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Discussion Starter #1
I know fear aggression is hard to deal with but any help with a 6 year old German Shepherd with fear aggression problems? He is SOOO loving with people he knows but barks, jumps, lunges, and sometimes even nips strangers that he feels threatened by. Any suggestions?
 

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Have you looked into a behaviorist? Because your dog is so forceful in his aggression (nipping strangers, for example) you could quickly end up in a lot of trouble that wouldn't turn out good for you or your dog.

This is the kind of problem that really needs professional help if you are not experienced in handling it on your own.

In the meantime though, you need to have better control over his actions in public. He absolutely CANNOT be allowed to come at people in the manner that he is. If you can't currently control him, then limiting his interaction with strangers is the next best bet.
 

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This can be a common problem when the dog is allowed to do the meetings and greetings first and make up all the rules but, he doesn't know how to handle it.

The usual training is to teach the dog that you always get say Hi first. The dog sits politely and waits his turn for petting and saying Hi...taking all of his cues for interaction from you. Once he understands that you will always handle these 'intruders' he will relax.

An alternative for the at home greetings is to have the dog go to a rug or mat while you answer the door and meet your guests.
 

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I agree with Dakota 100%
 

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Thanks everyone. It's actually not my dog. It's my boyfriend's brother's dog. He is actually trying to get rid of him and it's heartbreaking. If you look under the rescue forum, I posted him there too. He's not VICOUS, he just barks and lunges while he's on a leash then we tell him to sit and stay and he'll listen. He's never wandering around where he can get to a stranger. He's getting better but I am willing to pay for training with my own money. His owner wants to get rid of him but the woman he got Remmy from said she would put him to sleep. He's had such a hard life and just needs some love, attention, guidance and training. He trusts me and is as sweet as can be. I am doing training on my own and he's improving but I am trying to get someone interested in him and then I am bringing him for professional help. Sad situation:-( He's not even my dog but I am SOO attached to him I'm willing to do anything to improve his behavior and get him adopted. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks!!
 

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Dakota hit the nail on the head. Also remember to NOT be rough with this dog.. yanking his neck or yelling at him for aggressive behavior will make matters worse. If he does have an episode, redirect him by removing him from the situation and use management commands (leave it, watch me, etc).
 

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there is a book that explains what to do called "The Cautious Canine" by Patricia McConnell and I suggest that. I will also say that in a dog that ahs been doing this for awhile, it will take a lot of time to fix. If the dog will sit or heel when a stranger comes by, have him do that every time.

There is another book, "Scaredy Dog" which is also very good.

The problem is that the behavior in a 6 year old dog is likely very ingrained. It will take time and consistant handling to over come this, and it will likely be a life ong management issue. The owner of this dog really should not rehome him if he is like this as the dog could be a serious liability.

A behaviorist will help I am sure, but it is still going to take TIME.

I see these things with GSD's and it always makes me so sad. It is preventable early on with lots of socialization etc. PTS may be the answer if the owner is looking to rehome the dog now.. Anyone rehoming a dog is usually not interested in spending time and money to fix anything.
 

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Sad story, and usually an owner issue rather than a dog issue.
If you are willing to take this dog own (obviously the owner is not), then the books Elana mentioned AND a visit from a certified behaviourist familiar with fear problems are the way to go.
Until then, get a good basket muzzle to prevent the aggression becoming a true bite (for his sake and for the sake of the people he is frightened by) and do not allow him to be in a situation where he feels he needs to aggress.
If you cannot do this, have you thought about contacting a GSD breed specific rescue to see about fostering/training for him in hopes of rehabbing him?

Also check out www.fearfuldogs.com
 
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