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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; For your and anyone else's safety in the house, especially your cat and your fiance, I would suggest keeping g a leash on her at ...

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Old 09-04-2018, 02:24 PM
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For your and anyone else's safety in the house, especially your cat and your fiance, I would suggest keeping g a leash on her at all times so you can always get her away from the cat or anyone she might go after without having to grab her by the collar?
What about only feeding her while she's locked in her crate so she can't go after anyone while eating? Or at least behind a baby gate where the cat can't get in and no one can accidentally go in. Lock the cat in a separate room with it's own food and water when she eats.

Just manage her as safely as you can to prevent injuries until you can see the trainer. And I'd personally keep the dog and cat completely separate for now.
I've kept a leash on my past and present dogs until I knew I could completely trust them with my cats. Safer and no harm in that.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowmom View Post
For your and anyone else's safety in the house, especially your cat and your fiance, I would suggest keeping g a leash on her at all times so you can always get her away from the cat or anyone she might go after without having to grab her by the collar?
What about only feeding her while she's locked in her crate so she can't go after anyone while eating? Or at least behind a baby gate where the cat can't get in and no one can accidentally go in. Lock the cat in a separate room with it's own food and water when she eats.

Just manage her as safely as you can to prevent injuries until you can see the trainer. And I'd personally keep the dog and cat completely separate for now.
I've kept a leash on my past and present dogs until I knew I could completely trust them with my cats. Safer and no harm in that.
She is kept separate from the cat, as I don't really trust her with him. They got along great when she was a puppy but as soon as she was bigger than him it seem to change.

I may try the leash thing. I have tried feeding her in the crate but she just stops eating and starts scratching to get out now. She also rushes to eat. I've tried a slow feeder bowl (with the swirls to help slow her down because she was making herself sick) but she still eats quickly. I figured the crate would help her to not be nervous but if I were to stick my hand in her crate to get her bowl (empty or not) she will try to bite. Even if she isn't in the crate.

I'm hoping the training works out.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:39 PM
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Sorry to hear that you guys are still having problems. Hopefully she will reduce her anxiety and use aggression less soon. This can be so hard on everyone, esp if you cannot predict when she will act out.

And if she is resource guarding that is no fun either.

I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but with my shy/fearful/cautious Gracie I do a lot of massage with her to reduce stress and increase my bond with her so she knows my touch is always safe. TTouch massage was recommended to me early on for her, but I chose to do my own version of it, rather than hire a TTouch practitioner. Maybe you could try this on your dog?

Here is one link that talks about TTouch for dogs in depth:
Why TTouch® for Your Animal? - Tellington TTouch Training™

I wish for the best for you and your dog. I really hope you stay with us here on the forum and please keep us updated.

And thank you for wanting to help your dog!! Dogs like yours and my Gracie can be SO hard to understand and very difficult to work with at times, and require extreme patience and understanding, but if you can stick it out and get to a better place with her, you will be so amazed at how wonderful these dogs can truly become.
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:08 PM
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I know you said you have tried to play mental games with your dog to engage her.

Are you using high value food as the reward?

Maybe work on a lot of impulse control games with her and then pay with VERY high value food. I find it is best to train when the dog is hungry so the dog is more motivated to earn the food rewards. Some folks don't want to use food as a motivator or reward, I think this is a big mistake, esp for anxious/fearful/ nervous dogs with aggressive tendencies. Sometimes highest value food is the only way to help them at times to break through their mindset.

I do tons of impulse control games/training with my shy dog and my new pup.

Like @Sthelena here suggested, try a flirt pole if you haven't done so yet. Very good idea!!

Using a flirt pole (homemade or store bought) is a great game for tiring out a dog, physically and mentally if you use it to teach impulse control, wait, etc. I made one from an old mop pole, and also one to hang from a tree using an old tshirt.

I personally think that teaching relaxation and teaching impulse control is so paramount to helping dogs with aggressive tendencies. These dogs "react" without thinking at times. If we can retrain and slow their brains down to "think' before just reacting, we usually can get very good results and way less aggressive behaviors from the dog.
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Last edited by AthenaLove; 09-04-2018 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 09-05-2018, 04:45 PM
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Stress stacking---Part 1

Here is something else that I think about when trying to help a dog that is anxious/nervous/fearful/shy or uses aggression to solve problems.

I call it stress stacking. Most people probably never even think about this with regards to dogs. honestly, it never entered my mind until I adopted my Gracie dog.

So think about this: Person (say Marysue) gets up late bc alarm doesn't go off in the morning, she burns her eggs because the kids are fighting, she can't find her keys, the cat is eating super slow, it takes forever to get out of the house to go to work. Then, already running late, traffic is a mess, she arrives late to work. Boss is clearly annoyed.
Then coworker makes snarky remark. New project handed over with deadline asap. Then she goes home....hubby asks a "normal" fun question like "hey, where did you hide the cookies?" Of course, no one hid the cookies. BUT--that was the last straw and Marysue loses it, and starts snapping at her hubby! Hubby looks at her like...what the hell??????

Ok, maybe the story is super exaggerated to get the point across. But I feel like this can happen with dogs. So say in my house, I get up, don't have time to walk Gracie for our special adventure walk bonding time, the pup is super annoying, breakfast is rushed, it is raining outside(maybe thunder), I comb Gracie for a moment (another stressor) and then I get an annoying phone call so my mood is not so great, which my dogs certainly can pick up on.

Then-----our cat Tortie (who is annoyed that breakfast is running late) is getting too close to Gracie, going into our bedroom for breakfast before Gracie calls her. (we've trained Gracie to feed all our pets)

Suddenly Gracie charges the cat!!

What is this? I would say a stress stacking moment! Too much stress for Gracie and she "loses it" momentarily.

All is ok in a moment, but had these stressors not been present, she probably would not have charged the cat like that.

Thankfully, Tortie is a very cool and forgiving cat, and moments later still came into the room for her breakfast when Gracie called her

See Part 2 next if still interested....
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Old 09-05-2018, 05:27 PM
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Stress Stacking -- Part 2

Ok, so if anyone actually read my previous post called Stress Stacking-- Part 1, then here's my second part. (hopefully some of you guys read it...)

So, if your dog is exhibiting some aggressive behavior at times, think about whether your dog is dealing with stress stacking. Most of us don't think too much about this when thinking about our dogs. But they have stress, too. Sometimes way too much stress!! And we all know too much stress can lead to us humans getting super grumpy or snappy or even "aggressive", right??

I started thinking hard about all this when I adopted my Gracie dog who sometimes will "freak out" (or tweak) at "nothing" and it was so perplexing to me. The more I thought about it in terms of stress stacking, I seemed to understand her better, be more proactive about helping her deal with her (zillion) stressors ---and thus have GREATLY reduced the amount of freakouts/tweaks over time!

What may help is to get a pen and paper and write down all the things that seem to stress your dog out. Even minor/small stressors count.

Examples may include:
1)annoying cat that stares down dog
2)guests coming to house
3)doorbell ringing
4)nail trim/grooming session/bath!
5)owners go on vacation
6)owner working new schedule
7)new spouse
8)new baby
9)new food/diet change -may upset tummy
10)owner in bad mood/yelling at humans in house
11)squirrels teasing dog
12)not enough exercise
13)too much exercise
14) not enough sleep/interrupted sleep
15)playtime with other dogs...can be stress overload
16)getting overstimulated in play
17)heat--damn hot here in Texas
18)change in dog's schedule
19)owner preoccupied/dog not getting "normal" amount of love/attention
20)new house/apartment--new place to potty
21)loud noises
22)skateboards wizzing by
23)opossum in yard at night
24)men with beards, hats, deep voices, harsh voices
25)people with canes, walkers, wheelchairs........
26)dog next door barking at fence
27)people passing window at house
28)Fedex/UPS delivery people coming to house
29)"Bully" dog at dog park (not the breed)
30)Pain or body discomfort

Ok, that's a good start, right? I'm sure you guys can add to the list of things that stress your particular dogs out..

Heck, most of these stress us humans out, too, right??? Why wouldn't they cause stress to our dogs as well?

Anyway, think about it next time your dog acts out aggressively! Consider how many stressors were going on in your dog's mind?

When a dog bites or lunges, etc I always want to know what preceded the bite...and what was going on that day and the days prior. '

Was it due to stress stacking?

If so, now that you made the list, see what you can do to make your dog more comfortable about EACH situation via counterconditioning, humane training, management techniques.... and most importantly helping to teach your dog to RELAX!!!
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Last edited by AthenaLove; 09-05-2018 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:58 AM
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I have some similar experience. I have both an aussie and a black lab cross. When I adopted the aussie he had serious behaviour issues and the black lab was a puppy and the bad behaviour was modelled for the puppy and I ended up with two troublesome dogs. The good news is that 2 years later things are straightening out and they are pretty good dogs.

In my experience the bad behaviour peaked at about 8 months. It is important to seek out resources (literature/training) and continue to work at this but these issues can be resolved over time.

Your dog is challenging you when he barks or growls at you. Sometimes they want to play, they want you to feed them, who knows.. maybe they just want to be the boss. I have seen this in dogs who are around a year old a lot. A firm 'Quiet' is all you give and ignore. Do not give in or play with them when they are challenging you.

It is very important to bond with your dog through play. If your dog doesn't fetch yet it's time to teach them this. Since she's a herding dog you may need two balls as shepherds tend to run in circles and not drop the ball. If she doesn't chase the ball/toy you hold it in front of her and wave it back and forth quickly saying 'Get it! get it..to make her excited. Then when her head starts going back and forth, following the toy, you toss it. When she brings it back show her the other ball/toy to make her drop it. Do this in the backyard or the basement. It doesn't sound like your dog is ready for off leash play in a park.

When your dog is being aggressive about food that is called 'guarding'. This can be resolved by first feeding your dog in a different place and then remove the food while the dog is eating and then return it in 30 minutes or later. Return it to a different area. You won't have to do this forever but it gets the dog out of the habit of guarding it's food.

Dogs and cats can be difficult. I also went through this. Teach the dog that the cat is higher in the pack hierarchy. Give the cat freedom and send the dog away if he is pestering it. If the dog is chasing or barking at the cat give a loud clap and reprimand the dog with a 'No', then leash your dog and have them near you while the cat is in the room. If your dog know the command 'lie down' then have them lie down. Spend a lot of time with the dog and cat in the same room while the dog is under your control/leashed. It is important that the dogs sees the cat is under your protection. You have to go over and over this so don't leave them unsupervised.

An 8 month old is a young dog still. Some take longer to house train. We could compare this to humans, some toddlers still have accidents at four and yet others are potty trained at 18 months. Keep sending her outside often and keep her kennel clean so she figures it out. Accidents will become fewer and farther between until they no longer happen.

When she is grabbing your feet and hands in her mouth she is mouthing and this is undesirable but normal in young dogs. The key to stopping this is not to pull away quickly, pulling away will only teach your dog to snap, leave your arm or hand there and gently push it more towards them which is not what they are expecting. Say No in a calm firm voice. Keep your excitement level low, do not show irritation or fear. Dogs tend to mouth when they are excited so you will want to counter with calmness.

You will need to work steadily at training and teaching new behaviour. The first couple of years can be challenging but rewarding with dogs.

If you have any trouble with reactivity(aggression towards dogs or strangers) let me know. For now be cautious with your interactions with other dogs and strangers.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:13 AM
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"When your dog is being aggressive about food that is called 'guarding'. This can be resolved by first feeding your dog in a different place and then remove the food while the dog is eating and then return it in 30 minutes or later. Return it to a different area. You won't have to do this forever but it gets the dog out of the habit of guarding it's food."

Sounds like a piece of dangerous advice. Want to get bitten? Grab the bowl of a dog who is known to be aggressive around food. Only thing this will teach the dog is that humans are jerks who will steal its food. My pup guarded her food and bones, I started adding her favourite treats into her food when she had almost finished. Then my appearance = more/better food. This was an early intervention and a small puppy so it worked astonishingly fast.

Also, hierarchies and dominance theories have been debunked.

Yelling no won't teach the puppy what it is supposed to do. Not that I am not guilty of making aggressive sounds at my pup when she does something I don't like while my hands are full.

Since the dog has already used its teeth and we cannot see the dog, I find it very good that the OP has contacted a trainer. Meanwhile the dog should be managed so that no further incidents occur.

Along with the trigger/stress stacking I was thinking about exercise and schedules. These energetic dogs need exercise but they also need down time and sometimes need to be trained to use it. Constant stimulation and excitement may keep the stress levels high and actually prevent the dog to calm down.

The thing with the cat might be prey drive. My Belgian shepherd pup would love to chase the cat. My cat likes to wrestle with her. But if the cat was fearful of the excited dog I would be in trouble.
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Old 11-02-2018, 10:58 PM
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She sounds like an adolescent pup testing the limits and getting overexcited from the description.
My last dog was an eighty pound Akita pitbull who had resource guarding about everything. Not with me but he gave a roommate a warning bite when she walked by and pushed him away when he was eating treats after his food area was temporarily moved to accommodate guests staying in "his" room and got one cat's whole head in his mouth once when I tossed him a bite of steak I cooked and didn't realize the poor cat was walking by to eat some cat food out of her bowl on the same room and went between him and his steak.

From then on he was only allowed to eat anything after he sat and stayed. I'd put the food in his bowl or treats in front of him and give the cat's treats first and he had to stay down until I said ok how eat.
I guess you could call it hierarchy or dominance or whatever but I saw it that be had to earn his food and attacking others who lived in the same house was completely unacceptable and would result in the opposite of what he wanted, locked in his room for a while with no food at all.
He learned very fast. If he tried to steal the cat treats. Efore I said ok or moved from the stay he'd have to go stay in his room and miss dinner with me and treats for that day and only eat dog food, no extras. If he held the stay and let the cat's have their treats and waited his turn he got lots of great things to eat and praise plus an extra great dinner.
A couple of weeks of consistency early on and he never went after a cat or roommate or person for food ever again. He did remain possessive around strange dogs. But at least all people and cats were safe around the house. I never let anyone feed him but me just in case though.
I used a lot of praise and positive reinforcement I just was very firm and consistent that he had to stay in the commands he knew and listen toe all the tests when food was involved and biting or chasing anyone was not going to ever occur.
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