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#340856 - 06/21/16 11:45 AM GSD Aggression problem please help
ALC Offline
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Registered: 06/21/16
Posts: 2
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My GSD dog, Baron he's 7years old
he's been through alot. my family and I (my mom, myself and my aunt) were recently evicted from our home and were forced to find housing in several different motels over the last 1 1/2 years. Baron, my GSD has been fine for the most part in terms of acting well behaved around strangers up until a few months ago when he unexpectedly lunged at a black man that was walking next to us after I had taken him to the bathroom
Mind you, before this, he'd stayed at many other motels and had even been in confined spaces (an elevator) with many different kinds of people and NEVER showed aggression then even was good enough to allow people to pet him
now for some strange reason (since about february/march 2016) we are still staying at motels at weekly rates and haven't been able to find a permenant home/apartment yet. he was in a stable environment for the majority of his life. he has bitten 2 people and has gotten his rabies. He's not a bad dog it just came on suddenly and neither my mom nor myself has been able to figure out what caused him to go after the guy (he was african-american) but he's been around many different races of people throughout this entire time of moving from one motel to the next. I realize that this type of ever changing environment is not healthy for any dog who needs routine. But besides this, he has in the past been given the task of being a guard dog. but that was over 5-6yrs ago before we were evicted from the house we were living in. He was used to the lifestyle of having a consistent roof over his head. he has never up til now shown any indications of aggression but does have severe dog aggression that was never enforced by either my mom or myself. but he was always tolerant of strangers until those two instances. anytime we move into a new room he has always (since the first instance in (april 2016) he's not been able to be around people. we are at a loss of what to do about this. we are worried that he may not be able to go anywhere with us. I live in Knoxville,TN and he gets along pretty well with our other dog, stella who is a 2 1/2-3 year old terrier/amstaff mix. he has grown to tolerate her well, except for certain times. I am wondering what the best scenario is to try and alleviate the problem and keep him from acting this way
we got him from a breeder in dandridge,tn back in 2009 but the breeder told us that his litter (baron and his other bros and sisters) were his first attempt at breeding GSDs. The father was a guard dog and the mother was fearful of strangers
I have tried to acclamate baron (probably not in the most appropriate way) to different kinds of people whenever we have been staying at these places. my mom and I are constantly stressed and I think baron and our other dog stella have started reacting to our behavior please help!

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#340864 - 06/21/16 04:39 PM Re: GSD Aggression problem please help [Re: ALC]
BasiaBear Offline

Registered: 11/29/11
Posts: 1407
Loc: Albany NY
Likes: 59
Welcome to the forum welcome . I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time right now.

A sudden and drastic change in behaviour certainly warrants a trip to the vet. Pain and illness can manifest with aggression. Could be an infection from a tick bite or mosquito or pain from arthritis to name a few. So the vet would be step one.

That being said, the constant stress and add now your fear of his potential reactions to people may be causing a positive feedback loop. Or at the very least the stress isn't helping the situation. My "step two" would be trying to set up a routine to decrease stress levels. Mindfulness and meditation, yoga, a leisurely stroll with Baron, sitting on a park bench, getting close to nature, anything to help you decrease stress. Prevent bites by not allowing interaction with strangers. I would firmly not allow anybody to pet him even if they ask and you think it will be okay... just politely say no and that he is in training... at least until you get this all figured out.

Top Likes: 1 
#340881 - 06/24/16 11:12 AM Re: GSD Aggression problem please help [Re: BasiaBear]
Braverhund Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/10/10
Posts: 5430
Loc: Massachusetts
Likes: 157
Danielle gave you some great insights.

Some things to check at the vet:
A full thyroid panel
A complete tick disease panel (important with aggression)
Joint sensitivities
Eye/vision changes

Build in some structure to your routines for Baron, this can help him feel more solid, calm, and grounded. Examples are sitting at all doorways, you walk through, then call him to co e through after you. Before setting his food bowl down, have him sit and give eye contact, then release him to eat with "Okay!" Make part of your walks such that for the first part of the walk, you control direction and speed, then the second part Baron gets to sniff and explore a bit, then the last part of the walk is your leadership defining direction and speed again.

If possible, try to find a safe enclosed tennis court, soccer field, or park where Baron can burn off energy with good exercise.

My very best good thoughts for you and Baron!
Frauchen von:

Grimm van den Heuvel, "Donnerpratzen"
Smokey The TeddyLion, DLH purrbuddy

Dir gehört mein Herz

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#340900 - 06/26/16 03:02 AM Re: GSD Aggression problem please help [Re: Braverhund]
Codmaster Offline

Registered: 05/14/10
Posts: 1611
Loc: CA
Likes: 49
"in the past been given the task of being a guard dog."

That sounds a bit different - might help folks to understand what this means? "guard dog" can have many different connotations and mean very different things.

I.E. a PPD dog or a "junk yard" dog could both be "guard dog".

Also would be influenced by how (if?) your dog was trained by anyone to be a "guard dog"; and how knowledgable the trainer was.

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#340901 - 06/26/16 03:03 AM Re: GSD Aggression problem please help [Re: Codmaster]
Codmaster Offline

Registered: 05/14/10
Posts: 1611
Loc: CA
Likes: 49
maybe a muzzle?

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