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I need help with dog's behaviour please.

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by leminn, Mar 25, 2019.


  1. leminn

    leminn PetForums Newbie

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    I'm 16. As I turned 15, my mother got us a dog. I always wanted one and so she wanted to make me a present. She got us a german shepherd, which is my favourite breed. As first-time dog owners, my mother also never owned one, we probably should have choosed another breed but she thought that I'm not going to have any troubles with this dog since I had a good bond with the really, really difficult Weimaraner that my father owned.

    The dog actually wasn't supposed to be difficult or something. She got him from a local breeder who actually bred good dogs who he also trained a little bit before selling them. He said, that this dog is an absolute angel. We believed. Mostly because he was the most beautiful dog that I have ever seen and he looks like he wouldn't hurt a fly but we were proved wrong.

    We also own cats. As he arrived, the cats fell immediately in love with him, they adored him and he also loved them. They cuddled, they played with each other. He was 10 weeks old as we got him and he behaved like an angel the first 4 weeks. And then he suddenly changed. It all started with him getting aggressive towards the cats or that he started barking at every single noise he heard, no matter how loud it was. We were confused but didn't thought anything bad. And then he also started getting aggressive towards my mother and me. He growled at us and snapped at us. We went to a vet because we thought he maybe is in pain or something, but the vet said that he is completely healthy and fine. So we were left confused and worried.

    Then he started being so aggressive towards the cats, that he tried to bite them whenever they came to near to him. This leaded me into separating them when nobody's at home. We live in a house with 2 floors and so I lock the cats in the first and the dog in the second floor.

    As he was around 20 weeks, he also started biting us. He managed to do this one time at me. Again, we visited a vet with him but the result was the same; he's healthy and fine. As he was 7 months old, we spayed him but nothing got better. He's getting more bigger and aggressive every month.

    But the thing is; whenever someone comes to visit us, he behaves like an angel. Or when we were outside with him or at someone elses house. But when he sees a person too often, he also starts to be kinda aggressive towards them. Like he's getting bored of them and then just wants to never see them again. He sometimes starts to whimper when I touch him somewhere like he's in pain but when our guests touch him on the exact same spot he's enjoying it? The vet also said he's definitely not in pain there.

    He's already a big problem for me. I don't hate him, but I want to get rid of him. But my mother still has hope in him and wants to keep him. I'm already afraid of him.

    We visited a dog school with him, we spend so much money at the vet with always the same result, we hired a dog trainer but nothing helped.

    I don't know what to do anymore.
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    Can you describe in more detail the circumstances that lead up to him showing aggression?

    And what is his normal daily routine in terms of feeding, exercise etc?
     
  3. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    When you hired the dog trainer, what were you instructed to do with him, and did it help?
     
  4. leminn

    leminn PetForums Newbie

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    It just starts all of sudden. Can be in any situation.

    We're feeding him in the morning, afternoon and evening with canned food, but we're also giving him dried food at midday. We're going out with him whenever he wants. Trying to exercise with him mostly when we're outside.
     
  5. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    What exactly did the vet do to rule out any medical issues ? Maybe seek a second opinion.

    What is his routine? What exercise does he get (duration? on/offlead? whereabouts, etc)?

    What training do you do with him? What exercises did the trainer you saw recommend? Do you play with him? Does he approach you for physical affection/play times. etc?

    It's not really something that people can give you an opinion on over the internet as the scenario you describe is too vague.
     
  6. leminn

    leminn PetForums Newbie

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    He said a few things; we were instructed to teach him that we're his "boss". Or teach him commands (like sit, down etc.). He reacts to them and is doing them. We were teaching him them already as we got him, before he started being so aggressive and before we hired the trainer.
     
  7. leminn

    leminn PetForums Newbie

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    I don't know, I wasn't there. But I know that the vet did a check-up on him. My mother visited 2 different vets with him.

    Yes, I play with him. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. We let him run in the dog park (it's not really a dog park but it's extremely used by people to walk their dogs so I call it a dog park) off leash pretty often, as I said, outside he's an angel besides some tries to jump at some bicycle riders. He has no problems with other dogs or humans. We try to exercise him in the dog park or at local beach for dogs. We let him go swimming there, throw a ball in there and let him get it for us for example but swimming isn't really his type, but sometimes he does get in to get the toy and seems to enjoy it. Throwing a ball to get it for him at the dog park is also a thing I do with him. He seems to love that actually. Or I run and want him to follow me. Even though he is so aggressive, I want him to have a good life. Teaching him commands is also a thing, but he reacts perfectly to any command I want to teach him.
     
  8. BUDDY18

    BUDDY18 PetForums Member

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    Where are you based, some users may be able to recommend a good behaviour specialist to help you.

    You say he is being aggressive, are you sure his aggression is not mistaken for playful as when puppies play it can sound aggressive.

    It does sound like he has not been given enough training and has been able to rule the roost with you guys, just my opinion I've obviously not witnessed the behaviour but that is what it sounds like.

    I didn't even know you still got canned food - is he getting all of his nutrients, diets have a big part in a dogs wellbeing and it may well be that canned food is causing him to behave or exaggerate his behaviours.

    When he bites what do you do? You say this only happened at 20 weeks - surely he was mouthing at you all when you got him? If you didn't tell him no and teaching him that biting is an undesirable then this won't be surprising that he is biting you still only now it will feel a lot harder than when he was 10 weeks old.

    When he bites distract him with a toy say "this instead" ( i.e. tuggys) and reward him for taking it, if firmly tell him "gently" - if he doesn't take the toy, then leave the room immediately for 10 secs, the more he does this leave the room for slightly longer, he will soon get the hint that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

    You say you are afraid - the dog will know this which will also be causing him anxiety, etc causing him to act out. The calmer and patient you all are the better he will behave.


    If he is grabbing on to your clothes firmly tell him "off" and repeat the above.

    If he is jumping firmly tell him "Down" and repeat the above.

    Training is an ongoing process that everyone in the family must stick to. Training him 2 - 3 times a day for 5 - 15 minutes depending on his attention span.

    These types of dogs have tons of energy, how often is he being exercised and played with? We have a golden retriever puppy, going into his 18th week, he gets a 20-minute walk before we go to work, our dog walker then comes in at lunchtime he gets another 20-minute walk and then played within the garden with his balls/toys, and a little training. By evening he is usually tired and a play in the back garden will be more than enough, occasionally a 10-minute walk. Basically, dogs need plenty of stimulation and if he isn't getting that this will also explain his behaviour.

    Cats - are they left alone together? Something may have happened which is causing him to lash out at the cats. For now, keep them separated until you get his behaviour under control.

    When he performs what is asked of him ensure to reward with him - clicker training is fantastic, otherwise a pet on the side and a "good boy" will do just as well. You have to teach him right from wrong, he won't know this on his own.

    If none of you has the time to invest in dedicated training sessions, exercise, stimulation nor do any of you want him around (which he will pick up on) the kindest thing to do would be to re-home him.

    Good luck.
     
  9. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    If he is so aggressive why are you letting off lead to jump at cyclists? Don't let him do this as it's not fair on other people ….. Am confused by your statements regarding his 'aggression' - is it just directed to you & your family then? How do you train him? Do you use a lot of punishment/corrections?
     
  10. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    How about going back to the breeder for advice and if you really have problems that make it better not to keep the dog then the breeder may be prepared to take him back
     
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  11. leminn

    leminn PetForums Newbie

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    He sounds and looks really aggressive, I don't think that that is still being playful.

    I already said that I keep the cats and him seperated since the first time he tried to bite them.

    I play or exercise with him everyday, mostly I'm outside with him over 2 hours. In the morning, I'm on a 20-30 minutes walk with him. The same when he just wants to go outside and is barking at the door or the leash. But in the afternoon or in the evening, I'm on that 2 hours walk. On weekends it can also be a longer walk. I start playing or exercising with him near the end where he is still really energetic, I play with him 40-70 minutes. On that 20-30 minutes walks, I also sometimes play/exercise with him but then mostly the whole time or 15 minutes and in the morning I'm just walking with him to let him pee etc.

    When he bit me I told him "no" with a pretty harsh voice. Doing the same when he's trying to jump at the bicycle riders or anything else.

    When he's doing something good, I'm sometimes, not always, giving him a treat to maybe show him that he did something good.

    Should I stop giving him canned food and only feed him with dried food?
     
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  12. leminn

    leminn PetForums Newbie

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    He tries to. Mostly we're/I'm there when it's the daytime where almost none of them are there.

    Yes, but also to people he's seeing as guests in our house too often but his aggression towards them is only growling.

    My only punishment is scolding with him.
     
  13. leminn

    leminn PetForums Newbie

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    We called the breeder short after it started. He took a look at the dog but didn't really believed us since, how I said, the dog acts like an angel towards other people.
     
  14. BUDDY18

    BUDDY18 PetForums Member

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    I mean it sounds like you are doing all the right things but without being able to see it it's hard to say, so long as you are being consistent then you need to get a professional in, and the trainer you had in doesn't sound very good so I would look for recommendations - try Facebook.

    GSD are working dogs and extremely intelligent, so it may be worthwhile learning them to "do" something other than basic commands, he needs more stimulation i.e a job. exercising him so much at such a young age can lead to hip problems later in life. Also if he is being over-exercised he may be tired and again would explain his aggression. Try mixing up his walks with different speeds, play fetch, hide and seek (our pup LOVES this), and other low key games - avoid jumping as his bones and joints aren't fully developed yet. I would be aiming for 4-6 playtime sessions through the day at 20-25 minutes. When he gets over excited (you need to be able to recognise the signs) stop playing until he is calm.

    I would look to switch his dog food, I am not a dog dietary expert but I can almost guarantee he will not be getting enough nutrients from canned food. I use skinners puppy food, it's what he was getting from the breeder - the breeder should have provided you with what the pup was getting and I would go back to that. Otherwise do your research and pick one that you can afford and provides him with everything he needs. You need one with high protein levels, and at 7 months should be on two meals a day (morning and night). Brands I know of for this breed are: Royal Canin for German Shepherds and he can be on this up until about a year old I believe, Hills Science Diet, Purina ONE, Burns to name a few.

    Hope this helps :)
     
  15. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    You CANNOT let any dog jump over people but especially one who you have labelled as aggressive, it is not fair & they could get injured. If you are unable to stop him doing to then he needs to be kept on a lead.

    Regarding training, reward him when he gets it right or how will he know? Play with him during your training sessions, make things fun …. join a training class so you can observe other people & their dogs as well

    You cannot provide enough details to this & with any aggressive behaviour you cannot really gain information as to why your dog is doing this from strangers on the internet. You need to seek the services of a behaviourist who can assess the situation & give you some advice.

    You should not be scolding a dog for growling, he is simply telling you that he is not happy with a situation. He sounds as if he is anxious & again this is something that a behaviourist can advise on
     
    #15 Cleo38, Mar 25, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  16. BUDDY18

    BUDDY18 PetForums Member

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    Never scold, this won't learn him anything, instead when he is doing something he shouldn't teach him what you do want him to do i.e. sit/down, if he doesn't stop turn you back for 10 seconds and see if he calms down, if not leave the room for 10 secs and come back and see if he has stopped then give him a toy to play with. For your visitors give them some treats (such as kibble) tell your visitors to ask your dog to sit once he has done say good boy and give him kibble.

    I know you said you don't always give treats but you need to go right back to basics with your dogs so as soon as he does something you want him to do good boy, lots of praise and treat.
     
  17. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    I wonder if this has made him anxious around you and your mother, and his anxiety is manifesting as aggression as he tries to warn you off.

    There are two things possibly going on here. The first is that the dominance, being the boss theory in dog training has been shown to be based on a completely incorrect understanding of dog behaviour. For that reason (as well as the fact that it isn't effective - you want your dog to WANT to comply, not do things because he is afraid of the consequences if he doesn't) many trainers have moved on to more effective methods. Unfortunately there are some who haven't and your trainer sounds like one of these.

    Combining that with a dog that may be a bit sensitive, it is likely he is anxious when you try to boss him and he is trying to ask you to back off. At this point, it would be helpful to understand canine body language. Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals. As a friend says, she would rather be told verbally to sod off than be smacked in the face with no warning.

    I think you need to go back to basics with a different approach. Instead of scolding, ask yourself why he has done whatever it is you are scolding him for. There are three main reasons why dogs don't comply with what we expect of them - they don't understand the task, the reward isn't good enough or you are working against a deeply ingrained breed trait. Have a look at Kikopup on YouTube for training videos. Other than that, you would need to be more specific for the areas you are struggling with to allow us to give more specific advice.
     
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  18. leminn

    leminn PetForums Newbie

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    He is already over a year and not 7 months anymore, we spayed him at 7 months.

    I'm going to talk to my mother about switching food.

    Am I over-exercising him? Oh... I didn't knew.. He is always so energetic.. At the beginning, I was only exercicing with him around 20 minutes, but made it longer and longer over the time because I thought that he's maybe getting bored or something.

    Thank you for your help.
     
  19. mrs phas

    mrs phas karma is a funny old thing

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    There is nothing wrong with good quality canned food, but I do stress good quality

    The same with kibble, despite the above, skinners, although it may suit some dogs (and everyone knows their own dog) it really isn't a good food

    See here, it's a wonderful resource

    https://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/the-dog-food-directory

    And, personally, I'd go for anything over a 4, with no cereal, grains, or derivatives. I used it myself, when my dogs had to go on kibble whilst Matt was receiving chemo

    (please note I have no interest in dissing or recommending any of dog food, other than using the point system to help people, as I now feed raw again)
     
  20. mrs phas

    mrs phas karma is a funny old thing

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    I presume you never go to any shops?


    If you use the cue word down to get him to lie down (as most do) then you need a different cue to make him realise that jumping up is unacceptable,
    maybe 'stop' would work, but then you have to reward him as soon as he does it, literally within 5 seconds, with something he never has anytime other than training, something smelly and, to a dog, yummy. Teeny bits of cheese, teeny bits of hotdog etc that way he gets to know the desired behaviou

    Dogs can also be over stimulated which can cause bad behaviour, as a parallel think how a child gets if it gets over tired, not listening, refusing to be sensible, refusing to be reasoned with, cranky, angry, spiteful, kicking, screaming, biting etc
    Sounds familiar?
    Also, at a year he is entering his teenage time, and we all know what teenagers can be like!

    Try doing more brain training, tricks if you want to think of it like that,
    finding things with your scent on
    Treat under a cup, add more cups as he gets better
    Getting a named toy
    Putting his toys away in a box etc
     
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