Dog Aggression

Posted by manlius
Aug 1, 2008
I have a 7 1/2 month old neutered male german shepherd pup. I have been taking him to obedience classes at Pet Smart and he does very well. He is smart and is easy to train. I am definitely the "top dog". My problem is he is very aggressive to other dogs. I have a 7 year old neutered male shepherd and my daughter owns a male litter mate and they all get along very well.

I muzzled him the other day to see what he would with another dog. He was very nasty and it would have been a full force dog fight if he didn't have the muzzle on. I do have to keep him away from the other dogs in obedience class because he would go after them if I let him.

Is there any way to break this?

Posted by Todd
Aug 6, 2008
Hi there and thanks for the post

Interdog aggression is a very common theme throughout the forum and so you are not alone. Aggression is very serious so i am glad you have asked for help and i will try to help you fix things.

Well done on getting a muzzle as this is very very important if you are worried about things. It will help you, your family and other animals dogs

This will take a while to fix so you need to be patient and not give up.
So we don't need to go over alpha training or obedience as you are well on top of these. Keep working on them though as they are both very very important.

The trick to getting dogs through their aggression issues is to slowly socialise them in a way that we can control and mould their learning. So you will need a few other dogs,a few other people to help out and a back yard.

Start in the backyard as this will help him feel a bit more comfortable with the training. Both dogs need to be on leads before they get into the yard so we can keep both under control. Keep the muzzle on your boy until you are happy that he won't hurt anyone or anything.

1) Have the two dogs sitting at opposite ends of the yard. At least 10 metres apart

2) The aim through the whole sessions is to reprimand him when he gets aggressive and praise him when he behaves. You need to tell him off no matter how minor or major the aggression, whether it be growling, biting, barking or rushing at the other dog. He also needs to be reprimanded when he doesn't follow commands.

When he does need to be reprimanded you need to make sure he realises he has done wrong so make it quick and firm. A loud GRRRR or AHHHHH usually does the trick as well as a yank on the lead and maybe a squirt with a water pistol.
Make sure to follow the reprimand with a sit command.

If he follows commands and behaves praise him with petting and attention so he knows he is doing well.

3) Ask him to sit. If he does he can advance one step before he has to sit again. When he sits praise if not reprimand.
In this way we slowly get him closer to the other dog but only when he behaves. He cannot go forward until he has behaved.

On the first few occassions stop the session when the dogs are about a metre apart. On the 3rd session the two can play but must be on the lead, told off when needed and no rough play.
After another few sessions let the other dog of the lead and eventually both dogs.

Now once training has finished with one dog we need to work through the same sessions with another few dogs.

Once he has mastered these occassions we can move out onto the street. Now your boy must sit and wait for the other dogs to approach. Again follow the same process he must sit and wait. If he gets aggressive tell him off and make him sit. if he gets too much take him away.

Start with quiet areas and slowly move towards built up areas like dog parks. Once he has improved put him on a long line and slowly let him have more and more line to be well behaved on. But keep following the same principles.

Good luck, this will take time and patience to fix but don't despair.