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This might be long but I’m really at a loss and I think it would be beneficial to have a few other opinions on the situation. TLDR at bottom.
So I’m staying with my boyfriends parent’s place and they have three dogs of their own, and we have one dog. They have two small older dogs (Cairn Terrier (14) and Rat Terrier mix(13ish)) and an 9-10 month old German Shepard. My boyfriend’s dog is a 6 month old Foxhound mix. 4 dogs in the house.
The older dogs get annoyed with the big dogs and will growl if the big dogs annoy or follow them around. The Cairn Terrier (I will now refer to him as H) will be very vocal if he doesn’t want the big dogs around him. When he barks at my boyfriends pup (I will now refer to him as Z) he will back off and leave him alone. When he does it to his parent’s Shepard (I’ll now refer to her as D) she will sometimes follow him around still, not knowing her boundaries.
D and Z have a trainer that comes to the house on a weekly basis. Z takes to the lessons really well, and D does as well, but when she isn’t in a heel, she doesn’t listen very well. For example she will be free with the other dogs and you will have to repeatedly call her name.
I believe she has shown some warning signs of aggression, for example barking at the delivery people or any friends who have come over. She will also often chase the other dogs outside and sometimes inside. Z loves this and they would often wrestle together because they are the same size, but obviously the older smaller dogs will bark at her and run. They have tried to correct this, but not that hard.
Yesterday D attacked H. She completely picked him up and was whipping him around by his neck and trying to kill him. We intervened but he has to go into surgery and it is a miracle he isn’t dead or paralyzed.
The solution that my boyfriends parents came up with, with the help from the trainer was to get an electric collar, and a muzzle. Also once the trainer has an opening in a couple weeks, D will be going to stay with her for a boarding training type thing.
I personally am surprised this dog is in the house. She did not just bit him, she would have killed him if we didn’t step in that second. There is a cat in the house that would not survive that.
I’m sure H initiated the fight by barking or even snapping at her to tell her to go away, and she took that as an invite to attack.
I think the main problem here is the training consistency at home. She has a prong collar and a pull for when she needs to be reprimanded. When she jumps on people, goes into a room she is not allowed in, chases the olds, she gets very soft “no”s from my boyfriends parents. My boyfriends sister tried to be strict with her but her parents told her she was being too rough so she stopped reprimanding D.
I think because of this inconsistency and lax training that D does not see any person in the house as an “alpha” so she doesn’t have much fear in what she does. She was obviously extremely reprimanded yesterday after the attack, and she was picked up and carried to her crate. She showed no signs of feeling “bad” her ears were up and she was wagging.
She has chased the Rat Terrier outside before as well, but she is fast and will always bark. But I could see this ending in a similar way. She will try to chase the cat as well, but there are rooms the cat is allowed where D is not, so she will stop at the barrier. She sometimes steps a few feet in, so I’m concerned that if she really wants to she could get the cat.
I guess it’s worth noting that Z is way more chill and does not have these problems, although he did pick up barking at strangers from her.
I’m worried that this could happen again to one of the older dogs, the cat, or possibly even Z, even though he’s bigger and can defend himself.
I obviously don’t make the choices in this situation, but I think I could make suggestions to his parents because they are at a loss as well.
I know my boyfriends sister saw her shaking him because she ran and grabbed her, but I’m not sure if his parents really saw her doing it. I’m not sure if they would feel differently if they had seen it.
TLDR: German Shepard (9mo) attacked Cairn Terrier (14y) yesterday, almost killed him. I think she sees herself as the alpha of the house and not the people. Owners are getting a shock collar and a muzzle for now, then sending her to boarding training in a couple of weeks.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions, this is just so scary.
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