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At a loss, Shepherd puppy

This is a discussion on At a loss, Shepherd puppy within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I agree with others here who have suggested a vet visit. The sudden changes in peeing may be a medical issue like a UTI (urinary ...

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Old 08-15-2018, 07:12 PM
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I agree with others here who have suggested a vet visit. The sudden changes in peeing may be a medical issue like a UTI (urinary tract infection) or something else.

Medical issues can bring on sudden aggressive behavior if the dog is in pain or not feeling well.

Wishing the best for you and your pup.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:43 PM
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One more thing that comes to mind when re-reading your post, is the use of her crate. Not sure if this even applies to you, please don't take this as negative at all, but I thought it might be worth mentioning. If not for your case, maybe for someone else who is reading this.

Sometimes we tend to get in the habit of using the crate for time outs, but it comes after a negative behavior, which we have "corrected" the dog for, so the dog soon associates the crate with punishment. A better way, I have found, is to use baby gates to separate and give the dog a temporary time out if needed.

That way a crate is NEVER associated with any negative feelings. A crate should only be a cozy, comforting place for a dog to rest, sleep, eat their favorite chewie or bone, etc. Never use a crate for punishment! Again, not saying that is what you are doing, but so many people do this.

Maybe your dog snapped at you while going to her crate because she has some negative associations with being sent to her crate? I don't know. Just a thought, trying to help. Aggressive behavior is no fun and can be downright scary, esp until we figure out what is causing/triggering the aggressive behavior.

Please keep us updated, ok?
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:28 PM
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I could see the collar thing being a trigger but I never grab her hard, she still wags her tail when I do it.

But I was sitting in the living room with her and the cat the other night and she chased the cat and I told her "leave it" which we have been working on, even if she whines when I say it. And the cat hopped up on the back of the couch and she full force chased him and grabbed him in a very aggressive manner, and he made a noise that sounded very pained. She let him go but I took her away (again lightly by the collar) and she was fine and calm and then she bit me and punctured my hand. All I could do was yell at her to "crate" so I could go wash my hand.

I let my fiance take her out and feed/water her for a day or two because I was angry and have been confused on what to do with her training. I feel like no matter what I do, she is only listening to certain things.

As far as her using the bathroom, I moved her crate back to its normal spot and it stopped.

I don't want to just give her to someone else because I do love her, and giving a dog to any stranger is scary because you don't know what kind of person they are. But, that being said if I can't get her behavior of her aggression towards the cat worked out, as well as some of her other issues, she will have to go.
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:31 PM
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Have you booked an appointment with a trainer yet?

This is not something that can be fixed with internet advice, if you are unwilling to hire a professional then I strongly urge you to consider rehoming before this behavior gets reinforced further.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:25 AM
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No. I haven't found a trainer yet, I've been looking but some of the prices around here arent really in my budget at the moment.

I'm not only following "internet advice" but I will tell you, I have trained dogs from "internet advice" before and have known many people who followed that or just winged and had no issues with them learning things and they had no behavioral issues after training. So..

Then again, it's not like I'm unwilling to do so, and telling me to just rehome her is pretty rude.
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Have you booked an appointment with a trainer yet?

This is not something that can be fixed with internet advice, if you are unwilling to hire a professional then I strongly urge you to consider rehoming before this behavior gets reinforced further.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:43 PM
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Tail wagging doesn't always mean "happy"

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I could see the collar thing being a trigger but I never grab her hard, she still wags her tail when I do it.
Again, I can't see your dog since we are only online discussing your dog, but a HUGE misconception is that a dog is always fine and happy when their tail is wagging. Big mistake.

Tail wagging can mean many things, such as fear, threat, warning, unsure, or perceived danger--- depending on the tail position, the rate of wagging, AND--- what the rest of the dog's body is doing (ie ear position, hard freeze, hard stare, lowered head, whale eye(white's of eyes are showing) mouth, and soft wiggly body vs rigid body.

A behaviorist or qualified trainer who really understands aggressive behavior in dogs AND who is versed in dog body language would be a real asset to you so you can watch your dog BEFORE it escalates and grabs your cat or you... or someone else and lands a bite.

If you aren't up for hiring someone (I understand it is expensive and schedules don't always permit) then if it were me and my dog, I would study dog body language (and behavior!!!) online ASAP! And do not study people like Cesar Milan (Dog Whisperer) for aggression issues, please!!!

Side note--Punishing a dog for aggression is usually counter-productive, since the dog is generally reacting to stress in the first place, so punishing only increases a dog's stress.

And like I mentioned before, if it were me and you were worried about protecting your cat while you work on these issues, I would absolutely have my dog on a drop leash inside the house, and use management tools (baby gates, etc) to limit your dog's access to your cat. Baby gates (esp used ones) and leashes are cheap.

You are stressing (and endangering) your cat, and will only make matters so much worse if you don't use extreme caution and prevention for now. As your cat gets more and mores stressed at the sight of your dog, your dog will also become stressed or anxious-- and probably want to chase him even more.

My Gracie dog used to constantly chase my cat (VERY SCARY) but it was because the cat's staring at her made her grossly uncomfortable and nervous. So she would bark, growl, lunge at the cat until the cat left the room or hallway. Once the cat was gone from Gracie's sight, she (Gracie) could relax again. I had to use counter conditioning to change Gracie's mindset about how she felt in the presence of the cat in order to stop the aggressive behavior.

Look up counter conditioning and start asap. Use a leash every time when practicing until your dog and cat are relaxed in each other's presence. You will know better when your dog is truly relaxed if you study dog body language and behavior.
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Old 08-16-2018, 04:49 PM
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Stress Overload - Dog Redirects or has delayed aggression

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Originally Posted by motodaze View Post
And the cat hopped up on the back of the couch and she full force chased him and grabbed him in a very aggressive manner, and he made a noise that sounded very pained. She let him go but I took her away (again lightly by the collar) and she was fine and calm and then she bit me and punctured my hand.
.
Sounds to me like possibly your dog redirected onto you? The stress of the cat situation probably was too much for your young dog at this point in your training, and I am sure you were yelling at her at some point to let go of the cat if it was looking scary. That sounds stressful to me!!

Teaching "Leave it!" is super important, but how are you teaching it?

Are you using positive reinforcement with high value food and tons of praise? Leaving the cat alone is probably a SUPER HARD task for your puppy, whether it is from anxiety/fear (cats hiss and look scary when they feel threatened) or from frustration about wanting to "play" with this strange/ curious meowing animal.

If you are not using counter-conditioning or are training in a method that is creating more stress, your dog may learn to "leave it" (your cat) but never change how she FEELS about the cat, so one day your dog can become over stressed and then act out aggressively at your cat.


My Gracie dog at times would redirect onto me after having a stressful event. Not biting, just a "tweak" or freak out moment. Sometimes it would seem to happen out of the blue. But as I started studying dog behavior and thus understanding her more, I realized it generally happened AFTER a stressful event, but not necessarily immediately after or right at that moment, as you would think.

For example, we were driving one day, she saw a dog out the car window. At this time in her life she was ULTRA reactive, all from fear. So she was growling, etc in the car. We pulled over, I pulled out my chicken and started counter conditioning as we normally do when we see a dog, and after the dog was out of sight she seemed fine. She asked me for some petting as she normally did when we are in the car, and I of course obliged. And then she "tweaked" ---and scared the crap out of me!! No doubt it was from the stress buildup of seeing the dog, but Gracie's redirection, tweak, whatever you want to call it, came a bit AFTER the "scary" or stressful event.

Maybe this is similar to what happened to your dog in this case with the cat?
Dunno, but for me I always want to understand how the dog feels or thinks so that I can help change her mindset so she can thus learn a new safer behavior or action.

I always remind myself that what is stressful to me can be different than what is stressful to my dog.

And a dog that is stressed or anxious or nervous -or fearful-- tends to use aggressive behavior to solve problems until helped and truly understood.
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:06 PM
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Sensitive dogs - out of pattern can be stressful

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As far as her using the bathroom, I moved her crate back to its normal spot and it stopped.
If the peeing issues stopped when you moved crate back to normal spot, as you said, maybe she was stressed by the change? Do you feel like it began when you moved the crate?

Sensitive dogs like Aussies, border collies, and heelers thrive on pattern and consistency, and maybe this added to her stress, hence the odd peeing issues, if there was no found medical issue causing it.

My heeler mix Gracie definitely likes her routine and consistency, and sometimes she gets stressed out by too many changes or things out of order.

Like when our new puppy Puma steals one of my socks, Gracie knows it is not "right" and will alarm bark for me to go get my sock back from baby Puma Ah, heelers....
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Old 09-03-2018, 11:58 PM
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I should clarify, I moved her maybe 2 feet from her normal spot.

Had her checked out. Nothing's wrong health wise. Her aggression is getting worse. She's been biting again and not in correction moments, it seems out of nowhere.

I've continued to work with her. I've scheduled time with a trainer but it's about a month out. So I'm doing what they suggested until we can get there.

She's been exercised even more than ever, we've stuck to a schedule, we've changed our correction methods etc.

I've talked to a couple people about rehoming her and as soon as we got to the dreaded "has she ever bitten anyone" question they quickly back out. (People with vet references/experience with shepherds have even turned her down).

I was feeding her and had the door shut as usual to prevent the cat from coming in and potentially getting hurt and my fiance didn't know and opened the door and she went from food bowl across the room to a full on lunge with growling at him.

So that's a little update. I appreciate everyone's tips and tricks but i probably won't post much more on the subject. I've been bashed left and right when all I've been trying to do is learn how to help her. How to teach her and how to bond with her before making the big decision of giving her up and it seems like people are not understanding that. I never knew so many people who also have animals they love would be so hateful and rude. I do appreciate the people who weren't rude.
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If the peeing issues stopped when you moved crate back to normal spot, as you said, maybe she was stressed by the change? Do you feel like it began when you moved the crate?

Sensitive dogs like Aussies, border collies, and heelers thrive on pattern and consistency, and maybe this added to her stress, hence the odd peeing issues, if there was no found medical issue causing it.

My heeler mix Gracie definitely likes her routine and consistency, and sometimes she gets stressed out by too many changes or things out of order.

Like when our new puppy Puma steals one of my socks, Gracie knows it is not "right" and will alarm bark for me to go get my sock back from baby Puma Ah, heelers....
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:22 AM
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I hope that the trainer can help. A lot of dogs don't like being dragged by the collar, and you have to train them to get used to it (touch collar, give lots of treats etc). But a dog biting over that is really not a good sign.
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