Territorial German Shepherd

by Amber
(Memphis, TN)

I am a dog sitter for a very loving German Shepherd, Molly. It seems that she does not get the exercise, attention, stimulation, structure, or socialization she needs. The first time I came over with my dog, we stayed for a few days. At first Molly was fine with my dog, but toward the end of our stay, she began nipping and lunging at my dog as he would enter the house, coming in from the back yard. Only when he'd enter the house. Then it would be when my dog got near me. I tried to bring him in again some weeks later (with the help of someone else. I had one dog, friend had two). My friend along Molly and another dog named Lulu approached the house. Molly was fine. No aggression. As soon as we (my dog Phil and I) approached the house, Molly went nuts.

She is fine with other dogs and my dog at the dag park, submissive, even. But in her own home, the fangs come out and she goes insane. She also barks at other dogs while we are walking or riding in the car. I want to be able to have other dogs come to visit her or pick her up and take her with us to places, since she is lonely a lot. I have to go check on her in her home rather than stay with her in her home because she has become aggressive with my dog. She cannot come to my home because there isn't enough space.

There was another dog that came to visit with us one time (very carefully and again, with help). She and the other dog, Chewy, played and played and played. Even though this other dog was much smaller, she was not aggressive with him at all and actually seemed careful not to hurt him. My dog doesn't initiate anything and keeps to himself. He's an older, mostly blind loner. He's very quiet and just likes to lay around or lie in the floor close to me.

I take Molly for daily walks, visits to local dog parks, rides in the car, give her anxiety chews, give her lots of attention and affection. She is a very loving dog. She also eliminates in the house. I think she knows to go outside. So, I wonder if the elimination is tied in with her anxiety. We are working on not jumping. She had torn up my back, legs, and arms....leaving ugly scratches and even terrible bruises. The jumping is excitement and lack of discipline. It is not aggression. The jumping is met with excited whining and lots of kisses. She does "sit" and she knows "stay", but it's nearly impossible to get her to follow through on them for very long because of all of her energy. Although the jumping isn't completely eliminated, it's better. I also make her sit calmly before she gets her meals, treats, or we leave the house. She hates going in the back yard by herself. I have to go with her or she will have a meltdown, and she double, triple checks that I'm going with her. Separation anxiety.

The daily exercise and calming aids seem to take the edge off, but she needs something to DO while she's at home alone. I feel like much of her anxiety stems from BOREDOM. What kinds of things could be left in the house for her to do? Games? Dog puzzles? Leaving treats hidden all over the house? I leave soft music playing for her when I leave so she isn't in total silence all the time.She will eventually settle down to a degree. It's obvious that she's on edge and has lots of nervous energy. I cannot make a move without her being in the middle of it. If she's in another room and she hears me walking, she runs to find out what I'm doing and follows me pretty much on my heels.

She isn't a mean dog, but she is obnoxious and boisterous. She had just missed some key points in her development.

Any suggestions on how to slowly, carefully, but successfully help her aggression? The jumping? To follow commands the first time? Get her to focus? None of the dogs my family or I have ever had have had such high strung, bull-headed personalities. Shes's very smart, but it's hard for her to focus because she has very little self-control. It's there, but she has to work extra hard to get there.Any suggestions, books, sites, blogs, ets. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Jun 22, 2018
Nothing In Life Is Free
by: Adam G. Katz

Nothing In Life Is Free

Employ the "Nothing In Life Is Free" approach, so that your dog starts to view you as the "pack leader." If your dog doesn't see you as the leader, then your corrections will be meaningless. So, if you're doing subtle things (inadvertently) to undermine your leadership role around the house-- it will be counter-productive.

All the best,

Adam G. Katz is the author of, "Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!" -- which you can find at DogProblems.com.

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