Buy a choke collar and a leather leash. Begin training him to understand the command "no" right away. This is easy - just set a dish of his food on the floor and with him on the leash walk past it. When he pulls in the direction of the food give the leash a very sharp tug and in a loud, disapproving voice say "NO!" Keep walking while doing this.
Using a choke collar gives a brief but uncomfortable tug on the dogs neck. Your dog probably wants to please you so by adding a disapproving "No" it is double reinforcement.
Use this method when guests come. Tell your dog that the person (people) are okay (don't use sentences - use one word commands. If the dog approaches the guest quietly tell the dog "Good dog". If he lunges, growls, jumps, etc. at the guest yank sharply on the leash and use the word "NO" at the same time.
Do these things consistently and your dog should show remarkable progress in a short amount of time. Look for a dog training class to enroll in.
If the behavior continues have the dog seen by a vet. If the dog is male consider neutering him.
I don't know if I can describe the correct way to put a choke collar on and it is important. Thread the chain through one end. Put your wrist through the opening and if the remaining chain forms a "U" shape slide it over the dogs head. If the remaining chain is in a straight line turn the chain around and do the wrist check again. If the chain is put on backwards it can lock and choke your dog to death. Never leave a choke collar on an unattended dog for the same reason. (10/08/2007)
Negative training is no longer acceptable. It's old old news. All training should be positive & a pleasant/bonding experience for dog & human. Dogs should have fun learning, & be rewarded for correct actions. Why would they want to please someone being mean to them? Why would they like you for it? We have discussed this many times. If you do a search in thrifty fun you'll find lots of info. (10/09/2007)
The choke collar should be worn in the "P" position. "P" for perfect. Dog should be to your left at side when placing a choke collar and using/instructing. When you are looking face to face with your dog the choke should hang as a "P" The leash is in your right hand and you use short quick pulls in a side ways motion. Use leash at a small distance for control and correction. You are teaching your dog that his behavior is unacceptable. Go to www.unclematty.com for a clear instruction. Never use a choke collar if you don't know how. You could hurt your dog and make the behavior worse. Uncle Matty can show you a positive loving approach. I totally recommend his training!
Jennifer Ca (10/09/2007)
We had a "70 lb pit bull terrier" grow up with our children. That was the sweetest, kindest dog we have ever owned. BUT HE began becoming aggressive to persons that came to our house or got close to the children.
WHAT I LEARNED from that experience was to know inside me that animals (as my NC grandma said) can "sense things" better then we can about another persons behavior, perhaps they are thinking of harming us. SOMETHING for you to think about it was for me anyway. (10/09/2007)
By Paula Jo in Mebane, NC
Check with your property insurance company to make sure the dog is covered. Many insurance companies will not insure German shepherds and other so-called aggressive breeds. I've been through a dog-bite situation (3 bites, same shepherd). Most people like dogs and do not want a dog put down, but your insurance company may give you a simple choice: your insurance or your dog. Once the dog has bitten, your rates, if you can get insurance, will be very high. (10/11/2007)
I can't believe someone has recommended using a choker and not just any choker but a CHAIN choker to train your German Shepherd! Please do not take his advice as this could not only cause a serious injury to your dog but in fact make him worse. May I suggest a Halti head collar, this is a kind alternative giving you control and a no risk of injury to your dog! This works on the same principle as a horse's head collar - if you guide the head, the body will surely follow. On a large intelligent powerful dog like the German Shepherd this will help you I could place a bet on this, you still have to spend time in training him correctly and the method I use with all my German Shepherds is to be repetitive, you can't take their guarding protective nature out of them and it would be wrong to try and do so but you can be one step ahead of them. Like I said these dogs are extremely intelligent and sometimes their teenage behavior can result from just being plain bored, make sure you spend time not just exercising him physically but mentally too and you will have a happy well adjusted member of the family. I will check from time to time to see if you reply to this or in fact anyone else does and I hope this helps if there is anything else please do not hesitate to ask (10/21/2007)
The dog needs exercise and socialization. Exercise needs to be DAILY significant walks, adding a backpack can be helpful if needed. If you have the space, setting up an agility or obstacle course for the dogs (yes, this advice applies to ALL of them) and "training them would be helpful as well.
YOU have to establish dominance, they have to believe it's your house and you own them. Right now, the young guy thinks he's the leader and protecting you and your family.
Also if you can get help from some friends, have him on a leash while they knock on the door and enter (many times) it is IMPERATIVE YOU control all the dogs during this event training whenever it occurs. Leash them if needed but YOU must control the situation and don't stop until you do and demonstrate that; otherwise you're sending the wrong message if you give up. Doesn't matter if it takes hours, you MUST get him (and the others) to submit to your authority, this applies to the other family members as well. You need to be firm and display a calm and assertive manner, not angry, not mean.
I suggest you check out Cesar Milan's book(s) and website
I have a GSD who will be 4yrs old this June. My trouble with Caesar is that he destroys things in the house, and if I or any family member tries to take it away from him he lunges and even tries to bite. I have sent my dog to two weeks at doggie boot camp, I even had a retired k-9 police officer train Caesar, but nothing seems to work. I never had any trouble with my other dogs. I love Caesar dearly and refuse to give up on him. I can barely walk him, because he drags me all over creation, especially when he sees our neighbors dogs.
Everyone in our small town thinks he's insane. Please help! I tried contacting Caesar Milan to no avail. I've had Caesar since he was 3 1/2 weeks old. He was very obedient until he was 2 yrs. old and became very bold. Don't get me wrong Caesar is very loving and protective it's only when he grabs something he shouldn't have, that he gets NASTY! I appreciate any advice I can get. Thanks, E.B.
German Shepherds are very intelligent and will try to be in charge if they see even a slight opportunity. From early puppy age you need to establish that you are the authority figure (top dog). Like Caesar says "Calm Assertive." It's not too late. Make him sit before you give him anything just to show your authority, his food, his treat, etc.
I usually try to bring my puppy around many dogs and people when they are young in order to socialize them so they won't be dangerous. Try one-on-one time with your dog, training him to do what you want with a treat as a reward. Positive reinforcement works very well. They love hearing that they are a "good dog." Your German Shep. is stronger than you. It's foolish to try to hold him back at the door and let a stranger inside if you think he is dangerous as he can cause serious damage to the stranger if you can't control him. Contact your vet and tell him what is going on with the dog. He should have good suggestions for you. He sees every kind of dog. Good luck. I'm probably on my 9th or 10th Shepherd now. It's usually the way the owner is interacting with the dog that causes problems.
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