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Hi,

We have a 2 1/2 year old male German Shepard. We have had him since he was 8 weeks old. He has always been aggressive towards strangers and dogs. We have had him in several training session, but they make him even more anxious, he acts like we are punishing him whenever we take him and behaves worse.

So we have been working with him on our own, and he is wonderful at home with us or family or friends.

Our issue is that he recently starting acting really possessive and aggressive when he was in the back seat of our truck. At first he just barked at people that came up to the truck but now we can't even drive down the street without him barking at people walking down the sidewalk. He even barks really aggressively toward us when we approach the door to open it. And he's full out aggressive, baring teeth, scary. We were at our wits end and got a citronella collar but the instructions said not to use it on aggressive dogs. I read comments here saying the same, indicating he could become even more aggressive. I have no idea what to do, even our vet is scared of him.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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1st. You need to find a better training class. Proper training should help you and your dog, and both of you should feel better afterwards, not worse. Sometimes it's a matter of finding the right trainer for your particular dog, rather than good trainer vs bad trainer. It's time to shop around, get informed (here and elsewhere on the internet) about training methods, learning theory, dog aggression, etc. so that you can make an informed choice.
Make sure it's a trainer with experience with both aggressive dogs and german shepherds or other working protection breeds (malinois, rottweilers, dutch shepherds etc). You need someone with expertise handling these dogs.
People who work in protection and schutzhund know a great deal about both turn aggression 'on', and, what you need, which is turning aggression 'off'. They also should know a great deal about motivation (positive reinforcement) training, or you must walk away.
If you find a trainer, ask to observe some of their classes to see how they train, and the demeanor of the dog. I love shepherds, they are special, and not like every other dog. It does sound like your dog has a serious problem, as the fear and aggression began very early, so please find a good trainer and look far afield and make sure you know as much as you possibly can about dog training (not all trainers are equal). This is not a DIY project.
All the best for you and your shepherd.
 

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I agree with working with a good trainer or behaviorist. Imo this is an issue that likely requires private lessons. Just normally isn't in the scope of regular classes.

In the meantime find ways to manage the situation in the truck. If able, crate for travel (if that's not an option maybe a secure seatbelt/travel harness) and block the view out windows when able. Could even be those stick on shades for babies. ;)
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