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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all so my roommate has an almost 2 year old german shepard. Hes nice to everyone very energetic, however he is aggressive towards me. Its worrying due to the fact that he has lunged several times and actually made contact once recently. when his owner (my roommate) is not home he is fine mostly stays to himself but lets me know when he needs out or wants to play ball. When his owner is home though if i get within 3-4 feet of him (the owner) he lunges and is very aggressive. The owner and i have been friends for a long time and i knew the dog before moving in together. we have never fought physically or even verbally (the occasional roommate disagreements still happen but not overly aggressive) and i have done nothing malicious to the dog. any insight to whats going on, i am close to my breaking point to where if it happens again i will almost have to get physical back with him since he is not a small dog. but i also know if i have to resort to that A. it will not make his trusting me easier and B. that if i have to respond physically with him (the dog) being aggressive especially now that he has actually made contact that that one of us will be hurt badly.

P.S. the owner is a large male 6'1, 250lb, however i am bigger at 6'3 300lb which i wonder if that is part of the reason he feels the need to "protect" even when i have shown no sign of aggression towards dog or owner
 

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I'm not sure that it's aggression, to me it seems like simple pack dominance. The dog may see you as a lower member of the pack. It's fine when you two are the only ones home because he sees you as equals. When your roommate comes home he needs to defend his role...he wants to insert himself as a higher social member. So far you've let him, and this behavior will only continue to worsen the more you let it go on.

Most often this sort of behavior is because the person has been too submissive. There's alot of power in the word "no" and "bad" depending on what his owner uses. He should also not be allowed on the couch, beds or any other places of human dominance until this behavior has ceased.
 

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I would guess the dog wasn't socialized very well or just happens to be a single person dog. Your best bet is to hole up in your room and not interact or to find a new place to live if they don't crate him or keep him out of communal spaces. It's not just because you may get bit, either-a dog that has a bite history ends up having lots of other problems and its much harder to deal with after the fact than prevention. You could always hire a trainer if your friend is okay with you doing so-but finding a vet behaviourist that is trustworthy isn't as straightforward as it seems anymore.

In the meantime, stay away. Do not respond physically or escalate the situation-you would only end up making it worse for next time, or immediately. Buy baby gates if you want to keep your door open but not have the dog have access. You can do a ton of management so you don't have to deal with the dog if your friend is a good friend and willing to try.

Also, once a dog has bitten (as you mentioned in your last line, sorry) people on this forum are unable to give you advice, so take that with a grain of salt. Go see a behaviourist. This is not a problem that just goes away. Since its not your dog, if you don't want to deal with it you can leave-but your friend should bring the dog to a behaviourist regardless.
 

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It's not dominance. It sounds like resource guarding with your roommate being the resource. Many dogs can be protective over their owner. My GSD was like that with my BF(not to me). But it was mostly toward other dogs, she didn't want them to go near him. I have no advise other than to see a trainer.
 
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yes trainer and/or behaviourist would be great... since the dog seems to be fine with you when the owner is not present, I'd guess it has to do with resource guarding.
I don't think you can do much except help your roommate minimally with training.
before starting any training, I'd get the dog postitively conditioned on a muzzle, so he can't hurt you.
personally, if i were your roommate, I'd reward the dog for calm behaviour when you're close to them.
do it often, like 20-30 times every day and teach the dog gently that it's okay when you're close to their human.

Sancho had a problem with strangers hugging his humans when we got him. I think in his case it was more that he thought they'd threaten us and his protective insticts kicked in.
loads of hugs and treats were given until he understood that it is okay. ^^"
 
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I also think it sounds like resource guarding. Especially since he will actively engage with you if his owner isn't present.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
The problem has been solved I guess it was a dominance issue as I am not home very much. But he acted out again and I had no choice but to put him in his place physically (within reason for those that would say abuse) and since he has not liked that I have gotten close to my roomate but does not act upon it with more than being more alert
 

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The problem has been solved I guess it was a dominance issue as I am not home very much. But he acted out again and I had no choice but to put him in his place physically (within reason for those that would say abuse) and since he has not liked that I have gotten close to my roomate but does not act upon it with more than being more alert
Be VERY careful. Whatever he was feeling in regards to you isn't gone; if anything, now you pose a real threat. It's more likely than not that he'll back off for a little bit, and then you'll inadvertently do something to make him even more uncomfortable, in which case he'll come at you with even more force.
 

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This has nothing to do with dominance.
Please read the dominance sticky that I linked to above.
Like PoppyKenna said you really haven't solved the problem. I understand you may have had no choice but to defend your self but you have just confirmed all feelings he had against you. You may have suppressed the behavior but you haven't really gotten to the root of the problem. It is very possible that this behavior will appear again.

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/suppression-modification-shutdown-fallout-4776/

Have you talked to your roommate about contacting a trainer and/or behaviorist?
Also, I would follow mathilda's suggestion to condition the dog to a muzzle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FABgZTFvHo

Edit: Since this sounds like it might be related to resource guarding I would also check out this sticky http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/resource-guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/
 

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The problem has been solved I guess it was a dominance issue as I am not home very much. But he acted out again and I had no choice but to put him in his place physically (within reason for those that would say abuse) and since he has not liked that I have gotten close to my roomate but does not act upon it with more than being more alert

I can guarantee you that you did not fix the problem. I've used those techniques in the past with my old dog, and for awhile everything would seem to be fixed, he'd not growl or act up, but weeks or months later we'd be right back where we started. It was a vicious cycle, and I wish back then I had had DF to help me learn how to properly handle him. His problem was resource guarding and my technique only taught him that he was correct to be suspicious because I'd steal his stuff. It also taught him that I could be aggressive, I'm just lucky that I never got bit.

You state that he has learned his place and that you've gotten close to your roommate, he, not happy but is controlling himself. That tells me that one wrong move on your part and he will act upon it, that's what the being more alert is all about.

I think, although I may be wrong, that he's resource guarding. The solution to that is NEVER to put the dog in it's place and to teach it who's alpha, but to teach it that it does not have to guard, that letting you near your roommate, or the object being guarded, gets him awesome stuff like treats or a special toy all the while he actually keeps the roommate because you are not trying to take the roommate away. http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/resource-guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/

I really hope that the reason he's not reacting is not that you've taught him that growling causes you to correct him, if he's learned that lesson then he may attack out of the blue although he's likely still giving other signs of his displeasure.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
well as long as it keeps him at bay until may when the lease is up i am content with it. he has shown no sign of aggression since and has actually come and sat with us as we were sitting on the couch and we have played together with roomate close my as well.
 

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A dog that big can snap a bone with a single bite, I'm glad to hear the problem subsided (even though I don't necessarily I agree with the method), but you can't just ignore the previous behavior and hope it doesn't happen again, someday you'll tap your friend in the shoulder and the dog will put you in the ER.

I'd suggest to at least take a look at the links provided above as to at least have a hint on how to react next time, this was never a dominance issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
when i say put in his place i dont necessarily mean in a dominance fashion. I mean i i have to physically defend myself. He is looking into training for him. I understand a big dog can do a lot of damage which is why i have resorted to defending myself and unfortunately i put and ultimatum down saying he makes contact again he leaving the house, or getting put down. fortunately he seems to be responding to the training that my roommate has been taking him to.
 
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