?


      The best I have written about your problem is in the Dog Training Toolkit. Which tools have you applied and for how long, and what is the outcome?
      That aside, make sure she is altered!?
      And one weekly socializing is insufficient. For any dog, not just a puppy. Look in the Puppy Diary how I have socialized mine. :-)


      Chris, socialization works less when it comes to other dogs and animals in general. Often there is big difference if the dog is leashed or not. Prey drive and defence drive both can be very high based on the dog's genetics and if they were build up by pervious owner. There is no magic bullet here to stop this. It will take time, analysis of the problem and efforts. You do not have a problem that is a special case. Many GSDs have this type of problem.


    I know this is not supposed to be a plea for help. Please forgive me. I am an unfortunately retired state a result of a brain injury I suffered. I have trouble on the computer. We just "rescued" a beautiful gsd.....his previous owner called him too close to the riding lawn mower. Yes....2 broken toes and a huge cut. His leg is gonna make it...we are SO happy however vets orders are no walking, steps, rest. We have to have him in his crate for the day and he is now turning aggressive towards people and dogs. I know keeping him on there is not good but we've already had to visit the vet numerous"unexpected" times due to cast issues. Oh....and the worst part....he has to also wear an E-collar. I feel so sorry for him....please, please help. I don't know if I will know how to reply if anyone replies


      Matt, your writing isn't clear, WHAT do you seek help with? Give him the rest he needs after the lawn mower accident. Keep the wound clean. Try to invite dog owners to have their dogs socialize with yours while confined to the crate. About the e-collar, I took it off at home but because I could watch the dog and made sure he doesn't start nibbling at the wound. The first two nights I put it back on, but then I noticed he no longer gave the wound any attention, so I could leave off the collar all the time.


    Thank you SO much responding. Well.....before the accident, he was such a sweetie...don't get me wrong, he still is however I think due to being confined to a crate, he is turning aggressive. As for dog owners stopping by....we reside in a very rural area....that is unlikely. Any other ideas? We can't exercise him at all and after being laid up for the last 4 weeks, I am afraid that 2 more weeks may be worse. I am very familiar with Shepherds...I know...they need exercise... stimulation. What do you do when they are only allowed out of their crate for bathroom breaks. Don't get me wrong, we let him loose a couple hours here and there if we are home but not always the case. Thanks again


    My 5 year old gsd has started to growl and bark aggressively at us as a family except my 12 year old son!! He won't even allow us near him when he's laying down. He gets a good 1 and a half hours a day walking off the lead and goes back on no problem. I'm feeling that I can't be like I used to be with him playing etc because I'm worried he will bite again . Help !!!


      So, have you identified what is CAUSING your dog's aggression?

      That's a quote from above. The lists above cannot make it any easier, Lee. I see immediately which cause it is, don't you?
      So then, address that cause! How, is explained as well.



    We just got a gsd of Craig's list they told us she was 1 1/2 but took her to th vet and she is 4 does real good with people and small dogs and seems very obedient but when I walked her around big dogs she acts like she is out for blood to get them what can I do to stop this


      "We just got a gsd of Craig's list" - WHY??

      "what can I do" - how about starting to READ here? That would help!
      We need to start charging money, then you'll take it serious.


      Tina, this behavior is not a serious issue, even it can take lots of effort to overcome. It may not be the small dog or big dog the turning point. You need to explore carefully the problem. I would suggest to see how she behaves with small, but unconfident dogs, barking at her. Carefully and slowly try to get her reaching and playing with bigger dogs. Try her leashed and unleashed in respective environment. Use common sense. That would give you more information.


    I got a bad 6 month old rescue puppy he was abused and I took him so he don't get put down. I have had him for 3 weeks now and he still don't like my younger brother or anybody that comes around besides my mother, sister, and i. He is falling and acsonally showing all teeth. When I walk out to him and then my brother he has a Winny/gral and hides behind me. When my brother is alone with him, he goes to the end of his chain and gral. If my brother sits down he will slowly comes to my brother but does not want to be petted.


      "he goes to the end of his chain and gral" - that you must address first, no dog may be chained.
      Then you house train and socialize your puppy, etc. In great detail all VISIBLE in My New Puppy Diary, to help you fastest!


    I have a 3 1/2 yr old german shepherd female. She listens and obeys around the house with me and my daughter. If someone comes to the house, she gets very mean. I'm afraid she will really hurt somebody someday. once they are in and seated she will be fine, but they cant move or she goes nuts. When I take her to the vets, she is very friendly just looking to be petted. It only seems to be in my house, but I don't trust her at all.


    I have two german shepherds that get along 99.9 percent of the time. Recently though the younger female has been attacking the older male when he starts barking or starts getting sick,wham she just jumps him and goes for the kill. ten minutes later sometimes after blood has been drawn there licking and loving each other like nothing happened. So its always been in front of myself or my wife where we have been able to end the brawl. Any help?


      Sure, it's right above. Did you identify the CAUSE of the aggression? Tell me more.


    We have an almost 3 year old male gsd he is a lovely temperament great with people kids adults. Recall had always been an issue to I put a 30ft lead on him to pull him in recall has improved but lately he has gotten into dog fights he runs over there's sniffing then huge fight so I've introduced muzzle when loose . Today he went for a swim the muzzle came loose he saw a dog ran over ignoring my calls then a fight started ...the other dog owner kicked my dog I didn't react badly as he stopped the fight I'm so conscious that the GS is restricted breed my dog doesn't listen in this mind frame ....very worried it is happening more and more ??


      The GSD is NOT a restricted breed, or where do you live where that is so?
      To address your dog's aggression: Which CAUSE and which contributing factors have you identified with all the help above?


    I have a white German Shepherd that originally belonged to my sister's ex boyfriend who as far as I'm concerned, relinquished the dog to us. The problem we're having with him is that he shows agression when strangers are approaching him. He'll bark and try to bite them. We think he's this way because his previous owners dumped him when he was a puppy, but they eventually brought him back home. I doubt he was socialized properly with other people and we feel his previous owners trained him to be more of a guard dog than a regular pet. It concerns us because we live in an apartment complex and there's people everywhere along with other dogs.

    There are days where he's easier to tolerate, but then he has his bad days. I forgot to mention he has separation anxiety and just the normal anxiety as well, so I know that my family and I leaving to go out doesn't help the situation. He's a big dog, though and we're not comfortable taking him out with us because his behavior is so unpredictable.

    We give him lots and lots of attention, we also give him treats when he's been good; we never reward bad behavior. I've been training him to walk beside him and not lead me when I do take him for walks. Honestly, he has gotten better when we started handling him. However, he still has his bad days.


      Sounds like you are on your way and doing all right. You didn't mention timeframes, so maybe you just need to give the dog a bit more time to adapt and to relax amongst you? Of course this is a prerequisite to be relaxed among strangers.

      Interestingly I am currently experiencing the same behavior problem with Miguel - despite the fact that he has been socialized extensively since age 4 weeks 5 days, when I got him. I've been wondering a LOT which of my own behaviors may have made him fearful of SOME people and dogs (unpredictable which ones) - because with him, I am sure, his initial aggression is caused by fear. Initial, because after running up to those people/dogs growling/barking, he then licks their hands or worse, lol. This shows, initially some people/dogs seem to scare him at first (it's not about protecting me, no).

      Could you identify if your dog also only seems to be aggressive to SOME (and to whom), or is it more a general case?


        Because we didn't have him as a puppy, he wasn't given proper training. We believe he's about 4 years old now; we honestly have no idea how old he is. Though we've had him for over a year now. Initially, my sister and her ex boyfriend were going to take responsibility of him after a few months, but we ended up taking full custody when we realized there was no way my sister's ex boyfriend could afford having him.

        I've noticed that when he's around certain people that he hasn't grown accustomed to, he tends to get protective and more aggressive. He doesn't like it when people put their face against his as well. That's an absolute no, no. Though whenever I put my face against his, he's rather calm about it. He's essentially become my dog and therefore my full responsibility. So I do whatever I think is humane and rewarding for him. He doesn't like to feel enclosed. I feel that he acts this way for a I mentioned before, his previous owners didn't properly socialize him and because he's such a big dog, people tend to feel intimidated and nervous by him and I know he can sense that. That only makes him nervous and feel that 'fight or flight' mode.

        He's such a nervous dog and I try hard to get him to understand that no one is going to hurt him, but like I said, he hasn't been in my custody most of his life, so he doesn't understand. Though I have a feeling that training him is going to take time and more patience from my family.


        Yes, NO dog likes to feel enclosed, and a GSD's comfort zone is particularly big. Yet that shouldn't result in aggression when a stranger enters the zone: A calm and confident dog will not become aggressive then because (s)he knows she's in control.

        That's the theory. The reality is that it can take very long to get a dog "calm and confident" - as you see with my Miguel. I couldn't spend much time with him recently, and so I didn't notice which/what situation caused his change in attitude. So, don't worry about having a rescue dog basically - behavior problems can manifest "out of the blue" with any dog.

        "He's such a nervous dog" - that was key. So, you need to focus on making him feel confident and accepted in any environment and situation. Subject to your circumstances this may or may not mean:
        having him behind you initially
        or leashing him initially
        or having him on the other side of you
        or walking on the other side of the road
        or milestone training (STAY - COME - STOP, STAY - COME closer etc)
        etc etc

        Like you say, it's gonna be a long way to get him there. Wenn people say "GSD training is quick and easy" they misunderstand: GSDs need less training (are autodidact), but where they do need training it's often gonna be hard and long. As with all autodidacts. ;-)

        Other than that, I would massively focus on all-round socialization with this dog. Systematic socialization.


        Tim, it seems that Miguel has some good working lines genetics for two reasons - first you have not had serous problems with him by now and second what you describe sounds like typically unmotivated GSD.

        What you have "delivered" to Miguel was not enough for two long and now his innate drives take precedence. You need to keep Miguel engaged at higher level. The longer you wait and wonder what part of your behavior is causing the issue, the harder will be to address the issue. I believe it is not your behavior, but what you do not do with the dog.


        Mitko, I was kindly disregarding all your prior *claims to know* based on *your assumptions* but I have no time to continue doing so every single day. Now again, you are making false claims aka "first you have not had serous problems with him by now and second what you describe sounds like typically unmotivated GSD" etc.

        Had you read anything before you write anything(!) you wouldn't even think of going to write such nonsense - again! The "serious problems" with Miguel aside (for one, you haven't even seen all Periodicals, articles, blog posts, and the New Puppy Diary), note that GSDs generally(!) are very much MOtivated dogs, not "typically unmotivated GSD".

        Where do you get your dog knowledge??

        That's not a question to reply to me but to yourself. For the last time, kindly keep all your assumptions - and your dog knowledge based on those - to yourself. Do no longer insult me with false claims you know about me or Miguel or a prior dog - it will be deleted.


    Prong collars and breathable muzzles need to be used at times with German Shepherds. I purchased a GS who I later found out was abused, possibly involved in dog fighting and who is very aggressive with other dogs. In fact she bit another dog a few fays ago. Use these devices ONLY when needed or if there is a risk for harm to others. Lacey is sweet and loving with the family but can be very timid and/or aggressive with others who come close to her. Protective measures are better than a lawsuit. I am looking into training for her and methods to stop the aggressive behavior but so far just taking the pack leader role and telling her "NO" has not been effective. : (


      "Prong collars and breathable muzzles need to be used at times with German Shepherds." - That's your opinion, okay, but not my experience, Lori.
      "I am looking into training for her" - that will likely make things worse, again, that's my experience, not my opinion.

      Once you're open to take in what you find here, your opinion, and then your experience, will change. :mrgreen:


        A few days ago, Lacey got through my neighbors loose chain link fence and attacked their dog leaving two deep puncture wounds in her neck nearly missing a major artery. She was not leashed nor muzzled at the time. My neighbor was very understanding but if this was someone else's dog, I would have been sued for sure. When I take her outside I have to put her muzzle on and keep her on a leash. It's very sad because she enjoys running the backyard and playing ball.The fence has been repaired but she has jumped fences before. Once Lacey is inside the muzzle and leash come off. I am a nurse and I just can't take the risk of losing everything I own if she bites again. It does break my heart but She breaks through expensive cages, she is very stubborn and I have to be within her eyesight at ALL Times. I am her only security. I have only had her since March. I have had G. Shepherds before and had no issues with them. (Minus stubbornness)Based on a physical assessment, the Vet stated that she was neglected and abused. Possibly involved in dog fighting because her left K9 tooth is gone, cause is blunt force or dog fighting. In the two altercations I have witnessed with her, she goes for the neck immediately. The vet told me to just give her lots of love and firm discipline. None of which works with her and other dogs. But I do love her. She cuddles, is very sweet but she can turn into the devil himself within seconds. Lol


        Tim, prong collars are training collars. They are used for specific purposes and depending of the dog character. Since you keep saying you are not into the dog training, please do not condemn this type of collar. Professional competitors use prong collars a lot, but strongly suggest not using it in some elements of training.


        Mitko, we appreciate your sudden engagement a lot, just please do not make false claims here: "Since you keep saying you are not into the dog training" - I never said such nonsense even once - in fact I published countless articles and even books on dog training. ;-)

        Kindly, choose your words more wisely, on any website, regardless of benefiting from anonymity. Also, "Professional competitors use prong collars a lot" - why would I or you or anyone care what "professional competitors do a lot"? - which isn't even true in the first place.

        Wise dog owners who aim to train their own dog for the best behavior in daily life will not use prong collars for the reasons I have explained in too many places already. Think: rescue organizations and sites like this only exist because too many dog owners were influenced by "professionals" (and their spokesmen) in a way that they ended up with an "aggressive German Shepherd". Being told to use prong collars being one such cause.

        You see I had to correct what you stated I "keep saying". Please do not let this stop you from trying to help dog owners wherever you can. Thanks again.


      Prong collar in your case helps only to better control the dog. When aggression is established behavior your best bet is to redirect it with building up strong desire for toys like ball, tug etc. and try to redirect the dog to it in those situations. Keep the toy with you and pull the toy early enough saying "You want that buddy? Come and get it!" If that is what the dog wants, it would forget about anything else.


    I think before we focus on addressing GSD aggression, the aggression needs to be well understood first. It is incorrect to say that the aggression is not related to the dog’s genetics. Instead we should start with explaining what GSD temperament is (as for other working dog breeds). The dog's temperament is set of drives, thresholds and nerves and it is completely based on the dog's genetics.
    So if the dog has low prey drive genetically, you can try to build it up towards improving its working abilities, but you can achieve very little with lots of efforts. Similarly if the dog has very high defense drive, which is what we want for protection work, but very low defense drive threshold, it is very difficult to impossible to fix the threshold in order to make the dog to excel in protection work.
    The aggression has many variations, but fundamentally is the usual dog's reaction when the threshold of its defense drive is reached. The weak nerves can result in the dog being timid or defensive (aggressive) under generally neutral situations like another dog or person passing in distance without being a real threat.
    The prey drive is fun for the dog, while the defense drive is a stress. The high pack drive makes easer and stronger bond between dog and handler. There are too many factors that can make dog with good genetics to show issues, which makes it hard to determine what the source of the issue is. That is why it is important to know the dog’s pedigree (which is not always possible) so you would know your chances for success when you address the issues.
    Typically the show lines GSDs have many behavioral flaws because they are bred for physical appearance ignoring the temperament. The working lines GSDs are bread for their working qualities and ideal temperament is intended.
    Even not all puppies in a litter are the same in terms of working qualities and temperament, it is very unlikely to have a dog with good pedigree from working lines, where the temperament issues cannot be resolved.
    If your dog is from show lines, then you better prepare to live with the issues and to make mitigation efforts for life.
    Most of the contributing factors listed here are simply forms of abuse of the dog. I am not an expert, but I know that there are way too many other factors that can result in aggressive behavior in specific situations. Keeping GSD in kennel needs a context as many perfectly behaving dogs and exceling in sports are kept in kennels. Professional competitors always keep their dogs in kennels or crated and take them out only to work and work only on the field so they can associate better being out is to work and the field is the place to work. Their dogs often have ideal temperament i.e. show no aggression unless the situation really requires it.
    My 13 months old female puppy mostly West German champions from both sides, titled either in herding or Schutzhund. She growls and sometimes barks when we meet other dogs sometimes from distance, but only when leashed and mostly on the street. Generally speaking in unfamiliar places and situations this behavior is more likely to occur and it is more notable. When she is not leashed or can get close to the other dog(s), she would be calm and curious/playful, but no signs of aggression.
    She makes perfect distinction between 12 weeks old puppy and adult dog, between small breed and large breed dogs, between laid back and nervous dogs and she acts accordingly when unleashed. She is very friendly with strangers of all ages and usually initiates socialization even looking unsure and watchful in the beginning. The other day a teenaged boy walked about 200 m behind us for about 1 km and she did not stop looking back ignoring the loud heavy traffic on the street.
    Working dogs and especially GSDs are bred for work and they require lots of engagement, motivation and mandatory work. Well-bred GSDs love to work. I have not had the time and the energy lately to do a good job in that department, so I expect resolving that would help.
    Because of their size, GSDs are NEVER used for herding cattle, but only sheep as they are in the "kick zone" of the cattle. Smaller dogs like Corgis are used for herding cattle. Before Max von Stephanitz started developing the GSD breed over 100 years ago, he picked dogs with upright ears used by shepherds in central and southern Germany for hundreds of years for herding sheep ONLY.


      "Because of their size, GSDs are NEVER used for herding cattle, but only sheep" - I cannot read through so much text without paragraph structure and such, but my eyes caught this sentence of yours.

      Please look around many farms, maybe in other countries too. German Shepherds ARE used for herding cattle, not just sheep. Herding means controlling, organizing, and guarding. I have seen GSDs herding horses, cows, goats,... and they seem to do a great job with all of these: are still alive, didn't get kicked. :-)

      Enough, I have to attend to my work now.


    About a month ago I got a 88lb 4 yr old male GSD from a guy who got him from a guy that got him from a guy and so on... Apparently he was given away so many times due to his barking, growling and backing people up when they come in a doorway. He was not up to date on shots, nor was he neutered. I got his shots and him neutered about three weeks ago now. I am a 32 yr old female, live with my husband and two boys, 7 & 11. I grow them big, so we're not dealing with little boys here. Well, he (Dakota) took an instant liking to me. Meaning he's absolutely obsessed with me and everything I do. He has to be by my side 24/7. If I leave and go somewhere that he cannot, when I get back, he'll whine for a good five minutes and will literally have tears coming from his eyes. This happens whether he stays by himself or with the hubby & kids. I used to, but not allowed to anymore, take him to work with me. I take him with me most places though. He's very rarely by himself for more than three hours. He is seriously the best dog ever. Just this one hang up. He listens to any command the first time, pottys on command too (as long as I'm near by!) He loves to play ball, loves playing in water, playing with my boys and loves other GSDs! Any other breed he just doesn't have time for, nor care about! He doesn't need a leash because he won't leave my side, if he does he's still within sight of me. Acts a little offended if you put a leash on him! Scenario 1: My husband and i are sitting in the living room, Dakota is laying at my feet... My 7yr old comes to the doorway to ask something. Dakota will jump up and start growling & barking. I'll hold his collar so he doesn't go to him. Nothing i say will get him to stop. I'll then walk Dakota to the doorway by my son, where he is now fine with his tail is wagging. I'll let Dakota go and all is fine again. At this point (started this recently, didn't used to) I put him in his cage in my room, that's next to my bed. He stays in there for about twenty minutes because... did I mention I'm just as obsessed with him as he is me? I spoil him rotten. And I can't stand to see his sad puppy dog eyes. Scenario 2: I'm in the garage reading a book (hang out spot), Dakota is laying at my feet, my husband opens the door. Dakota jumps up barking & growling. I have to grab his collar to stop him from going up to him. He doesn't stop barking no matter what i say. I have to walk Dakota to my husband, where he stops barking and starts wagging his tail. Scenario 3: My husband and i are sleeping, dakota sleeping on the floor next to me. My youngest comes in the room because he has to pee. So middle of the night, I'm holding the dog while he's barking his head off, and my husband is standing between the bathroom door and the dog while yelling about the dog barking. This goes on until my kid is done peeing and has left the room. I then can get him to lay down and be quiet. This is why his cage is now in my room, by my bed, because i have to lock him in at night so my kid can pee without crying. My husband says i have to get rid of him before he bites someone but i really think i can stop this, i just don't know how! I'm not getting rid of him though. I love him! My husband doesn't really interact with him. He's scared of him and what he could do, so he's no help in the training department! Kids love him and would play with him more but Dakota won't leave my side for that long! That's my story...


    My folks have a German Shepard mix. Who is agreesive towards me when he's not under my feet. We can't even use our bathroom without him barging in.


    Hi,i hav a German Shepherd who is almost 3 years old,both me and my husband are working so we have to leave her alone for more than 10 hrs tied up with a chain . When we returned home she welcomes us with love but at the time of leaving the house she turns out to be very aggressive and tries to bite . I am very worried. Is this due to left alone .Does he need attention for the same .


      Okay, think: Would you stay calm if I chained around your neck and left you 10 hours alone every day?
      That's a serious question. Think about it.

      Mark that we teach here on countless pages, in books, videos, etc how to behave
      - to NOT have to chain your dog
      - to NOT leave a dog alone all day
      - to have a well-behaved dog who can be left FREE in the house, keeping all items precious as is.
      etc etc

      Yet none of that is achievable without a bit of effort: reading up, implementing, reviewing, improving.
      But then, finding a job, partner, even the butcher, and everything else requires some effort too, right?
      So why would our dog deserve less?


        Hi Tim, I hope that you and Miquel are well.
        You know that I rarely comment on other peoples post, but I feel compelled to reply to this one. No dog should be chained up for 10 hours for even one day, never mind every day. This is abuse, and needs to be stopped NOW!

        Chaining a dog for ten hours every day is abuse, plain and simple. These people should not have a dog at all. They obviously have no time for it and I cannot for the life of me see why they ever thought they should own one! They very obviously are not ready to commit themselves to providing exercise and training to her.

        This dog needs to be rehomed, and sadly for her, this will be even harder than usual because they have ruined her temperament and made her a dog with behavior issues. She now requires an experienced German Shepherd person to adopt her and fix the problems they caused. If they cannot rehome her, then they need to get your Housetraining Dogs to Behave Well book and start spending time working with her. They need to get her some toys and bones and puzzles to keep her mind occupied while she spends her days all alone.

        Having no mental stimulation, and nothing to do all day is the worst thing for a smart dog like a German Shepherd. She needs to have free reign of the house. She needs to have someone (hire if you have to) to walk her on a regular basis and get her the exercise she so desperately needs, one of the most important things of all. She needs to be part of a family, instead of a piece of property just ignored all day.

        If they have a German Shepherd Rescue in their area, or even in a nearby area, they should seriously consider turning her over to them so she could possibly get a home that she deserves, and that deserves her. I am sorry to impose my opinion on this (actually, really, I'm not). I am so enraged!


        Thanks for asking Maureen, we are freezing from after sunset, no insulation and no heating yet, because fixing the brakes has already cost $700 and they aren't even working acceptably well yet, phew! Not pleasant, the cold. But the legal hurdle is taken at least, got new inspection, without house on truck (afterwards you lift it back on, that's how it's easiest here legally).

        I completely agree with you, yet I cannot be more "direct" in my responses, you can't imagine how much SPAM just one disgruntled person sends afterwards, it's shocking to be approachable to every kind of human being in internet times. :roll:

        I try to assume that those treating their dog badly in our opinion, don't know "better" yet, and so they need time to take up a more modern way of thinking about dogs (and animals in general). Fundamental shifts in thinking, such as required in this situation, don't come overnight. I too don't change my way of thinking overnight. But given willingness to learn from others, even the most fundamental shifts in thinking - and thus behaving - are achievable.


    I have a black female german shepherd 5 months and she has aggression issues when I have friends and cousins, aunts, uncles come over she tends to get really aggressive and try to bite them. i don't know why she's like this towards people. i think she's just very protective of her territory because she's fine with my cousins if i take her over their house. can someone help me out maybe if you had the same experience.. i can't even invite anyone over because of how aggressive she gets.


      Dan, aggression is not related to the coat color black, at age 5m agression often starts, and it's good to correct it right away or it WILL get worse.
      I suggest you say and show one sharp NO and LIE DOWN on the spot. If she doesn't comply (likely), isolate her as I explained everywhere. Nothing else is needed.
      Repeat this maybe three times then she will have understood that she has to stay calm or she won't be able to be with you when you have visitors. If later it comes up again (it will), do the same sequence.


    my 8yr old fixed male gsd has for the second time in years become aggressive towards my wife while approaching me sitting on the couch.he attempted to bite but didn't ,but aggressively has his mouth on her arms while barking at her.he stopped on my command but it was a scary event.he has done this to visitors at times at which times I keep him away from wife attempted to become a pack leader after seemed to work years ago .but he is still trying to push for second in command.he also continues to bark thru the fence at other dogs,but dosent appear to be in attack mode.before he was fixed at 4yrs old .he had the same aggression with me getting to close to my wife (such as putting on a necklace on her)that seemed to stop after he was wits end, he has been a great dog otherwise I feel .please help


    My GS is a mix. We believe she's mixed with Border Collie but we aren't certain as we don't know what dad was. We adopted her from the Humane Society at 8 weeks old and she has been with us ever since. She's about a year and a half right now. She is a very loyal dog and protective of my family (including my 3 young children). We live in the country and so she doesn't always have the opportunity to socialize with people/animals. We try our best but it's just really hard to do. When someone new comes on the yard she gets very protective and barks and barks and won't let the person near the house. Even when we've told her to stop and it's ok she continues to bark because she's not sure. I know we have to start introducing her to people but it just makes me nervous to have her outside and she's basically an outdoors farm dog. During the winter she is inside in her crate when we're gone and during the warmer months she's in a fenced in yard. We can't keep her inside all the time and since we farm, people are coming and going all the time (truck drivers, tractors etc.) We have no training options near us. Please recommend something I can read to train her to be less protective. I don't want her to bite anyone.


      Al, keeping her as a farm dog is great, that's what GSDs are made for. Considering the colder months is essential, thanks. Nothing can replace socializing to people, you got that right too.

      That she doesn't stop after you told her STOP indicates that she is unsure about your role as the Pack leader. With Miguel I have this problem too, even at age two years: He has "his moments" and then continues doing what he thinks is right.

      Here's what I did and do so that at all the other times he keeps calm when I require it (note that Miguel is an off-leash dog, and so I have to rely on him feeling restrained without being restrained; the same seems to apply to your farm dog):
      1) I need to observe the environment and anticipate situations that may distress him. - This will be impossible for you while you do work on the farm.

      2) When I anticipate such situation, I proactively warn him: STOP, or STAY, or STAY CLOSE, or COME, or QUICK, or DOWN, or I walk or pretend to "run" in the other direction, or whatever the situation requires. - This you may be able to do sometimes.

      3) In situations that I know still distress him, I proactively keep him away. - This you can and will have to do too, until your dog feels restrained in such situations, merely by seeing how YOU behave (likely calm with the visitor).

      Meaning, it's a learning process (and Miguel really is the slowest learner I have ever met, certainly your dog is much smarter).

      I use "tools" from the Dog Training Toolkit both to assess and to direct the dog (Sedatives, Distraction, and Attention tools). Whether that is too demanding in your case I can't assess, you will know where you stand training-wise.

      In any case, from all experience I know that the standard Obedience Training will not get you anywhere there, only Behavior Training will. You don't really want "to train her to be less protective", you want her to remain calm and controlled unless you indicate distress.


      Hi Al,
      effective socialization needs to be done between 8 and 20 weeks of age and it very important to be done right. Also it is continuous process. The breed's standard is the GSD must be neutral to neutral strangers, meaning the neutral strangers should be like house furniture to the dog. You do that when for example you invite friends and ask them to completely ignore the dog, move slowly or barely move, no attention to the dog whatsoever and at the same time you play with the dog. Also rule #1 is only family members pat or correct the dog.
      Your dog is probably already conditioned to bark at strangers and will be more difficult to change that. Barking in those situations does not necessarily mean the dog is protective or it would bite, but does mean the dog has assumed the behavior as normal. Your dog needs to learn that the strangers are not a threat and it is your job to decide what to do with a stranger. Dog's love and dog's respect are not the same thing. You can try counterconditioning with food or toy keeping the strangers in bigger distance in the beginning so the distraction does not overshadow the counterconditioning. Then slowly shorten the distance. That would be very slow process and may take months. If you apply common sense, hopefully it will work.


    We have a 2-1/2 yr old female GSD and a 7mo male both are not fixed at this time. The question is why my female just recently started to attack my 7mo old male we got him at 5 weeks old amd they have been together ever since but now i have to separate them from time to time, the question is why now for the attacks.

    Thank you


      My former neighbor's wife asked the same question when their marriage turned sour and he became aggressive. Why now?

      Like people, dogs change too over time. And unless you or another family member or the male dog has given the female dog a reason to become aggressive now(?), the right question is not "why now?" but: "What are you now planning to do to re-establish Pack harmony?

      If you're lucky she is now aggressive simply because she may be approaching, or be in, heat. But don't count on that, start acting now. Both of them.


    My GSD is almost two. He is very friendly with children and puppies and most dogs, but when it comes to people. He likes to be walked up to them first if they walk at him he starts barking like crazy. At the dog beach he's docile until we find a place and he gets comfortable then he starts barking and growling at other people and dogs that walk by, but he doesn't bark or growl when I walk him down the beach. He also hates the vet's office he gets very anxious and scared and barks like crazy. He's never bitten anyone or any dog but I can tell he's anxiou/nervous.


      Great you have identified the CAUSE of dog aggression, Ashlynn, and from what you write, I agree. It's cause #2 and #5.

      "In addition to identifying the CAUSE of your dog's aggression, also helpful is that you understand that in a dog's living environment certain factors contribute to dog aggression,"
      Right! So which contributing factors, which triggers have you identified above?
      And have you started to address the three most prominent triggers?
      What have you done and what has been the outcome so far? Improvements in what ways? Remaining challenges? In what situations?


    I have a friend who has a 3 year old long haired Shepard, he has become aggressive with her in that he growls at her when she digs into the trash can, while she's laying in bed and tries to walk out and he is on one side of the bed he's on the floor he growls at her, he shows his teeth, so she gets off the bed opposite side and walks away not knowing if he will come up behind her. There is also another pup in the house another GSD he plays with him but is not aggressive towards the pup. He is only aggressive towards her. She has made an appointment to put him down. I myself have seen him he's a beautiful animal.


      Pl tell her asap to come here where you are! Thanks.


      Hi Paul,
      from your short posting It is hard to say, but it sounds like a case of dominant dog, not really aggressive. The pup may not be a problem now, but later it may challenge the rank of the older dog, which can be a serious issue. Growling at handler is serious misbehaviour and needs to be dealt with decisively. Dominant dogs need very strong handler. The dog needs to understand that the handler is in full control of the dog's life. That means leashed in the house at all times, crated for extended periods and ignored. The handler must look aloof, firm but fair to the dog. This fairly short explanation of what I know about dealing with dominant dogs.



    I came across your page after searching the web. I have a 5-6 year old female GSD who is shows aggression towards other dogs and some people who walk down my street, but not all. And maybe it's because she isn't socialized with other dogs everyday, just our cat. She socialized with my sisters dog and my sons' friend's dog down the street, but not often. She really pulls on the leash when even trying to walk her, which we just keep her home now because it's just difficult. We have a full fenced yard and I've seen other dogs come and bother her all the time, which I think contributes to some of her issues. Please help me figure out what I need to change to help her.


      Sure. I've quickly written up all the help you need, it's right above these comments, please scroll to the top.


    I have a very skittish/kind of aggressive 15 week old male GSD. He has been skittish since we got him and now the past couple of weeks he has started barking at people. I have him in puppy classes and he has improved dramatically but he still seems like he is on the defense. Nothing bad has happen to him to make him this way, I was taking him to the dog park but have stopped because of the barking at people and weather.
    I take him almost everywhere I go, I even take him to Lowe's. I want to know what else I should do? He is still young, I don't want him to be and aggressive adult dog. Please help


      I have a hunch what kind of help many dog owners may need, and so I have published solutions to a variety of dog health problems, dog care problems, and dog behavior problems like yours, ready for reading and applying.

      Which of the above long lists of CAUSES of aggression and of "contributing factors" have you identified for your dog please?

      Would you agree that (1) is a biggie? Despite that you have taken your dog everywhere with you?
      Would you agree that (2) in fact is a biggie too for your dog?
      And (3) ?
      AND (4) ?
      AND (5) ?

      I should think so, based on what you wrote he does, and what you do. So that's where I would start taking action, and in this very order, if he was my dog.

      Does this help when you apply it?
      Let us know how you get on. Thanks.


    A young female GS came and found me( I should say tackled me) the other day. She was extremely skinny amd looked as of she had never been groomed by the huge matted dreadlocks all over her coat. The only trace of her previous owner was some old bitten bailing twine twisted all over her. Long story short I already have an extremely skittish Rotty ( rescued from a dog fight ring) and six children so taking on a new dog just didn't seem just ( to the dog) . No local shelters can take her right now without putting her down so she's still here. I would be lying if I said I had any clue what I'm doing. She's extremely posessive of me and attacks my other dog and when she gets in that mood she has no regard for others around my kids or anyone for that matter. I have signed her up for some basic classes but what can I do in the mean time to help her? She is very sweet and I don't want to see her get put down because she was neglected before and my ignorance now. Please, any advice would be so helpful.
    Thank You


      Rose/Rhonda, Thanks for looking after the dog.
      Do you agree that of the above list of causes of aggression, 1 to 5 all are applicable in your situation?
      I don't think any in the above list of contributing factors applies though, so you're lucky in the sense that you "just" need to incorporate the fact that the dog may be traumatized and needs special attention. Indeed, all the pages under Rescue Dog will be helpful in your situation. I doubt she is aggressive at all, rather protective of her savior, you, right?

      Important however is that you say you have an "extremely skittish Rotty (rescued from a dog fight ring) and six children", so please make sure you incorporate all the advice under GSD and Children (applies to Rottie and Children just as well) so that all are SAFE.

      Let us know how it goes when you apply what you find here.


    We have a three year old German Shepherd male. He is a large GSD, weighing over 100 pounds and standing as tall as me, and I'm 5'4", when on his hind legs. We have had him since he was 6 weeks old, along with 3 older Corgis . All 4 dogs have always lived in the house together, with a fenced in yard to run , play and potty. Our GSD has always been very loving and friendly. We have a pontoon boat and take him to the lake with us from April to September. So he has been socialized with our dogs and dogs at the lake with no incident. Recently within the last month he has been growling at and attacking my male Corgi, who was fixed around the same time we got our GSD. The attacks at first were one dog would growl and then the other, and they would walk away. Now our GSD is attacking my Corgi with very ill intent with what looks like rage in his eyes. I have been hurt multiple times in trying to pull the GSD off the Corgi, who is 7 years old with a bad shoulder who has been having trouble walking. The GSD is so large and strong that even my husband can hardly pull him off. Our GSD has not been neutered, because we had planned to breed him locally. We did not do obedience training when he was a puppy because we worked with him diligently. Now we cannot do anything with him, except keep him separated from the Corgis. While my husband is at work we keep him in the garage, and at night, my husband and I have resorted to sleeping in separate rooms, him with the GSD and me with the Corgis. PLEASE help me if you can . We love all our dogs like they are our babies. We don't feel comfortable having company over, walking him in the neighborhood because of other dogs, or especially taking him to the boat with us soon, which just kills us, because he loves to ride on the boat, run at the lake and loves to swim.


    Sorry in the delay in writing back. Shortly after I wrote this she passed away, tragically. She was outside playing the whole family when she noticed geese fly into my neighbors yard across the street and jumped the fence in an attempt to catch them. She was hit by a truck and died soon after. My phone broke during the ordeal and just now replaced it and was able to check my emails. Thank you for the wonderful advice and kind words. Didn't want to leave you hanging. Take care and I'll make sure to recommend your site to anyone I see with shepherd issues.


      Phew that's tough news, hit by a truck. A rescue dog.
      At least she experienced some good life when joining you.
      And luckily your Rottie won't jump the fence (guessing he's a normal Rottie).
      Take care of your children the way you read. Thx


    I have a two-year-old male German Shepherd that has started with showing aggression growling and snarling and and looking like he just wants to tear us to pieces he'll go in his cage between 830 and 9 PM every night and the door is still open but what if we go over there to shut it he snarls and growls and goes into attack mode he doesn't have anything in the cage other than his blanket and heat I'm not sure what's going on I can't even take him to the vet because he growls and nobody wants to see them to me I looked up rage syndrome and he has that symptom but the vet I contacted says she's never seen that in anything but a springer spaniel so I just wanted somebody to check my dog have blood work done see there's not something medically wrong with him


      There's nothing "medically wrong with him" based on what you wrote, nor do you need to look up "rage syndrome" and decide that "he has that symptom".

      It's simply that based on what you wrote it sounds like you're making every mistake there is. Just briefly:

      - Learn about GSD psychology
      - "he'll go in his cage between 830 and 9 PM every night" - a fully house-trained dog doesn't have a cage!

      - "but what if we go over there to shut it he snarls and growls and goes into attack mode" - wouldn't you do the same if your spouse tried to lock you away? Again, learn about GSD psychology and fully house-train your dog.

      - "I'm not sure what's going on" - you are not the accepted Pack leader, that's what's going on! Start here (and yes, it is the right topic!)

      - "I looked up rage syndrome" - what a nonsense. Why don't they call it "uninformed owner syndrome"? Look what is a syndrome, "a set of symptoms that is seen to reliably identify a specific defect, disorder, or disease." Your dog has none of this.

      - "check my dog have blood work done" - getting blood work done is always a good idea, but in your case, for what you described here, it is not needed at all. If you have interest, what would be needed is studying our weekly Periodical and implementing each week what you find helpful in your situation.


        Seriously your going to tell me I'm a pice of crap because my dog is not properly trained! I'm reaching out for help! I have a gsd book several of them. And was told to crate train. He sleeps in there, he goes in there on his own. I put him in when I go to work as he destroys things while we're gone. I had a Dottie gsd mix from a puppy till he got cancer the same time I did and we lost him 2 weeks after he underwent surgery. He was 14 and a half. I've contacted many training outfits and can't afford them. What do I do. Had 2 gsd when I was growing up, never had a problem with either of them.


        "Seriously your going to tell me I'm a pice of crap" - where on earth did you find that? Certainly not here.
        Did you at least READ what I kindly answered, or did you simply lean back in bias?

        "I'm reaching out for help!" - and I was ever so kind and provided exactly that HELP! For FREE! Without asking for any HELP from your side. How nice.

        PS: Imagine YOU took time out of your life to thoroughly reply to MY help request, and I then commented as rude as you did here, what would YOU be thinking?


        I did not anywhere, see where Tim called you a piece of crap! If you take a minute to calm down you will see that he emphasized (in blue letters on my screen) specific areas for you to click on and read. If you do so you will be helped tremendously by what you read in each section, especially the house training your dog part. I might add, as well, that a male German Shepherd is reaching his full sexual maturity at age 2-3 years old and this might be contributing to his aggression if he is not yet neutered. If not, I strongly suggest you have him neutered as soon as possible. There is also no reason to close him in his cage if you are home. And if he was fully house trained, you would not have to crate him when you leave because he would respect his boundaries. Tim really is trying to help you! Please go back and read the sections that Tim outlined for you. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you will learn and how these sections will help you.


    Hi,I have a 13months old female German shepherd. She doesn't bark often even at strangers and she wax the tail to everyone that calls her name even if she is seeing the person for the first time.I desire her to be an agreaaive guard dog but she is rather friend to everyone and doesn't bark at strangers. Any tips to help in this situation because I am so much disappointed at her behavior.she response to anyone who calls her name and that keeps me worried because I want her to be a guard, protective and aggressive dog. I need some tips on how to work on her please.


      Ekane, pl see the answers above why an aggressive dog is the last thing you want in your life!
      Instead, what you need, and thus hopefully want, is a guard dog. Nothing less, and nothing more. Even a Protection Dog would not be for you.

      Funny, only now I realize, on the PUBLIC pages an article on Guard Dog Training is missing (via our Periodicals you would learn about that though). I will prepare a short public article on that as well when I find the time.

      The very first step of that Guard Dog Training will be that you have to become your dog's accepted Pack leader first. There's no way around that! So, start with that now, at the very minimum study and apply our renowned Feeding Routine.

      When you managed to be your dog's accepted Pack leader, come back here for more.


    Hi Tim,

    I am back with another concern. I have a 9 week old GS puppy and she is great. I have read the puppy 101 book and all of the advice and training suggestions are working great with our dog. My dog shows no signs of nervousness or aggression except when I pull down the dust buster and start using it on the kitchen floor. As soon as I turn it on, she goes wild. She uses a very mean bark, growls, and tries to attack (bite) it. I have tried the collar freeze and after about 1 minute she will calm down and sit. I then turn off the dust buster and show it to her staying calm and demonstrating that it is not a threat. However as soon as I let go of her color, she is back to barking furiously and trying to bite it. I dont know what to do about it and need a way to control her when she gets terrified of something. She is only 9lbs now but imagine when she is 70 pounds! I have remained calm during all the episodes, have not raised my voice, and am doing my best to control her when she looses her cool. What else can I do to help this situation? Should I stop using the dust buster? Put her in isolation if she doesn't calm down? Our regular vacuum does not cause her to get upset, just alert. It's only the dust buster. Sorry for the long comment. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


      Sorry, didn't see this any earlier. "My dog shows no signs of nervousness or aggression except when I pull down the dust buster and start using it on the kitchen floor. As soon as I turn it on, she goes wild. She uses a very mean bark, growls, and tries to attack (bite) it."

      That's normal, most dogs are scared of such noises, it is not that your 9w old pup "wants to protect you" what many will argue, it's simply fear. What did your parents do when you were fearful? I imagine in many (but not all) cases they spared you the scare monger. I would do the same. No point in upsetting the pup. Persistent socialization will do the trick over time. My Miguel puppy can now be calm with it or excited, depending on whether I tease him with it (lol) or ignore him from the start. I think ignoring often does the trick (it signals "not important to me, why would it be important to you").

      From a science view it's interesting though: Seems the dust buster makes a noise worse than your regular vacuum (which I assume is bigger/looks more threatening, but seems less so to the pup).
      "She is only 9lbs now but imagine when she is 70 pounds!" So, I wouldn't worry about this point, no. ;-)


        Tim, thank you for your reply. We have used the dust buster every day since mostly bc we have three young kids who leave crumbs everywhere and i don't want my Niya pup scavenging for food. She is doing so much better and now when I turn it on she is concerned but I just pet her head and she sits down and watches. I agree about not making it a big deal. Our house is full of noise and craziness so she has to just get used to noise, crying kids, and banging around. So far she is doing great! I do worry about over stimulation and make sure she gets naps in her crate. I've never had a dog before but am enjoying this experience so much! She is so smart and willing to train. It's lovely. She is a bit stubborn with leash training but it's mostly bc she is so curious and wants to smell grass and try to eat rocks. We are working it tho! I love her :)


        Oh, you have young kids? Make sure you apply this for safety reasons!
        As for leash training, this.
        As for eating rocks, phew! My Miguel actually did that too, and so much so (first unnoticed by me) that once a vet (a fake one, allopathic doh!) asked "can I see the poop?", because he couldn't believe when I said "the pup's poop was 80% pebbles!" (80% or whatever).
        Anyway, keep her on-leash then, until she stops it. Too many problems!


    Hey I have a white GSD and he is 5 years old but he is biting people that are my friends and also strangers who he first meets that are really nice too him. He has started to growl at my family members. I'm getting really frustrated and I don't want him to bite anyone else I don't know what to do and I'm afraid he's going to get more aggressive. Can you guys please help me ?


      Yeah sure, we did, we quickly produced all the helpful tips for you that you find right above, just scroll up, and if you scroll enough, you can also see an entire menu, like in a restaurant, pick what you favor most, only difference, here you don't pay. :mrgreen:


    Hi guys! I have a two yr old non neutured male gsd hes amazing with my kids and knows that me and my bf are alpha... however he was attched on leash by a off leash about 3 weeks ago... its been down hill since then it first started with him attaching a on leash dog (ironically a dog that looked identical to the one that attached him) passing our yard (first time hes ever left our yard with out me) then two days later he snapped at a young girl running up to pet him on the leash then tonight the worst he bit one of my daughters friends (A 11 year old boy for Christs sake) who had entered our yard and was approching us... i am now at my wits end and am not sure if i can now trust this dog around my very own children.... we have had him since he was 6 weeks and have socialized him as much as our busy lives allow please help


      "however he was attched on leash by a off leash about 3 weeks ago" - Assuming everytime you wrote attached you mean attacked, it's clear that he carried away a trauma that you haven't dealt with right after the attack, correct?

      So now that trauma is manifesting into fear aggression that, for now, only shows when he is on-leash and thus cannot back off when being approached ("fight or flight"). If you don't address it now, it will however soon extend to off-leash situations too. Let's hope the 11 yr old boy is okay!?

      You will now need to spend some/considerable time to make up for the three weeks missed. If you don't spend that time, you'll soon have a massive legal problem.

      So I'd suggest: On this very page here, type CTRL-F (for find), type "trauma", and read and implement all that I have answered how to address a trauma. Then report back here when a specific implementation step causes you a challenge, and why, okay?


        Thanks tim for your input! Yes he was attached blood drawn attached and it has now manifested to off leash aggresion! The boy is fine no stiches needed ill read what ypu recommended and let yall know how it goes thanks again for your help we love our Gsd and hate to see hos life end


    I bought a GSD from a vendor of approximately age of 6-7 months he is fine with me but shows aggressive behaviour towards small children and other dogs in my house which is not good ? I want help to solve the problem.


      "I want help to solve the problem"
      You got help: Right in front of your eyes when you scroll back up. What have you tried to apply? With what outcome?

      PS: I want a lot as well. Private things aside, I "want" that what I write to help others, and what DOES help others, gets READ.
      We all see with the incumbent American head jerk where a lack of reading skill leads to. Don't we? :roll:


    Hi, my female German Shepherd is a little more than a year old and I got her when she was about 8 weeks old, she's a very sweet puppy and she's never been aggressive towards other dogs or people until yesterday when she bit our 13 year old miniature schnauzer. The schnauzer is very grumpy and snaps at my GSD whenever she gets near her or tries to play with her. My GSD has never reacted badly to our schnauzer snapping at her, she always just backs off after trying to play with the schnauzer a few time and then she comes and plays with me or finds something else to do. She has lived with the schnauzer since we got her when she was a puppy. However, yesterday when I was at work my brother and sister were at the house, my sister opened the door to get into the house and both the dogs tried to get in, so when my GSD got near the schnauzer, the schnauzer snapped at her and my GSD just turned around and bit her neck and started shaking her by the neck like a chew toy and my sister started hitting her with a broom to get her to stop and she wouldn't until finally my brother came and opened her jaws and pulled her off of the schnauzer. When my brother pulled her off she didn't try to bite him or show any aggression, she just walked off as if nothing had happened. They took the schnauzer to our vet right away and she had two very deep lacerations on her neck, two punctures on the top of her head and her skin around her neck had come loose from the shaking, she got about 20 stitches on her neck and 3 staples in her head. She came back from the vets office today and we have her separated from our GSD right now. It was very hot outside and my GSD may have been thirsty. I'm not sure why she snapped so suddenly, also I'm wondering if the dogs should be allowed near each other anymore and if you think this would happen again. I would really like any advice I can get concerning the situation, Thank you.


      You say already for a year the GSD put up with being snapped at by the Schnauzer, would you have accepted that so long? Frankly I wouldn't, all the less if day in day out I notice that the Pack leader doesn't do anything about it.

      The Pack leader here are you with brother and sister. Had I been the Pack leader I would have interfered immediately, the very first time the Schnauzer behaved badly towards another Pack member, the GSD. Because else I would let aggression grow. And it did, as you see.

      So I can't blame the GSD a bit. Do you? I hope not. I know of human siblings that mutilated each other because their parents turned a blind eye. I know that dogs can do the same.

      "should the dogs be allowed near each other?" Yes, after training. Both dogs.
      So how would I react, you basically asked me. Initially I would have them near each other only when I observe it. And if either dog shows the slightest sign of aggression (snapping is more than slight), I as the dogs' Pack leader would make sure she knows I don't accept that:
      First a verbal "NO!"
      Then a calm Collar Freeze
      Finally Isolation
      In this order.

      Now that a year has passed, it will take time to get both dogs to learn how to behave differently/better. But I have no doubt that both dogs can learn it, if you start acting right and immediately upon undesirable behavior.
      Can you convince your siblings to do the same?


    Hello, my name is Brandon and I have a 8 year old female German Shepherd, she has been a good dog never aggressive, I also have a female 12 year old lab, the lab has an ear infection and the last month the German Shepherd has attacked the lab on the ear where she has the infection she will simply bite the ear and will not release, I have had to pull open her mouth to get her to let go of the ear. The lab does nothing to start the altercation the German Shepherd simply attacks the labs ear and has drawn blood on 1 occasions. The dogs have always been together freely running In a large yard. Any suggestions on why this would all of the sudden she would turn aggressive towards the older dog? Has anyone else have a similar issue? And if so what did you do to resolve? Thank you


      Brandon, is it correct that you attended to the lab's ear often recently?

      Because from your writing I get the feeling that the GSD is simply jealous, feeling that you give the lab much more attention, and in particular his ear.

      In multiple dog households the most(?) important thing is to avoid making one dog feel that another dog always gets preferential treatment. Seeking to strike a balance in time spent with each dog is key.
      So when I have to care for a sick dog, I sandwich the care between two times looking after the other dog, before and afterwards. There is always some dog care that the comparatively healthy dog can benefit from too.

      Now, since the "healthy" dog has already attacked the "sick" dog's ear, I would strongly suggest to give part of that attention that you will give the GSD to his ears, initially at least.
      Balancing your attention aside, given the present aggression, I suggest you also intervene right immediately when you notice signs of discontent of either dog: If say you see the GSD focusing on the lab's ear (or generally, on the lab) - thus before even going after the lab! - a sharp "NO!" should do, if you are the accepted Pack leader. If not, you need to work on that as well, and for now you act with the "NO!" and then isolation.

      I trust you understand my points?


    Hi I have a one year old male GSD. He is not neutered yet. He listens to commands fairly well 100% if treats are involved. I even have a clicker which has helped a lot. Has never been aggressive towards us, but is very protective of us. He hasn't actually bit anyone yet but just yesterday I introduced him to my brother for the first time and he snipped at him and barked aggressively hair standing up and all. As a young puppy we had people come over often to see him. The people he saw as a puppy he is friendly with, but just in the last month we have seen his aggression get worse. He barks, lunges, and now he tries to nip.

    I've identified a few triggers from this article: Definitely not socializing him enough at a younger age, not enough play time, and more time spent outside of crate when not home. I'll admit we were more focused on potty training and other obedience training that we didn't really pay much attention to socializing. We were first time GSD owners and thought having people come over to the house was enough for socializing. We would occasionally take him to see his parents at their house (we got him from a litter of our friends dogs). I'm going to to work on play time and crate use, but I'm terrified to socialize more because I don't want him to hurt anyone. I wish I could go back and take him out more places. I feel stupid for not seeking help before now, but I mean what can I do now without risking someone's health and my own dog's safety as well in the socializing aspect.


      Fine. Now you need to address the aggression causes, and to remove the contributing factors, one by one. But you won't even need to address all of them, no worries. Start with the one CAUSE that you feel is the most likely cause of your dog's aggression.

      Then also address the three aggression contributing factors that you feel are most likely affecting your dog's behavior. Eliminate them, one by one.

      If you share which you have identified, I may be able to provide further pointers?


    Very interesting information!Perfect just what I was searching for!


    My 6 month old GSD is relentlessly biting me to where sometimes it's uncontrollable and then I start screaming at her which I know is wrong. It gets so bad, the biting, that I just don't know what to do. She's fine when playing ball, swimming or chewing her meaty bones. I want to correct her now as she is getting big and strong. It's me and her. No one else lives here. I really need help.


      Mary, this may seem to you like I want you to buy sth, it's not. It's that THIS would really help you solve not just the current puppy biting problem BUT the big DOG biting problem (and so many others) that will otherwise occur from age 8m or 12m the latest, if not addressed NOW.
      Your situation is SO typical, I hardly find words.
      For that reason, I basically documented LIVE the raising of a GSD such that NEITHER behavior NOR health problems occur. And frankly, that prevents costly lawsuits and vetbills, tears, pain, blood, scared or hurt children and folks, sleepless nights,.... :roll:


    Hi! Would love to get some advice.

    I have a 2 year old GSD who has been raised by an older Border Collie. The GSD began to attack the Collie about 6 months ago (both dogs are spayed.) We have since kept them in separate parts of the house. They are both fine while on leash. The GSD has interacted with two other GSDs (both male) and hasn't been aggressive.

    Unfortunately, I will be leaving said household to go live with my father who has a 3 year old Golden Retriever (who is also spayed.) I am planning on taking my GSD with me but I am concerned that she might attack the Golden. If she does so, there is a 50 pound weight difference and I'm afraid that the Golden wouldn't have a chance.

    If you have any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated.


      This is how you address such situation:
      1. Analyze the cause:

      • WHY has the GSD attacked the Border Collie?
      • What was going on at that time, and who else was present?
      • What happened immediately before that?
      • Is the dog in general well exercised, and was the dog exercised on the day it happened?
      • Is the dog in general subjected to a high stress level - predominantly this is the stress a dog experiences from the Pack conflict (that the owner ordinarily won't notice) when the family members have missed to establish a clear Pack structure to allow the dog to feel rooted, but can also (or in addition) be stress from frequent fear, or indeed from boredom!
      • Was the dog stressed on the day it happened?
      • Did the dog get comprehensively socialized from puppy age all the way through to at least age 3 (for GSDs)?
      • Was either of the dogs restrained (chained or leashed) when it happened, or just before?
      • Did the dog feel threatened (by a person, animal, object, or situation)?

      2. Analyze the outcome:

      • How did the person noticing the incident react?
      • What did the dog learn from the situation (take away from it)?
      • Could the dog inadvertently feel approval, or was the human reaction clear dissuasion?
      • What are the involved people doing to prevent repetition? Removing stress factors? Comprehensive socialization? Behavior Training? Regular exercise? Playing calming music? Or all of it?

      Subject to your answers to the above, repetition is likely, unlikely, or impossible.

      You see, it's us people who decide what it is.


    Hello everyone,
    My sister has a male GSD that she has had since he was a puppy. I've always been around and have taken to walks, fed him etc. He's about a year and a half. He's grown nice and big, but he has suddenly been aggressive towards me. I try to hold him, pet him and he will growl, bark and show his teeth. I don't know why. I'm trying to know the cause of this but haven't figured it out. The only thing I can think of is that he's trying to be dominant over me. I've been either this dog since he was a puppy, but know kind of scares me. When he growls I tell him to "stop" or "no!". But then barks. I will tell my sister that she should take him to one of those aggression classes, but first If anyone can help(tips) I will appreciate so much. Thank you in advance.


      Alfonso, have you seen my reply directly above?
      I am going to reply specifically to you as well, although like with Allison et al you probably don't even come back to confirm you read it. I have to say, despite that I am used to givin, givin, givin here - that doesn't make it any more rewarding. :cry:

      So this is how you address your situation - and although I could bet I already posted such advice on this very page in prior years, this likely is now more advanced...:
      1. Analyze the cause:

      • Try to pinpoint the time when the change in the dog's behavior started
      • Try to reflect what change in behavior you may have had just before that time
      • Determine if anything in the dog's environment has changed (people, animals, living situation)
      • Next, consider factors that pertain to the dog only, eg neutered/spayed? (ideally before age 6m, indeed!), in heat? (female) or suffering from only smelling heat? (male, not neutered, but not free to roam), change in living situation or environment?, stress from the Pack conflict(?!), frequent fear?, extent of exercise?, change in exercise?, trauma?, well socialized?, etc

      2. Act on your analysis:

      • Do what's necessary to avert, eliminate, or mitigate the cause.
      • In the vast majority of cases this involves (re-)establishing your acceptance as Pack leader to the dog. Acceptance has nothing to do with Obedience Training that you learned from televised "dog shows".
      • Instead, Pack leadership acceptance is easiest to establish via our proprietary Feeding Routine, controlled play, confident ownership, Collar Freeze and Isolation, etc.
      • And, for the German Shepherd Dog in particular, daily socialization, no kenneling (locking away), and lots of exercise together.

      And no, don't advise your sister that "she should take him to one of those aggression classes", because those don't work. Instead of wasting money, rather advise her to invest it here to learn what helps. ;-)



    I have been reading your replies and I hope that you can give a solution to my problem(s).

    !) I have a three and half month male gsd puppy. I've got him when he was around two months old. I housetrained him within five days and he mastered the basic obedience training within the first two days itself. Here comes my problem. Now he doesn't respond to down and roll over as often as he used to. When he thinks that he doesn't have my attention, he does it slowly only for the treats. He does every other basic command without a treat, but for these two I have to give him a treat. I couldn't go for other commands when he doesn't respond to basic commands. I, sometimes, feel like he doesn't respect me and maybe doesn't like me. I feed him even at midnight, clean up after him, walk him and play with him. I have to bear his bites too, which hurt a lot. I've tried everything but he bites me ferociously. I put him in his crate when he does that. When I take him out, he repeats. Nothing fazes him. Not toys, not games. I mean nothing. He gets an average of two hours of exercise and he looks out sitting at my apartment's front door for almost two hours. I don't think he is bored as he watches everything and every person going. I literally started working from home because of him. I stand with him for those two hours and I am bored, lol. He doesn't bite other people, like the people who stay in our apartment. Only me and sometimes my sister.

    2) He never misses me when I go outside, but when my parents and my sister go outside, he'd go nuts. I've brought him home and I thought of taking him with me after marriage. But now, I don't know if I should take him with me as he doesn't like me. I know that it sounds silly, but I feel pain when he doesn't care if I am with him or not. Because I sleep with him and wake up at night to feed him and take him outside. My marriage will be in two months so I am worried.

    3) Recently, he made a habit of putting stones in his mouth. I know that I shouldn't try to remove the stone, but he didn't eat for days as he had a stone in his stomach and only ate after vomiting it. So I try to remove the stones so that he wouldn't face the same problem. He growls, snaps and even bites me.

    I am thinking of seeking professional trainer's help. I'd be very grateful if you could help me. Thank you!


      I know that feeling "he doesn't like me" very well, my current Miguel all too often gave me the same feeling, I too spoiled him from the start and he too never experienced the rescue situation which is oh so helpful!

      Not sure if you are interested but since you mention seeking professional trainer's help which will cost a ton for questionable outcome, maybe you prefer to invest a tiny fraction of that in My New Puppy Diary which I created for this very situation you are in. What and how much it includes you see here upfront.

      You raise too many issues there for me or anyone to even try to reply in a comment box. But allow me to take at least your worry away here: "He never misses me when I go outside, but when my parents and my sister go outside, he'd go nuts" - you can't know how nuts he goes after you've left. ;-) I wouldn't in this case believe what your parents and sister might report (to tease you).

      Also, it will get much better with him if you now stop making so many training mistakes (and so I suspect dog health and dog care mistakes too). Frankly, 3.5m is too young to give you so many problems already, that shouldn't be.

      Why did I say above "questionable outcome from professional trainers"? Let me just say, I get a LOT of feedback here from frustrated dog owners... some of whom paid three different trainers already before arriving here. :roll:

      Either way, I'd strongly suggest you subscribe to our Periodical to learn more about all related dog topics every week. And that's totally free. And your spouse will benefit too. :grin:



        Thanks for your response. I have subscribed to the periodical.

        What did you mean by 'Also, it will get much better with him if you now stop making so many training mistakes (and so I suspect dog health and dog care mistakes too). Frankly, 3.5m is too young to give you so many problems already, that shouldn't be?' Can you tell me what are those mistakes?



      Teju, you do not need a trainer. What you need is to wrap your mind around living with a dog. It sounds that your puppy has no respect to you and that can go terribly wrong soon. The age of your puppy is really still in the nipping period and you need to redirect that to a toy every time. In couple of months it would be gone. The puppy must learn that it lives under your rules. That means you always go through the door or stairs first and the puppy must look at you for a permission to follow you. Sayin "Hi" to visitor stranger is also after a permission is given. That takes long months to get reliable and no trainer can do that for you. If at the age of 2 years you can leave the dog in front of the store for 15 minutes unleashed and it does not move while you are in the store regardless of strangers around, you have done brilliant job raising German Shepherd.


        Hey Mitko,

        I know what you said is true, but sometimes I feel like my puppy is the one who is behaving like this. I am working on the respect thing too.Thanks for your feedback!


    It is frustrating when you have a problem training a dog who you feel does not respect or like you. You should really try getting Tims puppy training books and house training books. In the mean time you should at least do the feeding routine with him. Tim has it outlined here and its a great way to get the respect you are looking for. I got my current dog when she was about four months old and she was a rescue so I had no idea of where she came from or what happened with her. What I did with her (and this will be easy for you since you work from home) was that I kept her on leash all the time. I kept the leash attached to me so that wherever I went, she had to go as well. I also did what Mitko said and made her enter and exit after I did. She was not allowed to go into any room or out any door without me going first! He should have regular feeding times (at three months 3x a day, and NOT at midnight!!), and you only should feed him using Tims feeding routine. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING he gets, or gets to do should come from you.You need to play with him A LOT, as the walk is very important but he needs to play. Dont play games that he can bite you just yet. Let him get used to playing with a ball, or tug, or whatever you see catches his fancy. If you play with him and he bites, loudly yell OUCH and pull away from him and immediately stop the game. That is all. No punishment! The fact that you stopped the game should be enough. It may take some time, but he will get the point. And I hate to break it to you, but if your dog is spending hours looking out the window, he is bored!! A german shepherd has got to keep his mind busy. You need to play brain games with him. Hide and seek, search for food or toys, training him to do tricks, teaching him the names of all his toys and having him bring them to you. Sometimes doing brain games makes him more tired than running around and a tired puppy is a good puppy!! You have to give him all the necesssities, and help him have fun so he will see that all good things come from you, and everything else is second best, and I guarantee that you will see a turn around.
    Good luck,



      Thanks for your valuable advice. He is well behaved for now. I have started following what Tim has asked to and I have changed his feeding schedule too. I don't think he is bored because I play with him for two hours, I walk him in the morning and evening. I play tug, hide and seek, chasing and most importantly, I train him. He likes to watch the squirrels and other animals. If it goes by his way, he would definitely chase them too. I will definitely keep your words in mind and thanks for your response.



    I have a german shepherd 4 years old desexed. Has started biting if you touch his collar. how do i stop this. PLEASE hes s beautiful dog need suggestions


    I have 1 yo gsd had him since he was 4 months old. Got along great with my 10yo golden until a few weeks ago. He lunged at her aggressively and has done this now 4 times. I have now crated him while we sleep, kept a leash on him in the house, but he still does it. My trainer says it's possession aggression but I feel like it's something else because I broke my bad habits by not letting him on the couch or bed, and proven I am the alpha. I just don't know what to do now. Any suggestions?


    Hi, three months ago I got an 11 month old purebred male german shepherd. The man we got him from had been previously training him to be a service dog for himself but got divorced and was no longer able to take care of him by himself due to his disabilities. Having been diagnosed with PTSD and severe social anxiety I had been looking for a service dog for close to two years. Brayden had gone through a four thousand dollar training program as a puppy, and he quickly learned the tasks necessary for me within a month. Last month I was grocery shopping and had a severe panic attack. A shifty man came up and insisted on "helping me" despite Brayden staying in a block and me choking out an "im okay". He had then ripped Brayden's leash from my hand and Brayden lunged, letting out a ferocious bark. We were asked to leave the store. Then a two weeks ago I had gone on a long shopping trip with my sister and mother and decided to wait in the car with Brayden while they went into the liqueur store. The windows were down and out of nowhere my cousin and her boyfriend appeared while I was resting in the back, having seen me in the car. Brayden was softly growling and when her boyfriend got closer he growled louder, eventually attempting to bite him when he stuck his hand in. Her boyfriend left and Brayden continued to growl at my cousin, until I took him out of the car. He trotted up to her happily and started licking her hand. The final event was when I took him to petsmart a few days ago to get his nails clipped. The woman was petting him over the counter and he was happy, but as soon as she came around the counter and attempted to put a slip leash on him he growled and eventually lunged when she got closer. He took treats from her but as soon as he finished eating the treats he growled again and lunged. We were asked to leave and Brayden was banned from Petsmart grooming. He loves children and loves other dogs, I have seen no aggression any other time, and his previous owner is trying to get us to put him down. When he is in work mode he always ignores other people but sometimes people come up behind me and pet him without permission and he still simply ignores him. I'm thinking it's him being unsure of his pack role and is trying to "protect me" when he deems it necessary but I am not sure. HELP!


    Hello. Relatively recently (around october, we believe) we began to have an issue with our shepherd. She has always been very gentle with people and other animals alike aside from playing with the cat, but even then, she has not ever actually hurt him. I digress. She was adopted from a pound and we believe her original owner or owners were abusive toward her. We believe she is roughly 3 years old, give or take a month or two. She has rarely been the only dog in the house and has never had an issue with others coming in or out. We also have 2 other dogs, a lab who is around 13, and a 16 month old lab/hound mix. Even with all three of them in the house, we have had no issue. Everything was fine and dandy for over a year until, around october, our shepherd started to attack the older lab. There are a few patterns we have noticed in this. 1. The older lab is always aggressive first. She doesn't do harm but makes it clear that she wants to be left alone. 2. the shepherd is only aggressive when another dog, in this case always the old lab, gets aggressive first, therefore, this has never occured without that dog being aggressive toward our shepherd before she then responds aggressively. 3, and most importantly, October is when we brought home our baby.

    Our shepherd is not aggressive toward people, whether it be us or others. She will bark and act protective of us toward strangers but has never attacked or even nipped at someone. She very rarely will be aggressive with our lab/hound mix and if she is, it is very brief and seems more authoritative than anything.

    We are hoping to find answers here as we had another problem today. We keep the shepherd separate from the old lab due to this problem and aside from this particular incident always with this dog, she is a fantastic dog. We are wondering if she might be acting this way due to the addition of the baby to our home and is maybe being protective because the old lab is being aggressive. (the lab/hound mix is possibly the least aggressive dog we have ever seen so she has never acted aggressively in any way making it difficult to tell if this is isolated to the old lab).


      Yes indeed, above you find all the answers you need, and the menu at the top provides everything else. :-)


    I have a 6 yr old male GSD. He is really behaved, came potty trained as a pup. He's a pure bred and pick of the litter. By our fault, he minded so well we did not bother to socialize him. He's really sweet to the Family, but if anyone comes in the house he goes into attach mode and we cannot get him to stop. We cannot take him to the vet as he has bitten so we cannot keep him healthy if he got sick. He wont let us touch his paws to trim his nails so they are 3 inches long and he keeps getting them caught and pulled out. I'm the only one that can handle him on walks as he is 110 lbs and my wife cannot control him. We took him to an expensive trainer but after $3000 we were called to pick him up and he did not sleep for a week and could not be trained. He's a really great dog but we are desperate. Cannot go on vacation. Please HELP!


    I got my GSD at when he was a year and a half he is now 2 and a half . He is very loving he goes to doggy day care and plays very well with other dogs and is great when people come over. My problem is he is aggressive towards small dogs and kids when we are on a walk. He has snapped at a child who tried to pet him and got his shirt. Terrified me I had a gental leader around his mouth Thank God or he might of bitten him. I don’t know what to do!! I do not want him to harm a child . I need to fix this right away please help

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